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An Apple a Day: Badfinger - Ass
by Bruce Spizer
Badfinger's fourth album, "Ass," is the least known of the group's Apple albums.
By the time it was released in November 1973 in the U.S. and in March 1974 in the U.K., the band had left Apple. Although Badfinger wanted to stay with the label, Allen Klein showed little interest in the band as he was focused on the releases of John, Yoko, George, Ringo and Paul, as well as Beatles reissues. Badfinger's management understood the situation and looked elsewhere, signing the band to Warner Brothers Records. George Harrison was disappointed with the loss of Badfinger and became upset when he learned of Klein's treatment of the band. With little promotion behind it, "Ass" stalled at number 122 on the U.S. charts.
The record's relatively poor sales performance is unfortunate as the album has many excellent songs. Its opening track, "Apple Of My Eye," is more than a love song. The ballad is a sincere farewell to Apple Records highlighted by strumming acoustic guitars, beautiful harmonies and tastefully forceful lead guitar. The song's release as a single in December, 1973, went virtually unnoticed.
"Get Away" is a straight-forward rocker, while "Icicles" is a power ballad with a dual lead guitar solo. "The Winner" is a winner, mixing rock and roll with drumming reminiscent of "Be My Baby." "Blind Owl" has elements of Badfinger's rock side mixed with countrified harmonies and lead guitar.
"Constitution" opens with a Wishbone Ash-like dual guitar riff before moving towards a heavy sound mixing elements of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Foxy Lady" and the relentless beat of "Helter Skelter." "When I Say" and "I Can Love You" are typical Badfinger ballads, while "Cowboy" is pure county & western. The album's closing track, "Timeless," is a timeless mystical ballad showing influences of George Harrison that builds to a climatic end.
The discs has five bonus tracks, including two non-album tracks, "Do You Mind" and "Regular," along with different versions of "Apple Of My Eye," "Blind Owl" and "Timeless."
Overall, "Ass" is heavier than Badfinger's previous albums, but still full of beautiful harmonies. If you liked other releases by Badfinger but passed on this album back in 1973, this Apple remaster is a great way for you to hear what you missed-well crafted pop rock with a sometimes grittier edge.
Additional information about the artists who recorded for Apple Records can be found in Bruce Spizer's book "The Beatles Solo on Apple Records." Bruce Spizer is the author of a series of critically acclaimed books on the Beatles American record releases. He also wrote "The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America," which is the definitive book on the subject. He served as editor and publisher of "Price Guide for the Beatles American Records," which was written by Perry Cox and Frank Daniels. Bruce is currently working with Frank Daniels on a new book covering the Beatles U.K. record releases from the sixties titled "Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records." He has served as a consultant for EMI/Capitol Records on Beatles projects. Information regarding his books can be found at his website www.beatle.net.
Published November 30, 2010
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