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Badger - One Live Badger CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.34 | 90 ratings

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3 stars The early 70's gave birth to a myriad of prog bands. Some bands grew to stadium acts while others lingered in obscurity. One such group was Badger. Funny enough, Kaye used to be a part of Yes, a band that really grew to immense stature and set the example for many musical aspirations for years and years to come. Still do, even. Badger, on the other hand, failed to make a lasting impression and left only two albums to their name. The first one was the live album "One live Badger" and the other a lacklustre affair called "White lady".

I love "One live Badger". I always have and will continue to do so for the rest of my life, I suppose. The cover is one of those that really intrigues me. Simple yet very beautiful, the badgers on the front seems to hook up just outside their hole in the ground. It is a friendly cover and I think it is one of prog's greater.

The music is a keyboard driven heavy type of prog. Being a live album it is very well recorded and performed. Every instrument and intricate piece of the music can be clearly heard, even though the music sometimes seems quite raw and intense. There is a clear focus on hard rock making this a hard hitting yet varied slab of prog with great sections of solo parts from both guitar and keyboards.

The songs are really similiar in length, around 7 minutes each, apart from "The preacher" which is the least interesting of the songs. "The river" is not one of the better either. Apart from those two the material is really solid and well written pieces of music with good lyrics.

The opening trio of songs are all very fine and I enjoy them very much. There is not much in ways of epics, prog's most loved expression. It is more in the way of hard rock with prog tendencies, like a Deep Purple less frantic in execution. There is no "Speed King" or "Into the fire", more like their more mellow and mid paced numbers. There is, however, a very potent and clear streak of progressive leanings.

The best track is "On the way home", which holds such a heavy opening with the organ leading the riff alongside guitar. The vocals are very emotional and heartfelt and the instrumentation is superb. I love this track and have always enjoyed it every time I hear it. The soaring guitar at 1.30 is lovely. At 3.30 there is some really nice organ fills as well, followed by a really frantic organ solo at 4.30. Really the best and most engaging of the six tracks.

The end result, though, is an album that really does not manage to uphold my interest all the way through. I skip "The preacher" and "The river", leaving me with only four songs. Now, the ones I skip aren't really worthless but I think they disrupt the flow and they are not as thrilling as the other songs. While "On the way home" is as close to a 5-star rating as it gets and the first three gets 4, the skipped ones are simply OK and that is not enough.

So, even though I love and cherish this strange album (not many bands would go about releasing a live album as their first testament) the end result is an okay album. There is plenty to thrill but in the end it is an album of varied quality, in the vein of early 70's hardrock with a splash of progressive tendencies. Do not travel around the globe in pursuit but do give it a listen, if you can. It is charming and at times really, really good (such as in "On the way home").

Three stars from me and a lot of love.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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