Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Bad Company - Straight Shooter (1975)
Released April 1975
Recorded at Clearwell Castle, Gloucestershire
This album differed just slightly from its predecessor in that that the two main cornerstones of it were the “acoustic” ballads of the marvellous “Feel Like Making Love” and the hymn to prematurely departed rock stars, (Paul Kossoff, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison), the moving “Shooting Star”. Yes there were “slowies” on “Bad Co” too, but they were more in the Free blues rock ballad style. Here there is a lighter touch (just a little) in the basic approach to these songs. The melodic “Call On Me” also follows this trend. However, the heavy riffs are never far from the surface and they kick in most effectively on the chorus of “Feel Like Making Love” when Paul Rodgers’ unmistakeable blues rock voice really lets go. “Weep No More” is also an excellent rock ballad, piano-based but heavy guitar appears when it needs to.
An underrated Bad Company classic on here, for me, is the rocking opener “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” - full riffs and Rodgers’ voice towering over proceedings. One notable critic at the time (Robert Christgau) said that Rodgers’ did not have a strong enough voice for this sort of material. What? Are you kidding? Sometimes I think some of these critics just say controversial things that go against popular opinion just for the sake of it, for self-publicity. Nonsense. Rodgers has the perfect voice for Bad Company and Free’s material. I think most people would agree with that.
The rest of the album is pretty impressive blues rock fare - Free-type titles and lyrics like “Deal With The Preacher” and “Wild Fire Woman”. “Preacher” has some great guitar riffery, compelling bass and a great Rodgers vocal. Sounds like Free made just that more commercially accessible. “Wild Fire” is one of the most Free-sounding tracks on the album, all big powerful blues rock bass. One of the bonus tracks on the “deluxe edition”, “All Night Long”, where a Rolling Stones riff meets “La Bamba” would have made an excellent single.
To be honest, Bad Company never really changed their style too much, just as Free didn’t, and they were all the better for it. You knew what was going to be served up and, for several years, it didn’t disappoint.