41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unjustly forgotten Apple album
While Badfinger's Straight Up and No Dice albums are widely and deservedly considered classics, their Apple swan song, "Ass" gets so little attention that it's never even been released domestically. Few people outside the core of die-hard fans even know it exists. Too bad, because they're missing some stellar moments. While power-pop was the buzzword that...
Published on July 6, 2004 by William J. Eichelberger
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2010 Remaster Brings Audio Clarity
The final non-Beatle release on Apple Records, Badfinger's "Ass" signaled the end of the Fab Four's label. While not one of my favorite Badfinger releases, the history behind the recording is interesting. Badfinger began recording the album in January 1972 with Todd Rundgren. The sessions lasted one week before a falling out between the band and Rundgren occurred...
Published on November 11, 2010 by Chris N.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unjustly forgotten Apple album,
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Badfinger`s Goodbye to Apple,
"Ass" is undoubtedly the Badfinger album that has benefitted most from the new remastering. On the first CD release from 1996 the sound was very muddy and certainly not on par with the other Apple reissues. This is now thankfully corrected with this new 2010 release.
Also disappointing was it that the 1996 version contained only one single bonus track. This has also improved with this release, which now includes five bonus tracks, several of which are really exciting additions.
"Do You Mind" was the lone bonus number on the first release. On the new edition is the number again to find, but in a different version, which unfortunately is not better. I am missing Tom Evans fine harmony vocals on the chorus, a little frustrating since Molland himself is no great singer.
Pete Ham's "Apple of My Eye" is found in an earlier edition produced by the group themselves, good, but not as good as the final version which Chris Thomas helped to produce.
Tom Evans's "Blind Owl" is also found in an earlier version which "Apple of My Eye" is interesting, but not quite as good as the final version.
"Regular" is an unpretentious Joey Molland song that has never before been released. The song appear finished, but has probably originally not been found good enough to get on the album. Another outtake from "Ass" is Pete Ham's "Piano Red", which unfortunately is only available as a digital download, unless you want to invest in then Apple Box set. A shame, as the album generally lacks Pete Ham songs - it must be said that "Piano Red" is a somewhat atypical Ham song which may also have been deselected by being too different.
The last number is a different mix of Pete Ham's magnificent "Timeless". The mix is not as clear as the album version, but sounds like it's the same basic track, but with a different and shorter end. Since the album version is over seven minutes, some might feel that this slightly shorter version is to be preferred.
The story behind the release of Ass is in several ways similar to that behind "Straight Up". The first recordings for this album, that turned out to be their last for Apple Records, began in January 1972; and the final recording took place in April 1973. The album was not released until late 73 in the USA and in March 74 in Europe. Their change of record company from Apple to Warner Brothers was one among other reason for the delay. Actually a first version of the album had been completed by the end of 72, but it was rejected by Apple. The original version of Ass had been produced by the band themselves, and they were going for a more basic rock album.
In early 73 Apple called in Chris Thomas to produce new recordings and to look through, what had already been finished. A similar situation had occurred when Todd Rundgren had been recruited for finishing "Straight Up". The two earliest recordings on this album were in fact ("The Winner" and "I Can Love You") produced by Rundgren. Pete's "Apple Of My Eye" and "Timeless" were re-recorded and two new Molland songs ( "Icicles" and "Constitution") with Chris Thomas were added. The rest of the album are leftovers from the scrapped version.
The album turned out to be a commercial failure; not because of the music but because of other things like little promotion, bad timing, the change of record company, lack of recent hit-single etc. The album was different from their earlier albums - they had wanted to do basic rock album representing the music they performed live, and that is mainly what "Ass" became. People who'd expected and hoped for another album similar to "No Dice" and "Straight Up" were obviously disappointed. Pete Ham only contributed 2 songs, of which only "Apple Of My Eye" was a typical Ham composition. Tom Evans wrote two very strong tracks, "When I Say" and "Blind Owl" - the first a lovely ballad and the second a wonderful rocker, which became a live favourite. Mike Gibbins wrote "Cowboy", a country styled song, which sound somewhat unfinished and which does not fit very well into the concept of the album. The rest of the album was written by Joey Molland. 3 straight ahead blues/rockers and two ballads. The album is the first where Pete Ham really gets a chance to demonstrate what a great lead guitarist he was, f. ex. on tracks like "Blind Owl", "Constitution" and "Timeless". The only bonustrack "Do You Mind" is an outtake from the first version of the album - it's written by Molland and it's one of his best early Badfinger songs.
My favourites: "Apple Of My Eye", "Blind Owl", "When I Say", "Timeless" and "Do You Mind"
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Badfinger's Final Apple Album Is Hit And Miss Affair,
The album is bookended by two first-rate efforts from Pete Ham. The opening track is a kiss off to their former label. [Badfinger left Apple on acrimonious terms.] The closing track is the majestic "Timeless." [At nearly eight minutes it is the longest song in the Badfinger canon.]
Co-founder Tom Evans also turns in two equally fine songs. First, the uptempo "Blind Owl" and the lovely "When I Say." Mike Gibbins lone contribution is the country-flavored "Cowboy."
The remaining five tracks (along with the bonus track "Do You Mind") were penned by Joey Molland. The rockers like "Get Away," "Winner" and "Constitution" are serviceable, but the highlights are the love songs "Icicles" and "I Can Love You."
While not up to the high standards of their previous LP STRAIGHT UP, this is still a necessary purchase for Badfinger fans. RECOMMENDED
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2010 Remaster Brings Audio Clarity,
This review is from: Ass (Audio CD)The final non-Beatle release on Apple Records, Badfinger's "Ass" signaled the end of the Fab Four's label. While not one of my favorite Badfinger releases, the history behind the recording is interesting. Badfinger began recording the album in January 1972 with Todd Rundgren. The sessions lasted one week before a falling out between the band and Rundgren occurred. Badfinger then convinced the executives at Apple to allow them to produce themselves. They delivered a complete album to the label in late 1972 and Apple Records promptly rejected it (as they had done with the first version of Badfinger's classic "Straight Up" album in 1971). In order to complete the album, producer Chris Thomas was brought in. Most of the songs on the album were written by guitarist Joey Molland. Guitarist Pete Ham, who wrote Badfinger's most well-known songs ("No Matter What,""Day After Day," and "Baby Blue") contributed only two songs on this outing, "Apple of My Eye" which was released as the single, and "Timeless," a song that showed off Ham's incredible lead guitar skills. Bassist Tom Evans contributed one of my favorite Badfinger songs, "When I Say." While the album was completed in early 1973, it was not released until November 1973 in the US and March 1974 in the UK, long after the band had left Apple Records. The band had moved to Warner Brothers Records and released a new album on that label in February 1974. With two albums out on two different labels, the listening public was over-saturated with Badfinger and neither album sold well. The remastering of "Ass" was completed by the same team that remastered the entire Beatles catalog (released last year) and thir skills are evident even during my first listening. If you are new to Badfinger, start with either "Straight Up," their third album or "Wish You Were Here," their final Warner Brother album, both masterpieces before purchasing this album.
As an aside, if you are a Badfinger completest, purchase the digital-only downloads in addition to the CD. With the digital downloads and the bonus tracks on the CD, one can now created the first, rejected and unreleased version of "Ass." The track listing is as follows:
Get Away (Previously Unreleased)
When I Say (Previously Unreleased)
Apple of My Eye (Previously Unreleased)
The Winner (Previously Unreleased)
Blind Owl (Previously Unreleased)
Do You Mind (Previously Unreleased)
Piano Red (Previously Unreleased)
Regular (Previously Unreleased)
I Can Love You (Previously Unreleased)
Timeless (Previously Unreleased)
Both "I Can Love You" and "The Winner" were produced by Todd Rundgren. As with the first unreleased version of "Straight Up," it is an interesting piece of Badfinger history that is now available officially instead of as a low quality bootleg.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ass is good,
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Badfinger's Final Apple LP,
This review is from: Ass (Audio CD)I don't care what anyone says....after only having a cassette tape of this for years, being unable to find a vinyl copy or a CD, I am GLAD that it finally came out on CD! I'd like to THANK whoever is responsible for the "bonus" tracks, they're great! You can never get enough Badfinger!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over looked gem from the Badfinger discography great remastering, bonus tracks,
This review is from: Ass (Audio CD)Just as the title suggests, this was the end of Badfinger's contract with Apple records. The Beatles label was falling apart as the band members continued to sue each other and try and dissolve the bonds that held them together.
"Ass" the last Badfinger album released on Apple was overlooked at the time of release lost in the shadow of the band's first Warner album (released almost at the same time) and it received little in the way of promotion. "Ass" is closer in tone to "No Dice" rather than "Straight Up" focusing much more on trying to capture the band's concert sound rather than the studio perfection of "Straight Up".
The EMI team that did the Beatles remasters and Lennon remasters do an exceptional job remastering this lost gem. The previous album was buried in noise reduction which blunted the sound of the album. This edition sounds marvelous--detailed, nice bass and has considerable "kick". Although Pete Ham only contributes two songs here they are among the best--"Apple of My Eye" is his bittersweet farewell to The Beatles and their label while "Timeless" is a rare almost progressive track from the band running well over 7 minutes.
The original album was flawed only by a couple of weaker Joey Molland songs that probably could have been balanced out by another Ham or Evans song that the band already had in the can ("Sing for the Song" for example still hadn't been released at this point although it might have sounded a bit out of place on this album). This is all subjective of course.
We get five bonus tracks (compared to the single one on the original CD)-"Do You Mind?"-a different mix from the prevous bonus track (the one that was on the previous edition is only available on the "Apple Bonus Disc" in the boxed set); "Apple of My Eye" in an early, slightly different rough mix; "Blind owl" a previously unreleased performance/mix; "Regular" a Joey Molland song originally slated for the this album was cut by producer Chris Thomas which receives its first offical release; "Timeless" an alternate mix that runs about two minutes shorter than the final version that closed out the original album.
The new edition also has sleeve notes with new comments by Joey Molland about the making of this album and older comments from Ham, Evans and Gibbins (all of whom are now deceased). It seems appropriate for Joey Molland to have the final word since he dominates this album with five songs (he has seven total here including the two previously unreleased tracks) to Ham and Evans two. This was Molland's shining moment and he does a great job of carrying the band during a period of transition when Ham was having writer's block/doubts about his abilities as a songwriter (he would recover with five strong tracks on the band's next album).
The only negatives here is that it would have been nice if Apple had included the other outtakes (which are download only and not available at the time of this writing to U.S. fans unless you buy the boxed set)from these sessions included on the Badfinger "Apple Bonus Disc". The packaging mimics the Beatles and Lennon CDs although the cardboard and paper isn't quite as heavy so they are more prone to ripping. While I'm not a big fan of digipaks, it also would have been nice if EMI had included a sleeve to house the CD in so it isn't scratched by the cardboard of the packaging. These are minor complaints and shouldn't prevent you from buying the album.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a sensational album,
This review is from: Ass (Audio CD)whenever i hear the names of my favorite bands..beatles, beach boys, neil and crazy horse etc, i immedietly think "yeah awesome"/but whenever i hear the word BADFINGER, my heart sinks and hurts just a bit more..such a beautiful band,such potential,so many mind blowingly awesome songs..they should of been huge.two of the members died totally broke and unknown..a total tragedy...
anyway as for as im concerned the second best ever uk band..id take the badfinger albums over the stones who zeppelin etc...and this album ASS has aged so well, its incredible to think that it hasnt even reached cult status...their last album for apple, and although not as immeditely brilliant as their previous two masterpieces "no dice" and "straight up" this is still an incredible album with not a dud song on it.and this remastered version is just awesome, the sound is so wonderful, great great production
these guys where every bit as great as BIG STAR, 1970,s beach boys,moby grape.how on earth they are so ignored is yet another tragedy..the real gems..icicles, the winner, apple of my eye,timeless, joeys best song, i can love you..the band sound alittle more weary and worn and torn on this album..mainly becuase the evil,scumbag stan polley had well and truley ripped them off by now..as far as im concerned poley is the worst american ever to of lived and i hope he rots in hell..a true scumbag...
anyway..pLEASE just buy this and all the other badfinger records...they are incredible
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eminently recommendable,
This review is from: Ass (Audio CD)Others have discussed, quite thoroughly and elegantly, the details and virtues of Badfinger's final Apple album, so I'll just add some brief thoughts.
Though I have some issues with him personally, I thought Joey Molland, who contributed the lion's share of the material on "Ass," did a very capable job of taking up the slack during Pete Ham's bout with self-doubt and songwriting insecurity, writing such terrific numbers as "Icicles," "The Winner," "Constitution," and the absolutely gorgeous "Do You Mind," which I think dated from the "Ass" sessions but was left off the original LP for some unfathomable reason.
Though it can be argued that Molland dominated these sessions, Tom Evans and Pete Ham each contributed a couple of classics to the Badfinger canon, Evans writing "Blind Owl" and "When I Say" and Pete penning the immortal send-off "Apple of My Eye" and the incredibly bold and edgy album closer, "Timeless." Only the jaunty, country romp of Mike Gibbins' "Cowboy seems out of place here. Personally, I think "Do You Mind" would've been a better fit, but "Cowboy" still is a fun little diversion.
The cover of "Ass" is telling: a donkey with headphones on being lured by a hand holding a huge carrot. It was a sad indication of the band's mood at the time. They were promised untold millions by their devilish manager, Stan Polley, yet found themselves broke and barely able to sustain themselves and their families. The dream that they had as youths was quickly fragmenting, and the tone of the songs on "Ass" reflected their disillusionment.
Overall, I think "Ass" deserves recognition as a classic Badfinger LP. It's not as consistently brilliant as "No Dice," "Straight Up," or "Wish You Were Here," but if it were released today, critics would probably be lauding it as a modern-day pop classic; that's how great and (pun intended) timeless the music is here. Maybe one day "Ass" will be recognized for what it is: a brilliant pop album. It certainly deserves that recognition.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I finally gave this one a chance.,
This review is from: Ass (Audio CD)I had heard all of the pans - Pete only had two songs, this was Joey's album. Harder, faster, etc. Let me tell you, though these statements are true (Ham), or somewhat true (harder, etc), I am so glad I finally broke down and got it and gave it enough time. Joey's songs are, for the most part, quite brilliant, and it should be noted that even though Pete (and Tom to a lesser extent) didn't right many songs, the playing is brilliant (especially Pete's guitar playing).
Of course, it is worth the price of admission alone for Pete's adios to Apple Records, "Apple of my Eye" and his brilliant, dark closer ("Timeless" which ends in a never ending "(I Want You) She's So Heavy" outro) - but Joey's Icicles is absolutely beautiful - my favorite song on the album, and Tom's Blind Owl is as wonderful.
Not to be left out, is Mike Gibbon's "Cowboy" Ringo-esque - yes - brilliant - yes!
Give it a chance, don't listen to everyone, and just buy it!
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