Straight Up (album)

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Straight Up
Studio album by Badfinger
Released 13 December 1971 (US)
11 February 1972 (UK)
Recorded 30 May – 6 October 1971 at Abbey Road Studios, AIR Studios, Trident Studios, Morgan Studios, Command Studios, London
Genre Rock, power pop[1]
Length 42:11
Label Apple
SAPCOR 19
SW 3387
Producer Todd Rundgren
George Harrison
Badfinger chronology
No Dice
(1970)
Straight Up
(1971)
Ass
(1973)
Singles from Straight Up
  1. "Day After Day"
    Released: 10 November 1971 (US)
    14 January 1972 (UK) (10 November 1971 (US)
    14 January 1972 (UK)
    )
  2. "Baby Blue"
    Released: 20 March 1972 (US) (20 March 1972 (US))
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B−[2]
Rolling Stone unfavorable[3]

Straight Up is the third album by power pop band Badfinger, released on 13 December 1971. It is widely regarded as Badfinger's best album, spawning two Top 20 singles in the US and being commercially successful in its own right. The album was released on the The Beatles' Apple Records label and was unavailable for many years after the label folded. It was reissued on CD in 1993, and remastered in 2010.

History[edit]

Recordings for Straight Up began in early 1971 under the direction of producer Geoff Emerick at Abbey Road Studios, who produced the bulk of Badfinger's preceding album No Dice. Although these early recordings were completed and both the album and a single, "Name of the Game", were ready to be released, Apple Records co-president George Harrison decided the album could be improved under his personal direction, which led the single to be canceled and all the material recorded up to that point to be shelved. Harrison recorded a couple of new tracks with the band in the summer of 1971, as well as re-recording a couple of the original tracks. He can be heard playing a slide-guitar duet with Pete Ham on the song "Day After Day", with Leon Russell featured on piano. Additionally, Harrison and Phil Spector planned a different string arrangement for "Name of the Game", but this apparently never came to pass.

Due to a hurriedly assembled benefit concert that summer, The Concert for Bangladesh, at which Badfinger performed, Harrison lost interest in the Straight Up project and did not return to it after the concert. Apple retained Todd Rundgren to finish the album. Rundgren utilised recordings begun by both Emerick and Harrison, re-recorded some of them, and also recorded several new tracks with the band (notably "Baby Blue") in less than a month. (It had already taken the band over a year to record what songs they had.) Although production credit for individual songs on the album is given to both Rundgren and Harrison, Rundgren did the final mix of the entire album (and was upset that he was given neither a co-production nor a mixing credit for any of the Harrison songs).

Consistent with the title of the album, the front cover featured a "straight up" picture of Badfinger, with no credits or titles marring the image. The title was instead shown on the back cover.

The album was remastered by Ron Furmanek at Abbey Road Studios in March 1992. The remastered album was released by Capitol Records in 1993 with five bonus tracks. The first four were all early alternate versions of songs that would end up on Straight Up recorded in early 1971 for the originally intended follow up to 1970's No Dice. This untitled album was abruptly canceled by Apple and when Badfinger regrouped to record their next album they discarded these early tapes in favor of starting from scratch. Three other tracks from these same sessions were released as bonus tracks on the remastered version of No Dice in 1992. The final bonus track is the US single mix of "Baby Blue", the difference being a reverberated snare drum.[4]

While it was originally claimed that the remastering of the entire Badfinger catalog was done from the original two track stereo master mix tapes, this was proved false as the original master tapes were thought lost until recently. In 2010, EMI announced a new round of remasters for Badfinger's Apple releases that would possibly rectify this.[5]

Reaction[edit]

Straight Up peaked at number 31 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. The singles "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue" peaked at number 4 and number 14, respectively, on the U.S. Pop Singles chart. However, because of the turmoil within Apple, "Baby Blue" was not released as a single in the U.K.[citation needed]

Despite the album's subsequent popularity with both fans and music critics, the album was panned by critic (and previous Badfinger booster) Mike Saunders in Rolling Stone (calling it "a barely decent album, one which is the poorest of Badfinger's three LPs and by far the least likeable"),[3] and Badfinger became vocal in expressing reservations with Rundgren's production technique. Ham complained about the band losing production input, and Joey Molland claimed that the album had lost energy compared to No Dice. Although Apple had chosen Rundgren to return as the original producer of the next Badfinger album, he departed the project after just four days, about the same time as the publication of the Rolling Stone pan of Straight Up.

Writing retroactively on AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine said, "Todd Rundgren's warm, detailed production makes each songwriter sound as if he was on the same page, although the bonus tracks — revealing the abandoned original Geoff Emerick productions — prove that the distinctive voices on No Dice were still present. Frankly, the increased production is for the best, since Badfinger sounds best when there's as much craft in the production as there is in the writing. Here, there's absolutely no filler and everybody is in top form.... This fine songwriting, combined with sharp performances and exquisite studio craft, make Straight Up one of the cornerstones of power pop, a record that proved that it was possible to make classic guitar-pop after its golden era had passed."[1]

The 1993 CD issue of Straight Up included five of the original Emerick-produced recordings, including the canceled single version of "Name of the Game", as bonus tracks.

"Baby Blue" was later featured in the soundtrack for the 2006 Martin Scorsese film The Departed and the final episode of the television series Breaking Bad.

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Take It All" (Pete Ham) – 4:25
  2. "Baby Blue" (Ham) – 3:37
  3. "Money" (Tom Evans) – 3:29
  4. "Flying" (Evans/Joey Molland) – 2:38
  5. "I'd Die Babe" (Molland) – 2:33
  6. "Name of the Game" (Ham) – 5:19

Side two[edit]

  1. "Suitcase" (Molland) – 2:53
  2. "Sweet Tuesday Morning" (Molland) – 2:31
  3. "Day After Day" (Ham) – 3:09
  4. "Sometimes" (Molland) – 2:56
  5. "Perfection" (Ham) – 5:07
  6. "It's Over" (Evans) – 3:34

1993 CD Bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Money" [Original Version] (Evans) – 4:20
  2. "Flying" [Original Version] (Evans/Molland) – 2:25
  3. "Name of the Game" [Original Version] (Ham) – 4:27
  4. "Suitcase" [Original Version] (Molland) – 3:20
  5. "Perfection" [Original Version] (Ham) – 4:41
  6. "Baby Blue" [US Single Mix] (Ham) – 3:35

CD bonus tracks 2010 remaster[edit]

These bonus tracks replace the previous ones.

  1. "I'll Be the One" (Evans, Mike Gibbins, Ham, Molland) – 2:57
  2. "Name of the Game" [Earlier Version] (Ham) – 4:24
  3. "Baby Blue" [US Single Mix] (Ham) – 3:36
  4. "Baby, Please" (Ham, Gibbins, Molland) – 3:05
  5. "No Good at All" (Evans) – 2:10
  6. "Sing for the Song" (Evans) – 3:20

Digital bonus tracks (2010 remaster)[edit]

These bonus tracks available only on iTunes.

  1. "Money" [Earlier Version] (Evans) – 4:21
  2. "Flying" [Earlier Version] (Molland, Evans) – 2:24
  3. "Perfection" [Earlier Version] (Ham) – 4:40
  4. "Suitcase" [Earlier Version] (Molland) – 3:18
  5. "Sweet Tuesday Morning" [Earlier Version] (Molland) – 2:33
  6. "Mean, Mean Jemima" (Molland) – 3:42
  7. "Loving You" (Gibbins) – 2:52

Canceled 1971 album track listing[edit]

This is the original track listing of the Geoff Emerick-produced album completed by Badfinger in early 1971 that was later canceled.[4] With the expanded 2010 remasters of Badfinger's first four albums, all of these tracks have now been officially released.

Side One[edit]

  1. "Suitcase" (Molland)
  2. "I'll Be the One" (Ham/Evans/Molland/Gibbins)
  3. "No Good at All" (Evans)
  4. "Sweet Tuesday Morning" (Molland)
  5. "Baby Please" (Ham/Molland/Gibbins)
  6. "Mean, Mean Jemima" (Molland)

Side Two[edit]

  1. "Name of the Game" (Ham)
  2. "Loving You" (Gibbins)
  3. "Money/Flying" (Evans/Molland/Evans)
  4. "Sing for the Song" (Evans)
  5. "Perfection" (Ham)

Personnel[edit]

Badfinger[edit]

Others[edit]

CD Reissue Credits[edit]

  • Ron Furmanek – Research
  • Peter Mew – Engineer (for CD release only)
  • Mike Jarratt – Engineer (for CD release only)
  • Marcia McGovern – Pre-Production Director (for CD release only)
  • Roberta Ballard – Production Manager (for CD release only)
  • Gene Mahon – Design (for CD release only)
  • Richard DiLello – Design, Photography
  • Andy Davis – Liner Notes (for CD release only)

Charts[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Review - Badfinger - Straight Up". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Badfinger". Retrieved September 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Saunders, Mike. Review: Straight Up, Rolling Stone, RS 100, Jan. 20, 1972.
  4. ^ a b Straight Up (CD). Badfinger. Capitol Records/Apple Records. 1993. CDP 0777 7 81403 2 0. 
  5. ^ Boyd, Glen (2010-10-30). "Music Review: Badfinger - Straight Up (2010 Apple Records Original Remasters)". Blogcritics.org (hosted by Seattlepi.com). Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  6. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 17, No. 4". RPM. 11 March 1972. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Allmusic: Straight Up : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Billboard.BIZ Top Pop Albums of 1972". billboard.biz. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2014.