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A young boy asks his father 'Dad, what was the 70's like?' The father passes his son a battered LP called 'Burnin Sky' by Bad Company. It's the epitome of classic stadium rock. The son takes the LP and listens to it repeatedly in his bedroom. That young boy wasn't me by the way - it's just an illustration!
Bad Company were a hard rock outfit that came out of the ashes of 60's band Free. Company were basically a stadium version of Free belting out great tunes like 'Feel like Makin' Love' and 'Can't Get Enough', by 1977 the band had started to wane and released their fourth album 'Burnin' Sky.' In the middle of the era of punk, had Bad Company started to lose their way and passion for music?
Burnin' Sky was the same formulaic approach to music that the band had got by on with three previous albums. The problem was, there was no killer song to sell the album and the group started to falter somewhat.
You can't fault the musicianship really. Bad Company had undoubtedly the greatest rock voice of the 70's in Paul Rodgers. He wasn't showy or over the top - he just had an incredibly soulful voice that managed to permeate all of the songs he sang on. He never really shouts at all, but a myriad of other singers who claim to be influenced by him usually do!
1. "Burnin' Sky"
With a crack of thunder the album bursts into life. I really like this song; it's got a decent driving beat and a very rhythmic sound. It's a driving sound and feels full and forceful. I love this track!
2. "Morning Sun"
This track is very reminiscent of the Free song 'Lying in the Sunshine' and is a nice quieter track.
3. "Leaving You"
Probably my favourite song on the entire album, Its got a really good driving rock riff throughout and is a great foot stomper. I love the line' I was dirty, and you took me home and you washed my face' Ha ha!
4. "Like Water"
Like Water shows Bad Company's lack of great lyrical writing 'My life is like water and I'm floating in the sea / But I have a root in the water / and it's reaching stretching endlessly.' Its a nice enough song, if a little over simplified.
I don't really understand why this song is on here. Its that hiking song that everyone sings walking across mountains. Its Secombe, its Python - it ain't Bad Company!
6. "Everything I Need"
A strange one this, bizarrely the group go a bit Reggae here. This track is also very similar to that of fellow Swan Song label bandmates Led Zeppelin's 'D'yer Mak'er' from Houses of the Holy and I'm guessing it was a bit of a rip-off of that.
Heartbeat is another fantastic rock song and one that I'm surprised didn't get released as a single and at 2:38 could have been a little longer.
8. "Peace Of Mind"
A little bit of soul and gospel here. Rodger's voice sounds fantastic as ever as here sings against a boogie-woogie piano and some screaming guitar. Great stuff.
9. "Passing Time"
Passing time sounds a bit more like 1977 than the rest of the album, what I mean by that is the group start to use synthesisers as opposed to more classic rock instruments. This would continue with their follow up LP Desolation Angels.
10. "Too Bad"
Another decent riff based track.
11. "Man Needs Woman"
Another balls-out rock tune that plays up to the overt masculinity of rock - sex on legs.
12. "Master Of Ceremony"
Master of Ceremony is a plodding nothing of a song which was obviously written as a result of a massive jam session, and at well over seven minutes it well outstays its welcome.
While not a great album, Burnin' Sky does contain some great rock songs. Heartbeat and Leaving You are my favourite standout tracks.
Without a strong single to help the album it was seen as a bit of a commercial failure. I like the album, but it isn't consistently good. There are some really great riff based songs and some interesting asides into reggae and soul - but the song writing just isn't great throughout. There isn't a 'Can't Get Enough' or 'Seagull'; on this album which leaves it a little wanting.
Burnin Sky is available now from amazon.co.uk for £7.99.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Burnin' Sky
2 Morning Sun
3 Leaving You
4 Like Water
6 Everything I Need
8 Peace of Mind
9 Passing Time
10 Too Bad
11 Man Needs Woman
12 Master of Ceremony