So, what did Tony Kaye do after leaving Yes back in 1971? Why, he joined Peter Banks in Flash, then left to form Badger, a somewhat progressive hard rock band, with guitarist Brian Parrish, bassist Dave Foster, and drummer Roy Dyke, that's what. One Live Badger was the bands first album, recorded live at the Rainbow Theatre in December 1972, and is a spirited collection of hard driving tunes that feature the multiple keyboards of Kaye (Hammond organ, Mellotron, and synths) and the searing lead guitar work of Parrish. Any reference to Kaye's former band ends with the fact that the album was co-produced by Jon Anderson, as the music here is more like Atomic Rooster, Colosseum, Deep Purple, or Uriah Heep.
Mr. Kaye impresses quite a bit throughout this CD, especially on tracks like "Fountain", which includes great organ and synth solos, as well as the kick ass opener "Wheel of Fortune", which has a strong Atomic Rooster feel with its dark and heavy overtones, raging Hammond, spooky Mellotron, and lethal guitar licks. "Winds of Change" is a nice melodic hard rock song with bluesy guitar work, Kaye's great Hammond tone, and catchy vocals, although I'm not sure who is singing as no one is credited in the booklet. Less interesting is "River", a fairly generic, Humble Pie/Free inspired blues rocker, although "The Preacher" features some muscular guitar riffs from Parrish and floating atmpospheric organ & Mellotron from Kaye. The CD's most progressive track is the closer, the nearly eight-minute "On the Way Home", a song featuring emotional vocals, unison guitar/bass/organ lead melodies, and tons of wonderful Mellotron backdrops.
Not a classic by any means, and it loses a few points for the less than perfect sound quality, but still a worthwhile addition to any prog or hard rock collection. Containing great keyboard work from Tony Kaye, ripping guitar work from Brian Parrish, and above average vocals, this is an enjoyable slice of 70's memorabilia. Plus, having one of Roger Dean's best covers doesn't hurt either!
1) Wheel of Fortune (7:53)
2) Fountain (7:23)
3) Wind of Change (7:14)
4) River (6:52)
5) The Preacher (3:59)
6) On the Way Home (7:36)