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No Dice

Apple 3367
Released: November 1970
Chart Peak: #28
Weeks Charted: 15

With their new album No Dice, Badfinger has to their credit one of the best records of the year. The album is literally a quantum jump over their uneven debut album Magic Christian Music, and Badfinger is certainly on the way to fulfilling their enormous promise.

To be sure, the types of songs that Badfinger excelled on before are here once again: great rockers ("I Can't Take It," "Love Me Do," "Better Days," and "Watford John") and gorgeously done pop rock and roll ("No Matter What" and "Believe Me"). The difference is that, this time around, everything else is good as well: the whole album flows well, Pete Ham sings his best McCartney-esque voice, their guitarist now plays like Eric Clapton, and the material is all very good: the whole album adds up as close to the monster Badfinger may well make, in time.

Without doubt, Badfinger's most noticeable trademark is Pete Ham's ability to write, sing, and even look uncannily like Paul McCartney. And it even goes beyond that, for the group's similarities to the Beatles, in their late Beatles studio-type sound and the good group singing that the late Beatles so direly lacked, are really boggling. It's as if John, Paul, George, and Ringo had been reincarnated as Joey, Pete, Tom, and Mike of Badfinger.

And, in general, this album sounds like nothing so much as what might have happened had the post-Pepper Beatles gotten it together after their promising double The Beatles. Badfinger is becoming that good, and they may well get better. Don't miss them.

- Mike Saunders, Rolling Stone, 12-2-70.

Bonus Reviews!

Badfinger carries on the rhythm-happy tradition of the early Beatles, rocking to the big beat without hang-ups or pretensions of profundity. Pete Ham and Joey Molland write most of the group's original material, but songs, as well as the Liverpool-type voices, cover the Beatles like a Xerox. The catch is they're good, and prove it nicely on "No Matter What," "Better Days," "Without You" and "I Can't Take It."

- Billboard, 1970.

I don't just think these guys imitate the Beatles just so Paul will give them more hits -- they've got hits of their own. But from the guitar parts (play "Better Days" right after "I Feel Fine") and harmonies (the Paul of "I've Just Seen a Face" atop the Paul of "Long Tall Sally") to concept and lineup, an imitation is what this is, modernized slightly via some relaxed countrification. They write almost well enough to get away with it, too. But somehow the song that stands out is "Blodwyn," a simulated (I think) English folk ditty about a swain and a spoon that has nothing to do with the Fab Four at all. B

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

Badfinger's distinctive melodic abilities, great vocals, and solid ensemble work on No Dice was a strong case this quartet could stand on its own, apart from Apple's shadow. "I Can't Take It," "Midnight Caller," the beautifully romantic "We're for the Dark," and "No Matter What," (one of the greatest pop singles ever), are among No Dice's many highlights. * * * *

- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

No Dice, Badfinger's glorious second album, contains beautifully layered pop songs and established Pete Ham as a versatile rock vocalist and imaginative songwriter. It spawned the classic hit "No Matter What" and the original version of "Without You." * * * * *

- William Hanson, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

A reissue of Badfinger's second album, it has five previously unreleased tracks. The disc features "No Matter What," a huge worldwide Top Ten hit for the group. Also included is "Without You," a Pete Ham/Tom Evans tune which was covered and made it into a mega-hit by Harry Nilsson.

- Roundup Newsletter

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