Badger – In Concert at Palazzo delle Esposizioni E.I.B., Brescia, Italy – February 21, 1973 – RAI – Rome –
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Badger in concert this weekend. One of those bands that came and went in a flash. Had all the earmarks of becoming a household name. Recorded two albums; one for Atlantic and the other for Columbia – neither sold well – toured. Saw them at The Forum in Los Angeles, opening for a band I forgot. Called it quits after a little under two years. Left precious little in the way of other live performances, aside from the debut album, which was One Live Badger and left a legacy rich in what-ifs.
They were co-founded by keyboardist Tony Kaye after he left Yes, with bassist and vocalist David Foster. The latter had been in the Warriors with Jon Anderson before he co-founded Yes. Foster later worked with the band on their second album Time and a Word (1970). Kaye had worked on a solo project by Foster that was never released.
The pair found drummer Roy Dyke, formerly of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, and Dyke suggested guitarist and vocalist Brian Parrish formerly of Parrish & Gurvitz which later became Frampton’s Camel (after Parrish left P&G) on guitar. The new band began rehearsing in September 1972 and signed to Atlantic Records. Badger’s first release was the live album, One Live Badger, co-produced by Jon Anderson and Geoffrey Haslam, and was taken from a show opening for Yes at London’s Rainbow Theatre. In the progressive rock genre, five of the songs were co-written by the whole band, with a sixth by Parrish (initially written for Parrish & Gurvitz). The cover art was done by Roger Dean, the artist responsible for many of Yes’s album covers, although Kaye left Yes before their partnership with Roger Dean.
By 1974, the band had been reduced to Kaye and Dyke. They recruited bassist, Kim Gardner, who had worked with Dyke in Ashton, Gardner and Dyke. Paul Pilnick, formerly of Stealers Wheel, joined on guitar, as did singer Jackie Lomax.
Lomax proceeded to turn them into the type of R&B/soul band he had used on his solo albums. The band became a vehicle for Lomax’s songs and singing. During this period, they released one LP, White Lady, on Epic Records, produced by Allen Toussaint. All ten songs were written or co-written by Lomax. Guests on the album included Jeff Beck (contributing a guitar solo to the title track).
However, before the album’s release, the group had split up before White Lady was even issued, leaving bewildered fans of both the old sound and new to ponder what had just happened.
For a reminder of Badger during their formative phase, here they are in concert recorded for the Radio Network RAI in 1973.