A number of albums from the classic rock era that no longer dominate the charts still ring with listeners. For fans new and old, Bad Company’s 1979 release Desolation Angels is important in that the album generated the group’s biggest single and FM mega hit “Rock And Roll Fantasy.” But there are other favorites from the remastered 40th anniversary edition of Desolation Angels worth rediscovering.
Desolation Angels is the fifth album from Bad Company, which came together during 1973 and still tours in one form or another. Much like Eric Clapton and Blind Faith, among the hoopla and hype, Bad Company initially gained a reputation for being a super group. Far outlasting Blind Faith and counting Cream as one of many influences, Bad Company’s last official studio release is 1996’s Stories Told & Untold, though various live compilations, greatest hits and song anthologies have followed. Keep in mind the expanded 40th anniversary edition of Desolation Angels is the real deal, with 19 unreleased tracks. Alternate versions of “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” originally on 1975’s Straight Shooter and “Can’t Get Enough,” from 1974’s self-titled debut, are also included.
Available Jan. 10, 2020 on the Rhino label, one of the highlights from Desolation Angels is “Oh Atlanta.” Current online sources, including badcompany.com, credit the band’s bassist Mick Ralphs with the song. All the same, Little Feat’s Billy Payne wrote the original “Oh Atlanta,” which appears on side one of Lowell George and crew’s 1974 LP Feats Don’t Fail Me Now. The lyrics are identical. Nevertheless, Bad Co.’s Paul Rogers provides a respectable rendition. Another radio favorite from Desolation, “Gone, Gone, Gone,” written by BC’s bassist, the late Boz Burrell, still generates that big blues rock arena sound.
Even with Bad Company anticipating the 1980s during Desolation Angels, via some carefully placed synthesizers and strings, the song “Crazy Circles” is driven by rapidly strummed acoustic guitar. “Take The Time” also has pulsating acoustic strumming. On the electric side, check out the nimble guitar work during “Rhythm Machine.” But beyond the axes and the posterity factor, it is the previously unavailable material that will cause a stir with enthusiasts, like “Amen,” done a capella. For some, it used to be that if a song did not make the cut the first time around, why include the track now. But that thinking has changed where almost every sound clip today seems to have value. Recorded during the summer of 1978, three previously unreleased “Rock And Roll Fantasy” tracks appear in the Desolation anniversary assortment. There are 29 songs in all.
Bad Company’s Desolation Angels 40th Anniversary Edition is available as a two CD set retailing at $24.99 and a double LP on 180 gram vinyl selling for $31.98. Other sources include digital outlets and streaming services.
Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.