Pete Ham

7 Park Avenue

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Only two of these 18 tracks ("No Matter What" and "Matted Spam") were recorded by Badfinger. But the rest of these solo studio demos are quite up to scratch with Badfinger's usual standards: it's not nearly as good as Paul McCartney's late Beatles tracks, for instance, but it's actually better than McCartney's typical early solo material. Pete Ham is a thinking listener's rock romantic, offering emotional, wistful words and melodies without sounding sappy. Purists should be aware that, although Ham played most of the instruments here, some overdubs were added in the '90s by other musicians, for the purpose of giving the tracks a fuller, more balanced sound. It's difficult to judge whether this decision was justified without hearing the original versions, though one wonders whether die-hard Badfinger fans (the primary audience for this release) would really care that much about any sonic imperfections in the originals. In any case, the end result sounds pretty tasteful, without any obvious concessions to dressing up the essential sounds in modern technology.

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