Return To Memphis
Review by David Bowling
The Iveys signed a contract with The Beatles Apple label during the late 1960’s. They quickly changed their name to Badfinger and produced such worldwide hits as “Come And Get It,” “Day After Day,” and “No Matter What.” They appeared at the famous Concert For Bangladesh and played on George Harrison’s classic All Things Must Pass.
Guitarist/pianist Pete Ham, drummer Mike Gibbons, bassist Tom Evans, and guitarist Joey Molland seemed to be sitting on top of the world. Two suicides, Ham (1975), Evans (1983), breakup-ups, competing bands, and a 2005 brain aneurysm (Gibbons) leave Joey Molland as the last original remnant of the band. He has returned with his fourth solo album but first in over 12 years.
Return To Memphis is very different than the Badfinger sound. It is fairly stripped down with only keyboardist Lester Snell, drummer Steve Potts, and bassist Dave Smith providing instrumental support for his guitar work and vocals. The only other support musicians are a quartet of female background singers.
His composing skills are first rate but his voice is not as strong as in the past. He was a good lead vocalist at times and was wonderful at harmonizing but now the passage of time has made it difficult for him to carry a whole album by himself. The background singers help at times but are distracting at others.
Most of the tunes are laid back and mellow, saved somewhat by the personal and at times incisive lyrics. “Got A Feeling” is the catchiest song of the ten originals. Songs such as “Walk Out In The Rain,” “All I Need Is Love,” and “All I Ever Dreamed” are well-written and constructed but lose something in the translation.
Joey Molland is literally one of rock and rolls ultimate survivors. He may not reach the heights of his Badfinger days but he has at least produced an honest album of rock and roll. At this stage of his life and career, it will have to do.