Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pete Ham - Golders Green (1968-75 uk, classic soft rock, demos and unrleased material, 1999 Rykodisc)

This collection of previously unreleased home demos by Ham is almost as worthwhile and satisfying to the ear as its predecessor, 7 Park Avenue. Again, some musicians (including Bob Jackson, who was in Badfinger for a while shortly before Ham's death) enhanced these recordings with overdubs. 

And as with 7 Park Avenue, while it's impossible to tell if these were truly necessary without comparison to the original unadorned versions, these overdubs do not seem intrusive (as they are on most productions of this sort). Although there are 20 tracks, it's not as bountiful a platter as one might hope (adding up to only 42 minutes), as some of the songs are quite short, and three are nothing more than fragments lasting less than a minute. 

In the main, though, these are quality, sometimes enchantingly tuneful and tender performances, sometimes exhibiting a Beach Boys bent that's not so evident on Badfinger's official recordings. The cut to attract the most attention will be a demo of "Without You," although Ham's version is an incomplete skeleton of the track that Badfinger would record (and Nilsson would cover for a chart-topping hit), missing the chorus added by fellow Badfinger member Tom Evans. 

Otherwise a highlight is "Makes Me Feel Good," two drastically different versions (one slow, one fast) which open and close the disc; it sounds like it could have made a first-rate Monkees track (which is a compliment, not a knock). 

On the whole, the effect of this CD, as was the case with 7 Park Avenue, is to make one wish that Badfinger had recorded more of Ham's material and had made less room for the songwriting efforts of the lesser composers in the band. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Makes Me Feel Good - 1:47
2. A Lonely Day - 1:59
3. Dawn - 3:18
4. Without You (Pete Ham, Tom Evans) - 2:16
5. Pete's Walk - 1:27
6. Hurry On Father - 1:38
7. Goodbye John Frost - 1:59
8. I'll Kiss You Goodnight - 2:37
9. When The Feeling - 0:55
10.Shine On (Pete Ham, Tom Evans) - 0:39
11.Gonna Do It - 0:22
12.Whiskey Man - 1:34
13.Keyhole Street - 2:27
14.I've Waited So Long To Be Free - 1:41
15.Richard - 3:10
16.Midnight Caller - 2:42
17.Helping Hand - 3:52
18.Where Will You Be - 1:58
19.I'm So Lonely - 3:13
20.Makes Me Feel Good - 2:04
All songs written by Pete Ham, except where noted

Ham's activities 
1969  Iveys - Maybe Tomorrow
1970  Badfinger - Magic Christian Music (Japan issue)
1970  Badfinger - No Dice (24karat Gold disc)
1971  Badfinger - Straight Up (24karat gold disc)

Free Text


  1. Thank you very much for this rarities, Marios!

  2. Golders Green album by Pete Ham was released Jul 13, 1999 on the Rykodisc label. All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
    Recorded in Golders Green, London, England between 1967 and 1975.

    Filled with a number of songs that would have held their own with Ham's other Badfinger classics, Golders Green is a great follow up to the first release of Ham demos. This collection is a little more fragmented than 7 Park Ave but still just as fascinating. Of particular interest are the demos for Without You (which went on to become a huge hit for both Nilsson and Carey)and Shine on (although this is only a fragment of the song). Ham's demonstrated gift as a melodic songwriter is in evidence on every track and makes his passing all the more tragic. The Japanese edition has two bonus tracks and while not essential for the casual fan will probably be of interest to Badfinger fanatics.

    GOLDERS GREEN is the second album of home demos recorded by the principal singer/songwriter of Badfinger between 1968 and his 1975 suicide. Like Ham's 7 PARK AVENUE, this disc is comprised of superb sounding home demos that have been tastefully augmented by former Badfinger member Bob Jackson and American power pop artist Chris von Sneidern. From "Goodbye John Frost"--a quirky rocker that features clunky piano playing and a drum sound that's pure McCartney circa 1970-- to the rousing album closer "Makes Me Feel Good," an upbeat pop song that evokes the Monkees in their prime, Ham's gift for melody and warm, engaging voice make almost every song a winner.

    Listeners also have the chance to hear the more experimental
    side of Ham's music, including, "Gonna Do It," a tantalizing fragment of an eerie multi-track vocal experiment. Packed with unreleased songs and a wonderful early version of the Ham-penned pop standard "Without You," GOLDERS GREEN is a fascinating album that secures Ham's place as one of the great lost talents of rock music.

    For Pete Ham this was too much to take. He had written three million-selling singles,Badfinger toured America six times, had songs covered by innumerable artists and had co-written a song generally considered a standard. Yet he was penniless. On the evening of 23 April 1975, he walked into his garage, put a rope around a joist and hung himself. He was 27 years old.

    Pete Ham (vocals,guitar); Chris Von Sneidern(guitar); Bob Jackson (keyboards); Derrick Anderson,Bennett Bowman,Rick Cammon,Jonathan Lea,Derek Ritchie,Mike Romanowski.

    Thx Marios.

  3. Marvellous !! Thanks a lot Marios !!