Bad Company – Straight Shooter

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  • This outstanding pressing of Straight Shooter boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • If you’re playing this one good and loud you’ll feel like you’re in the room with the boys as they kick out these classic riff-driven jams
  • Take it from us, it is not easy to find a copy that’s as right as this one, with the weight, balance and energy this music needs to rock
  • 4 stars: “Vocalist and songwriter Paul Rodgers wrote two acoustic-based rock ballads that would live on forever in the annals of great rock history: ‘Shooting Star’ and the Grammy-winning ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love.'”

The sophomore jinx is nowhere to be found on this album. In fact, you could make a pretty good case that this is actually a better album than their debut. The best pressings of this Bad Company classic have ROCK ENERGY that cannot be beat.

This vintage Swan Song pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides of Straight Shooter Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Who gets better tone than Mick Ralphs? Half the sound of Bad Co. is his guitar and the other half is Paul Rodgers voice. These two rocked FM radio in the ’70s as good as any band of their time and far better than most.

Check out the lineup on side one. Three out of four of those songs are serious Heavy Hitters that you probably know by heart. (If you listen to a Classic Rock station you definitely know these songs by heart.)

Engineering

This album was one of Ron Nevisons early engineering jobs. Two years before in 1973, he’d been behind the board at Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studio for Quadrophenia, one of the best sounding Who albums we know of and a longtime member of our Top 100.

He also knocked it out of the park on this band’s first album, 1974’s Bad Company. In 1977 he worked on the sprawling mess that turned into Physical Graffiti.

If you have great copies of any of them you should be able to recognize the qualities they all seem to have in common. This guy definitely knew how to get The Big Rock Sound onto analog tape.

Our job here at Better Records is simply to find you the very special pressings that actually reproduce all the energy and rock and roll firepower that Nevison recorded. It ain’t easy but we don’t mind doing it — these are clearly some of the All Time Great Rock Albums of the ’70s (or any other decade you care to name) and we just never get tired of playing them.

Nevison went on to do many of the biggest selling rock albums of the ’80s, but The ’80s Sound has never held much appeal for us. This explains why you find so few recordings from the era on our site, sow’s ears being difficult to turn into silk purses.

What We’re Listening For on Straight Shooter

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

We used to think that “the biggest problem with the average copy of this record was GRIT and GRAIN, no doubt caused mostly by the bad vinyl of the day. You have to suffer through a lot of dry, flat, grainy copies in order to find one that sounds like this.”

That was not our experience this time around. Our Odyssey record cleaning machine, Walker fluids and tons of interim tweaks have taken most of that grain and grunge our of the sound of the records we play. (Uncleaned or improperly cleaned records strongly contribute to Old School Audio sound. The revolutionary cleaning methods we employ make much higher fidelity — one might even say Hot Stampers themselves — possible.)

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Good Lovin’ Gone Bad
Feel Like Makin’ Love
Weep No More
Shooting Star

Side Two

Deal With the Preacher
Wild Fire Woman
Anna
Call on Me

AMG 4 Star Review

Cut straight on the heels of Bad Company’s 1974 debut — just a matter of three months later; not quite long enough to know how big a success the first LP would be — Straight Shooter is seemingly cut from the same cloth as its predecessor. It is, after all, a tight collection of eight strong, steady, heavy rockers that never, ever proceed in a hurry, but from the moment “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” kicks off the proceedings, it’s clear that Bad Company have decided to expand their palette this second time around.

Where Bad Company was stark, minimalist hard rock, Straight Shooter bears lots of different, vibrant colors: acoustic guitars are used for light and shade, guitars are channeled through chorus pedals, pianos and organs alternate with the occasional wash of strings, and the entire thing feels bigger and bolder than before. Sometimes, it is also better: the two big hits, “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Shooting Star,” became classic rock staples due to this expanded aural vocabulary, and even straight-ahead rockers like “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” and “Deal with the Preacher” benefit from this additional muscle, while they feel comfortable enough to settle into a soulful groove on “Anna” and “Call on Me.” This dexterity compensates for the occasional stumble — aka, the hamfisted funk-rock of “Wild Fire Woman” — and shows that Bad Company can sound just as powerful and threatening when they’re not concentrating on a heavy guitar crunch.