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Badger looked to have all the credentials to be a big progressive rock band. They had an ex-member of Yes in Tony Kaye; a gatefold album by album art maestro Roger Dean for their debut (naturally, it came with a pop-up badger); profound song titles such as 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Wind Of Change' and five of the six songs running over seven minutes. They had a support slot to Yes with which to launch themselves; the same management company as Yes, Sabbath and The Groundhogs; and a record deal with Atlantic Records. What could go wrong?
Brian Parrish did the guitar; a much under-rated player who brought a rock edge. Kaye did the keyboarding in the Yes-stylee. Roy Ashton - from Ashton, Gardener and Dyke, big hit: Resurrection Shuffle - did the drums and Dave Foster, who had sessioned on Yes' Time And A Word album was the bass man.
Releasing a live album as your debut was an unusual, possibly unique move, especially as it was the first gig the band had played apart from a college rehearsal. Recorded live at the Rainbow in December 1972 supporting Yes, 'One Live Badger' came out early in 1973.
The music was excellent. Less flash and more rock than Yes, the album got really good reviews and broke into the Billboard charts peaking at 167. There are some superb solos from Parrish and Kaye and the songs have strong melody.
They toured Europe, supporting Sabbath, to further good reviews, but just before a planned USA tour to support the album, Brian Parrish pulled out of the band due to 'personal' issues - which was what people used to say when the drugs were getting a bit too heavy.
A second album came out in 1974 with Jackie Lomax on vocals but all the energy had gone from the project and it disappeared without a trace, leaving us with just that debut album as a taster of what might have been. And a very tasty Badger it is, too.