Golders Green promo CD
CD review
by Tom Brennan
created: May 21, 1999
revised: August 4, 1999

Overall impressions:
My first impression of this sequel to "7 Park Avenue" is that its nowhere near as commercial sounding as 7PA, but that first volume was so great that its hard to top that disc in the quality of the songs. I still can't stop playing 7PA 2 years later, and is one of the few CDs I never get tired of listening to. It only makes sense that Dan would include the best demos possible on the first volume to get more people interested in Pete Ham, the songwriting genius, but he manages to save some more gems for this second volume. I don't know how Dan will manage to fill a 3rd volume of Pete Ham songwriting gems. Good luck, Dan! I'm not saying that "Golders Green" is not good. It IS very good. It just isn't as immediately commercial sounding as 7PA, but it's full of many catchy melodies, and you'll catch yourself singing a lot of these songs after a few listenings. GG is different in song styles from 7PA. Depending on your own personal taste, you may prefer GG to 7PA or you may be disappointed. While 7PA was mostly catchy pop tunes, this disc succeeds in showing a different side to Pete Ham's songwriting abilities, character, and musical influences. On "Golders Green", Pete Ham displays his folk, blues, soul, funk, country, and R&B influences, as well as his ability to harmonize vocally. Matovina's sequencing is smartly done. The strongest track leads and closes the disc, sandwiched in by some catchy songs, with the shorter demo fragments in the center all strung together. The only major complaint you should have with this disc is that many of the songs are just too short, and end abruptly just as you start getting wrapped up in the melodies. There are numerous overdubs added to some of the demos to enhance the listening experience (mostly bass and drums), but none of them intrude on the original demos. This CD will take longer to grown on you than 7PA, but will end up complementing it nicely.

Track Listings:
01. Makes Me Feel Good [(slow) version 2, Late 1967 or 1968] 1:47
A Lonely Day [October, 1972] 1:57
Dawn [November, 1969] 3:15
If It's Love [Without You verses, electric piano version, 1969] 2:08
05. Pete's Walk
[1970] 1:24
Hurry On Father [1971 or 1972] 1:37
Goodbye John Frost [April, 1970] 1:53
I'll Kiss You Goodnight (solo version) [February, 1967] 2:37
When The Feeling [1972] 0:54
Shine On (solo version) [for first WB LP, 1973] 0:39
Gonna Do It [1972] 0:22
Whiskey Man [1972] 1:25
Keyhole Street [August, 1966] 2:23
I've Waited So Long To Be Free [1972] 1:35
Richard [1972] 3:07
Midnight Caller [for No Dice, 1970] 2:38
Helping Hand [April, 1975] 3:48
Where Will You Be [July, 1970] 1:52
I'm So Lonely [1971] 3:11
Makes Me Feel Good [(fast) version 1, 1967] 2:04
Bonus tracks in Japan only:
21. Piano Red (solo version) [outtake from first version of "Ass" LP, 1972] 4:57
Evening Sky [1969] 2:24

total disc time (tracks 1-20) = 41:49
total disc time (tracks 1-22) = 49:14

Special note: the publishing credits on the U.S. promo CD refer to a non-existing track 21. By mistake, they're referring to track 21 on the Japanese edition which is the song Piano Red, which of course would be published by the same company as the other Badfinger songs on the disc since it was intended for the original "Ass" LP.

Track-by-track analysis:

01. Makes Me Feel Good, version 2 is the slower of the two versions, more pop sounding and the most commercial sounding track on this disc. One wonders why The Iveys didn't do a version of this for their first single instead of the sappy Maybe Tomorrow. The instrumentation features acoustic guitar, bass and drums. This is the same song as track 20, except that Pete totally rewrote the lyrics & melody for the verses (for the better).

02. Another great (love) song. This bouncy ballad features a double-tracked acoustic guitar with echo.

03. This pop song from 1970 about gettinmg up in the morning features a distinctive opening bassy guitar riff, along with electric guitar and drums.

04. Although listed as Without You, this is Pete's original demo of If It's Love. The verses from this demo were used combined with Tommy's chorus from his demo, I Can't Live, to make up the classic song, Without You. Note that this is the electric piano demo version, not the acoustic guitar version which was on the special edition CD included with the hardcover edition of Dan's Badfinger biography. The chorus to this song was never completed so it was dropped before being used by Badfinger. This recording alone is worth the price of this disc.

05. Pete plays a distorted electric guitar on the disc's only non-vocal number. This soulful instrumental also features piano, bass, drums and what sounds like a Leslie organ.

06. Hurry On Father is another acoustic ballad; this one with echo added to Pete's chilling vocal performance.

07. This mid-tempo number from 1970 features piano, organ, bass, and drums. This song would sound better if some horns were added.

08. This acoustic love song features Pete's vocal double-tracked. The Iveys recorded a very nice group version of this song which is pretty much identical to this arrangement, except for an opening section that was added by the group (this solo version starts with the verse). As the track ends, you can hear what sounds like the same squeaky chair that was heard on Pete's demo of Weep Baby.

09. This demo fragment begins with the sound of a drinking glass and Pete grabbing another cigarette. This soulful number features Pete playing only drums and singing. This isn't really a song, but merely Pete making up some words to his drumming pattern. This track was included to show that Pete's many talents included playing the drums.

10. Another demo fragment, this time the original demo for Shine On before Tommy's contribution was added. At this point, Pete has only one verse, and a few ideas for another. The track features Pete on acoustic guitar, singing the same first verse as the Badfinger recording, but an unused, incomplete second verse which would later be modified by Tom from "I'm just talking of reality" to "slip and slide so I'll forget reality."

11. Yet another demo fragment, this one a doo-wop highlighting Pete's vocal talents, with Ham on acoustic guitar.

12. This track is obviously a tribute to the old blues legends (possibly influenced by the blues song Candy Man) with Pete demonstrating his blues harp playing and playing acoustic (blues) guitar.

13. A number most probably inspired by living in London, featuring acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and backing vocal harmonies. This sounds like a demo written for The Iveys.

14. Another acoustic number; this one a brutally honest folk ballad from 1973.

15. Unfortunately, another great song (like Sille Veb from 7PA) which suffers from poor sound quality. This rocker features electric guitar, blues harp, and overdubbed bass & drums. This is one of my favorites on GG.

16. A straightforward upright piano demo of Midnight Caller, which ended up on Badfinger's No Dice LP. This version features Pete's vocal double-tracked and slightly different lyrics (a few pronouns are changed). After the line, "she knocks the door and there's no one there", Pete adds "no, not today." Also, the last line ends with "help her now" instead of the final "help you now."

17. One of the last songs Pete composed in April, 1975. This is a very commercial sounding electric guitar number featuring some very nice country-flavored lead guitar. It sounds like bass & drums were added here after-the-fact as well. Let's hope that one of the big Country artists does a cover of this one and has a big hit.

18. This spooky number features double-tracked acoustic guitars, piano and backing vocal harmonies. A powerful lead vocal here as well.

19. This funky number features Pete on Fender Stratocaster guitar. It also features tambourine, cowbell, organ, and bass. Eat your heart out, Eric Clapton!

20. This is an earlier version of Track 1, except it's faster and not as "pop" sounding, although it reminds me of a Monkees song. This version features acoustic guitar, bass and drums. Again, it sounds like the bass & drums were added posthumously.

21. This is an amazing display of acoustic slide guitar playing by Pete Ham. This song was intended for the first version of the "Ass" LP, but was left unfinished. On that version, the slide guitar was dropped in favor of an electric rhythm guitar part. Ham plays two piano parts on this demo: the boogie woogie rhythm part and a lead part using higher notes.

22. "Evening Sky" is a sweet piano ballad which is forgettable.

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