1975’s Straight Shooter saw legendary super-group Bad Company move away from their distinct rock roots and towards a more emotive, considered sound. It was a decision that elicited a slightly negative reaction from some critics – Robert Christagu in particular, who argued that the record shouldn’t be considered hard rock at all – but delighted others. The question then, is how does the record stand up now, forty years after its release?
The answer is pretty damn well. Shooting Star, an emotional Big Star-esque ballad, boasts easily the best lyric out of any of the band’s recorded output, and even its difficult thematic content hasn’t aged the work a day. Although it was written with Jimi Hendrix and other key members of the “27 Club” in mind, its accessibility and power protect it from feeling dated.
Feel Like Makin’ Love, has earned the dubious distinctions of a Weird Al Parody and a Kid Rock cover (with the latter being far more laughable), but remains another key track on the album. It’s a dense, endlessly interesting little number, and a landmark tune of the genre. Deal With The Preacher and the indelibly upbeat Wild Fire Woman round out the record’s greatest tracks, with each providing further proof of Bad Company’s enduring talents.
But this isn’t a review of the record itself; it’s a review of the re-issue, and as such the work suffers from the same problems as the ‘deluxe’ re-mastering of the band’s self titled album, also available for purchase now.
There are one or two gems included in the bonus tracks – a stripped back, pre-master version of Feel Like Makin’ Love is a surprisingly emotive listen, and in its stunning simplicity feels on par with the cut that made it to the album proper. Similarly, a “harmonica version” of the song is also included, a version that feels like an interesting addition rather than filler, allowing listeners to experience the tune in a new and interesting way as it does.
But these two tracks represent the highlights of the bonus tracks: none of the other cuts feel important, or even interesting. There is another version of Easy On My Soul included – the Bad Company re-issue contains one too – and the differences between the versions are so slight as to feel non-existent.
At least this time around there aren’t annoying ‘tracks’ containing nothing but studio talk, but once again, this isn’t a re-issue that will entirely satisfy Bad Company fans. To paraphrase a Jerry Lee Lewis album title, this version of Straight Shooter is too much filler, too little killer