Product Reviews

Product: Joey Molland - Return To Memphis
Date: 2014-04-05 

Return To Memphis

Badfinger, Beatles and 'Breaking Bad': Joey Molland returns to Memphis

By Miriam Doona , Ents editor
Tuesday 18th February, 09:00
Miriam reviews one of music's most under-rated songwriters.
Singer and guitarist Joey Molland is a name synonymous with the legendary English rock band Badfinger. The band enjoyed a mass of hits from 1969 to 1974 while on The Beatles' Apple Records Label including the Paul McCartney penned ‘Come and Get It’. Molland, originally from Liverpool, also appeared on albums for both John Lennon and George Harrison.
The 1972 Badfinger hit ‘Baby Blue’ gave the band a recent renaissance and rejuvenation as the song was chosen to feature in the final episode of the much revered crime drama television series Breaking Bad (the song became the number one download in the world the week of the final episode). The song was, interestingly, also chosen to feature in the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 epic crime thriller The Departed.
There a rich musical legacy associated with Molland’s career. However, the band Badfinger has suffered a turbulent and tragic history, enduring grave management issues and suffering the suicides of two band members.
Such a history splattered in such adversity sadly resulted in Molland being under-rated as a singer- songwriter. Molland released his first solo album in 1983 and now with his fifth and latest solo album Return to Memphis, the ill-fated history that plagued Badfinger is definitely corrected.
Joey explains the origin of the album: “I was raised on a diet of Memphis music, and it was a thrill for me to record there". The album was recorded at Royal studios in Memphis, Tennessee and was produced by Stax Records veteran, Carl “Blue” Wise. Royal Studios can proudly boast being one of the oldest continuously operated music studios in the world and is currently managed by Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, son of owner Willie Mitchell( 1928- 2010), who is also engineer at the establishment. Mitchell, along with Wise, mixed the album. Carl “Blue” Wise is owner of Blueboy Records in Memphis and has worked with music greats like Eddie Floyd, Sir Mack Rice, Rufus Thomas, Bruce Springsteen and The Bar-Kays, to mention a few. This record has every element involved to make it a success and it is overwhelming to contemplate the musical genius associated with its very existence…….and a fantastic album and musical magic was indeed created.
It begins with ‘Walk out in the Rain’, a mellow introduction to the album. ‘A Love Song’ sees an acceleration in tempo with really nice harmonies to boot, which is true of the entire album. The album also showcases Molland's guitar skill. He also plays some slide on the album and interestingly there is an absence of any real and characteristic Badfinger power chords. Molland says of the album “The treatment of the songs, the song content and (producer Carl “Blue” Wise’s) Memphis roots all make for a much simpler approach”. There is also a three piece rhythm section to enhance the fundamental sound. The album evolves effortlessly with the blues anthem (and Beatlesque title) ‘All I Need is Love’ and concludes with the dynamically invigorating ‘Still I Love You’.
Return to Memphis is a very significant album, historically speaking. It is mellow and mature, with poignant and beautiful lyrics, and a must for all serious music collections and all those serious about music.

Return To Memphis
SCD - £9.99
This Way Up
CD - £9.99

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