From the wreckage of Free came Bad Company, a group fronted by singer Paul Rodgers and featuring his drummer bandmate Simon Kirke, Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs, and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell. The latter is something of a ringer, suggesting an undercurrent of adventure in the band, but as the group's eponymous 1974 debut decidedly proves, the band is proudly not progressive. If anything, Bad Company excise the excesses of Free -- there are no winding jams and very little added color by way of pianos or even air in the production; those two tricks are evident on their title track
allying call "Bad Company," and the details make a difference, as do the pastoral acoustics of the closing "Seagull" -- reducing their rock & roll to a strong, heavy crunch; compare "Ready to Love," a tune Ralphs brought over from Mott the Hoople, to the original to see how these quartet members keep their heads down as they do their business. Appropriately enough given their name, there's a sense of slow, churning menace to Bad Company. Even the quickest songs -- the blues boogies of "Can't Get Enough" and "Movin' On" -- don't exactly proceed at a rapid clip, a steadiness that makes the quartet seem heavier. It's hard rock painted in stark black & white: cranked guitars mirrored by a deliberate wallop from the rhythm section, a rock & roll so loud and basic it wound up not aging much at all even though it pretty much defined mid-'70s album rock.