October 16, 2020 Joey Molland – Be True To Yourself (Album Review)
England’s Badfinger had a lot of pressure on them when they became the first band signed by the Beatles’ Apple label in 1968. Releasing five albums as a part of Apple, and touring extensively, the band lived up to their end of the bargain, and put out some great music along the way, including classics such as 1970’s “No Matter What” and 1971’s “Day After Day.” Tragically, Vocalist Pete Ham took his own life in 1975, thus resulting in the band’s dissolvement. The breakup would last until around 1978 when key Badfinger member, Guitarist Joey Molland, relaunched the band while assuming lead vocals. Now decades later, Molland, the last surviving member from the band’s classic lineup, remains consistently active touring in support of Badfinger’s music, as well as his own. Last releasing a solo album in 2013, Return to Memphis, the talented composer is back with his latest effort, Be True To Yourself, out on Friday, October, 16, 2020 via Omnivore Recordings.
Those who have followed Molland’s career are aware of his impressive resume throughout the years; of course including his involvement with Badfinger, as well as his contributions to George Harrison’s 1970 classic All Things Shall Pass and John Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine. He is a guitarist, vocalist, and exceptional songwriter. Now at 73 years of age he proves that he can still churn out some great Rock-n-Roll with Be True To Yourself.
An album consisting of 10 new tracks, in truth, its title is self-explanatory. True to form, Molland stick to what he knows, and that is creating thoughtful Rock-n-Roll music. Full of harmony, melody, and wonderful production, thanks to Mark Hudson, what really stands out is Molland’s ability to craft lyrics that are potent and real to life. Appearing to be an artist with his ear to the earth, Molland understands the world we are living in and it is evident from songs such as “This Time,” followed by “Better Tomorrow,” “Rainy Day Man,” and “Heaven.” All tracks that touch on the uncertain, turbulent reality we are all living through, even before the worldwide pandemic hit, they are powerful, thought-provoking statements.
Molland also dishes out some good, old-fashioned love songs, such as the catchy “All I Want To Do,” “I Don’t Wanna Be Done with You,” “All I Do Is Cry,” and “Loving You.” Then there is the piano-driven “Shine,” which is reminiscent of something John Lennon might have recorded during the Imagine sessions, before the delightful and inspiring closing of the title-track, “Be True to Yourself.”
Overall, Molland’s Be True To Yourself is an album that has a timeless vibe that holds up against any Classic Rock recording during the ’70s era. It has some great guitar work, a distinctive attention to details, such as the vocal harmonies, but most of all sustains some really thoughtful lyrical content. Additionally, there are a slew of guest artists sprinkled throughout the album, including Julian Lennon, Micky Dolenz, Jason Scheff and Steve Holley.
To say an artist’s well runs dry after a certain period of time, thus resulting is less quality material later in their career, is simply not true. Molland proves this by delivering one of his best solo albums, one that is a must list for Badfinger, Beatles, and Rock-n-Roll fans. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Be True To Yourself 4.5 out of 5 stars.