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Articles Home » 1990 Articles » Bad Company - 1990 Holy Water
Bad Company - 1990 Holy Water

ARTIST: Bad Company
ALBUM: Holy Water
SERIAL: 7567-91371-2
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2009, Wounded Bird (USA), WOU-1371


LINEUP: Brian Howe - vocals * Mick Ralphs - guitars * Simon Kirke - drums

Felix Krish - bass * Terry Thomas - guitars, organ, percussion, backing vocals * Lea Hart, Tina Egan - backing vocals * Rick Smith - accordion on '100 Miles'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Holy Water * 02 Walk Through Fire * 03 Stranger Starnger * 04 If You Needed Somebody * 05 Fearless * 06 Lay Your Love On Me * 07 Boys Cry Tough * 08 With You In A Heartbeat * 09 I Don't Care * 10 Never Too Late * 11 Dead Of Night * 12 I Can't Live Without You * 13 100 Miles


As I write this review, it is very shortly that Brian Howe's solo album 'Circus Bar' is to be released. Therefore it's a good time to go back and have a listen to 1990's 'Holy Water' album from Bad Company, featuring Mr Howe. 'Holy Water' was a big selling album during that year, the band hooking up with Terry Thomas (Charlie) a few years earlier for 1988's 'Dangerous Age' segueing through to this one. By far, this is the best of the Brian Howe era albums, 'Holy Water' is full of songs (thirteen in total), some which went high into the Billboard Charts. The success of this album needs to be tempered by the reality of the timeframe and the band's personal circumstances. Though Mick Ralphs played on the album, for the most part he did not tour. The reason oft said was that he had personal circumstances to attend to. The reality is: he didn't get on with Howe, all borne out by disagreements on the previous 'Dangerous Age' tour. Kirke also didn't get on Howe but perservered. Still, there were some well remembered songs, if only for the fact that they made radio.

The Songs
The album produced charting songs such as the title track 'Holy Water', the huge hit 'If You Needed Somebody', 'Walk Through Fire', plus 'With You In A Heartbeat'. The majority of the material was pretty catchy all round, add to this, songs like 'Stranger Stranger', 'Fearless' and the gang tragedy 'Boys Cry Tough', which could be (lyrically not musically) Gamma's 'Razor King' part II. Probably the most different song onboard is the last one, '100 Miles', a brief acoustic interlude written by Simon Kirke, which has touches of Springsteen's 'I'm On Fire' in the verse. Pity this wasn't longer.

In Summary
The 'Holy Water' tour was a co-headliner event alongside Damn Yankees. The band bought in Dave Colwell, Geoff Whitehorn and Paul Cullen as extra musicians to cover the guitar vacancy bought on by Ralph's non-participation, Cullen handling the bass duties. It ended up being one of the most successful tours of the 1990/91 season, despite the downturn in the live action stakes bought on by the changing of the guard re: grunge. Howe would hang around for 1992's 'Here Comes Trouble', a gold selling album in the U.S, but by 1993, the disharmony between the three protagonists in the band took its toll, with Howe departing, adding fuel to the fire by commenting in an interview that the band had become slack live, and that he and Terry Thomas were sick of doing all the work while Ralphs and Kirke well full of resentment. Can't win in rock n roll eh?

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#1 | jeffrey343 on February 23 2010 15:21:53
Very good album, one that I got when it came out in '90 and played quite a bit. The first four songs were all over radio at that time. The whole album is strong, but I have to keep convincing myself that those first four songs are only marginally better than the rest. I've shortchanged the rest of the album somewhat over the years. I'm a fan of all four of the Howe-era Bad Company releases - it's all good stuff. I did see BC on the tour with Damn Yankees in '91 or '92 (can't remember which year).
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