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Badfinger leader Pete Ham hanged himself in 1975 three days before his 28th birthday, leaving behind six albums, a note declaring the group’s manager a “soulless bastard,” and the demos collected here. Most of these songs didn’t make it to Badfinger’s records, a circumstance 7 Park Avenue’s liner notes put down to a glut of material. A couple of songs contain bits that Ham would later adapt for “Day After Day” (a verse from “Matted Spam”) and “Baby Blue” (a melodic fragment in “I Know That You Should”); that both those hit singles are more distinctive pieces is a hint to why some of these numbers were rejected. Ham’s homemade music has some of the same fragile quality of another Ryko reclamation project, Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos, but often lacks the bite of both Bell’s record and the finest Badfinger studio cuts. It is, however, somewhere between sad and appalling to hear Ham proclaim “Just How Lucky We Are” only months before his death. Much closer to that reality is the closing “Ringside,” with its resigned passages about being bid on. Happiness prevails on a few cuts (an acoustic “No Matter What,” “Hand in Hand,” “Catherine Cares”), but even if Ham had merely faded into obscurity, this disc’s overall effect would be that of a thoughtful, downbeat craftsman at worknot always at the height of his powers, but always filling his work with emotion.Rickey Wright