This is the feature
where we revisit bands or albums that are worthy of attention but may well
have been overlooked over the years we also signpost the definitive
CD versions and related albums worth investigating.
If you have your
own neglected band/album send us a
For some, Budgie will bring back memories of first gigs, joss sticks, greatcoats, haircut angst and heavy drinking. The combination of Burke Shelley's bass notes and a mix of cider and
cheap wine was pleasantly lethal, but it all somehow made sense at the time. Hey, it was part of growing up.
The Welsh trio made some impact with their eponymous debut album in 1971 which set the blueprint for subsequent outings but in truth they never really bettered the combination of Shelley's thumping bass and screaming vocals and Tony Bourge's riffola, pinned down by Ray Phillips' solid drumming.
Titles like 'Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman' and 'Hot As A Docker's Armpit' added a certain novelty value and spice to the setlist. The first two album efforts were produced by Rodger Bain who had worked with Sabbath on
their first album and later produced Judas Priest, the band's style had echoes of Sabbath and Zeppelin, with a nod to sixties beat (and Beatle-esque) music.
Budgie also showed their sensitive side with slower tracks like 'Parents' giving a welcome respite. But the next bout of no-nonsense, heads-down, wig-out was thankfully never far away.
After the debut came a thrusty succession of classic hard rock albums some with distinctive cover art by Roger Dean and, invariably, our seed-sucker in any manner of different guises adding a strong visual element to the mix. On 1973's 'Never Turn Your Back On A Friend' there was the track 'Breadfan', later covered by Metallica. They also covered 'Crash Course In Brain Surgery', Budgie's first single and now a bonus track on the 2005 first album reissue.
In the late seventies, like so many others, Budgie struggled with the onset of punk and several line-up changes provided further instability. By 1978 Bourge and drummers Phillips and Pete Boot, had gone. The band became increasingly more polished and their later work less distinctive. They even added a keyboard player.
The band soldiered on in the eighties buoyed by the resurgence of interest in things metal, with an appearance at the Reading Festival in 1982 and cult popularity in the States, boosted by Metallica's patronage. They are still gigging albeit with Shelley as the mainstay and John Thomas from a late-seventies line-up.
The original albums are being reissued by the band with bonus tracks. Sadly for a great live band, there was no official live album during the band's halycon days. The long-deleted 'Heavier Than Air - Rarest Eggs' goes some way to addressing this omission with tracks culled from BBC and US radio sessions between 1972 and 1978.
Several compilations have been released, 'An Ecstasy of Fumbling The Definitive Anthology (Repertoire,1996) is probably the best.
Budgie (2005 reissue with bonus tracks)
skip: Nude Disintegating Parachutist Woman, Rape Of The Locks
investigating: Heavier Than Air - Rarest Eggs (NMC, Pilot 42, 1998)