I guess this must be one of the earliest articles written about this band as their first album was released in June the same year.
It is easy to forget that this band, in their most active years between 1971 and 1982 released a total of 10 studio albums. That is quite impressive, and they are, even without a lot of sales success, a part of heavy metal history forever.
Budgie – freaking good band
By Tom Sutton
Rodger Bain was taking a chance and being very honest when he wrote in the sleeve note of Budgie`s first album:
“They aren`t the world`s greatest composers, they`re not particularly subtle, they`re not progressive (whatever you understand that to mean) – they are a rock band, a freaking good rock band.”
Bain, whose involvement with heavy music began as producer of Black Sabbath, presumably felt compelled to defend Budgie in advance from the inevitable tag of “just another heavy band”. In fact, this Cardiff trio`s album, issued in July, drew a generally favourable reaction from the critics. Variously described as “good nasty, heavy rock” and “unpretentious rock a la Zeppelin”, it has been selling well, too, according to bass player and vocalist Burke Shelley.
Shelley, who formed the group with drummer Ray Philips following their meeting in a Cardiff music shop three years ago, feels strongly that the public still want to hear heavy groups and has no time for those dee-jays and writers who reject perfunctorily all bands who still use plenty of decibels.
“What people want and what the press and radio think the public want are often two entirely different things,” Burke continued. “Without a doubt, just by record sales and packed concerts, it`s obvious that groups of the Black Sabbath or Deep Purple variety have a huge public following.”
Burke, Ray and lead guitarist Tony Bourge confess to aiming to sell excitement in their stage act, and they do it by means of thundering, riff-laden numbers with such irreverent titles as “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman”, Homicidal Suicidal” and “Guts”. Their next album will go even further, with a crudely titled track “Hot As A Docker`s Armpit”.
Their first album contained two brief snatches of acoustic numbers, breathily sung by Burke. Were they planning to extend their repertoire in this direction at the expense of their rock numbers?
Burke countered: “We don`t have any preconceived ideas about continuing to play heavy, but we`ll only play what we feel like playing and I suspect that it would never be entirely acoustic. Playing good rocking music – that`s what we`ll always like best.”
Budgie`s album was recorded back in February at the fashionable Rockfield studio in the rural depths of Wales. The freedom it afforded helped, says Burke, to create a relaxed mood at the sessions. “The studio is booked by the day rather than the hour, there`s no clock in it, and you can begin and end a day`s session when you like. Everything is so amazingly casual.”
As is evident from the resulting album, Rockfield is an ideal studio for a tough rock sound and the group will be returning there to cut their second album in late November.
In South Wales, Budgie have long had a strong following, and until shortly before the release of their album they had not ventured far out of Wales for gigs. In recent weeks they have begun working far more extensively throughout Britain and, says Burke, now feel that they are promoting their album simply by regular appearances.
The truth is that Budgie`s album has made a sizeable impact without the inbuilt promotional aid of a packed date sheet. The biggest single factor in its success, they feel, has been the wholehearted support of Luxembourg dee-jay Kid Jensen, who seems to like “adopting” new and otherwise under-exposed groups.
At the beginning of November they go to Austria, Switzerland and France for a fortnight of live dates and a couple of television spots. And there is talk of an early New Year visit to America, where both their album and first single, “Crash Course In Brain Surgery”, have just been issued by MCA.
There are plenty of influences in Budgie`s music – the obvious ones like Zeppelin and Purple, with Tony Bourge`s lead work often bringing Ritchie Blackmore to mind – and as Mr. Bain so disarmingly admits, they ain`t “progressive”. Instead they just pummel out their aggressive, speaker-splitting rock, and seem to be finding plenty of takers.
To quote Rodger Bain once again, he claims they`re probably the first British rock band “to get to grips with the heavy American giants”. And if by that he means Grand Funk Railroad, Budgie should be set to sell a good few albums in the US.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Wishbone Ash, Osibisa, Canned Heat, Stealers Wheel, Sidney Bechet, Centipede, Bruce Rowland, Gong, Gaspar Lawal, Velvet Underground, John Peel, Bobby Bland, Lee Michaels, Redwing, Steeleye Span, Mick Greenwood, Stackridge.
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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