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Budgie - Never Turn Your Back on a Friend CD (album) cover




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4.18 | 247 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Ooh, I've forgotten how good this album is. I haven't listened to this one for years, definately on par with their previous album 'Squawk'. 'Never Turn Your Back On A Friend' appears to be the 'pick of the bunch', concerning Budgie. An amazingly vibrant Roger Dean artwork graces the gatefold cover, undoubtedly further endearing it to many Prog-Heads. Not a jot of keyboards on this one though (perhaps the Mellotron on 'Squawk' keeps on luring me back to that one ?). Greeted with the peal of a bell, 'Breadfan' launches with Tony Bourge's juicy guitar riff with a sound so thick you could cut it with a knife. Burke Shelley is no slouch on the Bass either, chords a-plenty and a great sound. Drummer Ray Phillips is as heavy as ever, providing the required amount of muscle to keep things alive and flowing. Yeah, sure Shelley's voice tends to be rather thin, something like what Geddy Lee may have sounded like when he was 15 (!), but of course, he sings from the heart and it suits the music. Throughout this song, the guys churn out one great riff after another until the middle section slows things down with a mellow, acoustic interlude for a minute or two, then returns to the opening riff. The song pretty much sums up Budgie, and stands up proud against, say, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. The old rocker 'Baby Please Don't Go' is a straight-up, well, rocker, with a driving rhythm that keeps things on the boil whilst Bourge solo's with aplomb. 'You Know I'll Always Love You' is a tranquil piece of melodic acoustic guitar and vocals lasting just over 2 mins. For the introduction to 'You're The Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk', Ray Phillips steals the show with a Drum solo, full of super-sonic phasing effects, and what he comes up with on his somewhat small drumkit (something like a basic 5-piece with 2 bass- drums) is commendable. A crunching riff then enters for the 1st vocal section where the Bass Guitar is nicely upfront, giving way to a solo Bass riff (which I'm sure Steve Harris pinned for Phantom Of The Opera.....) and then the last section features a chunky riff with vocals from Bourge. Flipside we have 'In The Grip Of The Tyre Fitter's Hand' (where do they get these titles from ??) which is built around a basic structure but still choc-full of killer riffs and great playing all 'round as always. Another quaint little acoustic/vocal piece with 'Riding My Nightmare', further showing off their tendency to present lighter and accessible melodies and gives the listener some breathing space between the weightier moments. The album closes with the 10 min+ 'Parents', a grand piece of music which alternates between dramatic riffs, and laid-back simplicity. Here, Bourge gets to perform some beautiful solos, of which the first includes an inkling of Jazz, it's just superb. The main progression is 'jazzy' and very tastefully composed. The guitar effects simulating Gulls crying adds a wonderful atmosphere later in the song. 4 glistening stars for this great album.
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |


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