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BUDGIE

Budgie

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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Ever sought a nude disintegrating parachutist woman? Look no further!

While Welsh heavy rock band Budgie were formed in 1967 (under the name Hills Contemporary Grass), it took until 1971 for the band to release their first album. The line up indicates that the trio add mellotron to their basic guitar/bass/drums set up, but do not be fooled by this; this is an album of guitar driven rock. Produced by Rodger Bain there is a distinct relationship with the sound with Black Sabbath, who he also produced. Other bands who have clearly influenced or been influenced by Budgie are the likes of Led Zeppelin and Rush. In the case of the latter, the vocals of Burke Shelley bear a passing resemblance with those of Geddy Lee.

"Budgie" was recorded on 8 track tape in only four days, and while some overdubbing was subsequently added, this is essentially a live in the studio affair. The sleeve notes advise us that the band are "not particularly subtle", and that "They're not progressive (whatever you understand that to mean)", but the track arrangements can belie such statements.

The album is essentially a succession of blues rock numbers with the occasional softer counterpoint. The opening "Guts" is a heavy riff infested song which sets the scene well for both this and future albums. We are though caught off guard by the delicate acoustic "Everything in my heart" which follows, even if it does run for just a minute. The mood appears to continue on "The author", but the initial reflective nature of the track is soon replaced by a more orthodox heavy rock number.

It is though "Nude disintegrating parachutist woman" (what a wonderful title, it does actually feature in the lyrics!) which offers the first taste of the real Budgie. This superb 8˝ minute romp takes us through an altogether more adventurous arrangement. The lead guitar here is the highlight of the track, but the driving nature of the song combined with a genuine raw excitement, make for a compelling piece of early metal.

"Rape of the locks" is the first of three 6 minute pieces which make up side 2, the song featuring another interesting arrangement of what is essentially a basic blues rock number. "All night petrol" slows things down slightly, sounding a bit like Led Zeppelin's "Lemon song" at times. The track features another fine lead guitar break, this time with some upfront complementary bass.

"You and I" is another brief acoustic number which sounds distinctly like a John Lennon demo. The album closes with "Homicidal suicidal", another Sabbs like riff infested blues rock piece.

Budgie's relationship with prog comes not from their raw guitar based sound, but from the relative complexity of the arrangements of songs such as "Nude disintegrating parachutist woman". This, combined with their willingness to occasionally reveal their softer side, offers an appealing diversity to what would otherwise be a straightforward guitar rock album. No one for the prog purists by any means, but those interested in discovering the roots of prog metal and those looking for some good old fashioned lead guitar magic should find much to enjoy here. Great sleeve too!

Report this review (#196982)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 1971....twas a good year..and it was too for the Welsh trio called Budgie, fronted by Burke Shelley on vocals and bass, Tony Bourge ala guitar and in this beginning period Ray Phillips doing the drums and percussion. The albums kicks off with the rockin plodder ' Guts'. It sets the tone for the trademark Budgie sound that followed for many years. ' Everything in My heart' is a short ballady interlude which they practiced in similar ways on follow up work. ' The Author ' is next and starts off as a slow bluesy song nicely tempered by Shelley's great voice and builds with some great straight forward rock like guitar riffs. If you have never heard Budgie but like early Rush then do yourself a favour and try this band out. They won't disappoint and consistently provided some great music over the next decade or so not least on this solid debut.

' Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman' is an eight minute guitar rock fest not disimilar to some Wishbone Ash material. Bourge highlighting his talents on the guitar. My personal favourite is ' Rape the Locks' which swerves all over the show with some great riffs and drumming from Phillips. ' You And I' is another short track setting a nice moody balance between the more energetic themes with tranquility. ' Homicidal Suicidal' closes the set with some great Shelley wails amidst blues and rock backdrops. Important note: Rodger Bain of Black Sabbath fame produces this album. A good start on the rock scene for Budgie, not necessarily high in progressive 'points' but a solid album to enjoy or even explore if you need an introduction to this interesting band from Wales,UK.

Report this review (#200991)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The debut album of Welsh heavy trio smashed the ears of the early 1970's listeners pretty hard, I understood they had the most strongest sound of that time along with Black Sabbath. I have understood that these groups were considered as pioneers of the stoner rock sound: heavy repetitive metal riffs with pulsing groovy rhythm and long tracks with simple structure. Budgie's personal sound is built from Tony Bourge's acoustic electric guitar, which has very unclear and fuzzy sound. He plays very hard riffs and also great blues rock solos. Burke Shelley's bass guitar and wild and heavy drumming of Ray Phillips dominate the sound with volume, and though I like the sound texture I would wish the guitar being slightly more in front. When I learned myself to play bass guitar, I listened and learned over to these early Budige vinyls, as their melodic lines are pleasant but simple, and very audible on the instruments I tried to meditate. The vocals of the bass player are really funny, sounding like a woman or a young child. I think there is a similar contrast like in the band's name, Budgie representing a group which was very heavy rock in its time.

The song titles "Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman" represent the lyrical line: Jokes and quite poor though possibly sincere everyman's poetry. From the songs, the most best of them is in my opinion "The Author", combining a moody quiet acoustic beginning, which evolves in a pretty way to very aggressive stoner jamming. The starter "Guts" is also ok, building up from a simple chromatic riff. "Rape of The Locks" and "All Night Petrol" have some slightly irritating parts in them, but there are some interesting musical parts in them. The parachutists song is bit too long so it starts to sound boring after several plays, and the few ca. minute lasting folk tunes sound more like unfinished song ideas. The final song "Homicidal Suicidal" is then one of the best songs here, having very aggressive parts, double bass drums and fuzzy sound.

If you like other 1970's vintage heavy rock bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, but have not heard yet Budgie, I would recommend their four or five first albums warmly. A taste for personal sounds and tolerance for extreme vocals are required.

Report this review (#201799)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Budgie's debut is a fun album from a fun band which makes for a generally fun listen. I think they have the honour of being the first hard-rock group ever that was influenced by Black Sabbath. 3000 others would follow.

The album is somewhat inconsistent and drags on a bit, but it has a number of competent heavy blues tracks that fans of Zeppelin and Black Sabbath shouldn't miss. Due to the high-pitched Plant squeal of Burke Shelley, the band also sounds like the later debut from Rush. The album starts strongly with Guts, a mix of Page guitars and Plant vocals with Butler bass and Ward drums. Originality wasn't the idea I guess. The delicate 50 seconds of Everything In My Heart has more personality then the tracks around it. More adequate Zep and Sab jamming follows on The Author, Nude Disintegrating etc... and Homicidal Suicidal.

This band hasn't all that much on offer and next to nothing proggy, but they might appeal to prog fans to whom the idea of a Black Zeppelin sounds alluring. In fact, I would nominate Budgie for being the first grunge band ever.

Report this review (#261570)
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although not in the true sense of Progressive Rock, Budgie has been one of my favourite prog related acts for a while. This album is near and dear to my heart, with it's mix of Zeppelin styled vocals from Burke Shelley and fast, heavy almost sludge of Sababth mixed in. There are obvious blues influences, but also psychedelia and jazz music is involved; albiet to make everything more interesting and cool. One of my favourite debuts by any band.

1.Guts - A sludge rocker of ture sin, the heavy and murky guitars are excellent, when mixed with the great bass playing from Shelley, create a dynamic duo. The druming of Ray Phillips has never been amazing, but his great and steady beat is always there, and keep the beat smooth and going. The songs lyrics are a disaster, nothing as gothic as Sabbath, and much more forceful than anything Zeppelin did, as the female anatomy is always the case. A great and rocking opener, all within a four minute span of murk and distortion. (9.5/10)

2.Everything in my Heart - The slightly jazzy minute long ballad is really nothing that interesting, as the lyrics aren't much, but the music is fresh and exciting and has a gothic tinge. An odd transition, to say the least. (7.5/10)

3.The Author - One of my favourite tracks on the album, and one of the proggier. The slow and almost smooth jazzness of the opening chords has had such an impact on me. The lyrics are dreadful, but sung in such a soulful way from Shelley, that I cannot deny the fact that they are incredibly beautiful. The song is just gorgeous, start to finish. The mix of jazz and heavy blues has never been better, as the guitar riffing in the later half of the song from Tony Bourge are incredible, the changes in dynamics are excellent. Rhythm section does more than just keep the beat here, as Shelley and Phillips amazingly stomp through the track with amazing power. A masterpiece of progressive relatedness. (10/10)

4.Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman - Another one of those proggier numbers, as it seemed to be Budgie's strength as a band to complete complex and trippy arrangements. The high vocals of Shelley have never been better, as he soars over the bluesy riffing his bass and Bourges guitar create. There are some swing elements in the drumming, with the hard hitting of the drum kit has never been better. Lyrics, again, not that great, but you know that they aren't complete crap, judging from their excellent playing abilities. (10/10)

5.Rape of the Locks - Another near perfection of a track, as the main focus is the amazing guitar playing from Bourge, who single-handedly does shred metal before the term was invented, as his playing is fast, furious, and near perfection. The track turns into a crazy blues workout, with the steady riff and excellent vocal melody from Shelley, who seems to be slightly softer and have more harmonics with the instruments, which definatly improve the overal quality. Amazing faced paced jazz rhythms from the bass and drums make the ultimate soundscape for the guitar to be laid upon. Again, not great lyrics, but they don't interfere too much with the music. A classic of the genre. (9.5/10)

6.All Night Pertrol - Classic heavy riffing, but the track is a little bit lazy. The lyrics are average, actually a bit better from all previous songs, as they don't focus completely on the female body for once, but rather nothing interesting. Great instrumentation, but the overall performance seems a bit dry, unlike previous songs, as there was much more of a spark. Still, almost essential listening. (8.5/10)

7.You and I - Your standard ballad, much more commercial than the first, more jazz - oriented ballad. The chords are average, nothing you would consider suprising, but the vocal melody is very strong from Shelley. An odd number, but nothing spectacular. (7/10)

8.Homicidal Suicidal - Easily one the best track on the album, as the band closes the album in a most fashionable way. The riffage is excellent, with the steady rhythm in place, and shred guitar all over. Excellent, lush bass playing from Burke is the standard, as he picks away furiously at his strings, while Phillips is adding great fills in an almost jazz and steady fashion. Lyrics aren't bad, but sung in a soulful way, that they really don't matter too much. An amazing way to close out this spectacular album. (10/10)

Heavy metal classics are here, as well has the progressive, complex arrangements. This album has undergone no mainstream press, which is really dissapointing, as this easily beats Led Zeppelin at heavy metal, and par with Black Sabbath. A 4 stars from a revolutionary album that wasn't really seem as revolutionary at the time. Only a few duff tracks can really make this album slightly below average. You have to pick this one up, and many more of Budgies excellent albums.

Report this review (#338364)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Budgie's debut album, with its high-pitched singing, fast playing, and one obligatory acoustic love song (You and I) might be confused for a standard early 70s hard rock release... except for the guitars. The sludgy, fuzz-drenched guitar line on opening song Guts makes it clear that here is a band that has been paying attention to Black Sabbath.

Whilst they're not as heavy as Sabbath was, it ought to be remembered that in 1971 *nobody* was as heavy as Sabbath was - and these boys come very, very close indeed. Generally playing at a fast tempo which would influence both the early New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands and Metallica, the group is also capable of slowing it down a bit to an almost doomy pace at points, as well as producing long, complex pieces such as Nude Disintegrating Parachute Woman and Homicidal Suicidal. Fans of early metal, stoner metal, and progressive metal will all find plenty to enjoy in this one.

Report this review (#482211)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I adore this band, there is just something about the music that grabs me and holds tight although I can't really decipher what it is - I just go with the flow without trying to analyse the music and what it is that makes me a full on band fan. The vocals, to me, are what a Budgie would sound like if it could sing rock music. Back in 1971 Budgie made up one of the five bands that were the core of what really made my music world start to swing - Budgie, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Grand Funk Railroad and Deep Purple.

"Guts" - A hard rock riff throughout drives a solid track of early head-banging pleasure. Burke Shelley reminds me of a budgie on steroids with his voice.

"Everything in my Heart" - short, nice, soft acoustic interlude from the band.

"The Author" - Starts off softly almost in the vein of the previous track before rocking out a third of the way in. Very "Led Zeppelinish" in places.

"Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman" - Slow heavy rock to start before soaring into speedier hard rock pyrotechnic territory just before the halfway mark. I love the Shelley vocal harmonising with the lead guitar section. Very reminiscent of some later Deep Purple live jams. Tony Bourge on lead throughout this track blows my mind.

"Rape of the Locks" - A way of describing an unwanted haircut I suppose. Lead guitar noodling to start before morphing into hard blues rock. At this point in the album I can pick up just how influential Budgie was relating to the rock music scene - maybe almost invisibly influential but massively influential all the same.

"All Night Petrol" - Interesting hard rock number. Shelley on bass is very prominent throughout.

"You and I" - Ballad from the band, beautifully done. The acoustic guitar and the vocals shine on this one.

" Homicidal Suicidal" - The hardest rock edged track on the album.

I'm really torn as to how to rate this album - if it were for pure love purposes I would give it a solid 5 however there are stronger Budgie albums after this one and this is the first studio release from the band. As this is a prog music site I am disposed towards a 3 rating but that would also not really be fair as although these guys aren't progressive here as I understand progressive to be they were obviously extremely influential. Settling on a 4 rating is the answer I guess being a 3.5 rated up to 4 however prog purists be warned this is not necessarily an album for you - it is an album for anyone who loved the early 70's Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple musical whirlwind.

Report this review (#1020764)
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars If you're serious about diving into the origins of heavy metal you will no doubt tackle the usual suspects such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, but in the early gestation years of the late 60s and the fully formed heavy rock bands that provided the antecedents of the greater metal universe, there were quite a few contenders that didn't quite attract the same level of success as the big three. The Cardiff, Wales based BUDGIE was one of the earliest such bands that was a seminal influence on the NWOBM scene that would emerge at the tail end if the 70s. While formed in 1967 under the less-than-metal moniker Hills Contemporary Grass, they changed their name to Six Ton Budgie before finally truncating it to the more known BUDGIE which is an informal term for 'budgerigar,' an Australian parakeet which would become their mascot. This power trio of Tony Bourge (guitar), Tony Shelley (bass, vocals, mellotron) and Ray Phillips (drums, percussion) chose this name as a diametrically opposing term in relation to their bombastic bluesy rock bravado.

While Black Sabbath was in 1971 the heaviest band in existence, BUDGIE wasn't too far behind. Their eponymous debut released the same year as 'Master Of Reality,' followed the trends of the more successful bands and could be generalized as heavy rock straddling in between the heavy Sabbath riffing with Led Zeppelin inspired compositional constructs as well as Shelley's Robert Plant inspired vocal style. The Sabbath inspired parts come to the forefront with the opener 'Guts' which is a little too close to Sabbath's own 'Hand Of Doom' which sounds like a good case for plagiarism to my ears but the album quickly drifts off into their own unique middle ground between the great Sabbath and Led Zep. Many have cited as BUDGIE being the first version of the Canadian band Rush since they are a power trio and deliver a tight and compelling band sound out of only three musicians. On this debut they do indeed have that heavy rock gusto that Rush would unleash on their first two pre-progressive albums. Likewise BUDGIE, while rooted in ballsy blues rock with a more bombastic approach, did engage in progressively tinged compositional constructs.

While BUDGIE may have borrowed a lot from Sabbath and Led Zep, they have also been the influencers as well with tracks like the whimsically titled 'Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman' a clear antecedent into Golden Earring's hit 'Radar Love' which also displays Shelley's unique bass slapping style with a little funk technique and heavy rock groove with Phillips pounding out the supporting percussive drive accompanied by Bourge's guitar antics. Very heavy stuff for 1971 indeed and progressive as it clocked in at 8:41 and meandered through a series of clever musical moves not common in the bluesy rock world of the day. 'Rape Of The Locks' allows Bourge to show off some of his guitar tricks with a series of flashy solos before erupting into a boogie rock style that would become the staple of bands such as ZZ Top in the coming years. Tracks like 'All Night Petrol' find Shelley doing his best Robert Plant vocal exercises but alongside a Sabbath inspired doom laden riff in a mid-tempo groove. 'You And I' shows a mellower side with a short acoustic ballad.

BUDGIE created a very interesting sound for sure and although they didn't quite have the over-the-top performance charisma that Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin delivered to the world, they provided a unique glimpse in between the musical sounds where those two bands existed. While parts of BUDGIE's debut are clearly inspired by certain tracks from their influences, somehow they polish it out with their own unique stamp. The blues oriented hard rock riffing is more akin to 60s bands like Cream with Sabbath overtones (due partly to Sabbath's producer Rodger Bain in the picture), but they crafted their compositions completely differently with more complex constructs that meandered into more unexpected territory. In other words less calculated and more free. While destined to be more of a footnote of history for providing the blueprints of heavy metal riffing that would be fully realized by bands like Metallica in the next decade, BUDGIE are well worth checking out in their own right. The synthesis of heavy rock with progressive touches makes this more than a historical artifact.

Report this review (#1943291)
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2018 | Review Permalink

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