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Budgie An Ecstasy of Fumbling: The Definitive Anthology album cover
4.10 | 12 ratings | 1 reviews | 36% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (77:50)
1. Homicidal Suicidal (6:44)
2. Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman (single version) (4:09)
3. Whiskey River (3:21)
4. Hot as a Docker's Armpit (5:52)
5. In the Grip of a Tyrefitter's Hand (6:24)
6. Breadfan (6:06)
7. Parents (10:21)
8. In for the Kill (6:26)
9. Crash Course in Brain Surgery (2:37)
10. Napoleon Bona, Pts. 1 & 2 (7:16)
11. Who Do You Want for Your Love? (6:09)
12. Breaking All the House Rules (7:24)
13. Beautiful Lies (previously unreleased) (5:01)

CD 2 (78:09)
14. Anne Neggen (4:08)
15. If I Were Britannia I'd Wave the Rules (5:51)
16. Black Velvet Stallion (8:07)
17. Melt the Ice Away (3:29)
18. Forearm Smash (5:40)
19. Time to Remember (5:28)
20. Wildfire (5:13)
21. Lies of Jim (The E-Type Lover) (4:47)
22. I Turned to Stone (6:10)
23. She Used Me Up (3:18)
24. Superstar (3:29)
25. Don't Cry (3:19)
26. Truth Drug (4:24)
27. Hold on to Love (4:19)
28. Superstar (live) (4:09)
29. Panzer Division Destroyed! (live) (6:18)

Total Time 155:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Burke Shelley / bass, vocals (all tracks)
- Tony Bourge / guitar (1-11,13-16)
- John Thomas / guitar (12,17-24)
- Ray Phillips / drums (1-7)
- Pete Boot / drums (8-9)
- Steve Williams / drums (10-24)

Releases information

1996 (CD) Repertoire 4435

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BUDGIE An Ecstasy of Fumbling: The Definitive Anthology ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BUDGIE An Ecstasy of Fumbling: The Definitive Anthology reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
4 stars Budgie features bludgeoning riffs and bluesy vocals, producing some of the best hard rock.

This big Budgie Box set features two CDs jam packed with the best Budgie material from the classic albums and a fantastic 44 page booklet. The definitive anthology, 'An Ecstasy Of Fumbling', features a massive 29 tracks taken from albums during 1971-1982. There is also some unreleased material for completists, 'Beautiful Lies' and live versions of 'Panzer Division Destroyed' and 'Superstar'. As a great intro to the band, there are a plethora of tracks that showcase the talented British unit.

The compilation features the various incarnations of the band; the classic excellent proggy years with bassist/singer Burke Shelley and guitarist Tony Bourge, along with a variety of drummers who must have kept exploding on stage. Then when Bourge was replaced by John Thomas and the sound completely transformed into a less creative, anti-prog force, more like ACDC or Kiss' style or any number of NWOBHM that was being churned out. They no longer had the inimitable style that is so outstanding in their first albums. But this compilations covers a wide spectrum of styles and there are many highlights, in no particular order.

'Hammer and Tongs' has a real Led Zep feel, bluesy guitar riff and sweeping lead break, mood swings that have light and dark textures, especially when they bring it down and the swirling cymbal washes with high falsetto vocals chime in.

'Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman' is fantastic with a low infectious riff that is innovative and with an odd time signature. The Robert Plantish vocals are great, and the full on heavy bluesy treatment is augmented by excellent bass guitar and drums keeping a consistent jaunty rhythm. A sprightly lead solo showcases some incredible talents on guitar. The tempo quickens and gets heavy with a truly awesome lead guitar and vocals harmonising the way Plant does it on 'Dazed and Confused'. At 12 minutes or so in length and a variety of time sigs this track is definitely one of the best Budgie tracks on this compilation.

'Breaking all the House Rules' is a terrific sledge hammer attack of crashing riffs and very well executed vocals. The structure of the song detours into many directions and even changes feel in the middle sounding like a different song until it returns to the main riff.

'Napoleon Bona, Pts 1 & 2' begins very slowly with gentle guitar and ambient swirls. Shelley's vocals are quiet, sounding like a bluesy version of Geddy Lee. When the distorted guitars crunch in with the chugging riff the song really picks up, especially the way the riff descends strangely giving it a dark feel. The lead break is always amazing, and Bourge blasts away with speed trills up and down the scales and high end string breaking bends. At 6 mins in there is a weird effect that muffles the sound and then it releases for more lead work. Another amazing song from "Bandolier".

'Baby Please don't go' is always a fun song and Budgie give it the ted Nugent treatment with wild Bourge's lead breaks and Shelley's bluesy singing. Absolutely dynamic track.

'Black Velvet Stallion' is atmospheric with echoed vocals, reflective lyrics and pulsating bass rhythms. The lead solos are creative and mesmirising against the pulsing time sigs.

'Homicidal Suicidal' has a wonderful array of killer riffs. Simplistic guitar style but amazing melodies that hook into your bloodstream. Bluesy singing and very hot lead breaks throughout. Once again reminds me of Led Zep and even Atomic Rooster. It changes feel mid way through with sporadic rhythms and then returns to the main riff with variations on playing style. One of the best Budgie tracks by a mile.

'Crash Course in Brain Surgery' is a short blast of energy with a driving guitar riff and full on high range vocals. Once again the riffs are infectious and hook in easily with clear cut guitar solos and unusual vocal techniques. The bass is excellent keeping the rhythm on this. Dirty guitar crunching along opens 'Forearm Smash' and it is a rawer sound. I love the little riffs that ascend and descend after each phrase. The vocals are aggressive as are the guitars. The lead break is vibrant reminiscence of the style of Ace Frehley.

'Hold On to Love' is more like the tough 'Kiss' style of playing, melodic chorus, straight forward riffing and lead breaks.

'Breadfan' is recognizable as it was famously covered by Metallica. I love the pounding kicking drums on this and Bourge's guitar is manic along with the chaotic vocals. It has great lead breaks to enjoy. It is interesting how the song slows down at the end and then builds to the blitzing riff. A bonafide classic.

'Hot as a Docker's Armpit' has the signature grooving riff to drive the song. It breaks into a cool lead break and some variations on the main motif. The drums are terrific on this with some atmospheric sections with keyboards as an ambient touch.

'I turned to Stone' begins with a gentle electric acoustic piece reminiscent of many metal bands. The melody on the track is excellent, the vocals well accomplished, building to a strong slow metal riff in the chorus. A nice break from all the raucous material. It ends with a magnificent lead break with speed sweep picking, fret tapping and arpeggios, over a fast paced time signature. Wonderful track.

'If I Were Britannia I'd Waive the Rules' has a quirky little riff, and some unusual structural rhythmic changes. It is one of the more progressive tracks from Budgie with a defined style of complexity and inspired creativity.

Another great track is 'Melt the Ice Away' that features a driving riffing guitar during the verses and then a quick burst of lead guitar soloing with fret melting fast sweeping and tapping. This one stops and starts in a crazy rhythm, and definitely feel likes the late 70s rock where it originates.

'Panzer Division Destroyed' has the Jimi Page riffage of 70s post metal, and very strong vocals echo along the verse phrases. It is a tough sound and generates an infectious melody. Lead soloing with string bends and fiery tapping are well infused into the structure and really reminds me of the way Ace Frehley plays. The scraping down the strings is effective too in this terrific song.

'Time to Remember' hooks you in with an atmospheric vocal and very spacey guitars.

Lowlights include 'Parents' with very kitchy lyrics about growing up, and even the vocals sound like a different singer, thin and whispy and an incredibly boring riff. This is really powerless gutless meandering around an over sentimentalised subject. The lead break at the end saves it from total disaster, along with weird seagull noises and waves on a beach.

'She Used Me Up' is a bit ordinary too with a straight forward style and no prog nuances at all. 'Superstar' is similar, a rocker with a simple riff, but this features a scorching lead break. 'Truth Drug' is another with a straight forward feel, saved by lead guitar finesse. It seemed Budgie were getting less progressive in their more recent years.

In essence the best Budgie is primarily taken from the early releases, namely "Bandolier," "Squawk," "In for the Kill" and "If I Were Britannia". The band kind of became more commercial hard rock after these innovative proggy albums. Nothing wrong with straight hard rock, but the band were indisputably so much better in the early phase of their career. This compilation is ideal for the newcomers to the band, and it sums up the greatness of hard rockers Budgie.

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