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BUDGIE

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Budgie biography
Founded in Cardiff, Wales, UK in 1967 - Disbanded in 1988 - Reformed in 1995 and again between 1999-2010

Budgie first formed in 1967 under the guise of ' Hills Contemporary Grass'. This name was shortlived however and by 1968 they had renamed themselves Budgie, which still remains this to the current day, although line ups have changed from time to time. The original members were Burke Shelley (b.1947) on bass and vocals, Tony Bourge (b.1948) on guitars and vocals and Ray Phillips (b.1949)on drums.

As was often the case with debut albums from the late sixties and early seventies, "Budgie" 1971 was a mixed bag of hard rock combined with a strong dose of blues. Produced by Black Sabbath producer Roger Bain. " Squawk" 1972 and " Never Turn Your Back On A Friend" 1973 were further studio albums following in quick succession. The latter probably being the most well known of Budgie work." In For The Kill" followed in 1974 and by now the line up changes began with Ray Phillips departure and replacement by the soon departing Pete Boot. The band experienced further membership changes and in 1978 Tony Bourge moved on and in stepped John Thomas who also later worked with Glenn Hughes.

Classifying Budgie is no easy feat hence it being in the Prog related category but the blues rock influences are ever present especially up to the close of the 70's.Sometimes described as pioneers in metal, Burke Shelley's voice often compared to Geddy Lee of Rush and the progressive influences are particularly evident in " Squawk", " Never Turn Your Back On a Friend" and 1975's " Bandolier". Budgie became less active in the latter parts of the 80's and ceased live tours in 1988. The 90's saw a revival of the band and further studio albums ensued, the last being in 2006 called " Your'e All Living In Cuckoo Land". Line up changes remained unabbated but one thing remains is that Budgie continue to play high energy rock, progressive at times, bluesy and plain solid metal to a high standard. Metallica have had notable success doing versions of their work " Breadfan" being one song and " Crash Course In Brain Surgery" the other, Judas Priest being another band influenced by the outfit from Wales.

Two live shows of note were in 1982 when Budgie headlined the Reading festival and Live In San Antonio ( 2002).Recommended albums would be 1972's " Squawk", " Never Turn Your Back On a Friend" from 1973 and 1978's "Impeckable". Founder member and drummer Ray Phillips is...
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BUDGIE discography


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BUDGIE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 135 ratings
Budgie
1971
3.40 | 127 ratings
Squawk
1972
4.15 | 214 ratings
Never Turn Your Back on a Friend
1973
3.76 | 146 ratings
In for the Kill!
1974
3.31 | 139 ratings
Bandolier
1975
3.20 | 84 ratings
If I Were Brittania I'd Waive the Rules
1976
3.21 | 73 ratings
Impeckable
1978
2.47 | 68 ratings
Power Supply
1980
3.57 | 63 ratings
Nightflight
1981
3.06 | 58 ratings
Deliver Us from Evil
1982
2.67 | 45 ratings
You're All Living in Cuckooland
2006

BUDGIE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 10 ratings
Heavier Than Air - Rarest Eggs
1998
3.20 | 5 ratings
Life in San Antonio
2002

BUDGIE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BUDGIE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.41 | 13 ratings
The Best of Budgie
1975
4.10 | 12 ratings
An Ecstasy of Fumbling: The Definitive Anthology
1996
4.13 | 15 ratings
The Best of Budgie
1997
3.17 | 6 ratings
The Last Stage
2004

BUDGIE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Crash Course in Brain Surgery
1971
3.33 | 12 ratings
If Swallowed Do Not Induce Vomiting
1980

BUDGIE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In for the Kill! by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.76 | 146 ratings

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In for the Kill!
Budgie Prog Related

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars When the material was finished, the artists were already getting ready for a concert tour in Germany. While the recordings were being mixed, a truck with the equipment was waiting in front of the "Rockefield" studio, ready to go. The album was produced in a great hurry and was not refined in terms of composition or sound, which was often mentioned by the band's leader. The musicians took care of the production, and Pat Moran and Kingsley Ward were again sound engineers. The album was released in England on May 17, 1974 and was the first Budgie release to appear on the British charts. In "Melody Maker" it reached 18th place on the list of "Top Albums", while in "Music Week" and "New Musical Express" it was placed on the 30th place.

There has been an inevitable change in the composition of the formation. Drummer Ray Philips was a supporter of the more commercial face of music. Shelley and Bourge asked him to leave and it finally happened, unfortunately in an atmosphere of conflict. Ray last performed with his friends on November 4, 1973 at the "Zoom Club" in Frankfurt. To meet their concert commitments, Dave Corke (also agent Judas Priest) and Budgie manager Graham Maloney quickly found a new drummer. It was Peter Boot, who has so far performed in the band Bullion. He turned out to be a talented musician, as he was employed at 9 am, on the same day at 8 pm he was already on stage and played flawlessly. It is worth mentioning that Shelley initially wanted to hire Steve Williams, who plays in the Quest team, on drums. Even, they had an appointment in Cardiff, but in the end the meeting did not take place. But soon, in December 1974, their musical paths finally came together, and for many years to come.

The album opens with the title track "In For The Kill" deeply marked by terrifying bass scales which, along with Philips' drums, accompanies Shelley's unusual vocal timbre strangely on this harder, deeper, otherworldly track , even in a falsetto juncture, he is the author of a test that is nothing short of amazing, ranging from moments of quiet and vocal cleanliness to others of total inspiration in which it is his voice and not the sound, the melody, that leap to attention. of the listener. The piece continues to its conclusion especially along the Bass / Drums combination. Extraordinary track in the melodic composition and in the vocal part. Song number 2 "Crash Course in Brian Surgery"- those who expect a slowdown are very wrong, immediately they are overwhelmed by a captivating and quick riffing and, later, by Shelley, once again brilliant and extremely versatile, the final part is introduced by a fascinating and gloomy bass solo, the piece ends on the high notes of the Welsh singer. "Wondering What Everyone Knows" is the inevitable ballad, slow and amaliatrice lives in the vocal-guitar combination. These are precisely the occasions in which you can notice the extraordinary singing skills of Shelley capable of angelic voices during ballads like this one. With the advent of "Zoom Club" the decibels go up, the sound returns to being raw and fiery, even in this track there are high falsetto notes, however the song is mainly instrumental with long guitar and bass solos. It is the longest song on the album at 9.58 minutes. The initial part of "Hammer and Tongs" is really suggestive, almost total silence interrupted at times by dark bass sounds, only to be completely torn apart by the powerful tolls of the drums that give the official start to the song. Both in the lyrics and in the melody we can notice more than in any other track a strong blues approach, especially in the final part. Shortly after the middle of the piece you can appreciate an unusual segment performed once again in silence, and interrupted by the rustle of instruments in the background but, what differentiates it from the opening part is the use of the voice, limpid, angelic. Continuing the ride we arrive at the penultimate composition "Running from My Soul", characterized by a cadenced, enthralling and danceable rhythm, it is proposed to the listener as a 60s Rock and Roll piece culminating in the refrain but above all in the sound, which enters the veins and pushes you, transports you, to dance. Seventh track and last "Living On Your Own" fast and lively is an almost totally instrumental track, crossed by the continuous performances, technically unobjectionable, of guitar, bass, and drums.

After the release of "In For The Kill", the artists promoted the publishing house by playing a tour of Europe that began at the end of July 1974 and lasted three weeks. The seventh place of the album on the Swedish charts was a huge success, thanks to intensive and costly advertising. The musicians even played an open-air performance for an audience of 15,000 in Stockholm. MCA also released this album in the States, but unfortunately the planned tour in the USA did not take place and the album did not gain popularity there. Budgie's fourth album takes a very good position in the team's discography, one of the best , without any weaknesses. It cannot be compared to any previous or later studio release due to its very successful marriage with blues. At the same time, both this outstanding work and the previous "Never Turn Your Back On A Friend", set the artistic level quite high.

 Squawk by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.40 | 127 ratings

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Squawk
Budgie Prog Related

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars It was a fantastic debut that of Budgie who, with their first and self-titled album, established some of the coordinates that a few years later, will contribute in a fundamental way to outline the basic characteristics of NWOBHM. Almost by return of post, a few months after Budgie's release, the band released their second album curiously titled Squawk. A work that - in spite of a very little martial and aggressive title - marked on the one hand a slight simplification of the musical plots and, on the other hand, a greater immediacy and overall aggressiveness also recognizable in the average playing time of the rather low pieces. Aggressiveness also exemplified by the cover signed by Roger Dean. All this always under the watchful eye of producer Rodger Bain, a very important character who at that time worked with Budgie and Black Sabbath and, shortly thereafter, he would contribute to making Judas Priest debut on vinyl. As mentioned, compared to the previous test the sound here takes a heavier turn, with Tony Bourge's guitar slightly less present in favor of Burke Shelley's bass, completely master of the scene both on an instrumental and vocal level. It is precisely the changed approach of the bass lines that defines the fundamental difference between the previous album and Squawk, since these are less redundant and sought after on the latter, in favor of greater linearity and greater speed, producing a result less eclectic final, but perhaps more significant from a pre-metallic point of view. As always precise, but inconspicuous in comparison with the other two, Ray Phillips' work on drums.

One of the group's goals, however, is to make their proposal even more powerful and aggressive, and in this case the opening track, "Whiskey River" seems to leave no doubt to chance. Tony Bourge's guitar riffs are in fact much sharper and more incisive than the debut, and Burke Shelley's bass lines fit together very effectively, managing to recreate an incredibly essential and compact sound wall. This power of execution will also be emphasized later, as for example in the Bluesy "Drugstore Woman", strong in catchy riffs and vibrating and enthralling guitar solos, or in "Stranded", an absolutely dynamite song thanks to the incredible sound wall erected by the guitar and the bass, where the musicians have fun dampening and accelerating the rhythms, managing to keep the listener's attention always alive. Alongside more powerful and essential tracks, however, there are also songs of different nature and suggestion, within which the band manages to show a certain musical eclecticism (the group has always distinguished itself for a remarkable compositional taste), which does not do anything other than make the record more varied and interesting. As in the debut, here too a couple of exquisitely Folk songs appear, namely "Make Me Happy" and "Rolling Home Again", which, although short, manage to pleasantly strike the listener, thanks to refined arrangements (embellished with simple but suggestive lines of piano and Mellotron) and at the same time melodic, while instead songs like "Rocking Man" and "Hot As A Docker's Armpit" tend to wink towards more Psychedelic and moderately Progressive sounds. The first song seems, in fact, to combine guitar riffs and purely Hard Rock sounds in a natural way, with a central bridge much more moved towards the Psychedelic side, while the second song is certainly the most articulated and varied of the whole album, presenting a great variety of instrumental cuts and interweaving between guitar and bass, which develop through tempo changes and Pseudo Progressive atmospheres, with the sound of the Mellotron placed in the background. Among all these songs, however, the wonderful "Young Is A World" stands out (preceded by a nice instrumental piece, "Bottled"), a sort of Power Ballad characterized by multiple facets with a guitar background of sure suggestion and impact. The piece is in fact chiseled by numerous chiaroscuro of electric guitar which together form very wavy and "liquid" atmospheres, occasionally interrupted by powerful guitar and bass chords that try to give power to the atmosphere. Finally, the final solo by Bourge is splendid, very painful and rich in pathos.

This Squawk is certainly a small masterpiece of creativity and imagination, where each song shines with its own light and life, while at the same time developing the heavier and heavier side of the group.

 Never Turn Your Back on a Friend by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 214 ratings

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Never Turn Your Back on a Friend
Budgie Prog Related

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars The beginning of 1973 was a period of touring in Great Britain for Budgie. But on February 12, the trio began recording their third album. It was again at the "Rockefield" studio in Wales. Due to structural changes in the MCA record company, the material was realized this time without Rodger Bain, whose company Humminbird Productions no longer had a direct contract with the band. As for the sound, there are no keys on the album. The artists themselves undertook the production of recordings. They had two great sound engineers to help: Pat Moran and Kingsley Ward. The drummer Ray Philips was an involuntary author of the title of the publishing house, who during one of the conversations in the studio formulated the sentence: "Never turn your back on a friend". It was picked up by Dave Howells, a representative of the label, and said that it is suitable for the title of the new album - "Never Turn Your Back On A Friend".

The longplay had a fold-out cover, the first and only in the history of the group. It features a painting by Roger Dean, in which the Bugieman formation mascot fights a huge bird of prey in the midst of snowy mountains. The new album, "Never Turn Your Back On A Friend", was released on the music market on May 8.

The album contained only seven recordings, two of which would become the band's trademarks in the future. The first of them, "Breadfan", opens the material on the album. Cut like a mechanical saw, riffing at an incredibly fast pace, the guitar and the great (powerful) inputs of the rhythm section, attacking vocals, as well as an unexpected acoustic twist in the middle of the track, are the most important features of this great number. The original Australian and French editions and the German reissue at the beginning of "Breadfan" contain a short quote from a 1942 speech by Winston Churchill, with the words "I have nothing to give but blood, toil, tears and sweat". The British press by MCA did not receive the speech due to a copyright problem. Next on the line is a cover of Joe Williams, a dynamic version of the blues "Baby Please Don't Go" with delicious guitar solos and an abruptly cut ending. There were also customary ballad elements, such as "You Know I Allways Love You" - acoustically for voice and guitar - and "Riding My Nightmare", where Shelley sings a little differently, stronger and in full falsetto.

And there are also more songs from the club of original and unusual titles. First, "You're The Biggest Thing Since Powered Milk", translated as: "You are the best thing since the invention of powdered milk", which consists of three parts (the name of this position was originally even longer, because it had the word "Baby "). First, a two-minute drum solo with an electronically distorted sound. Ray Philips wanted this solo to last fifteen minutes, but the leader refused to do so. From that moment the tensions in the team began on the drummer line and the other two. The second part of this proposal is a pugnacious riff and vocal parts interspersed with Bourge's solos. And there is also the final part three with Tony's vocals. Besides, his voice sounds very good here. At the beginning of his career, he only sang and played the harmonica, never thought of becoming a guitarist. Another track with the unusual name "In The Grip Of a Tyrefitter's Hand" is characterized by alternating guitar phrases and a smooth plot without sudden changes of pace.

We have a flagship masterpiece for the final. The ten-minute ballad composition "Parents" is an excellent, unforgettable opening riff, returning twice more later in the composition. Guitar screaming in the fifth minute of the recording followed by a fantastic blues solo. Romantic vocals turning into anxiety. The sounds of seagulls played fantastically by Tony on the guitar. You listen to it all with bated breath and never get bored - too good and true. Bourge showed here his sensitive soul and extraordinary abilities. Burke Shelley wrote the lyrics to this song when he was sixteen, and it speaks of a righteous warning from parents that young people refuse to listen to. And then, it's too late.

"Never Turn Your Back on a Friend" is a kind of progress in Budgie's work - the influences of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin are not so much heard here, the band has developed a style that is not entirely original, but quite recognizable.

 Squawk by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.40 | 127 ratings

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Squawk
Budgie Prog Related

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Black Sabbath invented heavy metal. Period. Or so the story goes. In the lucid period between heavy psych, hardrock and heavy metal there are lot's of great bands (Captain Beyond, May Blitz, Lucifer's Friend to name a few) and of course Budgie. A band that mixed early bluesrock, folk, metal, funkrock and.. blue eyed soul - all as if played in a local barn in England. Bassist and singer Burke Shelley has a quirky electrical voice and an amazing funky rhythm in his playing. All lead-guitarist of all classic metal bands will name Budgie as an influence and yet, they've become a bit of an obscurity. Among their classic string of albums 'Squawk' isn't any-ones favorite per se, but I was quite surprised by how good this album actually is. There are four songs in which the band shows its most soulful side and surely 'Make Me Happy' must be one of their most beautiful recordings. On some of the longer proto-metal songs the band experiments with form and uses some mellotron. The extended and moody 'Young is A World' is perhaps the band's most progressive moment. The mixing of the album is quite natural and spacious. Without much compression, such a record is ideal for listening at higher volumes exposing many detail and casting a 'live' feel. At lower volumes it might be not be as impressive.

When it comes to Budgie, both the band and its albums, I can't help but thinking many people are misled by their preoccupations, like every-one is just repeating standard lore. 'It's a copy cat band'. There never has been - nor will there be - another blue-eyed soul funkmetal band and this is just wonderful and highly collectible music from the golden age of rock exploration. Furthermore, 'Never Turn Your Back' isn't their big career high-light. I really like 'Squawk' and I love the equally criticized 'Bandolier' as well.

 Never Turn Your Back on a Friend by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 214 ratings

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Never Turn Your Back on a Friend
Budgie Prog Related

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars BUDGIE were a Welsh power trio from Cardiff who apparently chose the ironic name Budgie for their band name, simply because the delicately sweet sound of a twittering budgie represented the complete antithesis to their particular brand of storming Hard Rock and Heavy Metal thunder. Budgie first took flight with the eponymously-titled "Budgie" album in 1971, followed swiftly by "Squawk" in 1972. It was with their third album though "Never Turn Your Back on a Friend" (1973), where Budgie really spread their wings and displayed their magnificently colourful plumage, in what is generally regarded as their finest album. The line-up for this album was:- Burke Shelley - bass & lead vocals; Tony Bourge - guitars & backing vocals; and Ray Phillips on drums. The colourful fantasy art work for the cover of Budgie's third album - reviewed here - was designed by album art supremo Roger Dean. The 2004 re-mastered CD edition added three bonus tracks to the original seven songs on the album. Following this album, Budgie produced four more albums from their perch during the 1970's:- "In for the Kill" (1974); "Bandolier" (1975); the deliberately misspelled "If I Were Brittania I'd Waive the Rules" (1976); and the amusingly- titled "Impeckable" (1978). This Welsh band obviously weren't short on ironic humour when it came to naming their albums. It's also worth mentioning that the three classic MCA albums from the years 1973-1975 are available in a budget Budgie box set. Most of Budgie's albums also featured a picture of a budgerigar on the cover in some comically abstract form or another. Budgie weren't quite ready to retire and go home to roost at the end of the 1970's, because with a change of line-up they recorded three further albums in the early 1980's:- "Power Supply" (1980); "Night Flight" (1981); and "Deliver Us from Evil" (1982). Budgie went their separate ways and flew off in different directions after that 1982 album, but they were set to make an amazing comeback 24 years later when they undertook a gruelling 35-date tour of the United Kingdom alongside the release of their final album to date: "You're All Living in Cuckooland" (2006). The band obviously hadn't lost their ironic sense of humour in the intervening 24 years.

We're taking flight with "Breadfan", although this song is nothing to do with being a fan of the soft rockers, David Gates & Co. No, this song is all about our obsession with money ("Bread" being British slang for money). If you've never heard the sound of Budgie before, then all the Signals are that you'll sure be in for a big surprise when you hear the high-pitched vocals of Burke Shelley for the first time. He could certainly give Geddy Lee of Rush a good run for his money (or for his "bread") when it comes to hitting those helium-induced high notes. A budgerigar might be a sweet little songbird, but the band Budgie are like a Fly By Night stealth bomber swooping down with Permanent Waves of raw power and supersonic energy, leaving behind long streaming Vapor Trails in its wake. There's no need to Test for Echo with "Breadfan", because this is reverberant, full- Power Windows-rattling Hard Rock! There's a surprisingly gentle Caress of Steel in the Grace Under Pressure middle section of the song, but Hold Your Fire though, because Hey Presto, this only serves as a stopgap before another thunderous blast of Roll the Bones Rock & Roll for the storming conclusion. Budgie and their Canadian Counterparts Rush might be Hemispheres apart geographically, but their hard rockin' music is remarkably similar in style. This timeless Hard Rock has the kind of longevity and long-lasting appeal where new fans in a new century might be listening to Rush and Budgie on their Internet space pods - complete with Moving Pictures - as faraway as the year 2112, when we've possibly said A Farewell to Kings and we have a new world order. Who knows what the future will bring!? Such are the Snakes & Arrows of outrageous fortune where Clockwork Angels fear to tread!

The second song on the album "Baby Please Don't Go" will be very familiar to Rock fans everywhere because it was most famously recorded by Van Morrison's "Them" way back in 1964. It's a powerhouse Blues-Rock number thundering along at 100 miles per hour and with the singer sounding like he's flying high as a kite (or a budgie) again, having seemingly taken a good deep breath of helium beforehand to help him really reach those high notes. In complete contrast, the third song "You Know I'll Always Love You" is a beautifully romantic, acoustic guitar ballad, just as the song title implies. The normally high- pitched vocals of Burke Shelley are toned down by at least an octave here as he plaintively wears his heart on his sleeve with these touching heartfelt lyrics:- "Sun and moon and sky above me, These are things I treasure most, Sun that lights my way goes on and on and on, Simple things will not be lost, You know I'll always love you, No matter where you are, Feel it all around you, My love will travel far, Sea of grass and earth below me, These are things I treasure most." ..... Beautiful! "You Know I'll Always Love You" is just as emotionally appealing and heart-wrenching as Whitney Houston's similarly titled "I Will Always Love You", although Budgie's romantic twittering offering is more likely to appeal to prog fans than Whitney's warbling. Cue drum roll for "You're the Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk" in which drummer Ray Phillips is the biggest thing since John Bonham and Keith Moon, if this stunning opening drum solo is anything to go by. This pounding percussive intro serves as a prelude for another fast and furious artillery ballage of heavy metal fire and thunder. This 1973 album was recorded back in the days when Budgie might well have been the biggest thing since powdered milk, if they hadn't been up against such high and mighty screaming eagles of Hard Rock such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep, to name just four major bands of the era. Sadly, Budgie never quite managed to soar up into the stratospheric heights of the major big league players during the 1970's, despite releasing a whole string of good solid Rock albums.

From the sublime to the ridiculous comes "In the Grip of Tyre-Fitters Hand", although the silly title is no reflection on the music. Budgie are all tooled-up and ready for another powerhouse performance, although the lyrics are nothing to do with a Kwik-Fit Fitter changing tyres. Who knows what the cryptic lyrics are about, but one thing's for sure, it's another sonic explosion of hard and heavy pile-driving Rock that barrels on ahead like a runaway steamroller. After that storming opening to Side Two, it's time for some light relief with the gentle and melodious ballad "Riding My Nightmare", proving that Budgie have many more musical feathers to their cap than relentlessly hammering out blocks of solid Hard Rock. The laid-back relaxed mood continues - at least to begin with - as we arrive at the outstanding closing number "Parents", a luminescent high- beam highlight of the album that even your parents might like. This 11-minute-long masterpiece is one of those outstanding epic songs that grips you right from the outset as it gradually gathers in intensity towards a tremendous crescendo of glorious sound for the magnificent finale. A truly awesome song that'll stay in the memory forever and ever and have you returning to this album again and again, hopefully!

It's easy to see why Budgie's "Never Turn Your Back on a Friend" is generally regarded as their magnificent magnum opus. In common with many other bands, Budgie have reached their artistic peak (or artistic beak) and achieved their maximum potential with their stunning third album. If you like the sound of Rush, then you might want to rush out and buy this Budgie album too - if you can still get hold of it - because both bands sound remarkably similar, particularly in regard to the high-flying vocals. You may have noticed there's a none-too-subtle album titles tribute to Rush contained within the second paragraph of this review. Not much has been heard of Budgie since the early 1980's - apart from their one-off 2006 album which barely caused a flutter in the music world - but you can probably still find them on Twitter.

 Budgie by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 135 ratings

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Budgie
Budgie Prog Related

Review by 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.

 Never Turn Your Back on a Friend by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 214 ratings

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Never Turn Your Back on a Friend
Budgie Prog Related

Review by Bluforce777

4 stars As has been stated by others, this is not progressive rock, but it is infused with a progressive attitude and a wealth of instrumental excellence that sets it above most hard rock releases of the time. This is a wonderful recording, fusing Tony Bourge's Bourge's blazing guitar riffs, Burke Shelley's strident bass playing and vocals, and Ray Phillips' sharp, effective drumming. Recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales, it also features a suitably otherworldly cover designed by Roger Dean (another prog-rock link, I guess). There are some superb hard rock moments across this recording, notably the blistering Breadfan, with it's molten, propulsive guitar riffs that literally crackle in your speakers. This exhilarating song showcases a trademark change of tempo, with a lilting summery acoustic mid-section creating a respite, before that snarling main riff charges through again. Bourge remains one of the great underrated rock guitarists, sadly unknown to the wider public, but a huge influence on many other players of the hard rock / metal genre. His swaggering riffs sprawl across In The Grip Of A Tyre Fitter's Hand with genuine panache and skill, and his guitar tone takes on a formidable substance and weight. Credit must also go to the subtle cross rhythms created by Shelley's intricate bass playing, again sorely underrated. His vocals have never been outstanding, but he can carry the heavier songs with a ragged flair and soothe out silky melodies on the slower ballads. You Know I'll Always Love You is a lilting poignant short song which bravely opened the cassette version of this album back in 1973. It is shimmering and beautiful, extremely well constructed despite it's brief length, showing how effortless the band was with softer material. Parents makes use of the light and shade approach that set Budgie apart from many other hard rock bands of the time. It's emotionally soaked guitar melody reappears throughout the song, punctuated by soft jazzier verses which reflect on the wisdom of parents. This is a beautiful, expressive and powerful song, later even covered by Shirley Bassey. Surely the most progressive track on the album is the three-part You Are The Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk, which starts out as a sonically spiralling drum solo by Ray Phillips, played through a flange filter and panned across the speaker channels. It morphs into the song's main convoluted riff, and finally evolves into the galloping third section, sung by Bourge. The expansive riffs and shifting rhythms are much more inspired and intricate than those that appeared on the group's next album (the tired and lacklustre In For The Kill). The band snakes through a bubbling version of Baby, Please Don't Go, which brims with a playful abandon, especially in the solos. It gets the job done. The weakest track on this excellent album, and the reason this is not a 5 star review, is Riding My Nightmare, which carries both a mundane melody and a hackneyed chorus, incapable of lifting it from it's mediocre status. Otherwise, this is easily one of the top 10 hard rock recordings of 1973. If you have never heard Budgie's music, this is the perfect place to start.
 In for the Kill! by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.76 | 146 ratings

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In for the Kill!
Budgie Prog Related

Review by Groucho Barks

4 stars We all have an album that we picked up for pennies off a market stall that sets us off on a journey and a devotion to something deeply unfashionable, even with the then long haired alternative music scene.....Ladeezz and genllmen I give you Wales finest power trio Budgie and their 4th album, 1974's In For The Kill! It was my first introduction and yes I eventually owned the lot...and it may not be their best...but it will always mean something to me. A line up change had introduced a new drummer who to me was more powerful if a tad less busy than Ray Phillips who was replaced. Maybe this was why we got perhaps the heaviest Budgie album ...yes IMHO...and it is none the worse for that. We can argue how 'prog' a classic power trio can be (Rush sort of step outside the box on that one) but to me this was filed under heavy as hell prog and still should be. The opening title track is a rumbling riff mirrored by guitar and bass and it chugs along at a fair lick...with a vocal/guitar twin line that underpins the verse. It also allows one of my favourite guitarists, Tony Bourge to show his prowess both as lead and riff player. Apparently Van Halen used to do a version of this before they 'broke through' but don't let that put you off! Next came the inclusion of an earlier single, 'Crash Course In Brain Surgery' (gotta love the title!) which was done and dusted in just over 2 and a half mins (Metallica covered it on their Garage Days Revisited EP). Then the acoustic interlude of 'Wondering What Everyone Knows' which is the breather we all needed before the epic 'Zoom Club'...a slinky riff built up by band dynamics to a crescendo then maintained on the intensity meter...with variations and diversions for 10 marvellous minutes...Bourge using a riff/rhythm/lead technique to cover all bases. If they ever ask me on Desert Island Discs....this track will be played. Side 2 barges in with 'Hammer and Tongs'...a Zeppelinesque blues riff of light and shade and heart wrenching intent...that fills out the start and middle before a more ethereal bridge takes us in to an unexpected straight 12 bar....which solos off in to the faders....It is one of those tracks that is all but cliché yet rises above that with its sheer chutzpah! It sort of keys you in to 'Running From My Soul' which has a swaggering blues based template with the bass (take a bow Burke Shelley) used as a Lemmy style rhythm machine...well before Motorhead! Finally the most complex track 'Living On Your Own'. This one has a measure of Man (fellow Welsh prog heads) thrown in to the mix although they were never this heavy...and it has several contrasting passages that again are built on a great band dynamic in to a satisfying whole to end the album! It even made #29 in the UK LP charts and as was the case back in the day, was a rushed affair between never ending tours, hence its length (short) and rough edges (charm). We can all argue over labels but why this band aren't under the 'Heavy Prog' sub header is beyond my comprehension!
 Bandolier by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.31 | 139 ratings

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Bandolier
Budgie Prog Related

Review by AEProgman

4 stars An under-rated influential band. How can you not like Budgie headed humanoids riding on horses in space suits on the cover!

For those not familiar with Budgie, the main guys are Burke Shelley on bass and Tony Bourge on guitars with various drummers. They are sometimes credited (along with Sabbath and others) as being at the beginnings or influenced the Metal genre. To me I always thought of them as hard rock (out dated term I guess) and blues with elements of prog along with bits of funk thrown in. They are also compared to Rush quite a bit as they are a heavy power trio with the bass player doing the vocals with a higher pitched range. However, Budgie came along before Rush did.

Now for their fifth studio album, Bandolier.

The first track, Breaking All the House Rules, is a straight forward hard, semi-blues type rocker with a few twists and turns along the way. It sounds like they were having fun with this one.

Next up Slipaway, a ballad that has become somewhat of a staple in Budgie albums and they are always well done with intriguing melodies. Burke's vocals have a nice way of weaving in and out of the song.

Who Do Want for Your Love is next. This song has a rather catchy, slow funky start which transitions into a heavier beat. There is some good guitar work in this along the way. I like this one.

I Can't See My Feelings is another hard rock song with some blues/funk tendencies. Burke and Bourge have a good chemistry of writing where the songs at times can sound or morph into two songs in one. This is evident in most of their albums.

I Ain't No Mountain is song that sounds like something T-Rex could have done, another hard rock blues/funk blend. Still fun to listen to.

Now the prize of the album, Napoleon Bona Part 1 and 2. Budgie also shows humor in most of their albums with some of the song titles and lyrics. This starts off slow and dreamy then turns heavy with some killer riffs. It is not hard to see where Budgie influenced some later bands like Metallica and Judas Priest. The song takes some nice twists along the way. The favorite of the album! Worth the price of admission.

I picked this album to review as it was my only exposure to Budgie back in the 70's (in 8-track no less). I have recently rediscovered them through a co-worker/friend who has a massive album and CD collection. He has them all and with the exception of one or two albums, I like every one of them including their 2006 album, You're All Living in Cuckoo Land (only Shelley from the original line up).

I give this one 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 (half star for fond memories). For anyone who has not heard Budgie, any of the 70s albums are worth listening to (Bourge would leave on the 80s albums). Never Turn Your Back on a Friend is their most 'proggy' and highest rating here in PA, but most of their albums have some prog tendencies mixed in. Squawk and In For the Kill are also excellent.

Man, I have forgotten how much I like this band! Thanks Wes!

 Budgie by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 135 ratings

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Budgie
Budgie Prog Related

Review by sukmytoe

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.

Thanks to chris stacey for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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