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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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4 stars I just noticed that Budgie's classic album, Never Turn Your Back On A Friend (1973), only has 20 ratings here at ProgArchives. There's quite a disparity between that and Black Sabbath's top-rated album, Paranoid, which has 113 ratings. These are both superb heavy blues- inflected works, but for whatever reasons the Budgie album is generally overlooked. My review may not add anything to the other fine commentaries here on PA but hopefully it will generate a little interest in this superb album.

Hailing from Wales, Budgie is a guitar, bass and drums combo that features the distinctive vocals of bassist Burke Shelley. His voice is something of an acquired taste and has a similar helium-induced quality to the likes of Geddy Lee and David Surkamp. While his singing may take some getting used to, his bass playing is superb and provides the perfect foil for Tony Bourge's leads. This is exemplified on the wonderfully titled IN THE GRIP OF A TYREFITTER'S HAND, one of a hat trick of outstanding originals on the album. The towering BREADFAN, which includes one of rock's ultimate riffs, and the 10-minute PARENTS complete this trio. The latter is arguably the album's most progressive piece and does indeed sound like Wishbone Ash at their best, with perhaps some John Lees guitarwork thrown in for good measure. Budgie also do a mean cover, with a knockout version of the standard BABY PLEASE DON'T GO that reminds me of the Golden Earring hit Radar Love.

Never Turn Your Back On A Friend contains some stunning material and is an album that should appeal to fans of heavy bluesy prog/rock, although there are plenty of acoustic moments as well. The beautiful cover artwork, one of my favourite Roger Dean designs, is simply the cherry on the top of a very tasty cake.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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