Budgie – Squawk (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgSquawk is the second studio album by the rock band Budgie. It was released in September 1972 on MCA Records. The album was certified Gold in 1973. The cover art was by Roger Dean.

Having acquired a small cult following with its first album, Budgie offered a second dose of abrasive, forceful heavy metal that, like its predecessor, drew on influences ranging from Cream to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Budgie was a band that loved contrasts — the folk-ish qualities of “Make Me Happy” and the Beatlesque “Rolling Home Again” make hard-driving classics like “Hot as a Docker’s Armpit,” “Drugstore Woman,” and “Rocking Man” seem all the more intense. For all its strengths, Squawk didn’t turn Budgie into the well-known outfit it should have been. Budgie’s followers were a devoted bunch, but unfortunately, there weren’t nearly enough of them. (by Alex Henderson)

Budgie, now – I’m kinda surprised. Hard-Rock band from Wales, Budgie, have released some strong albums over the years, and have been highly influential in doing so. Thrashers METALLICA have a high respect for the band, and they were also closely cited alongside BLACK SABBATH as pioneers of the up- coming rise of what became the ‘Heavy Metal’ genre. I’m certain that IRON MAIDEN’s Bassist Steve Harris learnt a thing or 2 from Shelley’s Bass-playing. I have only hung onto a couple of their records, so, I speak from a truly ‘critical’ reviewer’s point-of-view, rather than a follower of their craft. This 2nd album, entitled ‘Squawk’, featured one of Roger Dean’s early forays into LP art, with the skull of a bird fixed to the nose of a model jet. Quite eye catching in itself, really.

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This is the Budgie record I return to most often. Between the 3 musicians, Burke Shelley played some awesome Bass and contributed the Mellotron parts heard on many of the tracks. Riff-based Guitar player Tony Bourge was only a notch behind the great Riff-master Tony Iommi, showing that there was stiff competition in the field. Drummer Ray Phillips treads the same path as Bill Ward ever did, competent, but not a complete virtuoso. Together, they forged some memorable Hard-Rock songs and cool albums. I’ve dusted off my old record in order to speak of the songs here, and, here goes : – ‘Whisky River’ shows off a simple, harder-edged rock-riff with Shelley’s higher-pitched, Hard-Rock oriented vocals (reminding one of Purple’s Glenn Hughes), listenable, but nothing fantastic. ‘Rocking Man’ is more like it, with a more grungey riff and cool interplay between the instruments, and an understanding of creating odd-time sigs for the benefit of the song, and not just for the sake of it. One very good song. ‘Rolling Home Again’ is a brief (under 2 min long), jangly acoustic piece in softer mood, complete with some bouncy mellotron stabs, sung well and somewhat catchy. Currently I’m on the song ‘Make Me Happy’, which is acoustically based and mellow, the Piano adds to its softer vibe. It immediately launches into the knock-out tune ‘Hot As A Docker’s Armpit’.

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Full of changing tempos, catchy riffs and excellent musicianship, this song should please most Prog-Heads. The amazing mid-section offers the listener some stunning action on the Bass Guitar and tasteful mellotron playing. Bourge’s Guitaring is also notable. They sound more accessible, and less oppressive than the mighty Sabbath, but equally as enjoyable. Time to change the side…..’Drugstore Woman’ is similar to the opening tune, a basic 12-bar tune, only performed in ‘Heavy’ fashion. Still, nothing that requires a snob-nose or a quick skipping over. ‘Bottled’ is a brief instrumental bash (again, under 2 min.) which sounds like a jam with Bourge on Slide-Guitar. The 8 min+ ‘epic’ entitled ‘Young Is A World’ kicks off with some ethereal Guitaring, and again, a mellower approach. This tune is quite basic, with some heavier instrumental breaks, and more Mellotron (for those of us who just can’t get enough) and pleasant vocals. It should never outstay its welcome. The change in the middle features a simple riff, but played effectively and can offer any budding Bass-Player some pointers. Overall, a great song. The last track, ‘Stranded’, is more Hard-Rock riffing in the way that Sabbath performed (I can’t help but compare the two – if it wasn’t Sabbath who were successful, I’m sure Budgie would’ve been at the forefront). So, there you go, fine people ; a really good Proto-Metal album, with a gutsy sound and tough musicianship. (by Tom Ozric)

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Personnel:
Tony Bourge (guitar)
Ray Phillips (drums)
Burke Shelley (vocals, bass, mellotron, piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Whiskey River 3.23
02. Rocking Man 5.25
03. Rolling Home Again 1.43
04. Make Me Happy 2.37
05. Hot As A Docker’s Armpit 5.52
06. Drugstore Woman 3.14
07. Bottled 1.51
08. Young Is A World 8.08
09. Stranded 6.21
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10. Whiskey River (A side single version) 2.39
11. Stranded (alternate mix) 6.19
12. Whiskey River (2003 version) 3.20
13. Rolling Home Again (2004 version) 1.38

All songs written by Burke Shelley, Tony Bourge and Ray Phillips.

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Various Artists – Reading Rock – Volume One (1982)

lpfrontcover1The twenty second festival possibly had a more attractive lineup than 1981, at least if one was a heavy rock devotee. The inclusion of hard rock guitar stalwarts Gary Moore, Randy California, southern rockers Blackfoot and erstwhile pub rockers Dave Edmunds and Wilko Johnson gave the lineup spine that was missing from the previous year.

   The headliners were also a tad more prestigious. The Scorpions/UFO former lead guitarist Michael Schenker, whose repertoire veered into the sort of metal jazz/rock territory inhabited by Jeff Beck- as well as delivering more predictable hard rock fare -gave Sunday night a touch of class .
   Budgie and Iron Maiden were guaranteed to deliver an exciting hard rock show, regardless of whether one thought of them as innovators within the genre or not. Maiden’s credentials were reinforced by the presence of Bruce Dickinson , the erstwhile Samson lead vocalist , who had taken over the vocal spot from Paul Di’Anno .
   All three of these artists were recorded by the venerable BBC and broadcast on the Radio One Friday night rock show in 1983 .
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Iron Maiden
Once again, Reading delivered a mid range experience for the punters , no top end acts like Pink Floyd or the Stones which needed a mega crowd to return the organisers a profit, but a solid workmanlike bill that would leave the attendees satisfied in the main . This was what Reading was about at the time, but the formula was about to change , as 1983 would be the last Reading for several years, at long last , the never ending story was about to come to a ( temporary ) stop (by ukrockfestivals.com)
It is strange that Mean Records chose to include a couple of tracks that weren’t actually from the 82 Festival – Whitesnake’s recording was from the 79 Festival and UFO’s from 1980. Yet, they neglected to include tracks from bands that did perform like – Iron Maiden, Gary Moore and Tygers of Pan Tang. Below is the (almost) correct running order of the 1982 Reading Festival, taken from the official festival program. Perhaps they had intended to release a Volume Two (based on the name for this release – Volume One) but as far as I can gather this did not happen. (by Mr. AussieRock)
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Michael Schenker
I add ten more songs from this great Festival (thanks to rockonvinyl.blogspot.de)
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Tracklist:
01. Whitesnake:  Walking In The Shadows Of The Blues (Coverdale/Marsden) 4.40
02. Terraplane: I Want Your Body (Morley)  5.47
03. Marillion: He Knows You Know (Marillion) 4.46
04. Jackie Lynton: Slow Rider (Lynton/White) 4.46
05: Budgie: Superstar (Shelley/Thomas) 4.07
06. Bernie Marsden: S.O.S. (Marsden/Hawthorn) 4.42
07. Chinatown: I Wanna See You Tonight (Chinatown) 3.58
08. Randy California:  Come On Woman (California) 4.07
09. Stampede: There And Back (L.Archer/R.Archer/Bond) 5.44
10. Twisted Sister: Shoot ‘Em Down (Snider) 5.07
11. Michael Schenker: Attack Of The Mad Axeman  (Schenker/Barden) 4.31
12. Marillion: Three Boats Down From The Candy (Marrilion) 4.40
13. Terraplane: Turn Me Loose (Morley) 4.13
14. Just Good Friends: You Really Got Me (Davies) 4.27
15. UFO: Hot And Ready (Schenker/Mogg) 3.25
16. Budgie: Panzer Division Destroyed (Shelley/Thomas) 6.20
17. Grand Prix: Keep On Believin’ (Lanzon/O`Donoghue) 5.10
18. Spider: All The Time (Burrows/Harkness) 4.07
19. Chinatown: Caught On The Wrong Side (Chinatown) 4.24
20. Jackie Lynton; Hedgehog Song (Lynton) 4.57
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21. Gary Moore: Nuclear Attack (Moore) 5.27
22. Iron Maiden: Wrathchild (Harris) 3.32
23. Praying Mantis: Nightmares (C.Troy/Potts/Carroll/T.Troy) 3.01
24. Tygers Of Pan Tang: Blackjack (Tygers Of Pan Tan) 3.04
25. Y&T: Black Tiger (Kennemore/O´Conner/Rush/Haze/Alves/Meniketti) 4.14
26. Gary Moore: Parisean Walkways (Lynott/Moore) 5.25
27. Iron Maiden Tush (Beard/Gibbons/Hill) 6.05
28. Praying Mantis: Flirtin’ With Suicide (C.Troy/Potts/Carroll/T.Troy) 5.28
29. Tygers Of Pan Tang:
Slave To Freedom (Cox/Dick/Weir) 5.18
30. Y&T: Forever (Kennemore/O´Conner/Rush/Haze/Alves/Meniketti) 5.47
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