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Hmmm a strange one this, even by Budgie’s own especially quirky standards. This 1976 album saw a bit of a departure from the bands usually sludgy and bluesy rock sound and they incorporated ……funk elements! Oh lord have mercy, Welsh funk! But wait, this is actually good, surprisingly so.
This album kicks off in excellent fashion with the groovy, up tempo ‘Anne Neggen’ which is very similar to Wishbone Ash’s ‘Jailbait’ (every 70’s rock band has at least one song about under age females!). It’s perhaps my favourite Budgie song with some wonderful guitar riffs, far from metal and far from heavy but I suppose Budgie’s inclusion into these archives is based on their early 70’s and 80’s work, rather than their supposed late 70’s slump, although I’d have to say I’ve enjoyed this as much as any other Budgie album I’ve heard. Other songs of note include the title track which shifts from heavy riffing to very funky sections and it works, in fact out of all the 70’s heavy rock bands who attempted funk only Deep Purple mk III and IV did it better, no doubt down to Glenn ‘I’m the white/non-blind Stevie Wonder’ Hughes’ impossibly soulful vocals. ‘Sky High Percentage’ is another favourite here and has some excellent riffs, Tony Bourge certainly isn’t a Iommi, Blackmore or a Page despite what Budgie’s no. 1 fan may tell you, but he has some excellent riffs. However, there are some fairly average and flawed tracks here ‘Quacktors and Bureaucats’ just is some tired boogied rock and album closer ‘Black Velvet Stallion’ despite some good ideas seems a tad plodding and never really goes anywhere. But other than this does have some great moments and in places the idea of nerdy welsh guys playing funk is strangely appealing.
Budgie’s late 70’s work seems to have a bit of a bad reputation however I must say its not sufficiently worse than say the supposed classic ‘Never Turn Your Back on a Friend’. This isn’t an essential document of 70’s rock but if your into Budgie or just fancy something quite strange and quirky you could do a lot worse than this. Oh and surely this is worth owning for that wonderfully ridiculous art work.