(Extract from Jeff Colin's book 'Rock Legends at Rockfield')
With a similar sound to their Midland counterparts Black Sabbath, Budgie recorded most of their albums at the Monmouth Studio. The following extract looks at Budgies' big break -- when they had an audition at Rockfield with Sabbath producer Rodger Bain.
After two years of gigging, and writing songs, the Budgie's big break was just around the corner. One day in 1969 when they visited their agent to pay her, she told them about an audition taking place at Rockfield Studios - just down the road from Cardiff in Monmouth. A producer there, Rodger Bain, was looking to sign a rock band and was auditioning a few acts from across the UK. Singer and bass player Burke Shelley laughs, though, when he remembers the agent’s warning to them as they left her office that day. ‘Our agent, Mrs England, I think her was name, took on a very stern face and told us, “Don’t you dare play any of your own stuff !” He giggles at the memory. ‘You’ve got to laugh, haven’t you? We were playing a few well known tunes by other bands to get gigs, but half our set was our own material and although she warned us not to play that stuff - and I’d reassured her that we wouldn’t - as soon as we got outside I said to the guys “Forget that. We’re doing our own songs” and it worked.’ The band, armed with
Ray Phillips was baffled that they didn’t hold the second audition at Rockfield, but instead at a small recording studio in London.
‘As we set up our equipment, we noticed two guys there. One was from a company called Bell Records and the other was called, David Howells, from MCA Records. I’d always thought that if a record company heard us play, then they’d sign us straight away. Dave Howells was Welsh as well. He was Merthyr born and bred, so we had an affinity with each other. Anyway he loved us and we signed a major deal with MCA records just a few weeks later. I was quite proud of the fact that Budgie had only been playing for 4 or 5 years, before we signed a major worldwide deal. That was fast work, because most guys had been in bands for 10 years before they got a deal. But we’d practiced and rehearsed non-stop. We wanted to be the best.’
Recorded at London's Global Village (March 9th 1974) and capturing Budgie initially at something approaching their peak and then some way away from it. The London show is spectacular. With better than expected sound quality, it pinpoints the often manic experimentation with which Budgie approached their music -- that is, titles as long as your arm (shame that only "You're the Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk" is present here) and solos that extend even further. Neither "Breadfan" nor "Zoom Club" have ever sounded better, and even the less than stellar "Hammer and Tongs" is not to be missed. Though it's a mere six songs long, the London show is spectacular. With better than expected sound quality, it pinpoints the often manic experimentation with which Budgie approached their music -- that is, titles as long as your arm (shame that only "You're the Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk" is present here) and solos that extend even further. Neither "Breadfan" nor "Zoom Club" have ever sounded better, and even the less than stellar "Hammer and Tongs" is not to be missed.
An alternate vision of the 1974-1978 Radio Sessions CD released a few years ago, this live Capital Radio broadcast opens with DJs Nicky Horne and Roger Scott swapping scene-setting banter ("about thousand youngsters… not overcrowded, very comfortable out on the floor and not a streaker in sight"), and then kicks into a "Breadfan" that reminds us why Budgie deserve so very much more than the second division metallurgist tag that normally accompanies mention of their name.
With Burke Shelley already sounding like his voice has been through the wringer, but the band hitting warpspeed around him, it’s the traditional Budgie blend of skull-pounding riffs and heartwarming melodies, colliding in the most unexpected places again and again and again. Six songs comprise the hour long broadcast - an impassioned "Powdered Milk," "Hammer And Tongs," "Parents," "Rocking Man" and, best of all, a "Zoom Club" that really does zoom, soaring from sublime high to deafening peak around one of the slinkiest, most seductive rhythmic riffs ever conceived.
What’s most amazing, though, is the fact that Budgie were already a little past their peak when this was recorded… a full concert tape from two years previous would wipe the floor with this one. But still there’s not another band of their breed that could compete with Budgie in full flight and, until they get the box set they deserve, discs like this will be precious as gold dust (Review by Dave Thompson).
This concert was taped for Radio Broadcast, taken from their 'In For The Kill' tour and consequently is one of the best Budgie bootlegs in circulation. This bootleg is not for the faint hearted, and should be played loud, real loud !
01. Breadfan (6:13)
02. You're The Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk (8:10)
03. Hammer And Tongs (12:00)
04. Zoom Club (8:44)
05. Parents (8:39)
06. Rocking Man (9:10)
Burke Shelley- Vocals, Bass
Tony Bourge - Guitar, Vocals
Pete Boot - Drums
Budgie Live in London (MP3)
Budgie Live In London (FLACs)