Thursday, 11 September 2014

"Budgie" by BUDGIE (2013 Belle Records Japan-Only SHM-CD in 5" Mini LP Repro Artwork with 2004 Band-Approved Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

“…Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman…”

*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2013 Japan SHM-CD Reissue ***

I vividly remember getting Budgie’s 2nd album “Squawk” as a Christmas present in 1972 and my love affair with this Welsh power trio has been cemented ever since. Despite its rather plain Roger Dean artwork and bugger all info on the rear sleeve – I played it to death – one of those great Power Rock albums that grows on you and therefore stays. I then naturally ran out and bought this – their self-titled “Budgie” debut – with its grungy hard rock, Sabbath-type dark production and fabulous David Sparling artwork. And lo and behold it was even better than the second outing. Love affair number two…

Back in the 2000’s BUDGIE took control over their own catalogue and rescued it from previous poor CD reissues. This superb Japanese CD on Belle 132168 (use Barcode 4527516601140 in the Amazon search bar to get the right issue) was released 25 October 2013 (along with “Squawk”) on their SHM-CD format in repro 5” card artwork and it uses the 2004 Budgie-sanctioned remaster. A SHM-CD doesn't require a special CD player to play it on (compatible on all) nor does it need audiophile kit to hear the benefits. It's a new form of the format that picks up the nuances of the transfer better (top quality make). I own about 15 of them and they're uniformly superb.

1. Guts
2. Everything In My Heart
3. The Author
4. Nude Disintegrating Woman
5. Rape Of The Locks [Side 2]
6. All Night Petrol
7. You And I
8. Homicidal Suicidal
Tracks 1 to 8 are their Debut UK LP "Budgie" by BUDGIE – released July 1971 in the UK on MCA Records MKPS 2018 and 1972 in the USA on Kapp Records KS-3656. 
The American LP had “Crash Course” (a non-album 45 in the UK) tagged on as an extra – track 5 on Side 1 – track 9 on this CD.

9. Crash Course Brain Surgery – Single Edit
10. Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman – Single Edit
11. Crash Course Brain Surgery – Alternate Mix

As with all these Japanese 5” repro versions – the card artwork is beautifully faithful to the laminate original though it’s a shame they couldn’t have reproduced the lovely red and pink MCA label on the CD of the original vinyl LP (replaced here with the same pink as the Obi strip). Eagle-eyed collectors will also notice that of the four bonus tracks that supplemented the 2004 remaster – the 2003 re-recorded versions of “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman” and “Guts” have been dropped – keeping only three tracks relevant to the release – the Alternate Mix of “Crash Course In Brain Surgery” and the 7” single edits of “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman” and “Crash Course Brain Surgery” (that 45 was released September 1971 in the UK on MCA Records MKS 5072 and in the USA on Kapp Records K-2152).

BUDGIE consisted of TONY BOURGE on Guitar and Vocals, BURKE SHELLEY on Bass, Mellotron and Lead Vocals with RAY PHILLIPS on Drums and Percussion. “Budgie” the album was released in the UK July 1971 on MCA Records MKPS 2018 - Produced by ROGER BAIN of BLACK SABBATH fame. It’s 8 tracks open with “Guts” and immediately the dirty hard rock hits right between the teeth (it was the B-side of their second single – “Whiskey River” – March 1972 on MCA Records MKS 5085). You’re then serenaded with a slightly disconcerting one-minute acoustic bit of loveliness called “Everything In My Heart” but its soon back to thrashing your speakers with Rock. Only this time we get the double-paced genius of “The Author” – surely one of their best tracks. It saunters in with highlighted bass at first then halfway in launches into a stunning riff. The side 1 finisher is delightfully called “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman” and at 8:40 minutes is a monster. There’s a fantastic guitar battle in the middle vying with a rattling bass line that just won’t quit. Someone even edited it down to a 7” single but of course in sank without trace and is now a genuine collectable.

“Rape Of The Locks” openings with Deep Purple’s “Speed King” moment from Tony Bourge where he just lets rip but it settles into a clever funky hook and an echoed vocal – great stuff. The dirty guitar continues on “All Night Petrol” and then the album true surprise – a gorgeous acoustic ditty called “You And I” – as pretty as a ballad as you’ve every heard (“…on a night like this…”). It ends on the near seven-minute grunge riff of “Homicidal Suicidal”.

I love what the SHM-CD gives the audio – real power and muscle. I’m going to have to have “Squawk” too...

PS: see my review for the Universal UMC/MCA 3CD Box Set ‘The MCA Albums 1973-1975’ released Friday, 3 June 2016 with new Andy Pearce Remasters for “Never Turn Your Back On A Friend” (June 1973), “In For The Kill” (June 1974) and “Bandolier” (September 1975)

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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