Saturday, November 19, 2016

Budgie - 1996 "An Ecstacy Of Fumbling"

An Ecstasy of Fumbling – The Definitive Anthology was the third compilation album by Welsh rock band Budgie. The album contained two discs and featured songs from their first album, Budgie, to their tenth, Deliver Us from Evil. The album also features one rare track, "Beautiful Lies", that has never featured on any other Budgie album, as well as two live tracks.
The title of the album is taken from the Wilfred Owen poem, "Dulce et Decorum est."

By spanning their entire career, this may be the most comprehensive Budgie collection, but it's hardly the best. Disc one is flawless, showcasing the band's early '70s material where bassist/vocalist Burke Shelley and guitarist Tony Bourge combined adventurous songwriting with uncompromising heaviness to great effect. These classics include "Homicidal Suicidal," "In for the Kill," "Breaking All the House Rules," "Crash Course in Brain Surgery," and their masterpiece, "Breadfan" (these last two were famously covered by Metallica in the '80s). Disc two, on the other hand, reveals a band gradually running out of inspiration ("Melt the Ice Away"), fighting to stay relevant by incorporating more commercial elements ("Superstar"), and finally transforming into a cliche-ridden, second-class metal band ("Forearm Smash"). To anyone interested in '70s hard rock and heavy metal, Budgie remains an essential band, but most would do well to stick with their MCA releases through 1975. 

Dear young and old, far and wide:
This 2 CD compilation is an excellent starting point for digging into the monumental sound of Budgie, formerly Six Ton Budgie. (That’s a really heavy bird!) Helmed by the Geddy Lee lookalike Burke Shelley and his shifting cast of players, Budgie is a power trio and the prototype for the sound of bands as diverse as Rush, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Metallica, and Iron Maiden. Formed in ’67, Budgie predate them all.
Want some proto-Sabbath sludge? It’s here. AC/DC-type fast riff rockers with simple beats? Also here. Songs driven by catchy, eloquent basslines? Look no further. Metallic gallops? These guys were doing it while Steve Harris was still struggling away in Gypsy’s Kiss! Everything good that happened with heavy metal had already been done by Budgie before those sounds hit the mainstream. All with a singer who could have been Geddy Lee’s long lost brother (and look at those glasses too)!

This album includes some of the best tracks from their albums 1971-1982. It also includes B-sides, single versions, and EP tracks. Burke Shelley stopped gigging with Budgie in the late 80’s but returned with some serious thunder and a 2006 comeback album. This stuff, however, is some of the creme de la creme of the initial phase of Budgie.

Truly, Budgie were way ahead of their time. Chances are the kids on your street have never heard any of these songs, except when covered by Metallica and Iron Maiden. Now it’s time to prove to them who knows their rock music. Pick this, or any Budgie album, up today.  If you go with this one, you’ll also get a gigantic booklet with ample liner notes about the band and every single track.  I consider it a great stroke of luck, the day that one of my customers sold this one to me.  (His name was Dan and he’s the same guy who sold me tons of great stuff before.)  I was aware of Budgie because of Maiden and Metallica, but mostly because Martin Popoff raved about them in his first book, Riff Kills Man!  I had to have it.  I’m glad I bought it.
If I Were Britannia I’d Waive The Rules, but I would also make sure that everybody knew who Budgie was!

Track listing:

Disc one
01.     "Homicidal Suicidal"       6:44
02.     "Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman" (single version)     4:09
03.     "Whiskey River"       3:21
04.     "Hot as a Docker's Armpit"       5:52
05.     "In the Grip of a Tyrefitter's Hand"       6:24
06.     "Breadfan"       6:06
07.     "Parents"       10:21
08.     "In for the Kill"       6:26
09.     "Crash Course in Brain Surgery"       2:37
10.     "Napoleon Bona-Parts One and Two"       7:16
11.     "Who Do You Want for Your Love?"       6:09
12.     "Breaking All the House Rules"       7:24
13.     "Beautiful Lies" (previously unreleased)     5:01

Disc two
01.     "Anne Neggen"       4:08
02.     "If I Were Britannia I'd Waive the Rules"       5:51
03.     "Black Velvet Stallion"       8:07
04.     "Melt the Ice Away"       3:29
05.     "Forearm Smash"       5:40
06.     "Time to Remember"       5:28
07.     "Wild Fire"       5:13
08.     "Lies of Jim (The E-Type Lover)"       4:47
09.     "I Turned to Stone"       6:10
10.     "She Used Me Up"       3:18
11.     "Superstar"       3:29
12.     "Don't Cry"       3:19
13.     "Truth Drug"       4:24
14.     "Hold On to Love"       4:19
15.     "Superstar" (Live)     4:09
16.     "Panzer Division Destroyed" (Live)     6:18


    Burke Shelley - bass & vocals (all tracks)
    Tony Bourge - guitar (tracks 1-11 & 13-16)
    John Thomas - guitar (tracks 12 & 17-24)
    Ray Phillips - drums (tracks 1-7)
    Pete Boot - drums (tracks 8 & 9)
    Steve Williams - drums (tracks 10-24)



  2. Been a big fan of them ever since they formed in the early 70s. Think they were at their best on the first 5 albums which are represented well on the first CD of this compilation. Was hoping for "the gigantic booklet with ample liner notes about the band and every single track" so if there's any chance of scanning it that would be great. Thanks for your blog.

    1. Sorry friend, the booklet is not a folded paper staple type, this book has a binding, could not scan the pages correctly without damaging the booklet :-(

    2. Thats a shame Crimhead420. Thanks for replying.