Honey, but from different hives
eurocrank | Ketchikan, Alaska | 06/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is Budgie's fifth album and is part of the recently remastered Noteworthy edition. As of 6/10/07, this edition includes all the original albums through 'If I Were Brittania I'd Waive the Rules' (1971-1976). It was remastered by the same guys who did the first, and excellent, Uriah Heep remasters, Robert M. Corich and Mike Brown. The redesign and artwork are by the guy who did the first, and somewhat problematic, Black Sabbath remasters, Hugh Gilmour. (Actually, his work was excellent; it was the music remastering that had problems.) The bonus tracks were remastered by Martin Giles and Robert M. Corich. This edition has been done with the cooperation of the band and its management.
The packaging is fine, though I really wish Noteworthy had gone to the trouble of hiring a proofreader: the liner notes have errors galore. The credits seem thorough, which is nice, and the interview quotes provide some meaningful information. The bonus tracks are acceptably annotated as well.
This edition sounds better than the first Repertoire CD edition--sharper, clearer, broader, deeper--but not better enough for me to want to invest in a whole new edition.
What make the Noteworthys noteworthy are the bonus tracks. But even there I'm not sure they're worth the investment. Some of the bonus tracks do seem very enticing, especially the ones with Tony Bourge.
Such as "Honey"! Although not listed in the amazon description, it is the first bonus track on 'Bandolier.' "Honey" is mentioned in the Repertoire discography accompanying some of their Budgie CDs, but unfortunately Repertoire didn't include it in their otherwise great 2CD Budgie compilation, 'An Ecstasy of Fumbling.' To give potential customers an idea of the value of the Noteworthy edition and one of its problems, here's the note to this track:
"First released as the B-side to the 'I Ain't No Mountain' A rare and much sought after Budgie acoustic number. Great track and it's a joy to have it added to the remaster."
Inept copyediting aside, it really is "a joy" to finally have this track available.
But the bonus tracks on the Noteworthy edition of the Budgie albums present another, more significant problem for me. I don't like the rationale behind their inclusion. Many are rerecordings by the current version of the band, with Simon Lees on guitar. Some were recently rerecorded with the involvement of Tony Bourge. Some are previously unreleased live recordings from the John Thomas version of the band.
For example, the band on 'Bandolier' is Burke Shelley, Tony Bourge, and Steve Williams. The album was released in 1975. Two of the bonus tracks are from 1975, but the other two are not. "Breaking All The House Rules" and "Napoleon Bona-Part 1 and 2" (this title is written three different ways in this edition) were recorded live at Chatham Town Hall in 1980 by the John Thomas version of the band. The note to "Napoleon . . . " points out "how very different he was from his predecessor Tony Bourge."
So why attach these two songs to 'Bandolier'? Especially when the first bonus track, "Honey," and the last bonus track, "Who Do You Want For Love" (sic), are both contemporary? ("Who . . . " was recorded live in 1975 for The Old Grey Whistle Test.)
Moreover, the John Thomas bonus tracks are of bootleg quality, in mono and with significant distortion. They sound good, as bootlegs go, and I certainly understand the value of any Budgie archival material, given how very little there has been. But the difference in sound quality, along with the difference in sound, detracts from the unity that was the original 'Bandolier.'
"Who Do You Want For Love" (actually, "Who Do You Want for Your Love"--another proofreading error) also suffers sound problems, such as tics and then a skip from what I suspect was a BBC transcription disc, but at least it's a 1975 recording by the Budgie that recorded 'Bandolier.'
I wish that the non-contemporary bonus tracks had been compiled separately as an album. I don't think they would have held together as an album any better than they hold together on the individual albums; still, the original albums would have retained their unity, and Budgie collectors would have more to listen to, in a convenient package, from this band."
The final flight
Bloodbath_and_Beyond | usa | 01/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1975's Bandolier was the last 'classic' album from Budgie. With the predecessor effort In For The Kill!, the band had a slight darker sound, and started to add a few new elements to the sound, as they had toyed with on Squawk. Their funk influences are full force here and it actually makes their blend of heavy rock and lighthearted fun all the cooler. Breaking All The House Rules is a great opener, although after some repeated listens you can sense the band has thrown away some of its true thunder it had on earlier records. Who Do You Want For Your Love starts off slow, becoming a cool mix of funk and blues/rock riffs, though this song may not be for everyone. I Can't See My Feelings returns Budgie to the lavishing hard rock but the key cut here is the melodic I Ain't No Mountain. The ending wah-wah treatment guitarist Tony Bourge packs on comfirms the bands growing interest into more groove oriented sounds. The final cut, the amusingly titled Napoleon Bona Part 1 and 2 harken back to the bands old days, trailblazing Sabbath like heavy metal. Although this album has an obvious lighter edge than the other 4, it's definetly worth having. As anyone interested in metal's origins, the underbelly of the genre need check out masters like Budgie, UFO, Bloodrock, Mountain, Mahagony Rush, Blue Cheer, and Montrose. This would be the last time Budgie would sound 100% inspired and everything else they did falls into hardcore fan territory. These guys paved the way for what would become NWOBHM"