Budgie – Never Turn Your Back on a Friend Reissue
Pale Wizard Records
Release Date: 30/06/23
Running Time: 42:23
Review by Paul Hutchings
I’ve already got this release on vinyl – purchased a couple of weeks before the album review option arrived. It’s the third installment in Pale Wizard’s “50 Years Later” and celebrates a band who to anyone from South Wales of a certain age are embedded deep in the psyche. Budgie’s third album, “Never Turn Your Back on a Friend” wasn’t an over-long release but the 40 or so minutes were quality overcoming quantity. It was the final album to feature Burke Shelley, Tony Bourge and Ray Phillips and housed a mere seven-songs, including the anthemic ‘Breadfan’, a song made famous by a certain Metallica and now a firm staple in the Florence Black set.
Gathering seven bands who can do the album justice is no mean feat. Thankfully, Dan Flitcroft at Pale Wizard has done a sterling job. If you can get over the rather challenging version of ‘You Know I’ll Always Love You’ delivered in their own inimitable and unique style by The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, then this is generally a solid release. Whether it’s the stonking version of ‘Breadfan’ by Birmingham’s psychedelic stoners Alunah, whose Sian Greenaway adds a tasteful bit of flute, the bursting power of Firegarden on the Big Joe Williams cover ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, or the faithful riff fest of Regulus on ‘You’re the Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk’ on side one, there should be something here to enjoy for anyone who has ever nodded their heads in appreciation of one of rock music’s most original power trios.
Side two features Nottinghamshire’s Syncolima doing great stuff on ‘In the Grip of A Tyrefitter’s Hand’, surely one of the best song titles ever, whilst Great Electric Quest handle ‘Riding My Nightmare’ with the sensitive, almost Allman Brothers approach the song demands. That leaves us with the mighty Sergeant Thunderhoof to bring it home and they do it in style with the ten-minute epic ‘Parents’.
If you have the vinyl, you’ll get more detail on the background to this release, plus commentary from the bands involved on why they got involved, and what Budgie meant to them. It’s combined with a cracking piece of detail in a gatefold sleeve, and some funky coloured splatter vinyl versions. Mine’s a stunning pale blue and black.
In their time, Budgie were never given the breaks their music deserved. Now, 50 years on from an album that is so important to many, seven bands and Pale Wizard have brought the Welsh trio back to the attention of the public. A timely and sensitively delivered reminder that class is permanent.
01. Breadfan – Alunah
02. Baby Please Don’t Go – Firegarden
03. You Know I’ll Always Love You – The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell
04. You’re the Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk – Regulus
05. In the Grip of a Tyrefitter’s Hand – Syncolima
06. Riding My Nightmare – Great Electric Quest
07. Parents – Sergeant Thunderhoot
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