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Budgie - Never Turn Your Back On A Friend

Review: 050
Date: 12 Nov 01


Rating: 5 Stars

Burke Shelley - Bass and vocals
Tony Bourge - Lead guitar, acoustic guitar and vocal
Ray Philips - Drums

Tracks Listing:
1. Breadian
2. Baby Please Don’t Go
3. You Know I’ll Always Love You
4. You’re The Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk
5. In The Grip Of A Tyrefitter’s Hand
6. Riding My Nightmare
7. Parents


The release in 1973, of “Never Turn Your Back On A Friend” was the band’s third studio L.P. It proved to be a major mile stone in the long, hard gigging career of Welsh rockers Budgie. It also established their hard rocking style with the drums and bass thumping along together and Tony Bourge’s lead guitar work ruffling even the largest feathers.

The first song off the perch was to become Budgie’s standard bearer, “Breadfan”. It opened with Tony Bourge’s rocking guitar, then the bass and drums come thundering in with the fuzzy crunch of twelve thousand banging heads. Add to this Burke Shelley’s very high pitched, quintessential 70’s metal singing (reminiscent of Geddy Lee of Rush but much sharper) and this heavy metal bird takes flight.

Metallica tried to cover this song on their “Garage Inc”. This revealed them to be the rather sad ‘covers’ band that they are.

However, Budgie deliver it all in true hard rock style, pacing the album nicely with two acoustic songs to break up the heavy metal bluster. I’ll even forgive the one minute thirty eight second drum solo at the beginning of the fourth song as it’s so short, sharp and heavy.

It’s the final song “Parents”, which is a supersonic power rock ballad that elevates you through the stratosphere. A song very similar in structure to “Led Zeppelins” “Stairway To Heaven”, Burke Shelley sings of the torment of turning from child to parent, hitting the heart fair and square with Mott who has a few puppies of his own. This song alone makes this album worth hunting down.

The parents tell their children, “Wash your hands & up to bed, mind your manners or you’re dead, watch the cars ‘cos you got school on Monday”. Haven’t all parents at sometimes spoken in these jumbled spurts of love and warning?

Though they never reached the dizzy heights of success like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath or Cream, Budgie did leave behind 10 hard rocking studio albums. Really, this is a million heavy metal dreams from their wild concerts attended by their substantial live following.

Budgie also specialized in wonderful album and song titles. As well as the ones on this album, there was also “If I was Britannia I’d waive the rules”, “Impeckable”, “Nude disintegrating parachutist woman” and “Hot as a docker’s armpit”. This, at least, proves that the boys from the valleys had a sense of humour. Well, you try fitting those words in a chorus!

Add to this Roger Dream’s stunning artwork and you always got the complete package with this bird.

This is one Budgie this Dog will never mess with.


Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew


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