Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kapp Records: You And I

I hadn’t heard of the power trio Budgie until they released their fourth album, “In for the Kill,” in 1974. I happened to catch the entire album being tracked one evening on Ashland, KY’s WAMX – a radio station I would eventually haunt from 1978-1980. I taped the album in its entirety and no doubt have that cassette somewhere.

By 1974, Kapp recording artists had been transferred over to the MCA label. Their first two albums, “Budgie” and “Squawk,” however, were originally issued on Kapp. The signing of this band to Kapp was a little out of character for their A&R department. They were nothing like any other Kapp artist and would flounder on the charts here in America. In all probability their promotions department had no clue how to market this band.

While the original recording of “Crash Course” (as it appeared on the 45's label) was the single, it failed to chart. The full title was listed on the album as “Crash Course in Brain Surgery.” The shortening of the title was probably necessary to keep music directors from tossing the single without even listening to the cut. The band would later rerecord this same song for “In for the Kill” and that particular version is the one with which most people are familiar. It is also the rendition that influenced Metallica to later cover the song.

A look at the song titles on this first album are intended to shock – as were the titles that appeared on Black Sabbath’s album “Paranoid.” I remember when the Sabbath album came out in 1970 and my brother and I saw it in a K-Mart in Lexington, KY. We chuckled about the titles of songs like “War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” “Electric Funeral,” “Rat Salad,” and “Fairies Wear Boots.” Little did we know that Black Sabbath’s second album would someday be considered a classic and sell over four million copies in the US alone.

The Budgie album, not so much; however, it too had some real unusual titles such as “Guts,” “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman,” “All Night Petrol,” and “Homicidal Suicidal.” You catch my drift. Unlike the rest of the album and most of their music for that matter, one cut stands above the rest on the first Budgie LP. Although only 1:41 in length, “You and I” is the best cut on the album – but it is not the shortest. That honor goes to “Everything in My Heart” which clocks in at 52 seconds.

Budgie, at that time, consisted of Tony Bourge on guitar and vocals, Ray Phillips on drums and percussion, and Burke Shelley on bass, vocals, and Mellotron. Remember, today’s song is not characteristic of Budgie’s primarily heavy style – but enjoyable for all fans of music everywhere.

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