1973, Music

Never Turn Your Back on a Friend (1973) by Budgie

My memory of Budgie’s self-titled debut album is that it is fast; Budgie play faster than just about any of the original metal bands (with the exception of Deep Purple on occasion). And so, putting everything else aside, that record is important as it points towards the New Wave of British Heavy Metal well over half a decade before that happened. But I don’t remember the music very well, which was the thing that kept me from ranking it as an absolute classic.

This record is significantly more diverse musically, if memory serves. That’s a positive thing for me, as I’m generally not a huge fan of bands that only do one thing really well. So I appreciate their attempts to stretch out. But it doesn’t always work – that cover of “Baby Please Don’t Go” adds basically nothing to the song for me, for example – and there attempts to expand their palette do sort of reek of Zeppelin. (Yes, at their loudest, Budgie are definitely louder than Zeppelin, but they sort of seem to want to be able to pull off the versatility of a band like Zeppelin – albeit with different influences – and I’m not sure they can.)

This is still pretty solid as early metal goes – or “hard rock” as we must call it now – but I don’t think these guys really wrote good enough songs, or were quite talented enough, to rank with major early metal bands. (Some of their titles are pretty good, though.)


PS Drum solos suck. Especially ones with flange.

All tracks written by Burke Shelley, Tony Bourge and Ray Phillips, except where noted.

  1. “Breadfan” 6:10
  2. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (Big Joe Williams) 5:30
  3. “You Know I’ll Always Love You” 2:15
  4. “You’re the Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk” 8:51
  5. “In the Grip of a Tyrefitter’s Hand” 6:29
  6. “Riding My Nightmare” 2:42
  7. “Parents” 10:25
  • Burke Shelley – bass, lead vocals
  • Tony Bourge – guitars, backing vocals
  • Ray Phillips – drums

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