Album review: BLODWYN PIG – Pigthology

Blodwyn Pig - Pigthology

Gonzo Multimedia [Release date 10.06.13]

This release promises much – previously unheard recordings from influential blues rock band Blodwyn Pig led by original Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams.  Unreleased material from this band (especially the formative years) must be as rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth and the project gathers interest as we learn that the band’s Mick Abrahams and Jack Lancaster have been responsible for the sourcing and remastering.

The late Mick Farren even supplies the sleeve notes and reiterates that fans of the band have had to console themselves with the only two official releases.  Non-converts of a certain age must remember that iconic “pig” cover on ‘Ahead Rings Out’ (1969).  The Farren connection (not alluded to in the sleeve notes) comes from Lancaster’s association with the writer when asked to set some of his poems to music.

This archive package (like many on the Gonzo label) is sparse on any detail and there appears to be the omission of one track ‘Hound Dog’.  It’s all really careless and detracts from an otherwise top-notch enterprise.

There are no sources given in the sparse liner notes, no enlightening essay from the main movers and shakers.  In short, it’s a missed opportunity by the label.  Thankfully, the music and quality carries this release.

There are alternate versions of two tracks from their 1969 debut ‘Dear Jill’ and ‘The Change Song’ plus an outtake ‘It’s Only Love’, and from the 1970 follow-up ‘Getting To This’: ‘Drive Me’ and ‘See My Way’.

There are two non-album tracks recorded for a John Peel radio session (‘Baby Girl’ and ‘Same Old Story’ – the former appeared on the now deleted ‘Basement Tapes’  released by Hux in 2000 and the latter on the inferior ‘Radio Sessions 67-71′ (Secret Music, 2012)), several live tracks including a  marvellous instrumental ‘Cosmogrification’ recorded live at Luton Town Hall in 1973.  (Another instrumental ‘Monkinit’ is a studio effort which sounds like it was recorded during the band’s 1990′s reformation period).

Blodwyn Pig were a strange hybrid of blues and jazz rock which made them stand out from many of their UK contemporaries and this eclectic mix achieved greater fruition with their second album.

Jack Lancaster would later be involved in session and film work (check out also his little-known solo album ‘Skinnigrove Bay’ (1980) and his collaboration with Robin Lumley, ‘Marscape’(1976)), whilst Abrahams himself has not enjoyed good health in recent years but has nevertheless continued to perform and release albums.

Although this album has been previously available direct from Mick Abrahams (on his Squirrel Music imprint in 2005) it does beg the question:  there must be more material available – at least from the live sessions and gigs?  And does this raise the prospect of a “Volume 2”?  It would be worth it if only for the record label to get their act together in respect of the packaging.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

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