Album review: DUFFY – Scruffy Duffy (remaster w/bonus tracks)

Cherry Red [Release date 25.06.21]

An undiscovered gem of an album. That’s a familiar phrase, and one that too often disappoints when exposed to the light. Scruffy Duffy doesn’t let us down.

This was Brit band, Duffy’s second album, recorded in Switzerland, released in 1973. Their music had everything, problem being it was all on the same album. One part prog, one part rock and one part working class geezers and a lot of parts pop, blues and rough edges. The UK charts back then were full of disparate sounds, but they could all be easily defined and readily digested. Duffy didn’t fit. The album couldn’t be pigeonholed, which inevitably led to a lack of promotion and limited press coverage.

From the amusing, character driven lyrics of ‘The Browns’ to the drawn out Beatlish pop of ‘Ode To Clay’. From the Uriah Heep-ish ‘Banker’ to the funky, bluesy ‘Joker’, this was a band with ability and talent. But not a future. Strange, one honest listen to the doomy, biting guitar progrock of ‘St John’s’ – a lacerating, nine and half minute slice of social commentary on 70′s Britain – and you would think that success would have been guaranteed.

It’s great to see pioneering UK label, Esoteric Recordings reissuing the album. It has been remastered from the original master tape, still held by the Chapter One label. First mixes of five of the album’s key tracks were also “in the vaults”. These are earthier, rawer versions, and these too have been remastered and added to this reissue as bonus tracks. ***1/2

Review by Brian McGowan

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 12 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

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