Hatched in Cardiff, Wales, in 1967, at a time when psychedelic music was edging towards hard rock, Budgie were always a unique proposition. Consummate musicians, they cast a huge shadow over the music scene, switching with ease from rock to heavy metal and prog. Influencing generations of artists to come, Budgie’s songs are littered throughout the evolution of heavy metal music, with New Wave Of British Heavy Metal legends Iron Maiden recording ‘I Can’t See My Feelings’ (originally on 1975’s Bandolier), thrash metal pioneers Metallica covering both ‘Breadfan’ and ‘Crash Course In Brain Surgery’ (from 1973’s Never Turn Your Back On A Friend and 1974’s In For The Kill!, respectively), and Van Halen performing the title track to In For The Kill! during their early gigs.
Now three of Budgie’s most groundbreaking albums, Never Turn Your Back…, In For The Kill! and Bandolier, are being reissued as The MCA Albums 1973-1975, presenting this crucial phase of Budgie’s career as a 3CD box set.
After two albums (their self-titled 1971 debut and the following year’s Squawk), Never Turn Your Back… saw the group fully come into their own. Recorded by the original classic trio line-up of Burke Shelley (vocals, bass), Tony Bourge (guitar) and Ray Phillips (drums), it also boasted artwork by legendary prog album cover designer Roger Dean (best known for his iconic work for Yes). Helping to build the group’s fanbase, the album set the scene for 1974’s In For The Kill!, which entered the Top 30 in the UK, becoming Budgie’s highest-charting LP. Though it was recorded without founding member Ray Phillips (who had been replaced by drummer Pete Boot), it saw the group build upon their earlier work and notably included a re-recording of their 1971 single ‘Crash Course In Brain Surgery’.
Rounding the collection off, Bandolier introduced another replacement drummer, Steve Williams, into Budgie’s line-up. The remainder of the group’s career would see them shift to the A&M and, subsequently, RCA labels, and undergo a number of line-up changes (with founding member Burke Shelley remaining a mainstay throughout). Taken together, the recordings on The MCA Albums 1973-1975 provide some of Budgie’s most essential work.