Blodwyn Pig


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-69)

- Mick Abrahams -- lead guitar 

- Ron Berg -- drums, percussion 

- Jack Lancaster -- woodwinds, sax 

- Andy Pyle -- bass

- Graham Walker -- keyboards 

 

  line up 2 (1969-70)

NEW - Peter Banks -- vocals, guitar (replaced Mick Abrahams)

- Ron Berg -- drums, percussion 

- Jack Lancaster -- woodwinds, sax 

- Andy Pyle -- bass 

- Graham Walker -- keyboards

 

  line up 3 (1970)

- Ron Berg -- drums, percussion 

- Jack Lancaster -- woodwinds, sax

- Andy Pyle -- bass

- Graham Walker -- keyboards 

NEW - Larry Wallis -- vocals, guitar 

 

  line up 4 (1974)

- Mick Abrahams -- lead guitar 

- Clive Bunker -- drums (replaced Ron Berg)

NEW - Jack Lancaster -- woodwinds, sax

- Andy Pyle -- bass

 

 

 

 

- Mick Abrahams Band (solo efforts)

- Chicken Shack (Andy Pyle)

- Flash (Peter Banks)

- Jethro Tull (Mick Abraham and Clive Bunker)

- Juicy Lucy (Ron Berg and Andy Pyle)

- Lancaster's Bombers

- Savoy Brown (Andy Pyle)

- UFO (Larry Wallis)

- Yes (Peter Banks)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars***

Title:  Ahead Rings Out

Company: A&M

Catalog: SP-3180
Year:
 1969

Country/State: Lutons, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments:  minor ring and edge wear; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1476

Price: $25.00

 

Guitarist Mick Abrahams was one of the founding members of Jethro Tull.  Unfortunately, following the release of the group's debut LP "This Was", reportedly at loggerheads with Tull front man Ian Anderson over musical direction, in late 1968 Abrahams quit the group.   

 

left to right: Jack Lancaster - Mick Abrahams - Rob Berg - Andy Pyle

 

Interested in continuing to explore a mixture of blues-rock and jazz idioms, Abrahams wasted no time forming Blodwyn Pig (a stoned friend of the band supposedly came up with the name).  Showcasing the talents of drummer Ron Berg, multi-instrumentalist Jack Lancaster, and bassist Andy Pyle (who'd played with Abraham in McGregor's Engine), the group was quickly signed by Island (A&M acquiring American distribution rights).  The quartet debuted with the 1969 single 'Dear Jill' b/w 'Sweet Caroline' (Island catalog number WIP 6059).  A&M released the single in the States under catalog number 1158.

 

 

Produced by Andy Johns,1969's "Ahead Rings Out"  offered up and introduction to the group's unique mixture of blues-rock and jazz-tinged genres (the latter courtesy of Jack Lancaster's instrumental touches).  Not exactly the most commercial album of the year, exemplified by tracks like 'It's Only Love' and the instrumental 'Backwash' their unique mixture of styles took a little getting use to.  It was also an album that was hard to aptly describe.  Imagine a more rock oriented John Mayall with horns and you'd be in the general neighborhood.  Reviewers were pretty kind to the band, but the first couple of times I spun the LP I found it kind of shrill and unimpressive.  Abrahams had a rough and rugged voice that I actually liked and exemplified by tracks like the single 'Dear Jill', 'See My Way', and 'Summer Day' their stripped down blues-rock moves were pretty good.  While most of the attention went to Abrahams guitar (well deserved), the true stars were found in the band's rhythm section.  Berg's powerful drumming managed to keep the whole thing together, while Pyle's bass patterns were continuously creative.  At the other end of the spectrum, Lancaster's horns were definitely an acquired taste.  The guy was certainly talented (in concert he frequently played two horns at once - a trick he apparently picked up from  Rahsaan Roland Kirk).  Unfortunately, to my ears his embellishments were frequently distracting making a song like Lancaster's instrumental 'The Modern Alchemist' technically impressive, but far from enjoyable.  Weird enough to warrant investigating, but certainly won't appeal to everyone.  By the way, in England the LP was tapped for a second single:

 

 

- 1969's 'Summer Day' b/w 'Walk On the Water' (Island catalog number WIP-6069)

 

In France and the rest of Europe the single was flipped with 'Walk On the Water' chosen as the 'A' side:

 

 

 

The LP went top-10 in the UK, but in spite of the single and an American tour, only hit the lower reaches of the American charts.  (For completists, the original US release featured a slightly different track listing than the UK album - the notable difference being the inclusion of 'See My Way'.)

 

"Ahead Rings Out" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It's Only Love   (Mick Abrahams) 3:23

2.) Dear Jill   (Mick Abrahams) 5:19

3.) Walk On the Water

4.) The Modern Alchemist (instrumental)   (Jack Lancaster) 5:38

 

(side 2)
1.) See My Way - 5:00

2.) Summer Day - 3:43

3.) The Change Song   (Mick Abrahams) 3:45

4.) Backwash   (Mick Abrahams - Jack Lancaster - Andy Pyle - Ron Berg) 0:51

5.) Ain't Ya Coming' Home, Babe?   (Mick Abrahams - Jack Lancaster - Andy Pyle) 5:35

 

 

Thanks to YouTube there are quite a few Blodwyn Pig performances available on the web:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN68LSrPTC0

German Beat Club performance of 'The Modern Alchemist'

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq85HXxrYrc

German Beat Club performance of 'See My Way'

 

 

For anyone interested Abrahams has a nifty Blodwyn Pig website at:

http://www.mickaby.freeola.com/

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars***

Title:  Getting To This

Company: A&M

Catalog: SP-4243
Year:
 1970

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments:  gatefold sleeve

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5603

Price: SOLD $20.00

 

Produced by Andy Johns the group's sophomore release "Getting To This" wasn't a radical departure from the debut.  As on the first album guitarist Mick Abrahams was responsible for most of the material; sax player Jack Lancaster and bassist Andy Pyle each contributing one song to the album.  Curiously critics tend to give the nod to the debut collection, but perhaps due to the fact this one was a little more mainstream and bluesy, it gets my vote.  I should actually qualify that statement by saying side one featured a more conventional rock orientation with side two giving sax player Lancaster room to stretch out via the multi-part suite 'San Francisco Sketches'.

 

left to right: Ron Berg - Andy Pyle (back) -  Mick Abrahams (front) - Jack Lancaster

 

"Getting To This" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Drive Me   (Mick Abrahams) - 3:27

To my ears these guys were at their best when they avoided the jazz-rock experimentation and stuck to a plain rock attack.  That's probably why I think 'Drive Me' is one of their best songs.  rating: **** stars

2.) Variations On Nainos    (Mick Abrahams) - 3:47

'Variations On Nainos' found the group back in the jazz-rock fusion arena, but since the song featured an attractive melody, a nice Abrahams solo, and Lancaster was kept on a short rein via a rather tuneful flute solo, this one was okay.  rating: *** stars

3.) Meanie Mornay    (Mick Abrahams) - 4:45

Another straightforward rocker with a great Abrahams' solo, 'Meanie Mornay' may have been one of the two standout selections on the LP.   rating: **** stars

4.) Long Bomb Blues    (Mick Abrahams) - 1:07

'Long Bomb Blues' was an acoustic country-blues number. Technically nice, but not all that exciting.    rating: ** stars

5.) The Squirreling Must Go On (instrumental)    (Mick Abrahams - Andy Pyle) - 4:27

'The Squirreling Must Go On' (no idea what the title is about) was a pounding instrumental showcase for Abrahams fuzz guitar.  Very nice ...    rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) San Francisco Sketches  (Jack Lancaster)    rating: *** stars

     i.) Beach Scape (instrumental) - 1:24

     ii.) Fisherman's Wharf  (instrumental) - 2:37

     iii.) Telegraph Hill - 1:24

     iv.) Close the Door I'm Falling out of the Room - :52

Written by Lancaster and not surprisingly the most jazzy segment of the album, the four part 'San Francisco Sketches' gave each member a chance to stretch out.  Complete with sound effects 'Beach Scape' was a new age-ish slice atmospheric soundtrack. The second half of the 'Fisherman's Wharf' segment showcased a nice Abrahams solo, while 'Telegraph Hill' sounded like Up with People or a laxative commercial before shifting over to the sax-propelled instrumental ''Close the Door I'm Falling Out of the Room.

2.) Worry   (Andy Pyle) - 3:43

Andy Pyle's blazing rocker 'Worry' was my pick for standout track.    rating: **** stars

3.) Toys    (Mick Abrahams) - 3:04

It made absolutely no impact on me the first couple of times I listened to it, but 'Toys' was a rocker that grows on you   rating: ** stars

4.) Send Your Son to Die   (Mick Abrahams) - 4:25

In spite of the activist lyric and Lancaster's blaring sax solos 'Send Your Son to Die' was the most mainstream and commercial song on the album.  Would've made a dandy FM single to boot !    rating: **** star

 

Like I said earlier, I'd vote for this one over the debut, but I'm definitely in the minority here.


Unfortunately musical differences raised their ugly heads and Abrahams subsequently called it quits reappearing as frontman for the cleverly titled Mick Abrahams Band.  Singer/guitarist Larry Wallis and former Yes guitarist Peter Banks were quickly brought in as replacements.  Billed as 'Blodwyn', the revamped band toured throughout the UK and even recorded some live sessions for the BBC.  Unfortunately, before they could record anything the band collapsed.

 

left to right: Jack Lancaster - Peter Banks - Larry Wallis - Rob Berg - Andy Pyle

 

Celebrating Abraham's 65th birthday, in July 2008 the original line up reunited for a one shot performance.  Original drummer Berg attended the event, but due to advanced arthritis was unable to actually perform.  Jethro Tull's Clive Bunker provided capable support to Abrahams, sax player Lancaster, and bassist Pyle.  YouTube has some amateur video of the event:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1rU1cEl32g

 

 

 

 

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