Budgie - An Ecstasy of Fumbling: The Definitive Budgie Collection (Repertoire)
Despite having been a huge fan of 1970's heavy metal and the whole NWOBHM movement growing up, I had never heard much from Budgie other than the few hits. In 2003 a friend sent me this compilation to check out, knowing well my affection for the 1970's heavy metal sound. His premonition was correct. I can't believe I missed Budgie for this long. Having heard Budgie now, they sound so fresh to me. Budgie are not one of those bands you're likely to hear on rock radio, yet their songs sound like they should have been. Budgie have a lot in common with bands like Uriah Heep, UFO, Diamond Head and even Rush. This compilation breaks down the Budgie history into two discs. Disc one focuses on the first era of Budgie (70s era) which is basically bassist/singer Burke Shelley, guitarist Tony Bourge, and any number of drummers. (I'm pretty sure one of their drummers spontaneously combusted leaving a green stain on the drum throne.) Disc 2 features the second incarnation of Budgie in the 80's, after Tony Bourge had left. His replacement, John Thomas helped steer the band into the NWOBHM sound. I personally find the 70's proto-metal material to be the most interesting. Some of these songs are bombastic, heavy and peppered with bluesy heavy metal riffs and guitar solos. On the first few listens, one of my favorite tracks is the epic, melodic and somewhat mellow "Parents". The heavier tracks like "In For the Kill" and "Breadfan" are great as well. I enjoyed almost every song off disc one, although I found something to like in each era. That is not to say that everything on this extensive career retrospective is great. It seemed to me that the material with Tony Bourge was the strongest. "An Ecstasy of Fumbling" is a good career retrospective. Besides being an overall good listen, it also peaked my interest in this band enough to begin searching out other Budgie releases.
This collection also features a 44 page booklet housed inside a full color slipcase. The collection also included the previously unreleased track 'Beautiful Lies', alongside live versions of'Panzer Division Destroyed' & 'Superstar' from the 1982 Reading fest! Vital.