decade sees a new sensation which shakes the world of popular
music to its very foundations - in the 1950s it was rock
'n' roll and Elvis; the sixties brought the musical revolution
led by the Beatles, culminating in flower power, psychedelic
and the Summer of Love.
As for the 1970s, well, these days most of us remember glam
rock and punk - but many people believe that these were
mere passing fads compared to the musical phenomenon which
hit the music scene in 1976: Wurzelmania!
The "Summer of Scrumpy" was accompanied by unprecedented
scenes across England as 'cyderdelia" swept the country
and spread further afield. The cause of all this was a record
by three young men based in the West of England which shot
to the top of the UK charts -Combine Harvester by The Wurzels.
Although their chart career was relatively brief - further
big hits included I Am A Cider Drinker, also on this CD
- The Wurzels have proved they were no flash in the pan.
Still knocking 'em dead at gigs today, over 25 years on,
the band have gained a whole new generation of fans among
the younger age group.
As has happened to many other artists in recent years, The
Wurzels have experienced a revival in their fortunes sparked
off by that remarkable technological revolution the Internet.
As a long-standing Wurzels' fan, I decided in 1998 to start
an unofficial website (Wurzelmania!) devoted to the band,
to see if I could contact any other Wurzelmaniacs out there.
At the time I had no idea what the reaction would be - or
indeed, if there would be any at all! But within a short
space of time the website gained recognition as more and
more Wurzels' fans contacted the site, desperate to know
where they could get hold of the band's recordings, and
demanding to know why this important chart-topping band
had no material currently available on CD.
Fed-up with having to repeatedly tell these avid seekers
of "Scrumpy & Western" music that no Wurzels'
CD was available, I contacted EMI. The result of which was
"The Finest 'Arvest Of The Wurzels" (EMI Gold
7243 5 27046 2 0), released in the summer of 2000.
CD's sales not only took off in a way that surprised EMI,
the fans and The Wurzels themselves, but also generated
interest from the press, magazines and TV. Six months after
its release, the CD was reported as outselling the newly-released
Spice Girls' album in the Bristol area!
The CD you have in your hand (or in your player!) represents
the next step in the great Wurzels revival! As well as many
of their best-known songs such as Drink Up Thy Zider, One
For The Bristol City, and Somerset Crumpet Horn, it contains
several rare and sought-after gems, including Don Juan Of
The West and Wurzel Rock.
The original Wurzels formed as backing group to the legendary
Adge Cutler, who died in a motor accident at the peak of
his stardom in 1974. The surviving Wurzels Tommy, Pete and
Tony continued as the trio who recorded all the tracks on
this album, going on to success Adge had only dreamt of.
A quarter of a century on, The Wurzels have become something
of a cult among their new young fans and are more popular
than ever today - as a bemused but pleased Tommy said recently
on TV about the band's current popularity: "It's unbelievable
- we never, ever got it like this when we were in the charts!"
Pete and Tommy have clocked up over sixty Wurzellin' years
between them, and current band members John and Dave are
no newcomers, either. In spite of their apparent lack of
youth, anyone who has seen them will testify they are as
lively as ever and put on an energetic show that many younger
bands would find hard to emulate. Go and see them while
you can - and here's hoping that 2001 will be The Year of
PAUL GUNNINGHAM February 2001
Emeritus Professor of Wurzology, Nempnett Thrubwell Agricultural
To find out everything you ever wanted to know about The
Wurzels - and much more you didn't! - visit The Wurzels'
"official non-official" Wurzelmania! website at