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EMI Gold 534401 2 1 (CD)


“The Finest 'Arvest Of The Wurzels featuring Adge Cutler” - The Wurzels - Adge Cutler & The Wurzels
(Released: 2001)

1. The Combine Harvester (Brand New Key) (Melanie Safka/Brendan O'Shaughnessy)
2. I Am A Cider Drinker (H Bouwens/The Wurzels)
3. Morning Glory (Fletcher/Flett)
4. The Blackbird (P Budd/ T Banner/T Baylis)
5. Farmer Bill's Cowman (R Greenaway/T Banner/ R Cook/T Baylis)
6. Drink Up Thy Zider (A Cutler)
7. Twice Daily (A Cutler)
8. Chitterling (A Cutler)
9. All Over Mendip (A Cutler)
10.The Champion Dung Spreader (A Cutler)
11. Don't Tell I Tell 'ee (K Sheldon/Crozier)
12. You Don't Get Drunk On A Saturday Night (P Warner/C Warner)
13. My Threshing Machine (D Detroit)
14. Pill Pill (A Cutler)
15. Down The Nempnett Thrubwell (Davis/Cutler)
16. I Love To Swim In The Zider Zee (C Stark)
17. I Got My Beady Little On Thee (P Budd/Owens)
18. Keep Yer 'and On Yer 'alfpenny (A Glasgow)
19. Market Gardener (A Cutler/Davis)
20. The Back Of My Old Car (T Banner/T Baylis)
21. I Wish I Was Back On The Farm (R Macdougall)
22. Wurple-Diddle-I-Do Song (Fryberg/D Kirsten)
23. I'll Never Get A Scrumpy Here (E Welch)
24. Drink Drink Yer Zider Up (Greenaway/H Barter/R Barter)
25. Combine Harvester - 2001 Remix (Safka/O'Shaughnessy)

- Click on a photo to enlarge.

Sleeve Notes:

"It's number one - it's Top of the Pops!"

That was an announcement familiar to 1970s British TV audiences. But one day in 1976 it was followed by a sound very different from the glam rock bands and disco music of the time - a Somerset voice belting out: "I drove me tractor through yer 'aysUck last night..:'. For topping the charts was, almost unbelievably, The Wurzels' Combine Harvester - Ooh Arr!

Against the odds, The Wurzels had brought their brand of "Scrumpy & Westerly' music to the pinnacle of the national charts, in one of the greatest surprises of all time. Their parody of Melanie's "Brand New Key" was not only one of the biggest hits of the year but heralded unprecedented scenes as Wurzelmania swept the UK. Fans donned the latest Wurzel fashions - neckerchiefs, gaiters and "gurt big 'ats"; took up cider-drinking and dung-spreading; and the country, gripped in a cyderdelic trance, celebrated the long hot "Summer of Scrumpy"! The triumphant Wurzel greeting of "Ooh Arr!" echoed across the land as the Wurzels enjoyed chart success with hit after hit - I Am A Cider Drinker, Farmer Bill's Cowman, and many more.

Success on this undreamt-of scale hadn't come overnight for the Wurzels. The band had been started back in 1966 by the legendary "Bard of Avonmouth" Adge Cutler, who had written some fine songs about his native North Somerset and Bristol, and formed the band to back him as he performed them in local pubs and clubs. Adge Cutler and The Wurzels quickly became local heroes in England's West Country, and Adge's Drink Up Thy Zider became the West's unofficial "National Anthem".

Knowing a good thing when he heard it, EMI record producer Bob Barrett auditioned the band at London's famous Abbey Road studios, and signed them immediately. A recording session was booked, not at Abbey Road, but at Adge's local pub, the Royal Oak, Nailsea, in Somerset - chosen for the live atmosphere and uninterrupted scrumpy supply required by the lads to give of their best!

Two of Adge's most popular songs from the session - Drink Up Thy Zider and Twice Daily - were released as a single, which shot to the top of the West Country charts! Soon afterwards the record reached the national Top 50, in a rare "regional brgakout", something normally only occurring in the US. This was in spite of - or more likely helped byl - "Auntie" BBC's airtime ban onTwice Daily, whose subject matter (a shotgun wedding) it considered too naughty for its listeners' delicate ears.

An EP and an album were released in quick succession, and further singles and albums ensued over the next few years. These records were (and still are!) all extremely popular and sought-after in the West, but Adge never quite managed to make the national charts again. However, Adge & The Wurzels continued to gain in popularity and were frequently seen on TV as well as in concerts all over the country. Some of the songs from those days can be heard on this CD.

As so often happens, just as Adge and the boys' big breakthrough seemed imminent, fate Intervened. In 1974, sadly, the band learnt their leader Adge had died in a car accident. For many bands, this would have meant the end.

But not for the Wurzels! The remaining band members - Pete Budd, Tommy Banner and Tony Baylis - realised that Adge was irreplaceable, and made the brave decision to continue as a trio, The Wurzels. This is the line-up which appears on the remaining tracks on this album, including all those big 1970s hits.

The success came later, but back in 1974, little did the Wurzels imagine that they would one day achieve what Adge had dreamt of - a chart topping record and national recognition. Many of the songs on this CD are still popular today, and the Wurzels still sing them at gigs - for they're still going strong and well worth seeing if you get the chance. Indeed, "Wurzelmaniacs" exist all over the world, including many expatriate Westerners! The Wurzels have become popular with a new generation of fans and frequently appear at festivals and on the college circuit.

These songs still get sung wherever a group of cider drinkers may be found, and the song most associated with Adge Cutler, Drink Up The Zider, can still be heard echoing around football grounds whenever Bristol City win. Adge would have raised his cider mug to that!

Sleeve notes by Paul Gunningham.

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