In the spring of 1976 a very unlikely contender for the Top 30 found itself at number one in the charts no less...”Combine Harvester”, a parody of Melanie's earlier hit song “Brand New Key”, by The Wurzels had swept away all the opposition and remained in the spot for three weeks.
The Wurzels, comprising Tommy Banner, Tony Baylis and Pete Budd, had found success in their own right and finally overcome the tragic death in a 1974 road crash of their founder leader Adge Cutler. They were not to be one-hit wonders either….two other hit singles followed in the same vein when “I Am A Cider Drinker”, a parody of “Paloma Blanca”, reached number 3 and “Farmer Bill’s Cowman” (based on “Kaiser Bill’s Batman”) also made the top 30.
Adge Cutler and The Wurzels had been entertaining audiences in the West Country since the late sixties. Their manager John Miles sent a tape of their music to EMI records producer Bob Barratt who signed them to the company. Barratt’s faith in this distinctive rural musical outfit was repaid when their single “Drink Up Thy Zider” became an early hit in early 1967.
Adge and his group built a strong following which extended beyond the West Country They made their popularity via television, radio and recordings. Following Adge’s death, his three colleagues decided to carry on, and went back into the recording studios with Bob Barratt who suggested that they rewrite the lyrics to Melanie's hit “Brand New Key” . The single “Combine Harvester” became an immediate hit, remaining in the charts for more than three months, and was consolidated by The Wurzels many TV appearances including the “Simon Dee Show” and David Frost’s programme, plus many of the top variety shows of the era.
Apart from their singles success, The Wurzels also made several albums for EMI which became strong sellers. As well as recording at Abbey Road Studios, their live act was also caught on record at several venues around the country. A Wurzels stage show has to be seen to fully be appreciated…it combines the best of their humorous music with plenty of West Country wit, and not the occasional pint of scrumpy.
This collection brings together the best of the recordings made by Adge Cutler with The Wurzels plus those from The Wurzels in their own right. Cutler’s own compositions include “Drink Up Thy Zider”, “Champion Dung Spreader”. “The Shepton Mallet Matador” and “Easton In Gordano”, and his distinctive rural wit is still sadly missed almost 20 years later.
The Wurzels themselves are still continuing to entertain audiences the length and breadth of the country with their special brand of musical humour.
Produced by Bob Barratt
Recorded at EMI’s Abby Road Studios, Ashton Court Country Club, Bristol – Yew Tree Country Club, Langford, Avon – Ruda Holiday Park, Croyde Bay, North Devon – Rockfield Studio – Olympic Sound Studio – The Music Centre.
Adge Cutler & The Wurzels: Tommy Banner, Gaffer Baylis, Pete Budd, Reg Chant, Henry Davis, Johnny Macey, Reg Quantrill, Brian Walker. Drums: Eddie Clayton & Dougie White.
Recording Engineers; Peter Brown, Geoff Merick. Recorded at Royal Oak Nailsea, Zummerset – The Webbington Country Club, Loxton, Zummeret
Trks 1-13 The Wurzels
Trks 14-25 Adge Cutler & The Wurzels
Trks 1,5,11 & 13 p1976
Trks 2,3,4,9,10,& 12 p1978
Trks 6,7 & 8 p1977
Trks 14,20,21,23 & 24 p1967
Trks 15 & 25 p1966
Trks 16,17 & 22 p1968
Trks 18 & 19 p1969
complilation 1991 EMI Records Ltd
Tommy Banner (piano, organ and accordian), Tony Bayliss (bass, bass guitar and sousaphone), Pete Budd (guitars and banjo) and with thanks to drummers Andy White, Dougie Wright and Tony Fennella .
Produced by Bob Barratt, Recording Engineer Tony Clark, Live sequences recorded at Ruda Holiday Park, Croyde Bay, North Devon.
Front cover photo taken at Dunnings Mill, East Grinstead by Peter Vernon, courtesy of Mr George Spooner .