None of Jethro Tull's progressive rock tendencies or classical influences followed Mick Abrahams into his creation of Blodwyn Pig, even with the inclusion Jack Lancaster's sax- and flute-playing prowess. Instead, Abrahams built up a sturdy British blues-rock sound and used Lancaster's horn work to add some fire to the band's jazzy repertoire.
Ahead Rings Out is a stellar concoction of gritty yet flamboyant blues-rock tunes and open-ended jazz centered around Mick Abrahams' cool-handed guitar playing, but it's the nonstop infusion of the other styles that makes the album such a solid listen. After only one album with Jethro Tull, Abrahams left to form this band, and it's evident that he had a lot of pent-up energy inside him when he recorded each of the album's tracks.
With a barrage of electrifying rhythms and fleeting saxophone and woodwind excursions, cuts like "Sing Me a Song That I Know," "Up and Coming," whip up highly energetic sprees of rock and blues.
Most of the tracks have a hearty shot of rock up the middle, but in cuts like "The Change Song" the explosive riffs are accompanied by a big band style of enthusiasm, adding even more depth to the material. Andy Pyle's bass playing is definitely distinct throughout each track and is used for anything but a steady background, while labeling Ron Berg's drumming as freewheeling and intemperate would be an understatement. It's apparent that Blodwyn Pig's style is indeed distinct, releasing a liberated and devil-may-care intensity while still managing to stay on track, but the fact that each cut convokes a different type of instrumental spiritedness is where the album really gains its reputation.
Wonderfully busy and even a tad motley in some places, Ahead Rings Out shows off the power and vitality that can be channeled by combining a number of classic styles without sounding pretentious or overly inflated. A year later, Blodwyn Pig recorded Getting to This before Abrahams left the band, and although it's a solid effort, it falls just a smidgen short of Ahead Rings Out's bluesy dynamism.
by Mike DeGagne
1. It's Only Love - 3:23
2. Dear Jill - 5:19
3. Sing Me a Song That I Know - 3:08
4. The Modern Alchemist (Jack Lancaster) - 5:38
5. Up and Coming (Abrahams, Lancster, Andy Pyle, Ron Berg) - 5:31
6. Leave It With Me (Lancaster) - 3:52
7. The Change Song - 3:45
8. See My Way (Abrahams, Lancaster, Pyle, Berg) - 0:53
9. Ain't Ya Coming' Home, Babe? (Abrahams, Lancaster, Pyle) - 6:04
10.Sweet Caroline - 2:51
11.Walk on the Water - 3:42
12.Summer Day (Abrahams, Pyle) - 3:44
13.Same Old Story - 2:36
14.Slow Down (Larry Williams) - 4:20
15.Meanie Mornay - 4:45
16.Backwash - 0:53
All songs by Mick Abrahams, except where indicated.
*Mick Abrahams - Guitar, Vocals, Seven-String Slide Guitar
*Jack Lancaster - Flute, Violin, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax, Soprano Sax, Brass Arrangements
*Andy Pyle - Electric Bass, Six-String Bass
*Ron Berg - Drums
2004 Blodwyn Pig - Pigthology
Other Mick Abrahams releases:
1971 Mick Abrahams
Free Text II