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Monday, December 12, 2011

Blodwyn Pig - Ahead Rings Out (1969 uk, awesome blues rock, 2006 remaster and expanded edition)

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) - 5:53
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.

Blodwyn Pig
*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
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