Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Blodwyn Pig
Getting To This


Released 1970 on Chrysalis
Reviewed by Fitter Stoke, 25/09/2003ce


“The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think…oh by the way, which one’s Pink?…” (Pink Floyd, ‘Have A Cigar’, 1975)

Isn’t it funny how many bands bearing individual names remain far better known than their members? You’ll still find Jethro Tull filed in some dumb-assed stores under ‘T’ as if that was the name of the guy who made the records. I still giggle at the now defunct Jarrow record shop that had Catherine Wheel under female vocalists. Uriah Heep? He was heavy, wasn't he?. Jeez, I despair, I really do. But then, we do live in a world of Sun readers and Simply Red fans.

Of course, it’s never done these bands much harm. I wouldn’t mind being half a crown behind Ian Anderson who I’m damn sure doesn’t give a flying flute about whether anyone’s heard of him or not. Similarly his old cohort Mick Abrahams, whose excellent two studio albums under his own name flopped miserably after two successive top ten entries under the (ever ludicrous) name of Blodwyn Pig. I am willing to bet my much prized pink label ‘Ahead Rings Out’ that at least ten times more people have heard of Blodwyn Pig than The Mick Abrahams Band (safe in the knowledge, of course, that there’s no way anyone can prove otherwise short of a world referendum). And I bet that in some pinhead store somewhere in this world there’s a copy of ‘Getting To This’ in Female Vocalists under ‘P’. Find this shop, mercifully kill its proprietor, then take the record home. Here’s what you’ll get:

- a red hot opener in ‘Drive Me’, a second cousin of the first Pig LP’s ‘It’s Only Love’ with a riff that sounds filched from a Woody Herman ‘78 and some hip-jerkin’ chromatic chord changes;

- the best track Tull never recorded in ‘Variations On Nainos’ (do I detect a partial anagramatic reference to that band’s leader?) with Jack Lancaster giving the one-legged, jockstrapped wonder a real run in the fluting race. The wind flourishes at the start of the song are a gas - pun not intended - and Andy Pyle’s bass licks during the band solos a wonder of the Western rock’n’ roll world. Caravan and Hatfield fans (like me, natch) will dig the gargled vocal effects in the last verse;

- the Pig’s proggiest, heaviest song ever in ‘See My Way’, featuring Mick The Great’s well lubricated larynx on fine form, great dynamics, and a central guitar solo that literally flies off the vinyl and soars round the ceiling like a cuttlefished canary while Pyle and Berg piledrive a backing that only Jones and Bonham could rival;

- Abrahams’ all-too-short but delicious ‘Long Bomb Blues’, delightfully sardonic and catchy, leading straight into ‘The Squirreling Must Go On’ - a reference to the guitarist’s ‘This Was’ showcase of two years’ previous, but much, much harder and relentless. About as heavy as a band can get without getting heavy metal, it’ll rock your bollocks out of your scrotum - assuming you have a scrotum of course;

- Lancaster’s epic ‘San Franciscan Sketches’ which, though more passe than Vimto, has some lovely parts within its endearingly disjointed sections. It sounds forced, rushed and shambolic, and all the better for it: a likely soundtrack for an unmade low-budget urban documentary, with the first ever employment on record of the 20 years’ away patented Madchester drumbeat in its final ‘Close The Door, I’m Falling Out Of The Room’ section;

- ‘Worry’, a rare Andy Pyle composition, which may just be the single most intense song ever put to plastic by the mighty Pig: rising and falling unison lines, a belting sax solo in a far off key, and big, bad, jazz-inflected SG chords bursting through an Orange amp to a fulcrum near you;

- ‘Toys’, a purposefully twee yet charming song about a little boy’s playthings encouraging him to be nice to his brother and sister. Hardly MC5 material it’s true, but with a simply gorgeous, bottleneck-driven tune that’s up here one moment then down there the next. Mick at his soulful, solo best;

- Ron Berg’s racially stereotypical and thankfully brief ‘To Rassman’, as good an reason as any for keeping your drummer behind the fucking drum kit. No doubt the inspiration for Michael Bates’ Indian charwallah. Skip this one;

- ‘Send Your Son To Die’, a driving, rocking thunderbolt of a track which takes that Madchester rhythm still further into a tune that Abrahams would develop still further as ‘Greyhound Bus’ on his first eponymous album. You may know this from the Island ‘Bumpers’ sampler - here it is devoid of the debilitating slowing down of the master tape that would’ve won this gargantuan gem few fans.

Overall, ‘Getting To This’ is in the same mould as its ground-breaking predecessor ‘Ahead Rings Out’ (reviewed elsewhere in these pages) but blessed with even more invigorating edge and energy. It’s a chaotic ball of noise from a wonderful era when ‘progressive rock’ signified so much more than the arty farty noodlings and doodlings of the Charterhouse brigade. In fact, it’s Blodwyn Pig at her very best. Wonder what she looks like these days?


(Available on BGO CD with both sides of the contemporaneous ‘Walk On The Water’ 45 added for good measure - though not listed on the insert. Or you can pick up a vinyl original in its excellent gatefold sleeve for £20 if you shop around. She gets about, does ol’ Blod, but she still packs a thrill.)


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