Cover to Budgie's "If Swallowed, Do Not Induce Vomiting" EP
Budgie was formed in 1967 in Cardiff, Wales; their original lineup consisted of Burke Shelley (bass guitar, vocals), Tony Bourge (guitar, vocals), and Ray Phillips (drums). Their debut, self-titled album, a slab of blues-influenced hard rock which was produced by Black Sabbath producer Rodger Bain, was released in 1971. They followed this up with “Squawk” (1972); their third album, “Never Turn Your Back On A Friend” (1973) contained the hit “Breadfan” which was later covered by Metallica. Ray Phillips was replaced by Pete Boot before the release of Budgie’s fourth LP, “In For The Kill” (1974).
By late 1974, Boot left the band and was replaced by Steve Williams. “Bandolier” (1975) was the first LP Williams recorded with the band, followed by “If I Were Brittania, I Would Waive The Rules” (1976). Bourge subsequently left the band, and “Big” John Thomas was recruited to replace him in 1978, leaving Shelley as the sole remaining original band member. Budgie recorded 4 tracks to “break in” Thomas, but these tracks were initially left unreleased although they did release the LP “Impeckable” that year. In 1980, however, the initial sessions with Thomas saw the light of day when the EP “If Swallowed, Do Not Induce Vomiting” was released. This is today’s featured EP.
Side 1 opens with “Wild Fire”, a straightforward rocker built around a 4-chord riff. Thomas rocks on as Shelley and Williams fill out the sound, and Shelley wails away with a voice that sounds somewhat like Rob Halford’s. The lyrical content isn’t particularly inspired; with lines like “I can’t talk/I can’t walk/I can’t think/I can’t drink”. “Wild Fire” is about a woman who is wild, we might assume; the testosterone-driven lyrics compliment the music well, and the rhythm section provides a solid backbone to the band’s sound. There’s an inspired guitar solo about 2 minutes and 55 seconds into the track, giving new guitarist Thomas a chance to shine. For hardcore Budgie fans, listening to “Wild Fire” surely brings back memories of their early 1980’s barnstorming performances.
The second track is “High School Girls”, which features an even simpler (3-chord) riff. This time, Thomas and Shelley play the same melody for most of the song, with Thomas again getting his own guitar solo about 1 minute and 37 seconds into the track. Shelley’s guitar seemingly plays a more pivotal role on this track, although Thomas gets a chance to display his guitar proficiency. The lyrics are not all that different than the first track: “Well she’s dreaming the boys through their day/She goes out and about in her way/And the teacher is perfectly down/’Cause she’s strutting her stuff through the town”. There’s some great wordplay here, though: “But she can’t get away from the rules/It’s a hell of a bondage in school”. But in the chorus, Shelley reassures us that “[S]he’s just a bad, bad, girl”. Like most Brownsville Station songs, this one’s not going to change the world – or even the musical landscape – but it’s an easy listen.
Side 2 starts off with “Panzer Division Destroyed”, which if nothing else shows Budgie’s knack for catchy song titles. This song features a relatively simple rhythm played in 4/4 time, not unlike Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”. The song runs almost 6 minutes, and much more so than the first 2 tracks, it is a showcase for the guitar work of Budgie’s 2 guitarists, especially Thomas. The lyrics, which tell of the grisly fate of a Panzer division from a decidedly British point of view, are pretty pedestrian as far as heavy metal lyrics go: “Hear me call, panzer division destroyed/Power gun pounding and well deployed/Every man seems to burn, die in hell/Twisted steel, twisted mess sealed the deal”. Still, they compliment the martial-sounding melody quite well, and since the real draw here is the axemanship of Thomas, the song doesn’t require the lyrical subtlety of a Bob Dylan.
The final track is “Lies Of Jim (The E-Type Lover)”, which I found to be the most compelling (although the melody is somewhat similar to “Wild Fire”). The song is about a bounder who is humorously brought to book for his misdeeds. It contains a dreamy lyrical passage: “Love is not a thing you buy/Love is not a car/Or compensation for the man/Who lost a precious Jaguar”, which is essentially an interlude in an otherwise upbeat rocker. This is definitely the most atypical song on the EP, and once again the song is anchored by raw but powerful guitar licks, courtesy of Thomas and Shelley.
This EP (catalog #: BUDGE 1) came with a picture sleeve (well, it was a 12-inch EP, after all), with a black and white photo of the band. The label (at least on the West German release) featured the orange RCA label (with the RCA logo on the left side oriented on the Y-axis, with “Victor” written on the right side along the X-axis). The artist name was printed across the top with track information written underneath. “If Swallowed Do Not Induce Vomiting” is considered by many to be Budgie’s last creative gasp, although they successfully rode the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal for a few years, even headlining the Reading Festival in 1982. They built a following in Poland, becoming one of the first heavy metal bands to play behind the Iron Curtain. Their last album was released in 1982 and the band was defunct by 1988, although they re-formed for one-off gigs in San Antonio, Texas in 1995, 1996, and 2000. They also re-formed to tour from 2002 to 2006, touring the U.K., Texas, and returning to post-Communist Poland during that period.
Budgie – Wild Fire
Budgie performing Panzer Division Destroyed in Warsaw, Poland in 2007
Budgie performing Panzer Division Destroyed in Sweeden in 1999
Budgie performing Panzer Division Destroyed in Poznan, Poland in 2007