It is impossible to do a series on bassist/vocalists without including this man: Burke Shelley. The man behind the Welsh Power Trio Budgie, he was a huge personal influence on me becoming a professional bassist/vocalist myself.
I would stand in the cavernous King’s Hall, Derby as a 15 year old, enraptured by the light and shade of their music, Burke’s bass playing on his trusty old sunburst precision and his stratospheric vocals. (It would be several years before I saw Geddy Lee and proclaimed him to be a Budgie clone!)
With Budgie, you get a guitar, a bass, and drums, no frills, just straight ahead musicianship. Within the space that a three-piece naturally gifts you, Burke’s bass was turned way up loud – a complete third of the whole, not a shy retiring underpinning to the song. Seeing him play this way, and sing his heart out, helped me understand the bass, what it was meant to do.
Tracks like Breaking all the House Rules, with its tremendous pumping bassline and great vocal were all I needed to become well and truly hooked. Over the years they’ve been a tremendous influence on countless bands, with Soundgarden, Iron Maiden and Metallica covering their songs.
Three years ago, I attended a Budgie gig in the UK, and spent some time with the band backstage after the show, finally able to tell Burke how he’d influenced me (should that be inFLEWenced?) after 32 years.
I looked at his bass, leaning against the wall.
“Is that the same one?” I asked.
“Yep” he said “wanna play?”
I was a kid again, the battered precison in my hands. It was like the closing of a circle. Burke’s still going strong – currently touring Australia with Dio’s Craig Goldy as guest guitarist.
Long may he reign!
Recommended listening: Who Do You Want for Your Lover? – wonderful funky bass, great vocal
Breaking All the House Rules - rip-roaring rawk ‘n’ roll!
Breadfan – Now a metal classic
Parents – An astonishing vocal from Burke, sometimes sounding like fellow Cardiff-born Shirley Bassey, I kid you not!
Well, back by popular demand and by the change of seasons…a new podcast, blooming with renewal, and vitamin K. So without further ado, I give you…
Let me know if you have any questions about songs or artists. I’d be happy to give you a lengthy explanation. Here’s the track list, and you’ll also find it in the iTunes picture window when you play the mp3.
Feels Good To Me – Bruford
Water Beastie – Sensational Alex Harvey Band
18 Is Over The Hill – West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Fibonacci’s Number – If
If I Were Brittania, I’d Waive The Rules – Budgie
Ride My Wheels – T. Rex
Jump – Derek and Clive
I’m Dying or Am I? – Eric Burdon & The Animals
Wade In The Water – Harvey Mandel
Here are some great albums that are just laying around on the internet, tits full out…
*The inimitable Otis Redding with Carla Thomas on their live King & Queen album from a nice bacony vinyl rip, brought to you via Musicology. Essential listening!
*No Wind here, just Earth & Fire at Chris Goes Rock…satisfying your prog yearnings.
*Masterpiece brings you some killer Budgie. Rock!
*Do you need some true modern garage rock, Detroit-style? Crossroads Club 27‘s got the cure for what ails ya.
*Feelin’ trippy? Get some Gong hits at Black Acid.
*MOJO’s Heavy Nuggets rocks your face off, even if you didn’t know it! Steal it at 8 Days In April.