The Wurzels


The Wurzels

Infobox musical artist |
Name = The Wurzels


Img_capt = The Wurzels 2008.
Img_size = 2oo px
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = England
Instrument =
Genre = Scrumpy and Western
Years_active = 1966-present
Label =
Associated_acts =
URL = [http://www.wurzelworld.com/ wurzelworld.com]
Current_members = Tommy Banner, Pete Budd, John Morgan, Sedge Moore
Founder = Adge Cutler]

Adge Cutler and The Wurzels, renamed The Wurzels after Cutler's death, are a British Scrumpy and Western band.

This Somerset based band is best known for its 1976 number one hit "The Combine Harvester", but has a history stretching over 40 years, and still performs to this day.

The name of the band was dreamt up by the band's founder Adge Cutler and came from the fodder beet Mangelwurzel. As can be determined from the subject matter of many of their songs, cider is very popular amongst Wurzels and their fans. Their particular "genre" of music has been named "Scrumpy And Western" after the group's first EP of the same name, issued early in 1967. (Scrumpy is a name given to traditional Somerset cider).

History

Adge Cutler and The Wurzels

The Wurzels were formed in 1966 as a backing group for and by singer/songwriter Adge Cutler.

With a thick Somerset accent, Adge played on his West Country roots, singing many folk songs with local themes such as cider making (and drinking), farming, dung-spreading, local villages and industrial work songs, often with a comic slant.

During the 1960s, the band became immensely popular regionally, and the release of the single "Drink Up Thy Zider" led to national fame and number 45 in the UK charts.

A number of live albums were recorded at local pubs and clubs, filled with Adge Cutler penned favourites such as "Easton in Gordano", "The Champion Dung Spreader", and "Thee's Got'n Where Thee Cassn't Back'n, Hassn't?" together with songs written by others and some reworkings of popular folk songs of the time.

Adge Cutler died after falling asleep at the wheel of his sports car which then overturned on a roundabout approaching the Severn Bridge. He was returning alone from a Wurzels show in Hereford in May 1974. He is buried in Nailsea.

The Wurzels

Adge's death marked a turning point in the history of the Wurzels. Deprived of the main song-writing talent, the remaining Wurzels recorded "The Wurzels Are Scrumptious!" in 1975, an album containing many favourites from the back catalogue, including a number of previously unrecorded Cutler-written songs

In order to continue the surviving band needed its own songs, and these mostly took the formula of re-written popular pop songs of the time with the lyrics changed to include the usual Wurzel themes (cider, farming, local villages, Cheddar cheese, etc.)

In 1976, the Wurzels released "The Combine Harvester", a re-work of the song "Brand New Key", by Melanie, which became a UK hit, topping the charts for 2 weeks.

The band quickly followed its success with the release of a number of similarly-themed songs such as "I Am A Cider Drinker" (a rework of an existing melody--"Una Paloma Blanca" - which was written by and been a hit for the George Baker Selection and also covered by Jonathan King the year before) and "Farmer Bill's Cowman".

The Wurzels have never stopped performing, but record releases during the 1980s and 1990s were few - and included singles like "I Hate JR" and "Sunny Weston-super-Mare". To help celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Eddie Stobart Ltd in 1995, the group recorded a new song "I wanna be an Eddie Stobart Driver". It graced the UK Top 100. The original, together with a spoof called "I wanna join the Eddie Stobart fan club", are still available for download via iTunes. This latter single from Loose Records.com appeared also as a limited edition lorry shaped disc. The interest in this record sparked off renewed interest in The Wurzels.

The late 1990s saw the continuing of this revival of the fortunes for the surviving Wurzels, gaining a cult status amongst students and a resurgence in their popularity in their native West Country Under the new management of Stranglers manager Sil Willcox a number of CD releases followed, largely featuring re-recordings of older works, but also "Never Mind The Bullocks", an album of cover versions of contemporary British rock songs. This album was recorded and produced by Louie Nicastro and George Allen manager of The Mission. In 2005, the band released a limited edition split single with British Sea Power. The Wurzel's covered BSP's "Remember Me" while BSP covered "I Am A Cider Drinker". The band also supported BSP at their gig at the London Forum in November.

In 2007 The Wurzels and Tony Blackburn re-released "I Am A Cider Drinker" with the royalties from the song going to the BUI Prostate Cancer Care Appeal in Bristol.

The Wurzels continue to gig around the UK, [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/somerset/content/articles/2006/06/19/wurzels_big_summer_party_review_feature.shtml BBC - Somerset - Entertainment and Leisure - Review: The Wurzels' Big Summer Party ] ] including playing at the Shalbourne Festival for nearly 11 years, although they pulled out of the 2007 Glastonbury Festival, having been scheduled to play the bandstand stage where they could not use their own sound engineers [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/6761101.stm "Wurzels pull out of Glastonbury] BBCNews, 17 June 2007] , although they had played the same stage at the 2000 Glastonbury Festival. They were also one of the headliners at the 2007 Bristol Community Festival.

Bristol City

The Wurzels are also still very popular in the west country, especially with supporters of Bristol City who the band also support. Their song "One For The Bristol City" is the official club anthem. First released in 1976, a newly-recorded version of this song reached number 66 in the UK charts in September 2007. However, most fans recognise another Wurzel song "Drink Up Thy Zider" as their anthem. It is played at the final whistle at Ashton Gate if the home club win and it is sung by fans along with another Wurzel song "I am a cider drinker". The band's shows these days are not limited to the West Country, with appearances being made across the UK throughout the year.

Current Band Members

Tommy Banner

The longest serving Wurzel, Tommy joined the band in November 1967, and is still going strong. He is usually seen playing accordion, but has also played piano in the Wurzels' past. Hailing from Penicuik, his Scottish accent remains but with a strong Somerset twang!

Pete Budd

The familiar front-man of the post-Cutler band, Pete Budd originally joined the Wurzels as a banjo player in 1972, and his distinctive West Country vocals made him an obvious replacement lead singer after Adge's death. He continues to sing, and play banjo and guitar for the band, including in his repertoire a Mark Knopfler-esque guitar lead on their modern version of "I Wish I Was Back On The Farm", originally made famous by George Formby.

John Morgan

The oldest drummer in the land according to fellow band members hailing from the Forest of Dean - prefers hot cocoa to cider!

edge Moore

Sedge, born and bred in Somerset, is the newest member of the band. A skilful bass player, his cheerful, happy style is perfectly suited to the band, who refer to him as the "Young 'Un".

References in popular culture

The West Country-born stand-up comedian Bill Bailey occasionally references The Wurzels in his routines. In his "Bewilderness" show he mentions knowing them "when they were a German techno band, Die Würtzels - and then they sold out, went all oo-arr country", as well as performing a pastiche of "Combine Harvester" in the style of Chris de Burgh. In an appearance on BBC2's "Never Mind The Buzzcocks", Bailey stood and saluted a playing of the intro to "Combine Harvester".

Bristol-based Portishead list The Wurzels as an influence on their MySpace site - as the only influence, in fact. [http://www.myspace.com/PORTISHEADALBUM3 - Retrieved on 2008-04-22]

ee also

*Scrumpy and Western
*British popular music
*West Country dialects

References

External links

* [http://www.wurzelworld.com/ wurzelworld - The "Official" Wurzels Website] - everything you want to know about the band!


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