Saturday, May 9, 2009

BULLDOG BREED-Made In England


BULLDOG BREED-Made In England UK LP Deram Nova (S)DN 5 1970
Bulldog Breed had previously left their mark with their 45 debut(subsequently their only 45!) 1969's "Portcullis Gate'/"Halo In My Hair" (Deram DM 270) before shifting to Deram's "new" label Nova which had been set up for more "progressive" (aka "prog") acts. I can't tell you much about the band but I do know their drummer Louis Farrell had previously been in a trio called Gun with the Gurvitz brothers Adrian and Paul who scored a UK Top 10 in 1968 with "Race With The Devil" (and it's over the top freakout mantra "Sunshine" on the underside).

The LP reached out to the Anglophile in me and I checked it out after my old guru Ron Rimisite had put it on a cassette tape for me in the early 90's. The sleeve features a painting (or treated photo) of a trio of World War Two era Gloster Gladiator biplane fighters(Great Britain's last biplane fighter) getting aloft emblazoned on a Union Jack. Despite their "heavy" nature the band obviously wear their British-ness on their sleeve, literally and figuratively. The songs contained within smack of "social observation" on distinctly British topics. "Paper Man" kicks off with chiming bells of Big Ben and a newspaper street vendor's calls and throttles into a wah wah led diatribe on newspapers ("see who robbed the house next door turn back to the football scores") while the band chug through like a "heavy" number by The Move. "Sheba's Broomstick Ride" is next and explores that witchiness that could only come from a nation responsible for Hammer satanic exploitation films and Aleister Crowley . It chugs along with a funky groove complete with loads of satanic/witchcraft imagery. Stepping away from quintessential English quirkiness is " I Flew", though the lyrics don't mention it specifically, one can imagine it's about Vietnam full of apocalyptic images with wah wah and some high Moody Blue's type backing vocals complete with bomb busts and staccato machine gun bursts "come General tell me why you're so far from the action". "Eileen's Haberdashery Store" brings us back to merry old England. It's more than reminiscent of Tomorrow's "Auntie Mary's Dress Shop" with the "little old lady who runs a shop" theme and like the Tomorrow number there's harpsichord and a regal feel, brilliant nonetheless. The Englishness continues with the tongue firmly in cheek "Folder Men" an anti-white collar rant a good 8 years before Paul Weller sneered "Mr. Clean". "Folder Men" is delivered at a Kink's/Small Faces-type pace complete with pub piano and kazoo (or is it paper and comb?) while the band bait an uptight office worker ("work at your jobs you bowler hatted briefcase clown don't you dare to argue as your world comes tumbling down"). "When The Sun Stands Still" has a Led Zepplin-esque feel, maybe it's the cheesy near orgasmic grunts and the chunky riff, not really for me. "Silver" starts out as a piece of Humble Pie-ish boogie with very neat backing vocals that remind me of Mighty Baby (we'll get to their LP shortly kids!) before meshing into a repetitive four chord groove. The instrumental "Top O' The Pops Cock ?!?!" reminds me of early Jethro Tull (ie "A Song For Jeffery") with the bluesly simplistic riff jam complete with harmonica, acoustic guitar etc. "Revenge" is poppy and seems to anticipate the so called "bootboy glam" genre of ballsy close cropped lads who made records that sounded like T. Rex meets The Sweet while retaining the edge "ripping up seats/having a ruck" of Slade. The LP ends with the phased vocal led "Austin Osmanspare" with flute, witchy/black magic lyrics, creepy backing vocals sounding like a Church of Satan version of The Moody Blues jamming with early Jethro Tull (yes them again).
"Austin Osmanspare" on YouTube:

1 comment:

Tom said...

Terrific post Bill! Now I'll have to pull out that cd you burned for me for another listen!