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The Wurzels
The Wurzels in Godney

Review: The Wurzels' Big Summer Party

John Higgins
The Wurzels' Big Summer Party took place at Godney Farm, near Glastonbury, on Saturday 17 June 2006. BBC Somerset reviewer John Higgins went along to the event to check it out.

Organised by the Masqueraders Carnival Club, this event was billed as possibly the country's biggest Wurzel party ever.

Now I don't know if this was true, but on an idyllic summer's evening this was certainly an extremely busy event, with eager Wurzels fans, ranging in age from five to 75, amassed to see their heroes.

More Silage

More Silage
More Silage

I must confess that until this evening, More Silage were totally unknown to me. I expected from the name, though, that this would be an act similar to The Wurzels. 

However, these were young guys, who from their accents sounded like a bunch of public school boys, rather than country bumpkins.

The quartet features two brothers and a couple of mates, who all grew up in East Harptree - they play an up-tempo, pop-folk style. They incorporate into their repertoire drums, guitar, keyboards, bass, kazoo, banjo and accordion, with plenty of variation to keep things fresh.

In their allotted time, they treated us to a number of their own tunes, which featured humorous lyrics displaying their twisted take on life.

More Silage
More Silage

Examples of this were the jaunty sea shanty Mendip Pirates (which I think was a tale of their dastardly and/or cowardly escapades), and I'm a Man which appeared to be a hilarious attack on the laddish behaviour of certain British males.

However, there were also several mangled covers, for example their opening number, the Cole Porter-penned Anything Goes. They also played The Beatles' Lady Madonna, the Rawhide theme tune and a folk tune, sung in Russian (possibly!).

As an opening band, they went down well and proved to be a more-than-adequate warm-up act.

The Wurzels

The Wurzels
The Wurzels

After a 30-minute break, in which everyone could top up with cider, grab a bite to eat or fight their way through the queues to the portaloos, it was time for the main event. 

Entering stage-right, the Wurzels were greeted to rapturous applause as they took their places for this, their triumphant return to 'Glastonbury', after Tommy Banner's illness caused their Town Hall gig at the end of 2005 to be cancelled. 

It would be easy to simply label The Wurzels as a novelty band, but the fact that they have a style of music named after them (Scrumpy and Western) and that they are still in existence (albeit with no original members) 40 years since they released their first single, indicates they are much more than that.

Nevertheless, they do like to live up to their trademark bumpkin stereotype, even though nowadays most of them aren't from Somerset, and Tommy is actually Scottish! 

The Wurzels
The Wurzels

Originally known as Adge Cutler and The Wurzels, the band became The Wurzels after Adge died in a motorcar accident on his way home from a gig in 1974. They are probably the most well-known band to have ever come from Somerset.

Certainly they must be one of the most successful, with a debut single (Drink up Thy Zider, which was of course played tonight) selling well in excess of 100,000 copies. Even greater success followed thereafter.

Thongs and G-strings!

Set-opener Where be That Blackbird to? immediately got everyone's toes a-tappin'. From here on in, the boys proceeded to plough through most of their well-known back catalogue, with such prime cuts as Farmer Bill's Cowman, Pill Pill, I am a Cider Drinker, Bridgwater Town, and the Shepton Mallet Matador.

The Wurzels
The Wurzels

Besides their own songs, there were covers of Oo-ar-sis' Don't Look Back in Anger (which despite being given The Wurzels' treatment, still contains the original Gallagher lyrics), and Bob Dylan's Maggie's Farm.

The between-song banter and Carry-On humour of Tommy and Pete Budd meant that throughout the night, the innuendos flew as thick and fast as ripe muck from a manure spreader. Yet it was all harmless fun that wouldn't harm the kids.  

Towards the end of the evening, the Cowshed dance-remix of Combine Harvester - which in 2001 once again brought the band back into the public conscience (the original had been a number-one single in June 2006, and was a parody of folk singer Melanie's Brand New Key) - had the venue shaking to the foundations.

Virtually everyone was singing along at the top of their voices. It may be as cheesy as a truckle of extra-mature cheddar, but to be fair, as a dance track goes, it ain't half bad.

The Wurzels
The Wurzels

Alas, things did take a turn for the worse at this point.

Tommy seized the moment to lay down his accordion, whip off his shirt and dance around displaying his barrel-like torso. It then became a right old thong-and-dance as to whoops of applause, he dropped his trousers to reveal a minute leather G-string!

All too soon the show was over, and the lads spent the next 30 minutes signing autographs and chatting to the enthusiastic punters.

While the evening concluded with a disco, it was plain to see from this performance that although The Wurzels may be getting on in years now, they can still entertain as well as they did in their 'hay' day!

last updated: 26/09/06
Have Your Say
Were you at the event? What did you think? Do you like The Wurzels?
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Emily Lukins
I went it was 18th birthday and the wurzels were absoulutly brillant, even had a personal birthday call out!!! the wurzels are top quality!!!!

Nice review, a great event, the first I've been to at Godney - the bands were fun, the atmosphere was good, and it was a well organised evening, thanks for the hard work Masqueraders!

What a great night down on the farm as always,and looking forward to the next 2 events at godney farm the rebirth summer gathering and music on the moors , 21/22 july i think.well done to all of the masqueraders keep up the good work.

Farmer Giles

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