CD Review – BB Blunder – Worker’s Playtime

Now here’s a band you are unlikely to have heard of, let alone their one and only album. BB Blunder was an off shoot of Blossom Toes (reviewed here: https://spiritdotrocks.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6191&action=edit), indeed the album is sometimes credited to the latter following a mix up on a late 1980s re-release. BB Blunder remain probably even more obscure than Blossom Toes, who have at least achieved a degree of cult status.

The group formed as Blossom Toes disbanded in 1969. Guitarist Brian Godding and bassist Brian Belshaw continued to play together, sometimes in association with singer (and Godding’s sister-in-law) Julie Driscoll. The pair were offered a chance to record at the behest of promotor Peter Swales and they brought in former Blossom Toes drummer Kevin Westlake to perform with them. Legend has it that the tape from the recording session was labelled BB – Blunder (Brian & Brian – blunder), but the band members saw the funny side and adopted the name for the band. The band managed to create an album inviting Julie Driscoll, Mick Taylor, Brian Augur, Mark Charig and Nick Evans to contribute.

The album was originally released in May 1971, and essentially flopped. There was little interest and it proved to be a commercial failure. It was at least a step on from Blossom Toes, though the whimsical psychedelic pop didn’t totally disappear but took a step backwards, letting BB Blunder show a bluesy rock and jazzier facet, with a strong progressive leaning. Some of the material was actually a hang-over from Blossom Toes, notably one of the stronger songs on the album, New Day. This edition of the album released by Esoteric Recordings has been remastered and is expanded to include two previously unreleased tracks recorded for the BBC Radio 1 Sounds Of The ‘70s programme which featured a different band line-up with vocalist Reg King (formerly with The Action), keyboard player Nick Judd and drummer Chris Hunt. The release is now a double album too, as it includes an additional CD of out-takes from the Olympic Studios recording sessions which is a further eleven tracks. It is fair to say that although the music is well played and presented, for its time the band lacked novelty appeal. Even in the progressive rock world bands could exhibit flautists, wearing a codpiece, standing on one leg, and singers wearing fox heads or old man masks. The 1970s was a time when the weird and odd became decidedly normal in rock and the arts more generally. But there is some strong material on this album. The already mentioned New Day is a very good colourful pop-rocker, Sticky Living has a slightly crazed blues based early prog feel to it, whilst Seed has pretensions to be an epic, with an inventive psychedelic interlude in the middle and a soaring chorus with climactic guitar chimes. One Eddie Offord engineered New Day.  

Overall, although there are some very good aspects to this album with its sprinkling of good tracks, very good musicianship and more than decent song writing, there also some not so good points. The album seems unfocused and at odds with itself, the diverse musical styles seeming to not always sit well with one another and gel. The blues-rock element seems to overwhelm the general feel of a few songs, and there’s an atmosphere of things just being too lax. But you could also think of it as an unfortunate album. It is basically a good album, but at the time of its original release it might have been thought a little passe for the burgeoning heavy rock and progressive crowds.

Disc One: Workers’ Playtime

1. Sticky Living

2. You’re So Young

3. Lost Horizons

4. Research

5. Rocky Yagbag

6. Seed

7. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

8. Rise

9. Moondance

10. New Day

Bonus tracks

11. Go Have Yourself A Good Time

(BBC Radio Sounds of the 70s session 1971) (with Reg King) (previously unreleased)

12. Sticky Living

(BBC Radio Sounds of the 70s session 1971) (with Reg King) (previously unreleased)

Disc Two: Session Out-takes

1. Backstreet

2. Freedom

3. Black Crow’s Nest

4. When I Was In The Country

5. A Hard Day’s Night

6. Come On Eyes

7. Snippet With Tippett

8. Square Dance

9. Earache

10. Robots

11. Waltz

Brian Godding – guitar, keyboards

Brian Belshaw – bass

Kevin Westlake – drums

With:

Julie Driscoll, Nick Evans, Mark Charig, Mick Taylor, Brian Augur, Reg King, Nick Judd, Chris Hunt and others

Release date: 25th March 2022

Label: Cherry Red/ Esoteric

Format: CD

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