Spend as much time amongst the annals and the archives of rock as I do, and you’ll find yourself intrigued by certain names that appear again and again. Take [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Blodwyn Pig[/lastfm] for example — a group frequently found supporting major stars of the late ’60s and early ’70s on UK and European tours. Who were they?
Blodwyn Pig was formed by guitarist [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Mick Abrahams[/lastfm], who had been a member of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jethro Tull[/lastfm] only long enough to play on their debut album — but long enough to squabble with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Ian Anderson[/lastfm], resulting in Abrahams’ departure.
Abrahams then re-teamed with bassist Andy Pyle, with whom he’d played in a pre-Tull band called McGregor’s Engine, drummer Ron Berg, and sax-and-flute player [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jack Lancaster[/lastfm] to form Blodwyn Pig. Their sound was bluesy and progressive on the one hand thanks to Abrahams and Pyle, but also borrowed jazz influences thanks to Lancaster.
Blodwyn Pig made two albums, Ahead Rings Out in 1969 and Getting to This in 1970. Both hit the top 10 in the UK. In addition to extensive gigging over there, the band also toured in the United States. But by the time they reached America, their days were numbered. Not long after a series of dates at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, Abrahams left the band. As his website bio puts it, “the old ogre of musical differences reared its ugly head.”
The band attempted to continue for a while, but quickly foundered. However, because no band stays dead forever as long as its members aren’t, an edition of Blodwyn Pig, fronted by Abrahams and Lancaster, reformed in the 1990s, and has released several albums since.
About that name: Abrahams says that Blodwyn Pig came from “a stoned hippy friend just back from the Buddhist trail.” It’s thoroughly English, too, and just the sort of thing a group of serious progressive musicians would have adopted for themselves at the end of the 1960s. Here’s their first single, released in the summer of 1969 and also included on Ahead Rings Out, the hypnotic “Dear Jill”:
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