Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fresh Maggots

Fresh Maggots  (circa 1969 - 1971 ) Acoustic / Electro-acoustic /
Folk Rock -

Mick Burgoyne - vocals, lead guitar, 12-string guitar, glockenspeil, tambourines, tin whistles, violin
Leigh Dolphin - acoustic guitar

Influences: Led Zepplin, Taste, Deep Purple, Pentangle, Magna Carta, etc

Single: A: Car Song / B: What Would You Do (RCA 2150 1971)
Album - Fresh Maggots (RCA SF8205 Album:1971)
Re-released - Artist: Fresh MaggotsHatched  Label: Sunbeam

"Fresh Maggots are going to be very, very big indeed, take it from me" Peter Jones - Record Mirror.

"Their range is incredible - their sound is amazingly full - they are good and very different" Caroline Boucher - Disc and Music Echo

01 Dole Song (0:00 - 3:27)
02 Rosemary Hill (3:28 - 7:02)
03 Quickie (7:03 - 8:24)
04 Everyone's Gone To War (8:25 - 12:19)
05 And When She Laughs (12:20 - 15:08)
06 Spring (15:09 - 18:32)
07 Balloon Song (18:33 - 22:28)
08 Guzz Up (22:29 - 24:06)
09 Who's To Die (24:07 - 28:02)
10 Elisabeth R (28:03 - 30:56)
11 Frustration (30:57 - 36:57)

"Fresh Maggots were a short-lived folk duo from Nuneaton, Warwickshire in England. It comprised Mick
Burgoyne and Leigh Dolphin, playing a variety of instruments including guitars, glockenspiel, tin whistles and strings.

The pair signed to Sparta Florida and released their only album through RCA (Neon) Victor, eponymously titled, in 1971 - when they were nineteen years of age. Although its release was preceded by some degree of anticipation, delays in publishing gradually saw interest wane. Upon its release, it was met with amicable reviews, however record sales did not reflect this, and pressing was de-commissioned soon after.

The resurgent popularity of folk music over the last decade reawakened interest in the band and Fresh Maggots was released on CD in 2006, under the Sunbeam label in the UK and Amber Soundroom in Germany, gaining a modest reputation in folk music circles and through internet radio.

Trev Teasdel's memories of Fresh Maggots

I booked Fresh Maggots for the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club to play the Friday night band spot from
10pm in the upstairs room. They were an unusual outfit - a duo as opposed to a band but they were no ordinary acoustic duo! For a start, the range of instruments they involved in their set was impressive and evocative and the use of fuzz electric guitar more than blurred the edges of  pre-conceived musical expectations. The band told me later they also had an early synthesizer version of the band in the style of Kraftwerk. In 1971 this was indeed innovative! However, I never got to hear the synth version of the band.
The song that stayed with me over the years until i heard their work again on Youtube was Rosemary Hill - written on site at Kenilworth's Rosemary Hill - a beautiful song but the all of the songs and the blurring of categories made the duo stand out. At that stage they were promoting their first and only album.

Not long after, in march of 1971, i went to Warwick University Arts festival, both to enjoy the music and also to read as one of the
Umbrella Poets. It was my first poetry reading and I was the youngest - dressed like a hippy while the other older poets were in tuxedos! I felt quite out of place and back then poetry readings involved silent respectful audiences. Even if you read a funny poem, there was mostly no laughter or applause. It was quite scary as you had no way to gauge the response to your work! After my reading, I decided not to stay and head into the main hall for the bands - wondering if my first ever reading was a success or failure! On the way out of the room I was pulled over by the girlfriends of Fresh Maggots who gave me some positive feedback - much appreciated at the time. We went off then to see the bands. The atmosphere outside the poetry room (Airport lounge) wasn't anywhere near as quiet and there was a fun - even carnival atmosphere - with street theatre - Pinter plays and music.

The reports of the festival at Warwick given by there girlfriends were so good Mick and Leigh wrote to me to ask me to help get them a gig at Warwick (see letter) and i remember going over to the student union office to sing their praises!  It wasn't any kind of burden as I really loved the music of Fresh Maggots and still do.We went off to see the bands and they told me they had come to try and get a gig at the University of Warwick for Fresh Maggots. I took them down to the Student Union office and told them about how well they had gone down at the Umbrella Club.

A year later I met Dennis Burns (Flood guitarist) at Shilton who, living in Nuneaton, not only knew the guys but roadied for them and played with them in other outfits. Much much later in 2007 Dennis found the Hobo site and on behalf of the guys created a Vox blog for Fresh Maggots. Some of the material here came from that site - now sadly closed down.

.................... more tracks on youtube.

The blurb in Umbrella News read “A rock group from Nuneaton as outrageous as their name, which promises good entertainment for devotees”.

Backbeat: Folk duo Fresh Maggots' album now sells for hundreds by Pete chambers - Coventry Telegraph Dec 13th 2012
"FORTY years ago a Nuneaton prog-folk duo released a single in Europe that effectively signalled the end of
their career. The record was 'The Car Song' by the deliciously titled Fresh Maggots, consisting of lifelong friends Leigh Dolphin and Mick Burgoyne. The band got their interesting name when reading the Tribune and spotting an advert for Riley's Sports shop proclaiming "Fresh maggots always available".

They got a lucky break while playing a gig in Wolvey Village Hall. 
In the audience that night was Mike Berry from Sparta Florida Music Company. He liked what he had heard and offered them a chance to demo their material in London. Just a week later the guys were signing a publishing contract in his Oxford Street office.

"It took a while before we got an actual recording contract," admits Leigh. Mike takes up the story. "We were playing a gig in Coventry when during the set there was a power cut. I had a transistor amplifier that ran on batteries, which I used to tune up with so we carried on the set. Afterwards two blokes came and told us they were from
RCA. A week later we were in London signing the record contract."

Their one and only album was recorded over a period of several months at The Radio Luxembourg studios in London.

What came out of those sessions was a unique blend of melodic acoustic folk juxtaposed with screaming fuzzed electric guitar all topped off by Mick's pure vocal style. It may sound a recipe for disaster but the whole thing worked perfectly, stunning guitar work providing the perfect crescendo for the quieter thought-provoking passages.

It's often hard to believe there are only two people making this music. The album cost 1,500 pounds to make (including 700 pounds for the string section).

The cover was shot in Blackwater Park in Buckinghamshire and designed by prog-rock cover-king 'Keef'. It hit the streets in autumn 1971. It included the song 'Who's to Die' which was inspired by a near fatal car accident in Coventry's Eagle Street, and the title of the song Rosemary Hill was inspired by the Kenilworth road of the same name.

The album gained some rave reviews and they supported the likes of Peter Hammill's Van der Graaf

Generator, Medicine Head and John Martyn. They also played two live Radio One shows and the famous Marquee Club supporting Wild Turkey.

Despite their success they were reluctant to leave their day jobs, which had a negative effect on their career. The single was released in the UK at the end of 1971, and in Europe in 1972 and that really should have been the last anyone would hear of them.

That happily wasn't the case, many years later the band were regularly being played on American radio, prompting the release of the album on CD in 1995 on Amber-sound.

Look on the net, and re-release versions (entitled 'Hatched') are selling for silly prices (around 25 pounds); the original 1971 album (if you can find it) goes for even sillier money, with some places asking the likes of 500 to 600 pounds!

Leigh remembers seeing them in the sale bin in Nuneaton's Woollies for 50p. "I can't believe I never bought any" he says!"

Read more:

Although Fresh Maggots were short-lived and the album didn't sell first time around - it has become cult in the psychedelic / acid-folk circles as revealed on one of the sites with this review by Mason Jones
As a reviewer, having one's expectations dashed can be either a very sad affair or a pleasant surprise.
Fresh Maggots – a pair of young lads from Nuneaton, England – can be placed firmly in the latter camp. Hatched was many, many years ahead of its time with its combination of folk and fuzz-driven psych rock. Mick Burgoyne and Leigh Dolphin met as teenagers during the late '60s, both already gigging – Dolphin as an accomplished acoustic guitarist, Burgoyne on electric guitar, glockenspiel, and more – and teamed up to combine the rock and folk sounds they enjoyed. After only their second show as Fresh Maggots, they were signed to a management contract and proceeded to record their one and only album at the end of 1970. It took a year for the album to be released, and then, despite critical praise, it failed to sell primarily due to RCA's poor support and lack of promotion. And there ends the story, aside from the ever-escalating collector prices fetched by copies of the album and ongoing interest from fans who discover the band.

What makes the album stand out from the crowd is difficult to summarize. Dolphin's aptitude on the acoustic guitar, and Burgoyne's smooth vocals, are a good part of it, but clearly they were not alone in those departments at that time and place. Burgoyne's interjections of unexpectedly searing fuzz guitar could have felt gimmicky, but instead add a much-appreciated edge and energy to the songs, and his playing fits in tightly rather than feeling out of place. A song like "Balloon Song" could have been a light-hearted throw-away; instead, it's that most unusual of things, a rocking folk song.

"Rosemary Hill" is the album's strongest song: clear, chiming acoustic guitar and gorgeous vocals with
carefully orchestrated strings and glockenspiel that will lead you to sing along. It's odd that this is one of the cleaner songs, no electric guitar to be found, but it's also one that doesn't need anything more. "Dole Song" opens the album with strummed acoustic and a thick electric lead, a protest song of sorts – it even has a flute-led chorus – but it's no flower-power lament. "Frustration," as suits its name, contains some of the most memorable guitar interplay, with Dolphin's frenzied acoustic strumming interlocking with fast fuzzed leads by Burgoyne.

 Thanks to Sunbeam, the Fresh Maggots should now reach another new audience, and the label's done a very nice job with the reissue. Liner notes discuss the band's history and the songs, and the booklet also includes scanned press clippings, photos, and the original press release from 1971. As if that weren't enough (it's certainly more than most reissue labels manage), the CD includes seven bonus tracks that are anything but filler. The single B-sides are obvious choices, but it's the five live recordings that shine, demonstrating that the duo was more than able to do the songs justice at their shows."
By Mason Jones

Fresh Maggots invited were also invited to play Windsor Free Festival with Trilogy & A Band Called George a bit later on in 1973 / 4

These are the sleeve notes from the album “Fresh Maggots” (RCA Victor SRMC 1039), released in 1971)
"Fresh Maggots are just two people – 19 year olds Mick Burgoyne and Leigh Dolphin from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England – and long before this album was conceived they were inspiring music journalists to the sort of fulsome praise usually reserved for established stars.

Mick plays electric guitar with remarkable virtuosity and adds to their sound, glockenspiel, tambourine, violin and two tin whistles in harmony. Leigh contributes his considerable talent on acoustic guitar and writes the music to match Mick’s lyrics.

Between them and producer Mike Berry they have made an album which brings new life to the area of today’s music we call folk/ rock."

The tracks from our album have since been re-released, together with our single "Car Song/ What would you say" and seven bonus tracks, by Sunbeam Records on a CD entitled "Hatched" (SBRCD5002) and can be purchased from the following link:

Hope you like our music.  Mick & Leigh .

Dennis Burns wrote one of their lyrics in my communications book in 1972 (although he doesn't now remember!)


When she laughs her face lights up
Face lights up
When she laughs her face lights up
Face lights up
When she laughs the sun and moon
Are put to shame by the brightness of her smile
Of  her smile
And I love her, she’s all mine.

When she laughs she makes life worth while
Life worth while
When she laughs she makes life worth while
Life worth while
When she laughs all my problems swept away
By the brightness of her smile
Of her smile
And I love her she’s all mine.

When I’m sad she makes me laugh
Makes me laugh
When I’m sad she makes me laugh
Makes me laugh
When she laughs all my problems
Are swept away by the brightness of her smile
Of her smile
And I love her, she’s all mine.

Fresh Maggots are working on a new album for 2017-
You can keep up to date via their Facebook page HERE

As they are today...

Their place in the Coventry Music Museum

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