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Is No Vessel Finer!
review of The Wurzels' gig on the Stena Line Cruise
from Fishguard to Ireland, on Saturday 18 September
1999 by Ted & Kath Bowring
the approach to Fishguard we were somewhat concerned about
the weather forecast as it said there were gale force winds
in the Irish Sea. Having said that flat calms can be quite
boring. On arriving at the Stena Line terminal our concerns
were echoed by the staff there who said that the problem wasn't
with the crossing but with docking. Due to the Seacat not
running the conventional ferry was full to the gunnels and was therefore
At about 2.30pm we were informed that the ferry had to stand off
from the harbour until conditions calmed enough for her to attempt
docking. A little under an hour later this did in fact happen. Unloading
and re-loading was carried out quickly and efficiently and at about
5.00pm we sailed.
Passengers were issued with an amended timetable of events, unfortunately
I must have got one intended for the return trip and subsequently
missed the start of the show. However, once seated I soon got into
the atmosphere and joviality. It should be said at this point that
Mother Nature must have had a bag on because sitting was difficult
enough but to stand on stage and deliver an excellent show was pure
professionalism. I think I might have seen Captain Ahab passing
the window (sorry porthole).
I briefly reminded Pete Budd of a show I saw in the 60's
when Adge and the boys appeared at the White Buck
in Burley Hampshire, I think it made a happy man very old!
Any way on with the show, we heard lots of favorites like I've
Got A Brand New Combine Harvester, I Wish I Were Back On
The Farm, One For The Morning Glory, I Am A Cider
Drinker, and many more. The audience was very animated to say
the least - whooping, hollering, clapping and some were dancing.
Naturally the boys weren't allowed to leave the stage without an
encore, I think they heard the calls for more back in Fishguard.
So after a musical rendition of Dixie, we were treated to
The Blues Talking [Malt & Barley Blues - Zider
Ed] and Drink Up Thy Zider. They had certainly earned
During the break I took the opportunity to speak to some of the
audience. Leslie Llewellyn and her partner Alun Vaughn
had come to see them live for the first time although they had listened
to the Wurzels for many years. Alun had found a poster of
the Wurzels taken with a combine harvester in the early days. The
poster has been in his possession for ten years and Leslie achieved
her ambition of getting it signed.
Then there was Amanda Billington and at the tender age of
13 years she thought they were "brilliant" and "it was good", being
also her first live show. Nice to see the appeal across the board.
I then spoke to Michaela Singleton whose father John
and his friend Richard Cromarty from Bristol have
known the boys for many years. Apparently when John and Rich used
to work in the Royal Oak at Nailsea, Adge Cutler
and the Wurzels recorded their first LP there. Michaela is sending
me a photocopy of an old 33 record sleeve with some more info on
it, watch this space. She also informed me of a group in the 60's
called Pete Budd and the Rebels, wonder who that could have
been. Only kidding Pete.
Gwen and Michael Bown were telling me how Mike used to run
the lads home, probably one or two drink up thee ciders too many.
Mike is in a wheelchair now but I think he had the best of it that
night, he was the only one with any stability on a ship that thought
it was a rollercoaster.
Still one thing came across very clearly, all the people who were
involved in some way with the lads love them dearly, and they must
have had great times one and all.
On the return journey we were all a little less animated due to
the intake of falling down water in large quantities, however the
Wurzels soon got us going again with likes of, Blackbird
I'll Ave Ee, Champion Dung Spreader, What Do We Want
With A Light [Let There Not Be Light - Zider Ed].
The next song courtesy of Cook and Greenaway of Bristol
was of course Farmer Bill's Cowman. Then as a tribute to
Adge we heard Twice Daily. Pete had a well-deserved
slurp while Paddy McGintys Goat ran round rampant. We were
treated to Pill Pill, and I've Got A Brand New Combine
Harvester, Morning Glory this time even had me vocally
raising the roof. The last song of the evening was I Am A Cider
Drinker, followed by the Dixie playout, at which point
the audience once again woke up Fishguard with their calls for more.
Hands clapping and feet stomping we weren't blue and we weren't
talking. We were very happy and singing. Blues Talking, moved
into Drink Up Thy Zider. Corn half cut - so were we in the
In the 60's they were good, 70's, 80's and 90's still excellent.
David Bowie and Mick Jagger think they're clever still
going strong, but they are just mere sproggs compared to these guys.
A 76-year-old drummer has to be some kind of record. I was sweating
just watching him. Lets have another few years yet to enjoy The
As a foot note my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The rough
sea added to our enjoyment, but I bet there were a few calls going
through to God on the big white telephone that night.
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