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all you ever wanted to know about Adge Cutler & The Wurzels

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Frequently Asked Wurzel Questions (FAWQs)

For the benefit of the uninitiated, here are a few FAWQs with answers. Most of this info has been pieced together from various sources and is incomplete. If anyone can fill in the gaps in my knowledge, or correct any inaccuracies, please Don't Tell 'Ee - Tell I! - I'd be grateful for any information, the more trivial the better!

The FAWQs answered below are:

I'm desperate! Where can I get copies of Wurzels or Adge Cutler records?

This question is far and away the single most frequently asked question by visitors to the Wurzelmania! website!

Until recently, I had to give the sad answer that "no recordings by either Adge Cutler or The Wurzels have been available for some years now. The last recording available was a compilation CD issued by EMI in 1991, containing tracks by The Wurzels from their 1970s heyday and from Adge Cutler & The Wurzels in the late 1960s. Unfortunately that CD was deleted a few years later."

Despair no more! At long last, the mighty EMI record corporation took notice of our pleas, demands, and threats (!) and announced the issue of a new Wurzels CD on July 3rd, 2000. For further details see the Track Listing.

In April 2001 a further CD was issued, on HMV's exclusive label - The Wurzels Collection.

Although this is great news, and will allow those of us who haven't heard the Wurzels or Adge Cutler to sample the delights of the Wurzelmungous back catalogue, and enable others to get hold of some of the best-loved songs in Scrumpy & Western history, we here at the Wurzelmania! page regard the issue of these CDs as just the first step towards our aim of getting the entire Wurzels and Adge Cutler back catalogue issued on CD. But full marks to EMI for issuing the CDs and for helping us here at the Wurzelmania! page prove that web power really works!
Apart from the new CD, no other Wurzel records are available, so your only hope is to get hold of second hand copies of the previous CD or the sought-after vinyl records. Good luck - you'll need it as there are a lot of others doing the same, including me!

Perhaps if anyone from EMI reads this, they should consider reissuing some more of the material - nothing elaborate: just a complete anthology of the entire Adge Cutler & the Wurzels' catalogue on a multi-CD set, complete with previously unreleased material, out-takes, booklet with full recording details, etc. (suggested title Wurzology), would do!

Meanwhile - it's up to us to buy the CD in sufficient numbers to prove to EMI that the demand for Wurzel recordings is out there!

Can we get EMI to reissue the records?

Well, we've proved we can! At least, the issue of the latest CDs is a step in the right direction. But our work is not done yet!

Over the last year or so I've lost count of the number of people who have expressed a keen interest in getting hold of the Wurzels' and Adge Cutler & The Wurzels' back catalogue. On several occasions I (and many other visitors to the Wurzelmania! site) had asked EMI, who own the recordings, when they plan to reissue the records on CD. Their responses are shown below. You could see them weakening as time went on! The Wurzelmania! page wishes to thank everyone who contacted EMI to ask for Wurzels records to be released - it wouldn't have happened without your help!

Below are the responses from EMI to enquiries as to whether any Wurzels releases are planned in the future. The first was received 21 July 1999: "There are NO recordings at present by this act in EMI Records UK's current product ranges...and there are no releases scheduled for issue in the immediate future. Sorry."

A further enquiry in January 2000 got the following response: "Sorry, there's no news I'm afraid. However, I will pass your message on to EMI's 'Catalogue Division' (they deal with most of our UK re-issues) so they can be aware of your comments."

And in early April 2000: "No news at the moment.... but I will pass your message on to the marketing people who MAY make a/some re-issues in the future."

So, simply asking EMI repeatedly got a result in the end! Let's hope we can persuade them to issue the rest of the back catalogue in due course... meanwhile, enjoy what's already re-released! While we're at it, thanks are also due to EMI themselves for heeding our pleas and issuing the CDs!

See the Wurzels Discography for details of Adge Cutler & The Wurzels' recorded output. It isn't complete, so if you know of any records I've missed, or provide the missing track listings, then Don't Tell 'Ee - Tell I!

What is Wurzel music?

Scrumpy & Western music has its roots in a variety of sources, including Jazz, Scrumpy, Folk, Silage, Pop, Pigswill, Comedy, Dung Spreading / R'n'B (Rhythm 'n' Browns), Music-Hall, Hedging 'n' Ditching, Ragtime, Binder Twine and Rock 'n' Roll, but can't be easily categorised. According to Bob Barratt, who produced Adge Cutler & the Wurzels' records at EMI: "It is impossible to define Wurzel-music. It's not really pop - it's not really comedy. It has been disowned by the West of England Folk-Song Society, and Adge was black-balled from the Long Ashton Jazz Appreciation Group on account of it".

Adge Cutler himself said: "I suppose you can call the sort of music I write 'good-time' folk. I have hardly ever written a sad song. I write songs so that people can sing them. They have got to be simple for me to sing them."

So there you have it: the only way to find out is, as Bob Barratt says, to "lend an ear... and decide for yourself!". Although I'd like to add that Wurzel music is best appreciated while accompanied by a pint or two of best rough!

Although you can't actually hear them here, background notes on some of Adge Cutler & The Wurzels' best-loved songs (and a few others) are given on the Wurzel Songs page.

Who are the Wurzels?

A 1990s photo of the WurzelsThe original Wurzels were started by Adge Cutler in 1966. Adge was the leader and wrote most of their early songs, including the immortal Drink Up Thy Zider, which reached no. 45 in the UK national charts in early 1967. The original group consisted of Adge Cutler (vocals & wurzelstick), Reg Quantrill (banjo & guitar), John Macey (bass), Reg Chant (accordion) and Brian Walker (wurzelphone). Brian (subsequently to be known as the enigmatic "fifth Wurzel") left the group following their first album, and the remaining members continued wurzelphoneless as a four-piece for a while - this was the line-up on the group's second album.

By 1968, John Macey and Reg Chant had departed and been replaced by Henry Davis (bass/violin/wurzelphone) and "Scottish Wurzel" Tommy Banner (accordion/piano). Tommy is still actively wurzelling to this day, and therefore holds the world record as longest-serving Wurzel of all time. On the other hand, Henry was the next to go after only a short time with the band; his replacement was Hertfordshire-born Tony "Gaffer" Baylis (wurzelphone/bass). The last of the original line-up to leave (apart from Adge himself) was Reg Quantrill. Somerset-born (and proud!) Pete Budd (banjo/guitar) took over on Reg's departure.

At the time of Adge's tragic death on 5th May 1974, the remaining group members Banner, Baylis and Budd decided that as Adge was irreplaceable they would continue as a trio under the name The Wurzels. This brave decision proved to be a shrewd commercial move, as they went on to even greater heights as far as chart success is concerned, having a number one hit single in 1976 with Combine Harvester, followed by a string of other successful records as Wurzelmania swept not only Nempnett Thrubwell and Clevedon, but the whole of the UK.

The band is still performing today - and long may they continue! The Wurzels are now a four-piece band, consisting of Tommy Banner (accordion/keyboards/vocals), Pete Budd (guitar/banjo/vocals), Sedge Moore (bass), and John Morgan (drums).

For more details of the individual members of the Wurzels, see the Wurzelography.

Where can I hear Wurzel music?

As mentioned in the answer to the first question above, EMI has announced a new Wurzels / Adge Cutler & the Wurzels CD - the easiest way is to buy it!

A much more enjoyable way to hear Wurzel music is to go and see them live! Yes, The Wurzels are still performing and have again become something of a cult on the college and university circuit - for details of their gigs see the Wurzels Gigs page.

Why don't you have any Wurzels MP3s or lyrics on the site?

I'd like to include some MP3 files of The Wurzels and Adge Cutler and intend to do so in the future. The reason I haven't done this so far is because I'm trying to maintain a good relationship with the Wurzels themselves and with EMI. I don't want to jeopardise the chances of getting their records issued on CD by getting embroiled in any disputes about MP3 copyright, etc. That said, I'm working on putting some clips up - keep thy beady little eyes on the Wurzelmania! page for developments!

Likewise, I've avoided putting the lyrics of entire songs on the site until now, for copyright reasons.

Where can I get the lyrics or sheet music for Wurzels or Adge Cutler songs?

Unfortunately, none of the songs by The Wurzels or Adge Cutler are currently available in printed form from music publishers. For the reasons outlined above (see answer to previous question) I've refrained from illegally publishing lyrics on the Wurzelmania! page.

Many of the songs seem to have been published by companies which no longer exist - presumably the rights to the songs have been taken over by other companies. If anyone out there knows how best to find out who has the rights to a song, how to request copies of the sheet music, etc., I'd be grateful for any advice, as this is an area I'm not familiar with - if you can help, please Don't Tell 'Ee - Tell I! Meanwhile, you'll have to do what the rest of us do and transcribe the lyrics from the records! Watch this space for any updates.

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