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

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Henry DaviesHenry Davies
(Wurzel 1967-1969)

'Actually', as Adge would say, 'I'll tell 'ee a tale about ol' 'Enry'... West Country-born Henry Davies (you may sometimes see his name spelt Davis) joined Adge Cutler & The Wurzels in 1967 to fill the void left by Brian Walker.

The butt of many a joke, Adge described him as "ten stone of skin and cider"! He was apparently the owner of the biggest Wurzelphone in the country, and had a tendency to splash when he got excited. He would be introduced to the audience as The Man with the Golden Crumpet, and according to Adge, he was also Duke of Edinburgh award winner for silage making, and an former member of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Henry was a well-known and respected musician on the Bristol jazz scene before joining Adge Cutler & The Wurzels. He was originally drafted in as tuba player to replace , but after the departure of John Macey, he also took over the bass playing duties. Henry was an accomplished musician who could play the "Wurzelphone" as well as piano, clarinet, string bass and violin. Henry was also a musical arranger and was responsible for the arrangements on Adge's third album Cutler Of The West (while he was still in the band) and the fourth Carry On Cutler! (after he had left). He also co-wrote two songs with Adge Cutler - Look At 'Ee, Lookin' At I, The Market Gardener and I'm The Captain Of A Dredger. All three appeared on the post-Adge 1975 album The Wurzels Are Scrumptious! and may even have been Henry putting music to lyrics Adge had written but never finalised as songs.

Although Henry was only briefly with Adge Cutler & The Wurzels, he is one of the few who have joined and left the band twice. In late summer of 1967, Henry left to join the New Vaudeville Band. This group was the brainchild of songwriter Geoff Stephens who had gathered together some studio musicians for the recording session in 1966. From that session came the single Winchester Cathedral which became an international hit. As a result Stephens formed a touring version of the band which was managed by a young Peter Grant (later manager of The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin!) and Henry was asked to join the band in 1967. He suggested that a young jazz tuba player Melt Kingston be his replacement in The Wurzels.

However, things didn't work out for Henry at the New Vaudeville Band, and in March or April of 1968, Henry and Melt did a job-swap with Melt joining the New Vaudeville Band and Henry returning to join Adge Cutler & The Wurzels. Although he enjoyed being a Wurzel, Henry found the music was not demanding enough, so he returned to the jazz scene. He left the band for a second time in 1969 being replaced by the arrival of Tony Baylis. It is evident that the split was very much on an amicable bases, as Henry returned to work with Adge as musical arranger on the 1969 Carry On Cutler! album. After Adge's death, Henry was called on to put the music to three sets of Adge's lyrics for the 1975 The Wurzels Are Scrumptious album.

Little is recorded about Henry after his Wurzels days. The 1976 The Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra album of the same name has a Henry Davies listed amongst the band members - surely this must the same person. But like many ex-Wurzels, Henry returned to his first love - jazz. A YouTube video from 2007 shows the Henry Davis Hot Five Jazz Band recorded at the Warmley Jazz Club - run by another former Wurzel Reg Quantrill - at The Midland Spinner in Warmley, just outside Bristol on 19th December 2007.

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