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1 Aug 2017

Crushed Butler "Uncrushed" 1969-71 UK Proto Punk

Crushed Butler "Uncrushed" 1969-71 UK Proto Punk


If there's a band that, next to Third World War and Slade deserves to be recognized as the precursors of late 70's UK pub rock and early punk à-la Sham 69 or Menace, it's Crushed Butler (even if punks probably never heard of them). But there was a hard rock dimension to their music that lacked to the laters. Inexplicably, they never released anything during their short-lived career (but there are other great bands who never did too, showing that this period was not the golden one so many of my generation would like to convince youngster it was) before mutating their name in Tiger without more success. It's raw and rough and dirty and down-to-earth, it's seminal and tribal, it's rock as it was supposed to be when considered as a fist in the face of mainstream and normality. This compiled LP has just been re-released on Die Luxus in 10 inch vinyl format and should be possessed. Just listen to "Love Fighter", somewhere between Steppenwolf and Led Zeppelin and tell me whether it was possible to live without it. Hector and Butler later formed the Hammersmith Gorillas. Daryl Read (the drummer) did a solo life (also working with Ray Manzarek......

Mostly when music writers throw around the phrase "proto-punk" it don't mean to much, but this is the true thing right here. Very few bands managed to fill the post-73-Stooges, pre-76-Ramones void that was the sputtering dying hippie dream of peace, love, and paisley pants. Sure their was Glam, and Prog, and some tough-as-nails rock'n'roll, but not much really that matched the mountain of fuzz and nothing-to-loose attitude that the Stooges has established as far back as '69.Not so, as this absolutely killer 6 song E.P. of unreleased demo recording clearly shows. Apparently recorded over the course of 3 years in 3 different studios, Crushed Butler learned the had way that being way ahead of your time usually means no one understands you. Subsequently, you won't be appreciated, you won't make money, and you'll be kicked out onto your asses before you even get started.
Legend has it that when drummer Darryl Read, guitarist Jesse Hector, and bassist Allen Butler were invited to record EMI studios on a wave of local success, they were graciously brought in on limousine, but after laying down a few tracks of their gnarly working class street-skum anthem "Factor Grime," were then less then graciously given the boot and had to ride the subway back home. 

The drums are relentless, the guitar moronically-brilliant, the vocals strained and desperate. PERFECT! All the songs are scorchers, even "Love is All Around Me" which sounds weak but isn't. "Love Fighter" is a slow dirge number, but still heavy-as-shit and thick-as-bricks. "High School Dropout" is a bit more standard I-V-IV rocker like Back in the USA era MC5.....

British proto-punk/hard rock band that existed from 1969 to 1971. According to 2008's Pretty Vacant: A History of U.K. Punk the band "was in many ways, Britain's first proto-punk band." 
Crushed Butler formed in 1969 with a lineup of Jesse Hector (guitar/vocals), Alan Butler (bass guitar), and Darryl Reed (drums). They initially played covers of other bands song before writing their own material. 

Uncrushed captures three young hungry Londoners whose raw sound mesmerized their peers -- and blew away the days biggest names -- yet failed to blow open those corporate portals. Yes, Crushed Butler fell short because 1969's audiences didn't want anyone writing off their hippy dreams just yet. Reed's clattering snare drum on "It's My Life" is the perfect counterpoint for the song's up-the-system lyrics ("workin' like a slave, workin' for you/doing something I don't weanna do"). "My son's Alive's" explosive gallop is one of the missing links to thrash today, while "Love Fighter"'s grinding drone shows Crushed Butler realized that intensity didn't just come from tempo. 
In early 1971, the band changed their name to Tiger, and the lineup changed to include Barry Wyles who was a member in an early version of Queen. The band tried again in February, 1971 with "High School Drop Out" however, Shorn of prospects, the band collapsed. But that's hardly an indictment when people are still trying to crack the code three decades later. 

Hector and Butler continued on as Helter Skelter, and went on to form The Hammersmith Gorrilas (later shortened to the Gorillas), while Reed pursued a solo career. Reed was killed in a motorcycle crash in 2013 in Thailand...........

Jesse Hector — guitar 
Alan Butler — bass 
Darryl Read — drums, vocals

01. It’s My Life 2:11 
02. Factory Grime 3:24 
03. Love Is All Around Me 2:42 
04. My Son’s Alive 4:01 
05. Love Fighter 5:04 
06. High School Dropout 1:55

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