Guitarist Mick Abrahams lasted one album with Jethro Tull before differences with Ian Anderson forced him to depart. Everything worked out fine as he found a new band mate in keyboardist, saxophonist, violinist, flautist Jack Lancaster. When they added bassist Andy Pyle and drummer Ron Berg, Blodwyn Pig was born.
Abrahams may have been a part of Tull but his new group gave little hint of that type of sound as Lancaster greatly influenced the direction of the band. They ended up as a blues band that fused rock and jazz elements into their sound.
They released two studio albums during the early period of their career. A Head Rings Out (1969) and Getting To This (1970) produced music that was ahead of its time. Lancaster’s virtuosity on a number of instruments gave the sound a lot of flexibility to move in a number of directions. They were critically acclaimed and commercially successful enough to play The Isle Of Wight Festivals and complete two tours of the United States. The band has had a number of reunions and released two new studio albums during the 1990s.
Pigthology features music from their early career period and includes remastered versions of their most famous songs “Dear Jill,” “See My Way,” and “Drive Me,” plus some unreleased live and studio material. It all adds up to an eclectic release that gives a surprisingly good glimpse of their music. The only real downer is the lack of any liner notes whatsoever.
The best of the live performances are a rock oriented “The Change Song” recorded at the Marquee Club in 1969, a jazzy “Cosmogification” from 1973, and a flowing “Same Old Story” from a BBC performance.
The most interesting track is “Monkinit” with Lancaster trying to impersonate Thelonious Monk fronting a rock band. Lancaster rarely played the piano with the band but the music swirls around his improvisations into a creative mix.
What Pigthology lacks in cohesiveness, it makes up for in creativity. Blodwyn Pig is one of those what if bands as one can only imagine what directions they would have traveled had they remained together. Pigthology is a nice introduction to a multi-faceted band.