It didn’t matter what particular style of music you listened to of followed religiously in the early ‘80’s if you of a particular age you will know that more often than not Top Of The Pops was one of very few music programs that appealed to us youngsters back in the day. If you had a more discerning (for that read “older”) palette then you would probably have gone for the more dad rock appeal of The Old Grey Whistle Test, if you were really in the know you wouldn’t be squinting at the goggle box at all you were checking out John Peel on the radio to see what was really out there.
Pigbag at the time crossed over into all of these strands and enjoyed massive success going into the public consciousness with their first single ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag’, and I remember thinking at the time, “What the fuck is this?”
As musicians Pigbag came out of Bristol at a time when its artists were exploring, experimenting with and delivering a cultural melt-down of styles, fusing them into totally new sounds, exciting times indeed. So what has this got to do with the here and now?
Well Pigbag have just reformed with an original trio from their classic line up intact, and are now boosted by a further five new musicians, all recording together with the intent of fusing together African grooves, jazz, latin, funk and dance (well so the blurb says).
So have they succeeded?
Indeed they have, because as you listen to the strident horns, reminiscent of Miles Davis, the latin salsa beats, and the underpinning jazz percussion, you end up with what to me sounds like freeform jazz experimentation, all bringing in a very “fair” Weather Report style comparison. Stand outs for me are ‘Out Of Chaos’ which has a very ‘70’s jazz feel about it, loose and freeform letting the horns lead before that funk guitar groove kicks in, plus ‘Tabula Rasa’, which is simply stunning. Even the opener ‘Cuban Rice’ kicks with some serious latin salsa beats, but if you are contemplating sampling ‘Year of the Pigbag’ you must experience this as an overall LP don’t go into single parts, it flows really well a bit of a classy LP should.
Dare to be different, give it a listen you might be pleasantly surprised and more to the point enjoy it!