TWO FRIENDS. TWO ALBUMS. A STORY THAT UNRAVELS ALONG A 49-YEARS TIME LEAP. THE MAGIC OF FRESH MAGGOTS RETURNS TO A NEW LIGHT WITH A FORMIDABLE 9-TRACK ALBUM, SERVING A CHRYSALIS WITH AN INESTIMABLE TREASURE INSIDE.
The story of Mick Burgoyne and Leigh Dolphin begins in the late 1960s in Nuneaton, a British town in Warwickshire.
Both guitarists and neighbors the two began to meet and play together in jam sessions which soon resulted in song writing albeit with no real intention of doing anything with the songs composed.
After a vacation to Lynton & Lynmouth where, accompanied by a crowd of friends and their inevitable guitars, they played some of their songs, they were asked to play at the Nuneaton gig as some friends were in a band.
It was a Friday, precisely September 4, 1970, at the Friary youth center, and thinking that this would be the only concert they would ever do, they coined their moniker taking inspiration from an advert in the local newspaper of a sports and fishing tackle shop. which said: “Fresh Maggots always available”
After the concert, other friends asked them to perform again on Saturday night. Guess what, after playing their second gig, while they were packing their bags, a guy approaches them and says:
“I’m from Sparta Florida music group and I want you in London next Wednesday signing contracts.” Shortly after that they were signed by RCA and were in the studio recording their first album.
Thus begins the story, not too amended by our pen, of a duo that has never changed name, identity, nor style, and that after 49 years from their first album, returns with a selection of 9 new unreleased songs, for a release that half resembles a rising phoenix and half resembles a time capsule now unveiled and open.
Roses, poisons, and biting guitars
Fresh Maggots sound is rooted in a well-founded hardcore somewhere between Folk and Country. Two worlds that purists of these two genres would like to read well separated, but which we find here also contaminated by more acid stylistic streams. Fresh Maggots is an act that lets its narration and musicality vibrate from the first release.
The first self-titled album, released in October 1971 with RCA, speaks for itself and offers a plethora of musical constructions in which a remarkably unique expressive vibrancy is received from the combination of voice and guitars alone. Re-released in 2006 with Sunbeam Records with the new title “Hatched” the first work of Fresh Maggots is already in itself something that lovers of quality music will want to absorb, even before hearing.
The digital music era has many flaws, but also some merits. One of them is being able to recover a chest full of gems like “Hatched.” And if you don’t have the patience to enjoy this incredible album from start to finish and want to absorb all the orgiastic power of this duo, go to track 11, “Frustration.” Stuff capable of making any current mainstream number a pale speck.
Burgoyne and Dolphin have had some success hitting the college circuit, performing at clubs like the Marquee, doing live sets for Night Ride and the Johnny Walker show for Radio One, plus The Kid Jensen show for Radio Luxembourg, while some of their reissues have continued to be played on several American music stations and on BBC Radio 6 music.
However, after discussions with RCA and management issues they split, and by the time Mick moved to Wales, the Fresh Maggots story seemed to be in its final chapter.
Fast forward to 2017
Then in 2017, they received an email from a German music magazine asking for an interview. As this is a list of questions, they got back in touch to work together on the answers. At the bottom of the last email, Mick asked Leigh if he was still writing. He replied that he had a few ideas.
Soon Mick was already on his way to Nuneaton. Mick recorded Leigh playing three songs, then he took them away and wrote the lyrics. And that’s how it all started again. As if they never stopped writing together.
After about 14 songs, the two artists asked themselves: “are we going to do anything with them?” The sequel unfolds over several months spent navigating between lockdowns and geographical distances, between Carmarthenshire, where Mick lives, Nuneaton, where Leigh lives, and London, where the record producer that the two involved is based: Nick Burns, son of Dennis Burns, who was one of the members of the band that had given Fresh Maggots their first gig.
An old saying about 4-piece bands states: producer is the fifth member of the band. Well, in the case of Fresh Maggots Nick became the third leg of an impeccable duo, following Mick and Leight throughout the creative process, done on Zoom calls passing them comments and suggestions, and adding the drums.
Then the Coventry Music Museum comes into play.
A (BAD) SIDE STORY
Unreleased demos by Fresh Maggots were taken from a reel-to-reel tape, recorded in 1970, so that the publishing company could decide which tracks should go on the album and to hear additional material. Judging from what Fresh Maggots denounces on their Facebbok page, it seems that they were used without the duo’s knowledge or permission.
A “different” label
Before the idea of recording had come up, a friend of Mick’s had visited the Coventry Music Museum and had mentioned that he knew Mick from Fresh Maggots, they asked her to get Mick to contact them.
Then Mick sent some records, CDs, and documents for them to display and later paid them a visit with more, including the old reel to reel tape recorder the original demo tracks for the first album were recorded on.
So Fresh Maggots ended up with a small display in the museum. He later contacted the museum to see if they would be interested in releasing the new record on their label given the local connection. Fortunately, they were.
Not the usual marmelade
Brick by brick, the resulting tracks came out imbued with substance, coherence, vibrancy, and a magical atmosphere. While the connotative root of their sound seems to have remained crystallized over time, untouched and uncontaminated, the general vision of the final work signed by Fresh Maggots stands out for the wedge with which it digs deep and at the same time brings out all the fiber.
The new album ‘Waiting for the Sun’ was released on October 31st, 2020, which is exactly 49 years since the first and is something that works as a kind of time capsule.
The sound paste has that vintage touch that corroborates a lighted folk/country aesthetic with illuminating distortion lashes, acoustic hugs, and atmospheres chiseled by an epic narrative. Yet, there is a kind of transversal, musical wisdom in its retrò matrix and delivery, which is preserved and elevated on a level of genuine nudity that captivates.
The remembering aroused by “When I Was Young” immediately catapults us into an era that was, but which is already here, and from the very first notes of this work we receive a sound and communicative density that expresses a unique capacity of transmittance.
There is style. There is character. But there is also substance. And it is a dense substance, made up of 49 years of accumulations, cultivated, developed, contemplated, belonging to the life of two men, here dressed in the livery of two incomparable artists, who without ambitions, narcissisms, or Pindaric flights bring to the table a great album.
The raw, perhaps even merciless truthfulness of “I’m Getting Old” is the histrionic touch that at a certain point doesn’t even care about the passing of time. And behind this mask painted by a light-hearted eyeliner lies a sense of liberation of immeasurable value.
It’s a sense of freedom that finds mellifluous awareness in the flapping of the wings of some “Birds in The Woods” which, in spite of everything, continues to live in their time, now more frenetic and pressing as instilled by “Working Away.”
Now that you are listening to the songs of “Waiting for the Sun” you can see with clear transparency how this album is a tracing in the footsteps and a reaping the fruits of one’s own lives, that despite everything, even though there are no longer thick flowing hair, throbs, caresses, and bites, between past memories and prospects developed by the now.
WHEN I WAS YOUNG // FRESH MAGGOTS - Music Video
Released in late 2020, Fresh Maggots’ album is accompanied by a music video for the lead track “When I Was Young.”
The visual features a collection of pictures from 1971, when their first album was released, then followed by pictures from 2020 showing Burgoyne and Dolphin involved in the making of “Waiting for the Sun.”
Thus the poignant “Reminders of You” makes us cross a pass steeped in nostalgia, which reminds us of something that perhaps we no longer have, and then pushes us to investigate with the probing “Where Are You Now.”
The pace has accelerated again, and Fresh Maggots continues to play with our souls and hearts. But it is an exercise that Burgoyne and Dolphin do not make for pure pleasure.
Rather it is an emotional ascension that expands as the coveted, required, pursued sun manages to warm us even with the faintest of rays. A little antidote, a little poison, that aspired sun warms even in the loneliness of the solitary mists stirred by “Dream of You.”
This album is an emotional merry-go-round that continually rises and falls, amidst the joys and sorrows of life, between the memories of what we were, evoked by “A Song Reminds Me,” and today’s desires for a more warming tomorrow, exquisitely rendered in the caesura of the final track.
Thus the two heads of a 49-year-long circle have reunited precisely at the point of origin by deepening and expand its amplitude. Thus the chrysalis opened up, under the thrust of an innate, lively, and vibrant impulse, revealing the sun it had inside. The sun of Fresh Maggots.
Listen now to "Waiting For The Sun," the latest Album by Fresh Maggots, available in streaming on all major digital platforms. You can find your favorite one via freshmaggots.hearnow.com/waiting-for-the-sun
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