is Scrumpy & Western music?
& Western music is the music of the West Country of England.
It is best known as being the music of Adge Cutler and the Wurzels,
but to connoisseurs of the genre there is much, much more to Scrumpy
& Western music than just Drink Up Thy Cider or Combine
Harvester. This website lists well over 30 artists and bands
whose music falls into the genre, and there are undoubtedly many
others not listed, and more yet who have Scrumpy & Western songs
within their repertoire, but whose music fall mostly into other
Scrumpy & Western as a genre dates from the mid-1960s - although
its roots stretch back much further, through Music Hall songs of
the 1930s, to Light Music of the turn of the century, and back to
the old rustic working songs of the West Country folk of earlier
But it is the release of Adge Cutler’s second release, the
Scrumpy & Western EP (Columbia SEG 8525) in 1966 that
sees the first published use of the term ‘Scrumpy & Western’,
so this is as good a starting point as any. Were the OED to include
Scrumpy & Western in their renown and respected tome, its definition
might look something like this:
Scrumpy & Western. Also see Scrumpy and Western, Scrumpy
n. A type of music mostly restricted to the West Country of England,
consisting of upbeat, optimistic rustic songs often accompanied
by banjo, accordion and tuba.
[1966. The Adge Cutler & The Wurzels recorded 7” vinyl
single 'Scrumpy & Western EP']
The term "Scrumpy & Western" is, of course, a parody
of the equally rural but hardly upbeat and optimistic Country &
Western music genre; although the genres are poles apart. With
jazz and folk music purists both distancing themselves from his
brand of music, Adge Cutler used the phrase "Scrumpy &
Western" when asked to describe what kind of music he wrote.
He described his songs as the kind of music that his West Country
fans enjoying listening to while supping their scrumpy. This underlines
Adge’s rather wicked sense of humour and subtly sophisticated
wit; while deliberately understating his music, the name manages
to appeal to people on different levels – rather like his
styles vary by band or musician, and very few are known outside
the West Country. The main exceptions to this are Addge Cutler &
The Wurzels, who had a number one hit in the UK with Combine
Harvester in 1976 followed by several other hit singles. This
followed an earlier hit single with Drink Up Thy Zider,
an unofficial West Country anthem, especially among supporters of
Bristol City FC. This gained notoriety when the BBC refused to play
its B-side song, Twice Daily, due to concern about the
unseemly subject matter (a shotgun wedding). Combine Harvester
itself was a re-worded version of Melanie's hit single Brand
New Key and other songs borrowed the style and made fun of
British popular music genres.
To say that Adge invented Scrumpy & Western music though would
be to do a disservice to those singers and songwriters who were
producing and performing songs of a similar ilk before him; people
like Len ‘Uke’ Thomas, who Adge openly acknowledges
on his first album. Adge did not invent Scrumpy & Western music;
he merely labelled it - and this website aims to be an archive of
the whole of the Scrumpy & Western canon.
free to browse through the new Scrumpy &
Western Audio Library.
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what is NOT Scrumpy & Western music
is more to Scrumpy & Western music than being born, bought up
or living in the South West. For this reason we are unable to include
such musical dignitaries at Matt and Luke Goss from Bros who lived
and grew up in Cheddar, Peter Hammill from 70s prog rock cult heroes
Van Der Graaf Generator, who lives in the Limpley Stoke Valley near
Bath, and rock guitarists Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple/Rainbow)
and Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy) who are both Weston-super-Mare-ites.
Or indeed the various other South West musicians and songwriters
whose musical tasted run rather differently to the Scrumpy &
saying that Richie will, of course, get his page if the next Blackmore's
Night album has some reference to scrumpy and pasties rather than
mulled cider and mead!
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