Sunday, September 8, 2013

Roger Glover and Guests - The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast, 1974

Roger Glover and Guests - The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast album cover, 1974
01 - Dawn
02 - Get Ready
03 - Saffron Dormouse And Lizzy Bee
04 - Harlequin Hare
05 - Old Blind Mole
06 - Magician Moth
07 - No Solution
08 - Behind The Smile
09 - Fly Away
10 - Aranea
11 - Sitting In A Dream
12 - Waiting
13 - Sir Maximus Mouse
14 - Dreams Of Sir Bedivere
15 - Together Again
16 - Watch Out For The Bat
17 - Little Chalk Blue
18 - The Feast
19 - Love Is All
20 - Homeward
Roger Glover - one of those legend-makers and bass-playing songwriters (McCartney, Sting). This album – overlooked, underrated and pretty much forgotten – stands out of his work for me so much, that I rather associate his name with The Butterfly Ball first than even with Deep Purple. It is a musical created by some of the biggest rock names after a children's book based on a poem from nineteenth century. If that doesn't sound intriguing enough, here are some of those names:

David Coverdale of Deep Purple and Whitesnake

Ronnie James Dio of Dio, Black Sabbath and Rainbow

Michael Giles of King Crimson

Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Phenomena

Eddie Jobson of Curved Air, Roxy Music and Jethro Tull

John Lawton of Uriah Heep and Lucifer’s Friend

Micky Lee Soule of Elf and Rainbow


Can you imagine Ronnie James Dio singing a little froggy's part? Those, familiar with his Elf years probably should, but those coming from his metal side might not. It's charming.

Love Is All seems to be the only track widely recognized. Although a very good song to me, I perceive it as a version of All You Need Is Love by you know who. Personal favorites are rather Old Blind Mole and Sitting In A Dream. Then go Behind The Smile, Sir Maximus Mouse, Watch Out For The Bat and Little Chalk Blue.

There was a wonderful CD reprint in 90's (could be the one from 1995) in a cardboard sleeve and with quite interesting liner notes – not the copy I own though (mine is a veteran CD from 1989 with some history attached, including quite an effort from my father to obtain it around 14 years ago and that little IT-slavery he got me into in return for a record :)

Anyway, recalling some of those notes and things read/heard elsewhere, I can't stop thinking of this Deep Purple turmoil background Glover must've been going through those years: leaving the band due to that Blackmore thing – arranging a new band with Dio during the Butterfly Ball sessions – Blackmore leaving DP and getting Dio to his newly formed Rainbow instead – Glover producing Rainbow... Still in the middle of it, beaten by the oil crisis of '73 but powered by a lot of talent The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast was born. A record emitting light and celebrating life in its various styles and genres. Filled with enthusiasm and devotion, where songs were conceived right in the studio and just before recording.

Transparent and gentle. As if artwork by Alan Aldridge alone wouldn't make it worth owning.

An animated feature film has been planned as well, however didn't happen due to aforementioned crisis. Here is what has left:



Butterfly Ball's lyrics at Roger Glover's official website

Wikipedia: Album|Artist 

Next time: How Music Works