As with professional wrestling, there are too many people in the world who 'don't get' The Wurzels. Too many people think that they start with 'The Combine Harvester' and end with 'I Am a Cider Drinker'. Little do they know that The Wurzels were producing quality folk music with a comic twinge for well over a decade before they made the charts.
It all started with Alan John Cutler, otherwise known as Adge Cutler, a singer-songwriter from Somerset. In the mid-1960s his simple folk songs about farming, love, cider and the beauty of the Somerset countryside won fans all across the West Country, and by 1966 he and his backing band, The Wurzels, had been signed up to EMI and released their first LP - a live album recorded in a pub in Nailsea.
Cutler was a prolific songwriter and with songs such as 'Twice Daily' and 'Ferry to Glastonbury' was quite rightly seen as a true legend by all who heard him. By the end of the 1960s, The Wurzels were on the verge of national fame when 'Drink up thy Zider' entered the charts, just missing out on the Top 40. This song was not forgotten when it fell out of the hit parade though. On the contrary, it went on to become the national anthem of North Somerset and continued to be loved and sung by football fans across the region, including those at Hereford, Bristol Rovers and Bristol City. Today, it is the theme song for Bristol City Football Club, sung at every game by the supporters - although in recent times it has been adapted to insult the Bristol Rovers.
Sadly, just as it seemed Adge Cutler would achieve the fame and fortune his songwriting skills demanded, his life was cut tragically short when he was killed in a car accident near Chepstow on 5 May, 1974. The rest of the band decided to continue without him.
Unfortunately, none of the surviving members possessed the same level of talent as Adge, so they took to producing novelty cover versions rather than continue with the subtle, country-twinged ways of old. This decision led to huge chart success with 'The Combine Harvester' and 'I Am a Cider Drinker'.
Almost 30 years on, there are many people who think The Wurzels have disappeared into obscurity and will never be seen again. But they are wrong. At the time of writing, they are playing gig after gig across Britain, and are thrilling a whole new generation of fans. EMI have seen fit to release two new compilation albums in recent months - The Finest 'Arvest of The Wurzels featuring Adge Cutler and The Wurzels Collection - sales of which have exceeded all expectations. In addition, 'The Combine Harvester' was re-released in Summer 2001, celebrating 25 years of Wurzel success. With luck, by this reading it will again have reached the top of the charts.