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B.B. Blunder

Worker's Playtime

Review by Gary Hill

This is a new expanded and remastered version of a classic album from 1971. The music here is not precisely progressive rock, at least not from start to finish. It certainly has a real proto-prog angle to much of it, though. There is also plenty of jazz on display at times. The group only recorded the one album before breaking up. It is included here along with two previously unreleased bonus tracks from "BBC Radio Sounds of the 70s" on the first CD of the set. The second disc is made up of outtakes and demos from the sessions. This is quite an interesting set of a band that showed a lot of promise.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
CD ONE:
                   
Workers’ Playtime
                                  
Sticky Living

There is a short burst of sound that comes up somewhat gradually serving as the introduction. The cut works out to a cool jam with plenty of bluesy rock and psychedelia in the mix from there. I'm reminded to a large degree of Traffic as the vocals join. Horns bring some serious jazz elements to bear. Those horns are the final instruments on the tune and take it into some strange space at the end.

You’re So Young

I love the cool soaring rock sounds on this thing. It builds a bit like something from Blind Faith meets The Allman Brothers. It turns toward proto-prog in some variant parts. The cut gets into some pretty soaring territory before it's over. The sounds of the ocean end this and segue into the next piece.

Lost Horizons
The sounds of the waves continue on this piece, and the musical accompaniment is quite atmospheric.
Research
There is a cool proto-prog arrangement made up of a guitar and piano concept as this gets underway. I'm definitely reminded of Procol Harum as it gradually works forward and grows upward. This instrumental piece is all class.
Rocky Yagbag
Some funk, cool old school rock and more merge on this energized tune. It's a lot of fun. It's perhaps not the proggiest thing here, but it's strong. I'm reminded a bit of War at times on this thing.
Seed
I dig the spacey, mellower sound on this quite a bit. It turns harder rocking further down the road. There is a cool excursion into pretty freaky space rock later that makes me think of a combination of Captain Beyond and Hawkwind. This number continues to grow and evolve from there.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Another solid rocker, this has a driving element to it. It's psychedelia meets proto-prog and more. It definitely works out into some space rock directions, too.
Rise
More of a direct rocking sound is on hand here. The chorus has a cool melodic vibe.
Moondance
There is a real jazzy vibe to this cut. It's sort of jazz meets psychedelia with some hints of space music. Speaking of space, sound-effects that call to mind space ships end this.
New Day
Piano brings this in from the noisy effects that ended the last one and vocals come in over the top of that arrangement. The cut turns to an almost gospel groove as the rest of the instruments join. This is a solid track, but also one of the most mainstream and least proggy things here.
Bonus Tracks:
                                  
Go Have Yourself A Good Time (BBC Session 1971)

This cut is classy. At the start it's more of a mainstream rocker, but it turns toward psychedelia and proto-prog stuff as it gets into some cool jams late. 

Sticky Living (BBC Session 1971)
I dig this version of the cut a lot. The hard rocking textures work really well. It has some great energy and groove.
CD TWO:
                  
Workers’ Playtime
                          
Session out-takes and demos
                                  
Backstreet

This is an odd, but intriguing cut. There is a lot of blues and gospel in the mix. It's also built on some strange psychedelic textures and sounds.

Freedom
This mellower and lush tune is another that makes me think of Procol Harum. I can make out some hints of early Pink Floyd type stuff, too. I think I like this as much as anything on the album proper. It's just packed full of magic and charm.
Black Crow’s Nest
More of a folk song, this reminds me a bit of The Grateful Dead.
When I Was In The Country
Spacey psychedelia merges with folk music on this number.
A Hard Day’s Night
There is some awesome intricate guitar work on the intro to this. It's a guitar solo for about a minute-and-a-half. Then vocals come in over the guitar backdrop. This is a cover of The Beatles song, but it's basically a deconstructed take on the track. I've always said that if you are going to cover a track you should make it your own. Well, this definitely does that.
Come On Eyes
As this starts to get underway it almost feels like an extension of the last number. Some jamming emerges as it continues. The track rises up to spacey zones from there. This becomes a killer space rock meets psychedelic piece. This thing gets pretty involved, and I think I like this one as much as I like anything on the main album.
Snippet With Tippett
This is just a brief instrumental romp with guitar and piano at its heart. When I say "short," I mean less than thirty-seconds.
Square Dance
Country rock, folk music and more merge on this number. It has some killer slide guitar and does manage to work in some hints of psychedelia and proto-prog. I'm definitely reminded of the Grateful Dead at times on this.
Earache
This instrumental combines jam band sounds with psychedelia, proto-prog and space rock. It's a killer jam that is among the best music of this second disc.
Robots
There is some tastefully weird stuff on this killer instrumental piece. It has a great blend of prog and psychedelia. It's another standout on this CD.
Waltz
This tune is more of a straightforward rock jam. It's another instrumental. It's not bad, but not one of my favorites here.
 
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