Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshoppers Feast - Roger Glover and Friends

Of all the multitudinous highways and byways down which the enterprising Deep Purple collector can travel, none, perhaps, is so surprising as The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, Purple bassist Roger Glover's first "solo" album, and -- almost incidentally -- one of the most delightful children's records ever made. Yes, a children's record. In 1973, Glover was approached about creating a musical adaptation of artist Alan Aldridge and poet William Plomer's book of the same name -- a commission that surprised him, but which he nevertheless accepted. The book itself is delightful and, while Glover's work is unquestionably more heavily flavored by the near-psychedelia of the illustrations, the spirit of the text is retained as well, to create an album that stands among the few truly successful musical adaptations of an existing story yet committed to vinyl. Although Glover, as the album's premier composer, takes the bulk of the credit for this success, his co-conspirators, too, merit praise. Convening what resembles one of the greatest all-star lineups in heavy metal history -- and then banning them from even glancing toward their usual territory -- Glover is joined by Purple stalwarts David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, future Rainbow frontman Ronnie James Dio, session stars Eddie Hardin and Tony Ashton, soul singer Jimmy Helms, Roxy Music's Eddie Jobson and John Gustafson, and three quarters of funk-rock aspirants Fancy. Each was given his own role to play and the resultant album is a tremendous mishmash of musical styles, from folky balladeering to psychedelic whimsy, but leaning most heavily toward an early-'70s pop/rock vibe -- for some reason, one could imagine the early Queen spending an awful lot of time listening to The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast Given the heavily narrative nature of the project, it is best listened to in one session -- a handful of tracks certainly exist more to carry the tale than make a musical impact. Highlights, however, leap out from across the platter, with the macabre "Old Blind Mole" and the positively buoyant "Love Is All" the twin extremes around which the action revolves. Gustafson's hard rock "Watch Out for the Bat," meanwhile, must surely have induced nightmares within the album's younger fans, while Dio's closing "Homeward" all but predicts the course of arena rock during the 1980s. It's a great package, as well as a chance to reacquaint yourself with one of childhood's most treasured tales.

- Dave Thompson, All Music Guide

The Butterfly Ball is a concept album and subsequent live rock opera appearing in 1974 and 1975 respectively, based on the children's book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper Feast. The album is officially titled the same as this poem, but is more commonly shortened to the Butterfly Ball to distinguish it.
It was originally conceived as a solo vehicle for Jon Lord and to be produced by Roger Glover, but Lord proved too busy with Deep Purple and Glover took up the reins on his own. Using his connections, Glover recruited a large cast of noted rock musicians to perform on it, with a different vocalist for each track. The single Love is All, with vocals from Ronnie James Dio, charted in the UK.

* Roger Glover: Synthesiser piano, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, backing vocals
* Eddie Hardin: Piano, organ, synthesiser, backing vocals
* Les Binks: Drums
* Ray Fenwick: Guitar
* Mo Foster: Bass guitar, double bass, fingerpops
* Mike Moran: Piano
* Liza Strike, Hele Chapelle, Barry St.John, Judy Kuhl Kay Garner, Joanne Williams: vocal backings
* Ann Odell: Piano
* Mike Giles: Drums
* Nigel Watson: Saw
* Eddie Jobson: Violin
* Jack Emblow: Accordion
* Chris Karan: Tabla
* Robin Tompson: Bassoon

* Glenn Hughes: Vocals on 2
* Helen Chappelle: Vocals on 3
* Barry St. John: Vocals on 3
* Neil Lancaster: Vocals on 4
* John Goodison: Vocals on 5
* Mickey Lee Soule: Vocals on 7
* David Coverdale: Vocals on 8
* Liza Strike: Vocals on 9
* Judi Kuhl: Vocals on 10
* Ronnie James Dio: Vocals on 11, 19, 20
* Jimmy Helms: Vocals on 12
* Eddie Hardin: Vocals on 13
* Tony Ashton: Vocals on 15
* John Gustafson: Vocals on 16
* John Lawton: Vocals on 17

1 Dawn 1:21
2 Get Ready 2:06
3 Saffron Dormouse and Lizzy Bee 1:25
4 Harlequin Hare 1:26
5 Old Blind Mole 1:11
6 Magician Moth 1:33
7 No Solution 3:28
8 Behind the Smile 1:46
9 Fly Away 2:22
10 Aranea 1:37
11 Sitting in a Dream 3:40
12 Waiting 3:11
13 Sir Maximus Mouse 2:35
14 Dreams of Sir Bedievere 4:09
15 Together Again 2:05
16 Watch Out for the Bat 1:41
17 Little Chalk Blue 3:44
18 The Feast 1:48
19 Love Is All 3:14
20 Homeward 4:12

Bonus Tracks

21 Love Is All, Demo Version 3:04
22 Dawn 1:35
23 Magician Moth 1:37
24 Harlequin Hare 1:33
25 Magician Moth 1:34
26 No Solution 3:58
27 Waiting 3:10
28 Fly Away 2:24
29 Aranea 1:38

Download Link


  1. Oh wow. They used to play the animated music video 'Love is all' on the ABC here is Australia. Such happy memories. Is there any chance of a repost of this as the links are not working.

  2. Thank you so much for this. Wonderful stuff.


Please feel free to leave any comments about this blog