"Down in the darkness is a world unknown"
Sometimes curiosity can get the best of most of us. From the gloriously weird cover art, to the band’s name being a spoonerism, there’s enough here to indicate that there’s something just a bit offbeat going on with Fuzzy Duck’s debut album. Add to this the fact that a bit of research reveals that it was their only album, that it shifted minimal units, and that they split shortly after its release, and you have all the ingredients for a genuine curio form the early 70s.
The artwork sort of gives you the indication that the contents will be along the lines of freak-rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but opening track “Time Will be Your Doctor” still surprises you with exactly how odd it is straight out of the trap. This is primarily down to Mick Hawksworth’s elastic bass line, which adds an oddly funky feel to the freak-prog sound. Elsewhere, the guitars are heavy, a Hammond organ swirls, drums are pummelled with enthusiastic abandon and the vocals confirm without any doubt that you are listening to an early 70s rock combo. As it turns out, vocals throughout the album are shared between bass genius Hawksworth, guitar slinger Grahame White and organ botherer Roy Sharland on a rotational basis. You might expect this to result in a rather fragmented sound, but such is the strength of Fuzzy Duck’s musical identity, the whole thing knits together in a curiously pleasing manner.
As the album unfolds it firmly establishes itself as the more rocking side of prog-rock, but such has been this album’s obscurity, it hasn’t become obsolete through over-familiarity, like so much hard rocking music from this era has. Instead the whole album sounds like a long-forgotten message which has accidentally dropped through a time warp for those of us with a love of early 70s rock to finally discover and embrace 45 years after the event. The elements of prog-rock that many find annoying – the elongated solos, the mystic twaddle lyrics – are kept to a minimum, instead, we are treat to heavy riffing, crashing organ sounds, a bluesy holler and an overall feeling of genuine playfulness.
Is Fuzzy Duck an unfairly obscure album? No, not really. It’s just one of those albums by one of those acts who fell through the cracks of the music industry. There must be hundreds, if not thousands of acts who deserve to have ‘made it’, but never did for one reason or another, and Fuzzy Duck are just one of them. It’s these unexpected rediscoveries of obscure releases that makes being a fan of music so fulfilling. Sometimes you just stumble across an album that connects with you on a personal level in a way that it just hasn’t connected with many other people, and as the closing “A Word From Big D” fades away, you can only feel grateful that Fuzzy Duck managed to release this one great album before slipping away into obscurity.