Ethel the Frog - Ethel the Frog - EMI - EMC 3329 - 1980 Sometimes you stumble on a record that might have been tailor-made for you, and while Ethel the Frog may not make anyone's top ten greatest albums of all time list, it certainly ticked a lot of my boxes and still does. The obscure Monty Python referencing name, the surprisingly effective, out-of-left-field cover of "Eleanor Rigby", the low-key production that evokes the garage more than the studio or the stadium -- I have loved this record dearly, while acknowledging its arguable flaws, ever since the above-mentioned stumbling. It was the Monty Python reference that did it, mostly, plus the hard-to-construe, kinda sexy cover that did it too. (In both cases, it didn't take much.) Hull's Ethel the Frog was formed in 1976, and was an obscure but notable "node" in what would come to be known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Like many such groups, they labored in squalid, sweaty obscurity, surfaced briefly to emit a single, an album, and a compilation track, before a quick disintegration and dissolution into the ether. The "Eleanor Rigby" single was self-released (in 1978), instantly becoming a collectors' item because of novelty and scarcity The following LP released on EMI in 1980 on the strength of this success was probably bought by most mainly on the basis of this opening track. While the rest of the album is uneven, it does have its moments, and includes some great double leads and satisfying rock and roll energy. The relatively low-fi production lends a dark tone to the proceedings. It also arguably makes the complexity of some of the arrangements more impressive. You can really hear the real band behind the noise. It's only rock and roll, but... well you know... Despite a lot of prominent stylistic elements associated with the genre as it later came to be understood, I dare say many will struggle to hear the "metal" here. This band is arguably in the line that descends from, say, Budgie, rather than Judas Priest, one that didn't leave quite as much of a mark. A big budget record and a twist of fate could well have changed all that, you never know, but it didn't. I'm glad Ethel the Frog left a trace. Even if it doesn't quite melt my face, it's something I enjoy immensely. Check it out, maybe you'll agree. -- Ethel the Frog LP: -- Monty Python's Flying Circus, Piranha Brothers Sketch: