Peggy’s Leg – William Tell Overture
This single somehow fell between the cracks when it came to reissues. Released in 1974 (most sources say 1973, but the label reads otherwise), it was a follow-up to Peggy’s Leg‘s excellent and highly-recommended 1973 album Grinilla. The band – led by guitarists Jimi Slevin (ex-Crossroads and Alyce) and Jimmy Gibson, and featuring Vincent Duffy on bass and Don Harris (ex-Urge) on drums – showcased some very high quality progressive rock originals on their album, but live also specialised in ‘rocked-up’ adaptations of classical pieces, including the ‘Sinfonia from Cantata No. 29‘ by Bach and ‘Sabre Dance’ by Khachaturian (via Dave Edmunds’ Love Sculpture). Here, they furthered their reputation as Ireland’s answer to Emerson Lake & Palmer by recording a version of Rossini’s ‘William Tell Overture’, the kind of track that could only have seemed like a good idea in the early ’70s. Hard-rock ‘B’ side ‘Brownox’, penned by the late Jimmy Gibson, has aged much better and demonstrates how Peggy’s Leg could comfortably keep company with contemporaries like Thin Lizzy, Skid Row and Elmer Fudd.
The band began to disintegrate soon after this last release, with Vincent Duffy and later Jimi Slevin quitting before a final split in 1975. Slevin and Gibson would reunite in Jimi Slevin & Firefly and record the LP Getting There, while Harris would go on to Metropolis. Although some sources suggest that this single was added to some CD reissues of the Grinilla album (both having been originally issued on the ‘Bunch Records’ label), I’ve never seen any such copies (other than vinyl releases in 1973 and 1994, the album’s only digital issue in 2001 featured the live jam bonus track ‘Son Of Grinilla’) and so, here it is in all it’s original crackly glory.
- William Tell Overture