The King of the Wurzels
Alan John Cutler was born in November 1931, the oldest of four sons to Dorothy and Jack Cutler of Portishead. With his initials A.J. from an early age he was known as Adge. As a young man Adge had many jobs, he worked in the local cider factory, in his Dad's cycle shop, and as a labourer on several building sites, including locally the Portishead power station.
Drinking in the pubs and bars of Somerset and around Bristol, Adge was continually annoyed at hearing locals sing songs about London, Glasgow, or Dublin.
"What we needs" said our Adge, "is West Country songs for West Country people!!". So he wrote them. Songs about places that we all knew, Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Stanton Drew, Pill. Songs about his people, locals, villagers, farmers, cider drinkers.
At his day jobs Adge would jot down his poems and ditties whenever he could, back of an envelope, anywhere. Listening to his little rhymes, his mates dubbed him The Bard of Avonmouth. George I'll get 'ee, a dollop of spaghetti. From Bristol Docks, to the Mumbles Rocks. Clarinetist Acker Bilk had another nickname for Adge... the Worst Roadie Ever. Adge got to know a few people in the West Country music business, did a bit of humping and carrying for the likes of Acker Bilk, and then met local band manager John Miles.
In 1966, Adge went to John Miles' office in Clifton, and convinced John to manage him and a band he formed. After some debate over a name, they settled on Adge Cutler and the Wurzels. John Miles tells the story about what happened next, gigs, a recording contract, albums, and lots and lots of cider drinking.
Adge met and married Yvonne, a divorced mother of four. It was a low key wedding, just two guests in a registry office, and they settled in a lovely house in North Somerset not far from Adges beloved home town of Nailsea, or The Holy City as he called it.
Over eight years there were more gigs, LPs or Loud Players as Adge called them, and a brief visit to the Top Forty with the live single DRINK UP THY ZIDER. Then on the Fifth of May 1974, driving home from a gig in Hereford, Adge was killed in a car accident.
Adge Cutler was a one off, a larger than life personality, and also the first of his kind in the world of entertainment. The Regional Singer Songwriter Comedian. There were singers before, and comedians, but Adge sang songs and told jokes about his region, and all in the local familiar accent. After Adge Cutler, Scotland found Billy Connolly, Wales had Max Boyce, Lancashire had Mike Harding the Rochdale Cowboy. Cornwall got Jethro, Yorkshire Jake Thackray, Birmingham Jasper Carrott, London Mike Reid, and Dublin about half a dozen all on the Craic.
And it all started with the lad from Nailsea.
We hope that you enjoy the retelling of his story.......
Adge Cutler on Pathe News 1967