Strong shrubs do not need pruning, about the life and work of Vigg Strubble, review published in Melody Magazine, Londons so-called underground music magazine, June 1995 ©
“Still going strong. There is no better way to describe the life and work of William Maurice Ross, aka Vigg Strubble, formerly known as Edward and the Victorians. An impressive steady pile of work: heartbreaking ballads, uptempo rock tunes, tear jerking lovesongs and outspoken protest songs with a clear message to our society. My mother always used to say: “Strong shrubs do not need pruning”. She meant her gardening, she did not know the music and lyrics of Vigg Strubble. But if she did, she would agree with me: Vigg Strubble is such a “strong shrub!”
What about songs like Live While You Can, Getting Older (Thoughts), Sacrifice, Seeing You Again, Boys from Uncle Sam, The Top of the Wall, Old Morrest, and not at least: This Lovely Day Today. Each song with its own atmosphere. Each song with its appealing tune. And each song with lyrics that only Vigg Strubble sings well. Alright, some covers were made, but by the wrong artists (mind my saying) and by the wrong musicians (won’t take it back).
In his personal life he has major setbacks. His wife left him (and ran away with one of his best friends), his stageband The Victorians had caused a serious car accident. He himself had health problems due to the years of extreme roadtrips and heavy touring in several countries. “Part of the load”, as Family used to sing. For an allround musician, who wrote lovesongs like Softly, Softly, Gently, Gently and Sadness I Do Not Know Anymore, it was obvious that this would leave severe traces within his personal life. And it did. He stopped touring, but kept on making beautiful songs.
Influenced by the horrific story of the falsely accused and sentenced to death by hanging of the coalminer Parrot Knocker in Pennsylvania USA in 1844, he changed his stage name into Vigg Strubble. Vigg Strubble was a coalminer as well, a close friend of Parrot Knocker’s. Vigg Strubble tried to prevent the hanging of his buddy, without hesitation and clearly without any fear. Looking at his own personal history this allround musician is a bit sensitive about friendship. From the moment he discovered the truth behind the story he took the homage very seriously: Vigg Strubble became his stage name. He is still proud to use that name. One of Vigg’s best songs is about Parrot Knocker. A rock classic you won’t forget!
I still like the real, straight forward, high and low singing of Vigg Strubble himself. I know him as a multi instrumentalist. He plays the keyboard, the (bass) guitar, percussion etc etc. He does all the arrangements himself. People do not realize this. They only see Charlie Whitney and guys like that. I am into Vigg and The Victorians. Wherever I am. In my car, at home or at a party. His music keeps on pushing, grabs you by the throat and knocks you down. Just at a moment you aren’t expecting it.
This applies to every song mentioned above, but what about songs like Those People, One of a Kind, How Could They Be Like His Mother and the heartbreaking What’s Life All About? In my view these are evergreens. Songs that will survive more than a decade. And in regard to my own mother, also mentioned above: “Strong shrubs do not need pruning”. Keep on carrying on, Vigg!”
review by M.H. Straightings, June 1995 ©
© used with the kind permission of the author