A quintessential ’60s band that seemed to run into more bad luck than good, THE MOVE were one of the UK’s finest nascent “rock” groups. At turn after turn they lost band members, saw their singles get banned from airplay and had other calamities keep them from the success that in hindsight seems a foregone conclusion. The Birmingham, England group was originally fronted by vocalist Carl Wayne, with guitarist Roy Wood and drummer Bev Bevan among the heavy hitting roster. Eventually the group lost Wayne (and a couple of others) and gained Jeff Lynne before disbanding in 1972. However, in 1968…
Prior to the release of Move, their first album, The Move proceeded to record a February 1968 show at London’s famed Marquee for release as a live EP. The resulting Something Else from The Move was a crude-sounding 5-song 7″ featuring the band covering some of their current favorites. Besides the famous Eddie Cochran ’50s rocker title track, there were tunes by Love (“Stephanie Knows Who”), The Byrds (“So You Want to Be a Rock ’N’ Roll Star”), a souped-up “It’ll Be Me” (made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis) and Spooky Tooth’s “Sunshine Help Me.” Upon release in June, the EP became their first record to miss the charts completely. It had to be because it was just too raw for the British pop public to digest – if it were a man this record would’ve had bigger balls than anybody within miles. The Move, for three of the tracks, were a four-piece with two guitars, bass and drums (plus Wayne on vox) and really delivered what can only be heard now as proto punk rock. (Because there were issues with the live recording, a second show was scheduled in early May 1968 to gain the needed tracks to make up the eventual five-song release. By that time bassist Ace Kefford left the band so guitarist Trevor Burton switched to bass.) Seriously, this kick-ass record deserves to be in every garage rock aficionado’s collection.
Earlier this year, UK record label Esoteric Recordings reissued the 7″ EP for Record Store Day in its original picture sleeve and mono configuration – as a “trailer” for the CD we’re talking about here (released in May). This baby is a 17-track extravaganza, with twelve stereo tracks comprising all of the songs recorded at those two 1968 Marquee dates, plus the original five mono tracks from the vinyl EP. A couple of the band’s current singles are included (“Fire Brigade” and “Flowers in the Rain”), plus more incendiary covers like “Higher and Higher” (The Supremes!), “Piece of My Heart” (made popular later that year by Janis Joplin in Big Brother & The Holding Company’s classic rendition), and Denny Laine’s now obscure “Too Much in Love.” Holy crap! Hearing this album is like discovering an amazing rock band you never heard of before, making you wonder how it could have possibly escaped your attention! And the primitive sound quality – not exactly of bootleg material but definitely at “soundboard recording” level – just adds to the primordial pandemonium of Something Else! Ever wondered what Love would sound like if they had cajones? Suck this and see!
Foreshadowing the band’s second album, early 1970’s Shazam!, and its heavier sound, this live EP/LP sounds much tougher and taut than I expected or hoped. It is the best thing I’ve heard all year! I’m finally reviewing it now because I just received it in the mail thanks to a few extra bucks I had when pre-ordering Magnetic Waves of Sound: The Best of The Move, which comes out next month and will feature (besides 21 audio tracks) an entire DVD’s worth of rarer-than-rare video from these Brummie brutes. You don’t have to guess that I’ll be covering that one here, too!
5/5 (Esoteric Recordings, 2016)