Tag Archives: The Move

Roy Wood & Wizzard • Main Street [CD]

As far as eccentric British musicians go, there may be none as gone as ROY WOOD. You wanna talk about a guy with a vision? How about a guy with all kindsa visions? He was a founding member of the great Birmingham ’60s beat band, The Move, co-founder of Electric Light Orchestra with Jeff Lynne, and the prime mover of WIZZARD. That “group” – which sometimes seemed like Wood playing all the instruments himself – was responsible for a number of UK hits in the ’70s, though sadly only their “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” is the only single of theirs that ever came close to charting here in the States. By the time Wood got to recording what came to be known as Main Street, the man was (in his own words) “trying to grow up… [it was] probably a last minute attempt to retain some sort of sanity.” Well, I guess you could call it that – if you’re Roy Wood!

What we have here is a reissue of an album that went unreleased upon its completion in 1976. A lone single (“Indiana Rainbow”) was issued in the UK as “from the forthcoming album, Wizzo” that was unable to gain any chart attention and so the album went unissued until 1999. This time, Esoteric Recordings has added a bonus track and tweaked the artwork (though they didn’t improve on Edsel’s design from ’99). This is a weird album. It’s full of a lot of the dense power pop arrangements that Wood is known for, but then, on top of that, there’s all of this jazzy stuff thrown in. Sometimes it’s fusion courtesy of his lead guitar, sometimes it’s pseudo swing and even some faintly calypso-sounding instrumentation. It’s got subtle nods to even the gnarliest Move stuff (“Brontosaurus” and “Curly,” particularly), as well as other supremely rockin’ bits (like the bonus track, “Human Cannonball”) that’ll draw you in, and even some progressive rock for variety. I mean, if ever there was an album that benefited and/or suffered from including everything but the kitchen sink, this is it.

I honestly don’t know what to think of Main Street… Is it an album that’ll grow on me and become a regular part of my rotation? I don’t expect it to – it’s just too out there. But – and this is a big but – if you’re a Roy Wood fan and you missed this one the first time it came out, you will obviously be drawn to this, practically the (il)logical conclusion to where Roy was heading with Wizzard all along. After it’s all said and done, you may just utter (like I did more than once), “Well, that is a weird album.” – Marsh Gooch

2.5/5 (Esoteric Recordings ECLEC2730, 2020)

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The Move • Magnetic Waves of Sound: The Best of The Move [CD+DVD]

move-magneticMagnetic Waves of Sound: The Best of The Move gets its name from a line in the immortal song, “I Can Hear the Grass Grow.” A CD+DVD digipack from the UK’s Esoteric Recordings, it’s a right plethora of audio and video highlights of Birmingham, England’s THE MOVE. Each disc contains 21 tracks; the CD is a greatest hits compilation featuring a majority of their singles and some key B-sides and album cuts. Most Move fans will already have a serviceable compilation of one vintage or another that probably covers most of what you’d want, though, and for them the attraction here is the DVD. On the region-free, NTSC video disc you get a whole lotta seldom seen footage, including the band’s complete performance on the BBC’s Colour Me Pop program from 1969, appearances on German TV’s Beat Club, and the original promo film of the title song (“I Can Hear the Grass Grow”). Video quality is pretty amazing when compared to what little is available on YouTube and other video ports, though some of the songs aren’t complete (probably due to cutting out the announcer overlapping the beginning or end of a song) or appear two or three times. Still, it’s a DVD that compiles a great many interesting and historic TV appearances.

move_3some_333pxThis isn’t to say that you don’t need the CD, oh Move fan you. It’s rare to get a best-of that includes their later, Harvest Records singles like “China Town,” “California Man” and Jeff Lynne’s classic “Do Ya,” the original version recorded by The Move. By the time they recorded these last few tunes in ’71-’72, the band consisted of Lynne, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan (the latter two the only original members left in the band). At that point the three were creating the new Electric Light Orchestra on the side, and of course, that’s the group that more people are familiar with today. But it’s here that you hear a unique alloy of the beat group that The Move started out as and the much more expansive, cello-fied group they became. It is a little odd that they chose the LP version of “Cherry Blossom Clinic” instead of the snappier single version (the version here appeared on their Shazam album and was farther out than the original) – it breaks up the momentum established by the first half of the CD. Regardless, sound quality is pretty top notch considering the combination of mono and stereo mixes and the time span covered (1966-1972).

Magnetic Waves of Sound is an audio/video document that covers all the ground The Move did during their decade together and deserves a slot in every rock fan’s CD collection.

4/5 (Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 22554, 2017) – My review of the live album, Something Else from The Move, is here.

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The Move • Something Else from The Move [CD]

somethingelse-themove-cd_400pxA 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.

move-band-1Earlier 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)

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