Posts Tagged ‘Birmingham’

As a young teen fan watching “Top Of The Pops”, getting into The Move was natural, It was rewarded with an intense admiration of albums such as “Shazam” and then later Roy Wood’s “Message From The Country”. Back then, affordable compilations covering the career of The Move were few and far between save for the rather good “Greatest Hits Vol. 1” released on budget label Pickwick (SHM952), partly in “electronically created stereo”.
The advent of the CD and the release of several anthologies and expanded album reissues has kept admirers of The Move pretty content over the last decade but, for me, there hasn’t been a single disc compilation that ticked all the boxes in covering their career from “Night Of Fear” up to “California Man”. That is until now. “Magnetic Waves Of Sound: The Best Of The Move” (ECLEC22554) is a remarkable release in that the 21 tracks on the CD are twinned with another 21 audio-visual treats on the accompanying DVD including the bands full infamous “Colour Me Pop” performance and a pristine promotional film for “I Can Hear The Grass Grow”. The folks at Esoteric Recordings (an imprint of Cherry Red Records) have done an admirable job in not only including every single issued by The Move on the CD, but also in selecting wisely album track nuggets such as “Kilroy Was Here”, “What?” and the classic “Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited”. An observation (but not a criticism) is that I’d have loved to see “Beautiful Daughter” included within the CD too,
All the hits are there and then some. The attractiveness and value of “Magnetic Waves Of Sound: The Best Of The Move” has been rewarded with impressive pre-orders and, at the time of writing, an entry into the Official Album Chart Update at a healthy #54, The Move and their role in the sparking creativity of The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is a well known fact but this superb double disc collection gives both the avid fan and the casual music buyer a wonderful journey through the hit laden career of not only one of THE best bands of their time. This collection is also an appreciation of the stellar songwriting output of the one and only Roy Wood as well as those immovable contributions of Bev Bevan, Carl Wayne, Chris ‘Ace’ Kefford, Trevor Burton, Rick Price and, of course, Jeff Lynne.

Continuing its series of reissues dedicated to the Birmingham rockers The Move, Cherry Red’s Esoteric Recordings imprint has just issued a CD/DVD collection that chronicles the band’s many facets and iterations between 1966 and 1972.  Magnetic Waves of Sound: The Best of The Move, featuring 21 tracks on CD and a further 21 live performances and promotional films on DVD, is certainly not the group’s first anthology, but it’s doubtless among the finest.

Over the course of just four studio albums – all but one of which, 1971’s Message from the Country, has been reissued and expanded by Esoteric – the band made a dizzying number of transformations.  Pop-psychedelia, mod soul, hard riff-rock, country, cabaret, folk, and rockabilly were all part of The Move’s repertoire.  The band went through five line-ups, with singer/songwriter/guitarist Roy Wood and drummer/vocalist Bev Bevan the two constants; Wood and Bevan would, of course, go on to form the original Electric Light Orchestra with Jeff Lynne, the Idle Race leader who joined The Move in 1970.  Lead singer Carl Wayne’s 1966-1970 yielded the lion’s share of the group’s hits, while the seemingly rotating bass chair went from Chris “Ace” Kefford to Trevor Burton to Rick Price before the Wood/Lynne/Bevan triumvirate abandoned a permanent bass slot for The Move’s final incarnation.

All ten of the band’s U.K. charting singles are here, from 1966’s Tchaikovsky-quoting “Night of Fear” through 1972’s fifties retro-style “California Man,” as well as “Do Ya,” The Move’s only U.S. hit.  (It was famously re-recorded by Electric Light Orchestra for 1976’s A New World Record.)  A healthy selection of B-sides and album tracks are peppered throughout the set, as well.  All of the tracks showcase not only the band’s great stylistic diversity but the strength of Roy Wood’s melodic pop sensibility.  Though The Move could rock (the harsher sound of “Hello Susie” is still jarring in this chronological context), their singles were more often than not compact pop creations, including the controversial “Flowers in the Rain” (subject of a High Court lawsuit that forced Wood to forfeit all of his royalties, then and now, from the composition), the urgent “Fire Brigade,” shimmering “(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree” and baroque “Blackberry Way.”  Move records were reliably filled with lush harmonies and unusual, dramatic instrumentation, sometimes courtesy of then-assistant producer Tony Visconti. Indeed, The Move were progressive before the word had entered the rock lexicon.

The final tracks on the CD portion of Magnetic Waves of Sound, culled from the Message from the Country era, were recorded as Lynne, Wood, and Bevan created Electric Light Orchestra.  As such, they complement the debut of ELO (the band’s only album with Wood (though he played, uncredited, on a couple of tracks from ELO 2).  “Ella James” was selected as the first single from Message, though it was quickly withdrawn and replaced with the jauntier “Tonight,” which was more redolent of the “classic” Move sound. The brisk, breezy “China Town” has Wood and Lynne trading vocals, with the latter already bringing a Beatles influence into the band and Wood bringing his best George Harrison-esque slide lines.

The second disc of this set – The Move on the Air: TV Broadcasts 1967-1970 – is an essential part of this package but could easily stand on its own, with 21 clips on DVD.  Note that this disc is region-free/NTSC, playable everywhere.  Quality is variable, particularly because the original aspect ratios have been converted to widescreen, leading to some “stretching” of the image.   The images are otherwise sharp and detailed, and the audio equally fine.  The centerpiece is a ten-song set from The BBC’s Colour Me Pop (in color, naturally) recorded on January 4th, 1969 featuring not only hits like “I Can Hear the Grass Grow,” “Flowers in the Rain,” and “Blackberry Way” but also covers such as Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing on My Mind,” Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Goin’ Back,” and the Louvin Brothers’ “Christian Life.”  Three songs from this set are lip-synched, while the remainder showcases the four-piece band after Chris “Ace” Kefford’s departure in its potent live prime.  Other strong, primal performances have been culled from broadcasts of Top of the Pops and Germany’s Beat Beat Beat and Beat Club.

Magnetic Waves of Sound is housed in a digipak containing both a fold-out poster and a 20-page booklet featuring a new essay by Mark Paytress as well as credits, a chart of the band line-ups, and discography.  Ben Wiseman has remastered, and sound quality is identical to the remasters, and comparable for the tracks new to this series.  The first eleven tracks on the CD are happily all presented in their original mono mixes.  This set is a fine addition to Esoteric’s stellar program dedicated to the underrated Brumbeat band.

CD

  1. Night of Fear (Deram DM 109-A, 1966) (*)
  2. I Can Hear the Grass Grow (Deram DM 117-A, 1967) (*)
  3. Wave the Flag and Stop the Train (Deram DM 117-B, 1967) (*)
  4. Kilroy Was Here (from Move, Regal Zonophone LRZ 1002, 1968) (*)
  5. (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree (from Move, Regal Zonophone LRZ 1002, 1968) (*)
  6. Walk Upon the Water (from Move, Regal Zonophone LRZ 1002, 1968) (*)
  7. Flowers in the Rain (Regal Zonophone RZ 3001-A, 1967) (*)
  8. Fire Brigade (Regal Zonophone RZ 3005-A, 1968) (*)
  9. Wild Tiger Woman (Regal Zonophone RZ 3012-A, 1968) (*)
  10. Blackberry Way (Regal Zonophone RZ 3015-A, 1968) (*)
  11. Curly (Regal Zonophone RZ 3021-A, 1969) (*)
  12. Hello Susie (from Shazam, Regal Zonophone SLRZ 1012, 1970)
  13. Cherry Blossom Clinic (Revisited) (from Shazam, Regal Zonophone SLRZ 1012, 1970)
  14. Brontosaurus (Regal Zonophone RZ 3026-A, 1970)
  15. When Alice Comes Back to the Farm (Fly Records BUG 2, 1970)
  16. What? (from Looking On, Fly Records FLY 1, 1970)
  17. Ella James (Harvest HAR 5036-A, 1971)
  18. Tonight (Harvest HAR 5038-A, 1971)
  19. China Town (Harvest HAR 5043-A, 1971)
  20. California Man (Harvest HAR 5050-A, 1972)
  21. Do Ya? (Harvest HAR 5086-A, 1972)

DVD

  1. I Can Hear the Grass Grow (Promotional Film)

HR TV Germany Beat Beat Beat – June 26, 1967

  1. Walk Upon the Water
  2. I Can Hear the Grass Grow
  3. Night of Fear

BBC Top of the Pops – February 15, 1968

  1. Fire Brigade

BBC Colour Me Pop – January 4, 1969

  1. I Can Hear the Grass Grow
  2. Beautiful Daughter
  3. Christian Life
  4. Flowers in the Rain
  5. The Last Thing on My Mind
  6. Wild Tiger Woman
  7. Goin’ Back
  8. Fire Brigade
  9. Something
  10. Blackberry Way

Radio Bremen TV Germany Beat Club – February 1968

  1. Fire Brigade
  2. Wild Tiger Woman
  3. Blackberry Way

Radio Bremen TV Germany Beat Club – August 1969

  1. Curly

Radio Bremen TV Germany Beat Club – April 1970

  1. Brontosaurus

Radio Bremen TV Germany Beat Club – December 1970

  1. When Alice Comes Back to the Farm

Birmingham quartet Swampmeat Family Band have announced their new album “Muck!” will see a release on the 5th June on vinyl and digital formats.

Expert purveyors of a blend of uptempo garage rock and gentle Americana, which they meld it into a lush, cinematic whole, the new record sees them adding new layers and fresh flourishes to their trademark sound. Punk Slime Recordings are proud to present the new full-length album from Birmingham, based Swampmeat Family Band. Their new album Muck! is due out on June 5th on vinyl & digital and it’s a massive step forward both songwriting and production-wise, offering up a blend of uptempo garage rock and gentle americana. Featuring members of PNKSLM’s own The Castillians and Terror Watts as well as Low Cut Connie, PWEI and Bentley Rhythm Ace,

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Swampmeat Family Band have already drawn praise from the likes of KEXP, The Line of Best Fit, DIY and GoldFlakePaint while turning heads with their live shows around Europe, and the band will be making their US debut at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX this year.

The Band:

Daniel Finnemore
T-Bird Jones
Richard March
Tommy Hughes

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Conceived over a bucks fizz binge in Birmingham UK early 2018, Cherry Pickles comes at you like the basement band you always wanted to start.

Priscila B brings from Brazil her love of early Tropicalia and the kind of ‘let’s be bad’ attitude that can only come from a land chock full of Catholic guilt. Mimi B brings her love of stripped down, bare essential rhythm. If two drums are good enough for Peggy O’Neill then they should definitely be good enough for you. Together they bonded over a mutual love of 50s malt-shop-pop, 60s minimalist garage, no wave, fuzz and all forms of outsider art. ‘Art damaged’ isn’t a slur, it’s a compliment. Anything lost in translation with this transatlantic duo only doubles the charm.

Played entirely on thrift store instruments with the kind of enthusiasm and naiveté severely lacking in a lot of today’s music this is not some clever re-imagining or ironic take on lo-fi, this is the real deal! Technique and skill be damned, the message comes through strong and that message is “Don’t think about it, just cross the line and enjoy it.” All rolled together with gum, glitter and stickytape in the studio by fellow Birmingham noisemakers Black Mekon, the result is slightly wrong-sounding but infectious one-minute-garage-pop with gusto. One guitar, 2 drums, the basement band you always wanted to start.

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Cherry Pickles’ debut LP Cherry Pickles Will Harden Your Nipples will be released on April 5th 2019 via PNKSLM Recordings following the band’s US debut at SXSW.

released April 5, 2019

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Run Out Groove curated new collection of Idle Race’s best Liberty-era tracks.

The Idle Race were a British rock group from Birmingham in the late 1960s and early 1970s who garnered a cult following but never enjoyed mass commercial success. In addition to being the springboard for Jeff Lynne’s career, the band holds a place of significance in British pop-rock history as a link between The Move, Electric Light Orchestra, The Steve Gibbons Band and Mike Sheridan and The Nightriders. The band was initially formed in 1959 under the name of Billy King and The Nightriders; and consisted of core-members rhythm guitarist Dave Pritchard and drummer Roger Spencer, along with vocalist Billy King, bassist Brian Cope, and lead guitarist Al Johnson. In 1962, King departed and was replaced by Mike Tyler who changed his name to Sheridan and this change coincided with the band’s rise and gaining a record deal with EMI in 1964.

Around this time Cope was replaced by Greg Masters and Johnson by lead guitarist, Roy Wood. Wood who went on to find greater success in subsequent bands, had his first commercially released composition, Make Them Understand, with the Nightriders in 1965. By 1965 Wood then formed the Move and the band started touring by 1966. Johnny Mann was eventually replaced by Jeff Lynne—who at the time was an unknown guitar prodigy from Birmingham. They released one single in 1966 on Polydor—It’s Only The Dog / Your Friend featuring Lynne on lead guitar. Eager to showcase Lynne’s vocal and guitar skills as well as his growing cache of catchy Beatlesque songs and wishing to embrace the psychedelic movement of the time, the group changed its name, first to The Idyll Race and then The Idle Race. Roy Wood who had become a star as The Move became a successful chart act, helped arrange a partnership with producers Eddie Offord and Gerald Chevin for The Idle Race. In 1967, the band was the first major signing by the new British arm of Liberty Records. Only their first single (not issued in the UK) and their first album got released in the US on Liberty. The band was well received by the press for their melodies, whimsical lyrics and inventive production. They often appeared live in performance with such bands as The Spencer Davis Group, The Who, The Small Face, Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Status Quo, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Yes and Free. BBC disc jockeys such as John Peel and Kenny Everett were big champions of the group.

Despite critical respect and famous admirers such as The Beatles and Marc Bolan, The Idle Race failed to catch fire with the public. After suffering through bad luck that sabotaged their efforts in releasing singles Here We Go ‘Round The Lemon Tree, The Skeleton and the Roundabout, and The End Of The Road, the band splintered, leaving in their wake several of the quirkiest and most distinctive pop records of the psychedelic era.

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Their fourth single, Bag of Nails, follows on from Open For Closing released back in April – and they are making it free to anybody who wishes to hear it. Taken of their forthcoming album “Relentless”, due out in September, people can get the track sent directly to them by the former Unsigned column stars if they send a blank email to tremendoustrack@gmail.com

Bag Of Nails is recorded with Gavin Monaghan at Wolverhampton’s Magic Garden Studios – as is a lot of Relentless with the rest being laid down in London and Sweden – and frontman Mark Dudzinski describes it as “one of the heavier tracks taken off the album”. “We decided to give a track away as a taster or teaser for the album,”.

Taken from the forthcoming album Relentless released in September 2019.

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Introducing Future Days

Last year we hosted the inaugural Future Days at The Crossing Digbeth and we’re pleased to say it returns this year.

2018’s lineup featuring Kurt Vile, Parquet Courts, Big Joanie, Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore … This years event will feature over double the amount of bands.

We’ll be announcing the full lineup next Wednesday at 5pm and then going on sale next Friday at 10am so please go over and like the page linked above to make sure you hear about all the announcements.