Posts Tagged ‘Roy Wood’

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

The Move was probably the biggest British group of the late 60s/early 70s who utterly failed to make any sort of impression on the American market. Nearly every biography written about them begins that way as if it’s the most important thing about the Move. It’s not, although it does provide a bit of (perhaps necessary) context. In England the Move had nine top 20 hits and was arguably ranked just below the Who (and just above the Pretty Things) in terms of pop group popularity. In the US however the Move never really made a dent in the charts, and are recalledif they are recalled much at all more as the predecessor to the Electric Light Orchestra, or merely a footnote in that band’s story, than for their own merits. It’s rare to find a Move album when you are crate digging.

It’s true, in America still to this day the Move would be considered downright obscure, but on (very, very rare) occasion (as in almost never), one does meet a total Roy Wood fanatic.

 

The Move‘s original five-piece line-up formed in 1965 when teenaged guitarist Roy Wood (the band’s principle songwriter), drummer Bev Bevan, bassist Ace Kefford, vocalist Carl Wayne (older than the rest of them) and guitarist Trevor Burton “moved” from the ranks of several other semi-successful Birmingham-based bands to play together in a new Brummie “supergroup.” Like a heavier Hollies, four of the quintet were capable of handling vocals and although golden-throated Carl Wayne tended to take the lead, they also switched off that everyone got a turn in the spotlight. They were managed, first by Moody Blues manager Tony Secunda—who dressed the Move in Mod gangster suits, hired strippers for their stage act and got the band a residency at the Marquee club in London—and then later by a proper gangster, the notorious Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne, the former manager of Small Faces.

The original “Something Else” was a live EP, intended to catch the Move’s considerable live prowess on one of those heady Marquee nights of 1967. But it didn’t quote work out the way it was intended. “Live” would have to be in inverted commas here because when the record finally saw release, because of problems in the recording process with the vocals, it would have to be heavily doctored in the studio. The sleeve-notes here make it clear that two live dates were recorded for the EP and in between they managed to lose bass player Ace Kefford, with Trevor Burton switching over to guitar for the second session to cover.

The first part presented here are 12 tracks from these two gigs that were remastered in stereo about ten years ago and though obviously more studio creations than bona fide live recordings they certainly hit the spot. Bev Bevan’s drumming is so powerful throughout, whilst the flash bombs went off and singer Carl Wayne axed in TV sets the mighty back-beat he supplied went on no matter what. It is inevitable given the problems with the original recording that the live chatter appears a little incongruous sound-wise with the cleanness of the music on offer. But if you can suspend disbelief and imagine that this was all laid down on tape at the same time, what you have is a choice offering of the Move in their element playing a lot of spirited covers interspersed with two of the big hits (“Flowers In The Rain” and “Fire Brigade”) and this provides a decent facsimile of what their live show would have been like at the time (sonically at least). Their version of Eddie Cochran’s “Something Else” could have even been the template for Sid’s later effort, such is the spirit of abandon.

MOVE-Something-Else_web

During one of their Marquee dates the group caused a fire after they’d smashed some television sets onstage with an ax. Three fire engines showed up to fight the blaze, inspiring front page headlines and the subject matter for a future hit single. Then Secunda, without consulting with the group, devised a controversial marketing campaign for the “Flowers in the Rain” single—the first record to be played on BBC Radio 1 and their third consecutive top five hit of 1967—consisting of a postcard depicting Prime Minister Harold Wilson in bed with his secretary. Wilson brought litigation against the Move for Secunda’s actions, which he won costing them—specifically Roy Wood who wrote the number and had nothing to do with the publicity stunt—their royalties for the hit, which were donated to charity. This led to Secunda’s firing and Arden’s hiring. In fall of 1967, the group took part in a two-week-long concert package tour around the UK, playing twice a night with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd and the Nice.

 

One major reason the Move never broke the American market is that they never toured here. They tried to—opening two shows for the Stooges before things fell apart—but it was a demoralizing disaster. Another reason might be their overt “Englishness” which would have been a turn off to many American rock fans at the time.

And don’t try to tell me that KISS didn’t base their entire sound on the stomp-all-over-yer-face “Brontosaurus,” because they so obviously did. (And just where do you think Paul Stanley got his “starchild” look from?,

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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.

MOVE Shazam low

The first 2 of our 4 The Move titles are released now “Move” and “Shazam” both deluxe versions come with tons of unreleased, BBC extras material etc and have lovely packaging courtesy of Phil Smee. (who is a massive fan too) . There are also vanilla remastered versions available too.

Esoteric Recordings have done an amazing job on these reissues of the first two albums of The Move – lovely looking and sounding packages with stacks of quality bonus material. Reissues of the year so far? The Move occupy a funny place in rock history. With a string of inventive and relentlessly tuneful singles to their credit (not to mention consistently entertaining albums) they’re the sort of band that should be mentioned in the same breath as the Kinks and the Who, but ask your average punter under forty to name one of their songs and you’re unlikely to get anywhere  Add to that the Jeff Lynne connection, and you’ve got an instant recipe for footnote status.

These two new reissues from Esoteric Recordings provide further proof of just how unjust this situation is. What we have here are packed, deluxe editions of the band’s first two albums.  There have been plenty reissues of this material already, often haphazardly and carelessly assembled. Likely this is another reason for the Move’s legacy being somewhat lesser than it should be, but these two releases are lovingly curated gems that treat the source material and the fans with the respect that they deserve.

Each is available in a single disc ‘vanilla’ edition, containing the original albums with contemporary a & b sides as bonus tracks, or densely packed, nugget-laden deluxe editions which are a true collector’s dreams.

The self titled debut and its surrounding singles (“Night of Fear” and “Flowers in the Rain” etc.) are concise psychedelic pop gems that marry Beatlesque melodies and arrangements with often unhinged source material ala Syd Barrett. Just the ticket for those who find the Beatles too straight and wish that Syd was a little more tuneful, although you’re speaking to the wrong person if you’re looking for an impartial critic of either of those acts here. Recorded over the space of 14 months it’s no wonder that it feels almost like a hits collection. Three cover versions (of tunes originally by Eddie Cochran, James F. Hanley and Moby Grape) illustrate the band’s diverse influences, but it’s Roy Wood’s own compositions that really take this to the next level. Hugely catchy, with clever, often baroque arrangements (which demonstrate just how important Wood’s contribution to ELO would be in the future), these are classic examples of the two and a half minute pop song, peppered with just the right amount of psychedelia and English whimsy. And that thunderous bass really sets them apart from the pack.

There’s also a brace of pre-psychedelic tracks from 1966 when the band were a straight beat act, which are fascinating listens in their own right, while also demonstrating just how much the band’s distinctive sound developed over the following year.

The Move were a very successful singles band, especially early in their career. Five of the first six Move singles placed in the UK top 5, with ‘Blackberry Way’ reaching #1.

The early Move single that failed to chart was ‘Wild Tiger Woman’. Released in August 1968 it was heavier than most of the band’s material, influenced by Jimi Hendrix. It was banned from BBC Radio One due to the line “tied to the bed, she’s waiting to be fed”. The group later stated that they should have released the single’s b-side, ‘Omnibus’, as the a-side.

‘Omnibus’ is enjoyably quirky, and distinctly English. Omnibus was originally the word for a large horse-drawn carriage, and the word bus is a contraction of omnibus. ‘Omnibus’ is sophisticated, with unexpected melodic twists, while the closing guitar solo hints at Bach’s ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’. Like most of The Move’s material, ‘Omnibus’ was written by Roy Wood – along with The Move’s hits, he’s perhaps best known for the Wizzard’s seasonal glam song ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’.

The combination of loud guitars, pop melody, and vocal harmonies are surprisingly similar to the records that Cheap Trick would make almost a decade later. Cheap Trick are clearly fans of The Move – they’ve released their own covers of ‘California Man’, ‘Brontosaurus’, and ‘Blackberry Way’.

“Shazam” is a totally different beast, but still obviously the work of the same band. And it’s every bit as good as its predecessor too.

Moving on from the short-form pop songs found on the Move (excepting the lovely “Beautiful Daughter”), this is the Move as a heavy proto-prog band, a shoe that fits surprisingly well. All of the things that made the first album so appealing are still evident here – the distinctive harmonies, the huge bass (now played by Trevor Burton) – but there’s less reliance on the studio, and more of a focus on band interplay, which is uniformly impressive. There are some pretty heavy moments here (the surprisingly bluesy “Don’t Make My Baby Blue”), but it never gets clumsy or heavy-handed, and there are reprieves peppered throughout in the form of exquisitely harmonised choruses, not to mention the classical middle section of “Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited”. Wood only has one new original to offer, but the covers are so well assimilated you’d swear he’d written them too if the source material wasn’t so familiar.

MOVE low

The bonus tracks on the single disc edition show that Wood still had some classic single-worthy material in him too, including their sole UK number one, the Beatlesque “Blackberry Way” and the appealingly jaunty “Curly”. Also addended to the multi-disc version are a treasure trove of BBC recordings in very fine fidelity, which again demonstrate the Move’s mastery of a multitude of styles, as well as their ability to tackle some pretty intimidating source material and not lose their own sense of identity. Great things abound here, but the highlights for this listener are surprising stabs at popular murder ballad “Long Black Veil” and the Nazz’s “Open My Eyes”, as well as a great take on Dusty Springfield’s “Goin’ Back”, which flexes it’s muscles and makes the Byrds version sound like a bit of a pipsqueak .

It’s refreshing to see two such accomplished albums expanded so comprehensively, yet still in a fashion that accentuates their excellence, rather than diluting it down with unnecessary mixes and material best left on the cutting room floor. If these aren’t the best expanded editions released this year, I’ll be very surprised. I can’t wait to check out Esoteric’s treatment of the rest of the band’s catalogue now.

The second pair of Esoteric Recordings “The Move” reissues are released on 27th May, this will be “Looking on” and the full album version of Something Else from the Move . “Looking on” is a double and is only available as double deluxe version . Full track listings can be found on the Esoteric or Cherry Red Website . Hope you will be enjoying the new issues of Move and Shazam.