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Roy Wood / Move / Wizzard

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    Roy Wood / Move / Wizzard

    the move shazam

    The Move by The Move 8 ( 1968 )
    Yellow Rainbow / Kilroy Was Here / (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree / Weekend / Walk Upon The Water / Flowers in the Rain / Hey Grandma / Useless Information / Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart / The Girl Outside / Fire Brigade / Mist On a Monday Morning / Cherry Blossom Clinic

    Roy Wood, creater of perennial Xmas fave 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday' has actually had quite a varied, important career. The Move were formed by five members of established Birmingham groups who were dubbed 'The Move' because they had all, er, moved from other bands. Moving to London and heavily inspired by The Who, The Move were a powerful act, although with more emphasis on pop than rock. This debut album of theirs is also of course heavily influenced by The Beatles, yet also reminds me of 'The Who Sell Out', particularly the way that underneath the sugary pop melodies lies a powerful, rumbling rhythm section. Of the thirteen songs here, ten are Roy Wood compositions, several of which you will know even if you don't think that you do. 'Flowers In The Rain' for example has been played numerous times on the radio over the years because of it having the honour of being the first ever song played on Radio One. 'Flower Brigade' was also a big hit back in the day and these two hits arrived after two prior top ten hits for The Move. Despite The Beatles attempts at popularising albums and even arriving on the back of four top ten hits, 'The Move' LP only peaked at number fifteen in the UK.

    'Kilroy Was Here' and 'Yellow Rainbow' which open the album are fairly typical numbers for the outfit, the first has that heavy, rumbling rhythm section, the latter is pure whimsical pop. The first real gem arrives though with 'The Lemon Tree'. Very reminiscent of the lighter poppier moments on 'The Who Sell Out', it proves Roy Wood was a very gifted pop composer, if not the most original in terms of lyrics or sound. Yeah, this is a 1968 release and is covered in psychedelic touches throughout, particularly repeated mentions of flowers and rain. Only appropriate then that 'Flowers In The Rain' should be such a memorable, popular tune for them. Like 'The Lemon Tree', it showcases Roy Wood's wonderful way with pop construction. A bizzare moment arrives when they cover soul/doowop group The Coasters 'Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart'. 'Weekend' also had nods to the fifties and this is obviously an era that was close to the heart of Roy Wood. 'The Girl Outside' has cello, violins and is some respects can be retrospectively seen as prototype ELO. 'Fire Brigade', like all the best Roy Wood pop songs just makes a listener so damn happy. These aren't songs with a message, songs such as this as pure pop and the lyrics can be fairly clever with their rhymes and wordplay.

    We close with 'Cherry Blossom Clinic', a couple of minutes of effects drenched pop tunesmithery. It's been a satisfying ride, one that proves one thing. In 1968 The Move were one of the best pop bands around.

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    Shazam by The Move ( 1970 )
    Hello Susie / Beautiful Daughter / Cherry Blossom Clinic / Fields of People / Don't Make My Baby Blue / The Last Thing on My Mind

    I won't pretend to be an expert on Roy Wood or The Move. In fact, at the time of writing, YOU probably know more about them than I do. One way I keep an unbiased, fresh mind is to discover artists and albums 'as i listen to them'. So, even though I have a Roy Wood / Move collection, this is only the 2nd album of his i've listened to in any great meaningful way. It was the 2nd album released by The Move but they still don't quite seem to have found themselves. 'Shazam' is however dizzy-ingly (?!) diverse and this seems to be the main purpose of 'Shazam', as a mere showcase rather than anything more purposeful. That does pose a conundrum however, because aren't debut albums meant to be for the 'showcase' purpose? Another thing, we have a whole TWO NEW Move compositions, surely cause for complaint? The rest of the album is made up of covers and a revisiting of 'Cherry Blossom Clinic' from the debut. Even though The Move haven't found their own voice however, what they do is quite impressive. They try to invent progressive rock, try to prove they are as good if not better than The Who and The Byrds respectively and try to ape Paul and The Beatles at every other turn. Yes, this is a determindly ambitious album and that's no bad thing for an album to be, as long as the whole enterprise doesn't collapse under its own weight at any stage....

    They weave Mozart and much more besides into the previously two minute long 'Cherry Blossom Clinic' to provide a satisfyingly enjoyable close to the first half of the album. Now nearly eight minutes long, 'Cherry Blossom Clinic' folows the three minute sunshine pop of 'Beautiful Daughter' and the impressively heavy five minute rocker 'Hello Suzie'. The second half of the album kicks off with an obscure 10 minute long cover version, the trying to be all things heavily psychedelic 'Fields Of People'. It's great, although easily three minutes ( at least ) too long. You know, 'Fields Of People' is folk, it's eastern, it's acid and 'Sgt Peppers' and experimental pop, all in one. More impressive on paper that it is to listen to over and over again. 'Don't Make My Baby Blue' goes for a blues/rock sound and hangs onto it for six minutes. The closing tune is a Tom Paxton cover and sees Roy Wood and friends convincingly attempt to be a cross between The Beatles and The Byrds. All in all, 'Shazam' lacks enough originality to be a classic, lacks enough strong compositions yet still manages to intrigue. Six songs lasting forty minutes makes it a concept album without a concept, I suppose.

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    Readers Comments

    Great you are reviewing the Move! Very interesting though uneven album. "Fields of people" is very funny and interesting. The inclusion of this song may have had to do with the fact that singer Carl Wayne wanted to do more cabaret-like songs.

    nick nicholasfrood@hotmail.co.uk

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    this page last updated 28/11/07

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