A lot of the British Rock scenes get a lot of the recognition and influences with bands and artists such as Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones. Amazing, but they are explained over and over again. A few of them who were overlooked and underrated with the realms as The Pretty Things, Procol Harum, and one of my favorites from the Brumbeat scene, The Move. This year, marking the 50th anniversary of the band’s formation the band’s first two albums get the Esoteric treatment.
The band were known for their wild set by wielding an Axe, Exploding TVs, Smashing Junked-Up Cars, and for their gangster look. But they were more than just that, they were more about the Music. Their sole self-titled debut album released in 1968 on the Regal Zonophone label is released in a 3-CD set in which features the original Mono album re-mastered, Stereo Mixes, BBC Sessions, and a Local Radio Station they did in Birmingham in January, 1966.
Roy Wood was the brain behind the songwriting and compositions he brought to the sound and vision. There are elements of Psych-Pop, Power Pop, Proto-Punk, Glam, and early sounds of Prog thrown in. The swirling adventurous opener of Yellow Rainbow featuring Ace Kefford on Lead Vocals and thumping his bass as Bev’s thunderous drumbeats sets the tempo as their take of a sci-fi dystopian sing-along mini opera of Kilroy Was Here still sounds fresh in a folk-like composition.
There’s also the hit singles including; (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree, Fire Brigade, I Can Hear the Grass Grow, Night of Fear, Flowers in the Rain, and Walk upon the Water. They show a sense of humor as their cover of the 1930’s classic Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart. Here, Bev brings his bassman-like vocals in the first and last verses as Ace comes in with the second verse as both Carl Wayne, Roy, and Trevor Burton handle the background vocals.
On The Girl Outside and Mist on a Monday Morning which features arrangements done by Tony Visconti (T. Rex, David Bowie, and Procol Harum), it shows Roy going into a pastoral mode and using classical ideas to pay homage to the sounds of The Beatles with the strings, woodwind, and harpsichord touches that give an insight of where Roy himself was about to move into. And the evidence of a mental patient with a blaring woodwind and string section to lock the door and throwing the key away inside the Cherry Blossom Clinic.
The bonus tracks in which they recorded at Ladbroke Sound Studios 50 years ago. It shows The Move channeling The Yardbirds with the Garage-Rock crunch of a shuffling blues approach of You’re the One I Need that resembles Train Kept A Rollin’ while carrying a bit of a Country side in an acoustic side in a mid-tempo beat of Winter Song and a waltz section of being framed and escaping the prison of hell from The Fugitive.
And with the Birmingham Radio Session, it shows also The Move paying tribute to the Soul/R&B sound with five songs they did including Too Many Fish in the Sea, Respectable, Is It True, Don’t Hang Up, and I Can’t Hear You No More. The late great Carl Wayne really is for me not just a lead vocalist, but he brings the power into heart and soul of The Move’s music. Both he and Roy share vocals together in the singles including the psych-fuzz turned deadly nightmare of Disturbance which features at the end the snarling screams by manager Tony Secunda and producer Denny Cordell in the styles of the Hammer Horror films.
Their take of Eddie Cochran’s Weekend shows a bit of the early Punk influences that an early throttle of a blistering adventure with the three-chord textures in the major section of F, G, and C. You can imagine they were having a blast enjoying this classic as both Roy and Trevor head into the rhythm between acoustic and electric followed by a clapping rhythm section whilst the crashing drums by Bev himself is exhilarating. But the second disc of the Stereo Mixes, shows there’s more.
You can hear a lot of Visconti’s arrangements in front on Flowers in the Rain, the double-tracking background vocals on Zing, and an un-dubbed piano version of Fire Brigade featuring Matthew Fisher of Procol Harum on Piano handling the piece with a classical twist. There’s the soul/blues rock shuffle dance groove with the essence of the early Who records of Move where you can get to the dancing sensation of hitting the floor to your feet.
The BBC Sessions on the Third Disc, is a rare treat. Close your eyes and pretend it’s both 1967 and 1968 and being there for the Saturday Club, Easybeat, and Top Gear and watching in awe of the sessions that The Move did recorded live which there are 19 tracks that show some unearthed gems including interviews with Carl Wayne.
Covers of The Byrds (So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star), Love with Arthur Lee (Stephanie Knows Who), Joe Tex (You Better Believe It Baby), and Gladys Knight and the Pips (Stop and Get a Hold of Myself) are evidential. Inside the 3-CD set, there is a 20-page booklet featuring liner notes by Mark Paytress about the history of the band with photos and promos of the band’s material. And also, a poster of the band’s debut along with news, posters, and reviews.
This is a must have for any fan of either ELO, Wizzard, or Roy Wood to delve into the history of The Move’s music. Esoteric Recordings have done another job well done and I’ve really enjoyed listening to this a lot and I can’t wait to delve into the other reissues of the Move catalog soon (Shazam, Looking On, and the full live album which was originally release as an EP, Something Else). So let’s get up and sing this line “Kilroy Was Here/Put his Name around the place/Kilroy Was Here/Though I’ve never seen his face.”