This 2-CD set reissued by Esoteric Recordings, consists of The Move’s second album released Shazam. Originally released in 1970 on the Regal Zonophone label, the band’s follow up to their sole self-titled debut album in 1968, shows a departure from their Psych-Pop single charted success and more into a symphonic, glam, and hard rock approach. When the album was released in February of that year, it was a commercial disappointment. Many years later, it’s considered The Move’s classic and accomplished release.
Things weren’t doing so well in the history of the band’s career. The promo campaign which was done by their manager, Tony Secunda for their single Flowers In the Rain, showed a cartoon postcard without the band’s consent, of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Wilson in bed with Marcia Williams in which was his secretary. Harold Wilson himself sued the group for libel and they had to pay the costs including the song royalties. This also marked the beginning of the end of the Band’s career.
Ace Kefford, founder, bassist and vocalist suffered a nervous breakdown and he was let go of the band because of the danger he would put the band in as he would embark a solo career as Trevor Burton took over by switching from Guitar to Bass. After the successful single of the surreal psychedelic-mellotron beauty of Blackberry Way and the failed charted bluesy-classical hard rock styles of Wild Tiger Woman, Burton left the band after a fight between him and Bev Bevan as he embarked on a blues career and formed a new supergroup named, Balls.
Enter bassist Rick Price. Despite the situations of what was going on, Shazam is still ahead of its time and the recognitions, finally deserved in a big, big way. Now onto the album. It begins with the ascending turned heavier glam-rock roar Hello Susie. With double-tracking vocals, rhythm and punching riffs, Roy Wood sings amazingly and with a bellowing growl that shows he’s delivering a lot of energy thanks to the pummeling drumming that Bev gives.
Tony Visconti’s string and bass arrangements, gives it a pastoral advantage on the acoustic baroque styles of Beautiful Daughter. Carl Wayne just gives me chills on his vocals on this song both mellowing and higher styles on this song thanks to Roy’s acoustic rhythm as the three of them (Wood, Wayne, and Visconti) to take a break from the heavy rock sounds and move into the classical orchestral styles in which Roy admires.
Then, they head back into the insanity ward with a return of Cherry Blossom Clinic (Revisited). Carl does the spoken narration of the mental patient as he goes calm thanks to the acoustic guitar intro before going into madness with the hard rock thump. Here, this is where the early beginnings of Progressive Rock comes to mind before heading into the homage of composers of classical melodies from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Tchaikovsky’s Chinese Dance (Nutcracker Suite).
Their take of Ars Nova’s Fields of People, sees The Move heading into the psychedelic raga-rock styles at 10-minutes and 9 seconds. It starts off with a folky jig-a-jag acoustic rhythm before the rocking harmonies and vocalizations before ending with the last 2-minutes in the raga-rock of the Indian tribe that starts calm and into a mid-fast tempo and resembling between East of Eden and The Who’s Baba O’Riley.
The spoken dialog of Carl Wayne which is evident on the second track, is him asking people on the streets of their take and opinion about Pop Music with an old lady, a young person, and a Taxi Driver. The fifth track, their take of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s Don’t Make My Baby Blue delivers another crunching powder keg ready to erupt. The heavy riffs with a wah-wah pedal and mid-tempo sounds and Carl’s vocals is a heavy nugget that will soon be the early sounds of ‘70s Glam Rock of both Bowie and T. Rex.
The closing track, a haunting and gentle take of Tom Paxton’s The Last Thing On My Mind, gives essence of their homage to their heroes, The Byrds and the eastern rock sounds thanks to Roy Wood’s guitar styles and Rick Price’s Bass has the fuzz sound gives it an emotional yet delicate change of the band’s history. The bonus tracks on here feature the singles including the psych-pop adventure of riding on the Omnibus, the continuation of a pastoral baroque folk-rock acoustic mellotron mid-second of Curly.
Elsewhere there is a dazzling orchestral sound of Carl’s shining moment of A Certain Something, the stereo mix of Wild Tiger Woman, demos, and the second disc features more of the BBC sessions in which they did from 1968 to 1969 including covers of Neil Diamond (Kentucky Woman), Simon and Garfunkel (Sound of Silence), Spooky Tooth (Evil Woman), Erma Franklin’s mellowing ballad (Piece of my Heart), The Nazz featuring Todd Rundgren (Open My Eyes), Beach Boys (California Girls), and Dion (Abraham, Martin, and John).
The 20-page booklet contains liner notes by Mark Paytress about the making of the album and the end of the chapter of The Move’s history. It contains photos of the band, review promo, and a poster of the promos as well. Carl would soon leave the Move after the release of Shazam. Enter Jeff Lynne of The Idle Race in 1970.
To Be Continued….