Guide to British Music of the 1960s

February 2017

CD Review: The Move - Magnetic Waves of Sound

 

Birmingham band The Move were one of the most creative bands of the late 1960s. They had an outstanding songwriter in Roy Wood who later went on to found Electric Light Orchestra and remains a Christmas favourite with Wizard. This is a compilation of Move singles and album tracks as well as television appearances. There is also an excellent set of notes by Mark Paytress.

There is a strong start with the Move's debut single Night of Fear. Even at this early stage there is a hint of what was to come later with the inclusion of classical music with a commercial rock/pop song. The song showed that the band was adapt as using different vocalists for different parts of the song. Kefford's line "just about to trip your mind" made it clear here the band was heading. The complexity of the single pointed towards the emerging English psychedelia, a direction that the band pursued with their second release I Can Hear the Grass Grow. This is a classic single, again written by Wood. It has an infectious guitar riff and again used mix of vocalists to help create the unique sound.

The Move were showing themselves as strong chart contenders and the third release reinforced this. Nowadays, Flowers in the Rain has become notorious, not only as it was the first record played on the BBC's new Radio 1 but because its promotion was controversial. The band's manager Tony Secunda had postcards printed with a naked picture of Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his secretary in bed covered in flowers. Although the band were unaware of this stunt, the end result was that the band and Roy Wood in particular had to forfeit all the royalties from the single's sales and they still do!

The next single Cherry Blossom Clinic is not included on the CD although it would fit well along with Night of Fear's b-side Disturbance. The single had not been released as the band were by now in fear of litigation but it has appeared on some later compilations.

Kefford left after the next single Fire Brigade. He had been affected by excessive use of acid and was too "wired" to continue in the band. The single brought the band another top hit and not only saw Wood mature as a writer but also as a front man, taking lead vocal duties for the first time.

Wild Tiger Woman is a much heavier track. Possibly a couple of years ahead of its time it did not have the same success. However, Wood returned to his hit-making formula with 1968's Blackberry Way. By this time Trevor Burton had moved to bass to replace Kefford. However, there was an on-stage falling out with drummer Bev Bevan and he was replaced by Rick Price. The sound now became much heavier, often combined with elements of classical music. Jeff Lynne, formerly of the Idle Race, replaced Carl Wayne. he was more in tine with Wood's direction and the band now had a dual songwriting team.

While the singles, b-sides and LP tracks have been previously available, a real jewel is disc two which is a compendium of television performances both mimed and live. The live German Beat Beat Beat performances show the early Move at their with live versions of the first two singles and Walk Upon the Water. These lips show just how exciting the Move must have been. Jump forward a couple of years to the post-Kefford line-up performing a whole set on BBC's Color Me Pop. Blackberry Way has been shown extensively as part of the BBC's Sounds of the Sixties series. This is essential viewing and listening for the quality of Move singles such as I Can Hear the Grass Grow, Flowers in the Rain, Blackberry Way and Fire Brigade. However, the show also highlights where the band went wrong. Apart from trying out the cabaret circuit when they were still a chart-topping group they also introduced more cover versions into their set when they had one of the best songwriters in England in their midst. While Goffin/King's classic Goin Back is a good version of the standard, the track Christian Life is truly awful! The final few tracks show the Move at their heaviest and include rare clips of the final line-up with Jeff Lynne on guitar and vocals alongside Wood.

There is a lot in this package that is not new but the "live" DVD makes this an essential tribute to one of Britain's top singles bands of the 1960s.

Esoteric ECLEC 22554

Released: 27 January 2017

Essential Tracks

  • I Can Hear the Grass Grow
  • Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited
  • Fire Brigade

Track Listing

Disc One

  1. Night of Fear
  2. I Can Hear the Grass Grow
  3. Wave the Flag and Stop the Train
  4. Kilroy Was Here
  5. (Here We Go Round) the Lemon Tree
  6. Walk Upon the Water
  7. Flowers in the Rain
  8. Fire Brigade
  9. Wild Tiger Woman
  10. Blackberry Way
  11. Curly
  12. Hello Susie
  13. Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited
  14. Brontosaurus
  15. When Alice Comes Back to the Farm
  16. What?
  17. Ella James
  18. Tonight
  19. China Town
  20. California Man
  21. Do Ya?

Disc Two (TV Broadcasts)

  1. I Can Hear the Grass Grow (Promotional Film)
  2. Walk Upon the Water (Beat Beat Beat 24 June 1967)
  3. I Can Hear the Grass Grow (Beat Beat Beat 24 June 1967)
  4. Night of Fear (Beat Beat Beat 24 June 1967)
  5. Fire Brigade (Top of the Pops 15 February 1968)
  6. I Can Hear the Grass Grow (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  7. Beautiful Daughter (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  8. Christian Life (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  9. Flowers in the Rain (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  10. The Last Thing on My Mind (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  11. Wild Tiger Woman (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  12. Goin' Back (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  13. Fire Brigade (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  14. Something (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  15. Blackberry Way (BBC Colour Me Pop 4 January 1969)
  16. Fire Brigade (Beat Club February 1968)
  17. Wild Tiger Woman (Beat Club August 1968)
  18. Blackberry Way (January 1969)
  19. Curly (Beat Club August 1969)
  20. Brontosaurus (Beat Club April 1970)
  21. When Alice Comes Back to the Farm (Beat Club December 1970)

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