Guide to British Music of the 1960s

August 2021

CD Review: The Move

The Move came out of Birmingham in the second half of the 1960s. Like many other bands they started off playing rock & roll covers but then they realised they had Roy Wood in the band. He turned out to be an extremely talented songwriter who could turn out incredible hit singles as well as more innovative tracks.

The debut album is a perfect showcase of the early years of the Move. After this the band went through various personnel changes with only Wood and drummer Bev Bevan remaining from the original line-up. They were joined by Jeff Lynne from the Idle Race and the three of them eventually formed the Electric Light Orchestra before Wood left to start Wizard. ELO infused rock and classical music but, as this album shows, this had started with Roy Wood in the Move. The debut single Night of Fear channels Beethoven to mark a strong arrival on the singles chart. Classical influences and the use of a string section can also be heard on Cherry Blossom Clinic. The follow-up single, I Can Hear the Grass Grow, was a perfect Summer of Love anthem with its inference to drugs.

One of the Move's best-known tracks is Flowers in the Rain which was the first record played on Radio 1. However, this track also helped the band to gain notoriety as manager Tony Secunda used a (fake) naked image of Harold Wilson in a compromising position to promote the record. The band was sued and, even now, all royalties are donated to charity. As a follow-up to I Can Hear the Grass Grow, Flowers in the Rain placed the Move firmly in the English psychedelic movement.

The other single on the original LP is the wonderful Fire Brigade. This was the first track that featured Wood on lead vocals instead of Carl Wayne. Did this contribute to Wayne's departure from the group? One of the interesting bonus tracks is a version of Fire Brigade but with Wayne on lead vocals. Which do you prefer? However, lead vocals are shared around across the album and lead singer Carl Wayne only sings solo lead on a few. Wood handles most of the vocals but some tracks are credited to Trevor Burton and Ace Kefford. Even Bev Bevan duets with Kefford on Zing Went the Strings of My Heart. The use of different vocalists can work very well. The Disturbance shows this very well as does Night of Fear where bass player Kefford handles the bridge section.

Wood was not afraid to be experimental or controversial. A scheduled single Cherry Blossom Clinic dealt with mental health issues while its b-side Vote For Me was about corrupt politicians. In view of the issue with Harold Wilson this was also held back from release.

There are three covers on the original LP. Apart from Weekend, the Move also used to cover Eddie Cochrane's Something Else. Hey Grandma was originally performed by US band Moby Grape and it was also part of the repertoire for Jeff Lynne's band The Idle Race.

The album is one of the best LPs of the 1960s and it showcases the Move at their best. The inclusion of the first two singles and other bonus tracks make it even better. This was the only Move LP that made the charts.

The cover is interesting as it was a design by Dutch artists the Fool who had already painted the mural on the outside of the Beatles' Apple boutique as well as designing the remarkable cover for the Incredible String Band's 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion.

Regal Zonophone

CD Release: Repertoire REP 4690-WY

Original release: April 1968

(Repertoire Extended Release 1998)

Essential Tracks

  • The Disturbance
  • Useless Information
  • Fire Brigade

Track Listing:

  1. Yellow Rainbow
  2. Kilroy Was Here
  3. (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree
  4. Weekend
  5. Walk Upon the Water
  6. Flowers in the Rain
  7. Hey Grandma
  8. Useless Information
  9. Zing Went the Strings of My Heart
  10. The Girl Outside
  11. Fire Brigade
  12. Mist on a Monday Morning
  13. Cherry Blossom Clinic

Bonus Tracks

  1. Night of Fear
  2. The Disturbance
  3. I Can Hear the Grass Grow
  4. Wave Your Flag and Stop the Train
  5. The Disturbance
  6. Fire Brigade
  7. Second Class
  8. Cherry Blossom Clinic
  9. (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree
  10. Weekend
  11. Flowers in the Rain
  12. Useless Information
  13. Zing Went the Strings of My Heart
  14. The Girl Outside
  15. Walk Upon the Water

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