The Move – The BBC Sessions

The Move - The BBC SessionsWhen some of the tracks on the two volumes of ELO BBC recordings – Live At The BBC and The BBC Sessions – were exactly the same as the final versions that appeared on their albums, I had a few trepidations about picking up yet another BBC Sessions album. As it turns out, The Move: The BBC Sessions features some dandy rarities I’d never heard before, most of them taking the form of cover songs that haven’t appeared on previous collections.

Some not-quite-finished session takes of some classic Move chestnuts are included here, from “Flowers In The Rain” to “Night Of Fear” to “Blackberry Way”, and while they’re not as polished as the final album cuts, it’s interesting to hear a slightly different spin on them.

4 out of 4Some of the covers are real gem, and reveal The Move’s legendary live act – “Stop, Get A Hold Of Myself” and “Morning Dew” are among the highlights of the covers.

If you can find it, The Move: The BBC Sessions is worth tracking down for Move completists and even not-so-completists.

Order this CD

  1. You’d Better Believe Me (3:00)
  2. Night Of Fear (2:23)
  3. Stop, Get A Hold Of Myself (2:35)
  4. Kilroy Was Here (2:40)
  5. Walk On The Water (3:04)
  6. I Can Hear The Grass Grow (3:18)
  7. Morning Dew (2:43)
  8. Flowers In The Rain (2:20)
  9. So You Wanna Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star (2:55)
  10. Stephanie Knows Who (2:32)
  11. Cherry Blossom Clinic (2:26)
  12. Hey Grandma (3:04)
  13. Fire Brigade (2:17)
  14. Weekend (1:52)
  15. It’ll Be Me (2:32)
  16. Useless Information (2:46)
  17. Kentucky Woman (2:28)
  18. Higher And Higher (3:10)
  19. Long Black Veil (2:53)
  20. Wild Tiger Woman (2:33)
  21. Piece Of My Heart (3:03)
  22. Blackberry Way (3:08)
  23. Going Back (2:50)
  24. California Girls (3:08)
  25. Christian Life (2:02)

Released by: BBC Music / Strange Fruit
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 67:42

The Move (remastered)

The MoveHere it is at least, 30 years after the fact – the Repertoire Records digitally remastered CD release of the first Move album – plus 16 bonus tracks (if only there were that many ELO holy grails to be found…!).
While I won’t deny that ELO might not have found its commercial voice with a two-headed monster (Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood) at the steering wheel, trying to go in two directions at the same time, never underestimate Roy Wood, especially not as a songwriter and arranger. He had the novel idea of quoting classical music in pop songs, and occasionally boosting the band’s sound with string players, some three years before the name Electric Light Orchestra ever appeared on a record spine. Some of the Move’s best songs (or my personal favorites, at least) – “Mist On A Monday Morning”, “The Girl Outside”, “Cherry Blossom Clinic” (the very Beatlesque short original version, not “Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited”, which is mistakenly labeled as the original on many budget compilation CDs) – sound like nothing so much as the embryonic sound of ELO. In fact, due to the fact that the Move had a little bit of financial backing, as opposed to the untested waters forged by the first ELO record, some of the string sounds are more lush than anything ELO did until 3 out of 4Eldorado. And, though it isn’t a string-laden classic, ladies and gentlemen, you haven’t heard it all until you’ve heard Mr. Bev Bevan croon “Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart” – even “Ben Crawley Steel Company” pales next to this timeless recording. How Bev never got started on a solo career as a vocalist, I’ll never know!

Order this CD

  1. Yellow Rainbow (2:34)
  2. Kilroy Was Here (2:43)
  3. (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree (3:00)
  4. Weekend (1:46)
  5. Walk Upon The Water (3:22)
  6. Flowers In The Rain (2:21)
  7. Hey Grandma (3:10)
  8. Useless Information (2:56)
  9. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart (2:48)
  10. The Girl Outside (2:54)
  11. Fire Brigade (2:22)
  12. Mist On A Monday Morning (2:30)
  13. Cherry Blossom Clinic – original (2:30)
  14. Night of Fear (2:15)
  15. Disturbance (2:47)
  16. I Can Hear The Grass Grow (3:06)
  17. Wave Your Flag and Stop the Train (2:56)
  18. Vote For Me (2:48)
  19. Disturbance – alternate mix (2:00)
  20. Fire Brigade – alternate mix (2:17)
  21. Second Class (She’s Too Good For You) – Roy Wood instrumental(2:05)
  22. Cherry Blossom Clinic – different take (2:52)
  23. (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree / stereo (2:57 – stereo mix)
  24. Weekend / stereo (1:46 – stereo mix)
  25. Flowers In The Rain / stereo (2:28 – stereo mix)
  26. Useless Information / stereo (2:56 – stereo mix)
  27. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart / stereo (2:49 – stereo mix)
  28. The Girl Outside / stereo (2:53 – stereo mix)
  29. Walk Upon The Water / stereo (3:22 – stereo mix)

Released by: Repertoire
Release date: 1968 (remastered edition released in 1998)
Total running time: 78:18

The Move – Great Move!: The Best of the Move

The Move - Great Move!: The Best of the MoveThough released nearly 25 years after the fact, this CD compilation contains the entirety of the Move’s final LP, Message From The Country, along with some B-sides and singles from the same era. Even before ELO was formed and subsequently split up, one can hear that Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood were moving in different musical directions on this album. Lynne’s dreamy “No Time” foreshadows some of the style he would bring to ELO after Wood’s departure, and Wood’s “It Wasn’t My Idea To Dance” focuses again on Wood’s obsession with 50’s rock ‘n’ roll which would become a trademark of his future solo and post-ELO output. This disc also has the Move version of “Do Ya”, which ELO later covered in 1976. There is one song I have to single out for special praise, in a strange way. There’s a reason why 3 out of 4Move/ELO drummer Bev Bevan doesn’t sing a whole lot – though if ever there was a call for a deep basso voice in an ELO tune, I’m sure he made his contribution there. But on this album, Bev sang “Ben Crawley Steel Company”, a hysterically funny and decidedly non-politically- correct lament of a hard-up workman who’s losing it all. Take my work for it, it’s terribly amusing, if only for his singing!

Order this CD

  1. Message from the Country (4:46)
  2. Ella James (3:12)
  3. No Time (3:39)
  4. Don’t Mess Me Up (3:11)
  5. Until Your Moma’s Gone (5:03)
  6. It Wasn’t My Idea To Dance (5:28)
  7. The Minister (4:27)
  8. Ben Crawley Steel Company (3:02)
  9. The Words of Aaron (5:25)
  10. My Marge (1:59)
  11. Tonight (3:17)
  12. Chinatown (3:06)
  13. Down On The Bay (4:13)
  14. California Man (3:35)
  15. Do Ya (4:02)

Released by: EMI
Release date: 1994
Total running time: 61:44

The Move – The Early Years

The Move - The Early YearsThis disc reproduces all but a couple of songs from the first Move album. I’d better explain this obscure group and frequent answer to radio trivia contests, because the Move is one of my all-time favorites, and probably my hands-down favorite from the 1960s. The original Move consisted of Roy Wood, Bev Bevan, Trevor Burton, Ace Kefford and Carl Wayne from Birmingham, England, a group of musicians who got fed up with the strictures of the cover bands they played in, and decided to form their own group to play originals and get a record contract. From about this time, two very important bands were formed in Birmingham: the Move and the Moody Blues. The latter is still around today, while the former transformed into the Electric Light Orchestra (my all-time favorite rock/pop act) in 1971. But enough of the future – the 3 out of 4majority of this disc’s material is derived from the Move’s 1968 debut album, and it’s worth many a listen. In the space of that first album, the band went from pseudo-psychedelic rockers to ballads with string players (shades of ELO!) to Monkees-like pop numbers. It was a flashpoint of amazing diversity, and even their later releases were nowhere near as inventive.

Order this CD

  1. Night of Fear (2:13)
  2. Disturbance (2:47)
  3. I Can Hear The Grass Grow (3:00)
  4. Flowers in the Rain (2:28)
  5. (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree (3:02)
  6. Fire Brigade (2:24)
  7. The Girl Outside (2:56)
  8. Mist on a Monday Morning (2:33)
  9. Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited (7:42)
  10. Wild Tiger Woman (2:40)
  11. Omnibus (3:56)
  12. Blackberry Way (3:36)
  13. Something (3:31)
  14. Curly (2:45)
  15. This Time Tomorrow (3:41)
  16. Beautiful Daughter (2:38)
  17. Brontosaurus (4:27)
  18. Lightning Never Strikes Twice (3:12)
  19. When Alice Comes Back to the Farm (3:43)
  20. What? (6:44)

Released by: Dojo
Release date: 1997
Total running time: 65:58

The Move – Shazam / Something Else From The Move

The Move - Shazam / Something Else From The MoveShazam was the first Move album I ever found on vinyl, and it’s certainly a unique slice of late 60s/early 70s rock. Having lost Carl Wayne, who wanted to indulge in smoother crooning than the rest of the band desired, to a cabaret singing career, this album saw a bit of overcompensation for that loss by leaning in a much heavier rock direction, almost on the doorstep of heavy metal. But there is still evidence of the group’s pop roots in the opening numbers “Hello Susie”, a rocking pop tune full of Beatle-ish harmonies, and the unusual “Beautiful Daughter”, which has some wonderful string quartet textures courtesy of Roy Wood and lyrics which seem to concern a situation not unlike a “farmer’s daughter” joke. Further treats include a hard rock remake of the Move’s own classic “Cherry Blossom Clinic” 3 out of 4(though it’s nowhere near as good as the original), and long, jam-session versions of “Fields Of People” and Mann & Weill’s “Don’t Make My Baby Blue”. Also, only on the CD pressing, a long-lost live EP is included, with five songs common to any rock group’s late 60s repertoire as only the Move can play them. The Move is an acquired taste as it is, but this album especially is one of the group’s most eclectic releases.

Order this CD

  1. Hello Susie (4:55)
  2. Beautiful Daughter (2:36)
  3. Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited (7:40)
  4. Fields of People (10:09)
  5. Don’t Make My Baby Blue (6:18)
  6. The Last Thing On My Mind (7:35)
  7. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star – live (3:01)
  8. Stephanie Knows Who – live (3:06)
  9. Something Else – live (2:24)
  10. It’ll Be Me – live (2:38)
  11. Sunshine Help Me – live (5:14)

Released by: Cube / Edel
Release date: 1970
Total running time: 56:43

The Move – Looking On

The Move - Looking OnThis is the first Move album to feature new member Jeff Lynne, who, with Roy Wood, mutated the Move into the first incarnation of ELO…and the rest, one could say, is history. If one can say that, then this album is history in the making, because it’s easy to hear Jeff Lynne’s style of songwriting emerging confidently, and as I’ve noted before with the first ELO album (which was the only one to feature Roy Wood), the combination of Lynne’s Beatle-ish songwriting practices and Wood’s fondness for eclectic instruments makes for a very unique sound. This is heard most clearly in “Open Up Said The World At The Door”, which is 3 out of 4clearly a Lynne tune with all of its harmonies, but twice in the course of the song breaks into a sitar solo and then an oboe solo – obvious Wood contributions. In a way, despite later Move albums that featured such classics as “Do Ya” which was covered afterward by ELO, this is the closest the Move ever got to the ELO sound, and it’s worth a listen or two.

Order this CD

  1. Looking On (7:48)
  2. Turkish Tram Conductor Blues (4:38)
  3. What? (6:42)
  4. When Alice Comes Back to the Farm (3:40)
  5. Open Up Said the World at the Door (7:10)
  6. Brontosaurus (4:26)
  7. Feel Too Good (9:30)
  8. Blackberry Way (3:41)
  9. Something (3:11)
  10. Curly (2:44)
  11. This Time Tomorrow (3:40)
  12. Lightning Never Strikes Twice (3:12)

Released by: Cube / Repertoire
Release date: 1970
Total running time: 60:22

The Move – The Best Of The Move

The Move - The Best Of The MoveFor those interested in the Move’s single releases, there’s no better introduction than this. It features such classics – trust me, even if you’ve never heard of the Move before now, they were classics – as “Blackberry Way” (an atypically Beatle-ish tune from Roy Wood, which also turned out to be the Move’s first and only U.K. #1 single), the trippy “I Can Hear The Grass Grow”, the raunchy (and badly-mixed) “Fire Brigade”, and the first song ever played on BBC Radio 1, “Flowers In The Rain”. It’d be hard for me 3 out of 4to pick a favorite out of all these. Some of the sound quality and mixing – again singling out “Fire Brigade” – are less than spectacular, but these songs do come from the late 60s and early 70s, and not everybody had access to Abbey Road Studios.

Order this CD

  1. Blackberry Way (3:36)
  2. Curly (2:45)
  3. Yellow Rainbow (2:37)
  4. I Can Hear The Grass Grow (3:00)
  5. Fire Brigade (2:25)
  6. Hey Grandma (3:14)
  7. Kilroy Was Here (2:45)
  8. Night of Fear (2:12)
  9. Feel Too Good (9:33)
  10. Brontosaurus (4:26)
  11. Flowers in the Rain (2:24)
  12. Walk Upon The Water (3:12)
  13. Stephanie Knows Who (3:06)
  14. Turkish Tram Conductor Blues (4:42)
  15. Useless Information (2:51)
  16. Weekend (1:46)
  17. Cherry Blossom Clinic (7:42)
  18. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star (3:01)

Released by: Music Collection International
Release date: 1991
Total running time: 65:17