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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Move - "Shazam"/"Move" (Fly Records) Double Vinyl reissue, 1970

I have always heard of The Move, but it was years later till I actually heard their music. I have to imagine that the first Move song that I was aware of is "Hello Susie."   How can any teenager refuse that song?  The odd thing is, I think I first heard "Hello Susie" on KMET, which was the Los Angeles underground rock station.  I suspect that the DJ (B. Mitchell Reed?) had the import because I don't think the album "Shazam" came out in the United States.   So it was years later that I actually heard the album - probably in Topanga Canyon.  

For one, I loved the variety of pop that's on the album.   Only six songs, yet, extreme pop done in a hard rock style.  Crunching guitars, with baroque overtures.  One can say it's sort of in the Beatles groove, but the truth is, I think the leader of the band and chief songwriter Roy Wood was in his own world.  My first impression was 'eccentric fellow." At the time I never read an interview with him, and rarely did they get press in the U.S.  Maybe a mention in Rolling Stone, or perhaps they were lucky enough to get this album reviewed, but the memory of it was not me experiencing the album through the printed media, more radio.  
"Beautiful Daughter" is still a song that stays in my head when I walk around Silver Lake.   The string arrangements sound very elementary, and it is almost a punk like the DIY version of something classical.  When you hear strings on a Beatles record, you know it's done by professional musicians - but "Beautiful Daughter" has an enticing spirit from an amateur.  For me, it's a unique song that is beautiful, but something off about it all. In fact, that explains the logic and beauty of The Move.  There is something not quite right.  "Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited" is clearly the masterpiece of this album.   The song builds and builds on a powerful bass riff, and then goes into "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."  Side two mostly covers, but again, totally reimagined as originals by The Move. 

The vinyl version I purchased comes with their first full-length album, "Move," which is even odder than "Shazam."   Mostly Roy Wood songs, with the help of a young Tony Visconti on arrangements of strings.  It's sort of a greatest hits album but from an alternative universe. Clearly not from this planet, and super sure not from the U.S.  Even though there is a cover of a Moby Grape song, the pop on this record is very hyper-baroque pop.   It includes an early version of a much shorter "Cherry Blossom Clinic.   The Move was a unique band in an unusual period of experimentation in the field of pop.