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The Move - Shazam CD (album) cover

SHAZAM

The Move

 

Proto-Prog

3.68 | 52 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Are you going away with no word of farewell?

Having enjoyed their first taste of success in the album charts with their debut album in 1968, it took the Move another 2 years to release a follow up. During the intervening period, the band continued to find considerable singles chart success in the UK, including their first and only number one single "Blackberry way". During those two years, two members of the band (Ace Kefford and Trevor Burton) departed, but the core trio of Wood, Bevan and Wayne remained.

Continuing a policy the band had successfully exploited on their "Something else from the Move" EP, "Shazam" saw the band taking a couple of songs by other established artists and stamping their own identity on them, much like Vanilla Fudge had pioneered in the US.

"Shazam" represents a fundamental shift in emphasis for The Move, at least in terms of album tracks. While they would continue to record commercially appealing singles, this album serves as a first pointer towards the formation of the Electric Light Orchestra. Quite what caused such a sea-change in the band's style is unclear, especially in view of their continued attack on the singles chart.

With just 6 tracks in total, four of which run to over 6 minutes, it is immediately apparent that this album will not be as instantly accessible as the eponymous debut. We start however with another potential single. "Hello Suzie" (a song originally written by Roy Wood for Amen Corner, who took it into the singles chart as a pop number) is the heaviest song recorded by the band up to this point, but it retains a strong hook and superb vocals by Wood. The song is something of a cross between Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. "Beautiful daughter" is the only genuinely short track on the album, running to a shade under 3 minutes. The track has much in keeping with the first album, Carl Wayne taking lead vocal on a delightfully orchestrated light ditty.

With "Cherry blossom clinic revisited" we reach the real meat of the album. The song is a reworking of the aborted single from the band's debut. It opens with a mildly amusing spoken passage introducing a startlingly heavy interpretation of the song. The instrumental passage bizarrely includes an extract from Bach's "Jesu joy of man's desiring" played on acoustic guitar.

The first part of the 11 minute "Fields of people" is a slightly lighter psychedelic number with a catchy melody and effective harmonies. The song, which is credited to Wyatt Day / Jon Pierson, was originally recorded by the late 60's US band Ars Nova (although their version ran to under 3 minutes!). The Move's version is in two distinct halves, the latter part being a sitar recital. "Don't make my baby blue" was a hit for Frankie Lane in the early 60's, written by the renown song writing team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill. This is probably the heaviest track on a very heavy album. The blues leanings of the song remain, albeit rather drowned out by the rather chaotic sledgehammer beat.

In one of the most imaginative moves of their career, the final cover is of Tom Paxtons's folk classic "The last thing on my mind", a number often mistaken for a traditional folk song. This wonderful 6 minute interpretation respects the integrity of the song, but presents it in a whole new prog orientated dimension, complete with a magical space rock instrumental section.

In all, a highly ambitious second album by The Move, which sees them taking bold steps into new territories. Those who acquired the album on the basis of the band's many great singles may have been puzzled by what they found, but in these parts, this is arguably a definitive proto prog album.

This would be Carl Wayne's final album with the Move. After unsuccessfully attempting to reunite the band with former members, and conscious of Roy Wood's fledgling ambitions relating to his Electric Light Orchestra project, Wayne opted for a solo career. He actually recorded with ELO, but the recording were not used at the time. He went on to work with Mike Oldfield (on "Earth moving"), and in 2000 replaced Allan Clarke in the Hollies. Sadly, Carl Wayne passed away in 2004.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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