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Sergey Zhilkin <firstname.lastname@example.org> (30.04.2001)
I really think that this guy is a little bit mad. Not like Ringo or Marc Bolan, he's mad like Syd Barrett. If not, tell me why he wore such motley clothes, had an awful make-up and worked alone in studio. That is, our fellow is really strange and this oddity really scares me. I mean that his music isn't frightening at all, but his image... Maybe this is the fact that rubs me off his career.
Well, to tell the truth, I have very mixed emotions about Roy. Firstly, I have to say that you overrate his talents. Yes, Roy knew how to write listenable tracks but not all of them were catchy or memorable. Much of his production was generic (in a good sense of this word) and, in fact, useless. Were Eddy and falcons (which you rated really high -12/15) a groundbreaking record? Ok, so it was a nice retro sound, but who cares? Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging Roy from the commercial side, I just want to say that he's nothing new. The only light revolution he made was the recording of 3 albums all by himself (which is a really crazy idea). What else? I admit, my favorite ELO was created with enormous help of Roy, but that's all about his originality.
Speaking about his Move career now. I have a big compilation The best of the Move which has 24 songs. 24 really nice tracks, well arranged and well played. But why should I care for them if the tunes are not memorable at all (maybe except 'I can hear the grass grow')?
Back to his solo career again. I think that you overestimate Boulders. Indeed, the record is nice (how many times I used this word here?) and first three songs really stand out but out of others I can't name you even a single one which was worth of giving it one more listen. Though, wait for the actual comment on Boulders and let's discuss the problem there. Out of all Roy's catalog I like only perhaps 3 albums - Mustard, Eddy & Falcons and Main street (strange enough?). So here is the general evaluation:
Listenability: 3/5. I agree, Roy is really much listenable, but, as I said before, not so many of his tunes are memorable.
Resonance: 1/5. I kept myself from giving Roy here zero because I haven't heard all his songs.
Originality: 1/5. So he was original in using cellos and fiddles, but that's all about it.
Adequacy: 4/5. After all, he was a simple humble guy.
Overall: 2.25 = * * stars on the rating scale.
PS. Admit that I didn't mention Starting up to despise poor Roy.
[Special author note: Several crucial mistakes here, as far as I can see it. Roy wasn't just original "in using cellos and fiddles" (and bagpipes, too) - he stood at the very origins of the entire 'art-pop' and 'symph-pop' movement, and, as you yourself noticed, there'd be no ELO without Mr Wood. He brought in "goth" and "medieval" motives into simplistic pop songs which nobody did before him. Where other people at the time steered away from pop music, trying to transform it into something 'serious', Roy was the one who voted for splicing pop and art without making one overshadow the other. He was vastly experimental on just about every level, even if one doesn't notice that sometimes. Eddy And The Falcons was a groundbreaking record, because it does not have a nice retro sound - it takes up retro motives and dresses them in contemporary, and sometimes even futuristic, clothes. Jeff Beck's Crazy Legs has a nice retro sound.
As for the Move's tunes not being memorable - I suppose the songs just take a bit more time to get into them. I can play the entire Looking On album, bonus tracks and all, almost in its entirety in my sleep, and never get tired of it. What's that compilation you got? Is it the standard 24-track Best Of The Move compilation? Are you seriously saying that songs like 'Curly', 'Blackberry Way', 'Omnibus', or 'Lightning Never Strikes Twice' aren't memorable? They're definitely among the best pop songs ever written and can make serious competition to some of the Beatles' material.]
BRAD ZUKOVIC <email@example.com> (06.11.2001)
Wood is awash in Birmingham drizzle and severed paper mache heads. Now and again a hook surfaces from the clank of graveyard shovels. The bass line on "When Alice Come Back to the Farm" generated a standing wave in my first stereo, destroying the left speaker and causing my dog to involunarily shit.
I have been a rabid fan of Mr.Wood since the age of thirteen--no mean feat in America.
Steve Potocin <firstname.lastname@example.org> (01.12.2002)
Oh man, I used to really love The Move, actually still do. Here is a little nugget for you, Carl Wayne replaced the retired Allan Clarke as lead singer of The Hollies about 2 years ago, and they do 'Flowers in the Rain', and 'Blackberry Way' in concert! I'll bet all the songs sound weird!
Gerard Nowak <email@example.com> (31.05.2003)
I also admire Roy, and I'm glad to know his music (in my country this is not that easy). But I guess I may know the reason why at least The Move is such an underrated band. As huge as the gap between Wood's talent and the world's recognition of it is the gap between The Move's singles and LP's. Perhaps with the exception of Message From the Country (I'm still unfamiliar with it- no copies in Poland), all the Moves albums are very uneven, and some: very disappointing (what would Looking On be without the bonuses?). The very different story is with Roy's solo works. Boulders is by all means brilliant and outstanding, and I really cannot understand why this wasn't recognised as such.
He did try to market upon this one, though. I read that with the Boulders' opening track ("The Songs of Praise"), Wood took part in the (guess what) Eurovision contest (its range was obviously higher those days).
On the personal basis, I admire his songwriting and prowess on different instruments. Some finest Move singles indeed easily meet The Beatles standards. I'm not that fond of his singing - it was a good move to share them with Wayne. And Roy went astray for a couple of times as well. The first dead-end-street he entered was hard rock. Whereas he was an absolute genius as it came to concise pop-rock songs, he lacked invention and power when he took to the heavier stuff (as shown by "Looking On", "When Alice Comes Back To The Farm" and the like). On Boulders, the most rockyish song ("Rock Down Low") is also my least favourite, though the day's saved by the cellos. His another failure was his songwriting contribution in the first record by ELO. I don't mean the sound, which was a milestone. (And it all started with Wood's fiddling with a cello in the studio and playing Hendrix riffs for a joke...) The problem was with his songs. Lynne was clever enough to use the cellos and all that as an ornament to otherwise finely crafted tracks, Wood treated the sound as the core. The result: "10538 Overture" vs "The Battle...". I also shy away from all the Wizzard stuff (I simply hate the sound based on saxes), though again it's a compliment to Wood. The same man's behind the music I hate and the music I adore.
I don't think at all he was crazy. Some of his songs ("Mist on tne Monday Morning", and most of the solo stuff) show that this is a very sensible guy, who just prefered to stay behind the axes thrown on TV sets and the multicolor hair. It is very easy to separate his songs from his image.
George, it was you who made me go out and get Moved. At first listen in the car I didn't like it too much. Too English, too Pop. Listened to it a second time on the home stereo and now I'm a Roy Wood/ Move junkie! I mean, "hundreds of people filling my head with useless information"? Pure Fucking genius! What an amazing hook that is! Roy is mad, but in a lovely genius rogue kind of way. He's always pointing out the bullshit, but he lovingly shoves it down your throat with sugar. 'Fire Brigade' is best and funniest song about sexual attraction ever written. 'The Last Thing on my Mind' is a song needed to be heard by everyone. Aural enema. The singing and that amazing'I Wasn't Born to Follow' guitar solo! Psychedelic! God , I love these guys! People, go out and get this stuff. Laugh, cry, rock, whatever. More Roy!
Richard Citroen <firstname.lastname@example.org> (10.03.2004)
While the relative merits of varous Move and solo tracks is clearly a matter of personal taste more than anything, I'd just like to add my two cents....
Clearly Mr. Wood is barking mad. I remember him on an early 80's telelvison show, I think it was "O.T.T.", yelling and carrying on while doing some fairly unmemorable numbers. Still, this doesn't diminish the man's genius!
I think the main reason that Wizzard et al never really took off internationally was twofold. First, that 50's type stuff with sax sections that Wizzard tended to do was never going to make it across the pond, and secondly, in aping the sounds of a bygone era, the records sounded atrocious. Don't think so? Try putting on a Wizzard record on after something by T.Rex or The Sweet and you'll see what I mean.
It's interesting that some of The Move and Wizzard's best known tracks are almost impossible to find on CD. No "Do Ya" or "California Man". No "See My Baby Jive" or "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day". Amazing.
Incidently, I seem to remember some rumours that Cheap Trick's Robin Zander had recorded an entire album of Roy Wood songs, only to shelve them. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I'd certainly love to hear it, as Cheap Trick clearly worship Roy Wood and The Move. Indeed, their version of 'California Man' trumps The Move's original.
I've always reckoned that The Move, Badfinger and The Small Faces are in effect, the same band, since if you like one, you tend to like the others and vice versa. Definitely a boy's club though, since I don't know a single woman who likes any of 'em!
I was/am a big fan of Roy Wood. I was pleasantly surprised to read a review of a show he gave in New York in the NY Times a couple of years ago so I'm glad he's still making music. I didn't see a mention of the first Roy Wood's Wizzard album. I really liked that one. I can't even remember the songs on it. It was real art song -operatic Rock and Roll. Is that one on CD?
Never saw Roy but caught ELO at Avery Fisher Hall in the early 70's 'Roll Over Beethoven' was an FM hit at the time. They were Pretty Wild. The opening act was Steely Dan about to release Pretzel Logic. It was one of only a handful of concerts that SD did at the time.
Depravity Brown <email@example.com> (16.04.2004)
It was very interesting to read the reviews, and finally gain another fan's perspective on the erratic genius of Roy Wood. I must confess that Roy rarely fails in my eyes; as a solo performer, I write, produce, arrange and perform every last crotchet of my music, and Roy has been a great inspiration to me, despite the fact that our respective musics do not resemble themselves. As a solo performing, he should be regarded as the most ambitious of them all.
Tthe recurring point in your review is that Roy could hardly be viewed as innovative. I will argue this point to the death; despite his tendency to pastiche, no records from that period have the same murky, almost creepy production quality that bears Woody's stamp. Also, no other popular musician from that period had the same instrumental dexterity; despite a lack of technical training on the orchestral instruments, Woody clearly developed his own voice, which is incredibly difficult consider the age of these instruments. He continually challenged himself and grew as a musician, and it's evident with each succesive album that he never stopped improving himself as a player.
It's also interesting to note that hardly any of the "progressive" artists of the day were equally adept at writing memorable pop numbers in addition to their more experimental flights of fancy. Roy had all of this under one roof, sometimes within the same album. The scope of his knowledge of styles and delivery is second to none. Despite the common tendency to go arena rock or pure pop at the time, Roy stayed on track and attempted to entertain and challenge in equal measure.
On a more superficial level, his visual image was far more influential than has ever been noted. As early as the "Brontasaurus" clip, he was wearing makeup and sporting the frizzy hair. A case could made for Roy Wood as the originator of the glam look (lest we not forget his fifties rock parodies, also a calling card of glam rockers). Also, I think it's safe to say that Kiss nicked their makeover straight of Roy.
David Parizer <ParizerDZ@bernstein.com> (05.08.2002)
Oh, what a shame! You didn't get the Repertoire version which includes such indispensable bonus tracks as 'I Can Hear The Grass Grow', 'The Disturbance', 'Omnibus', 'Wild Tiger Woman', 'Wave Your Flag And Stop The Train' and 'Night Of Fear'. All Roy Wood originals that clearly make this a record worthy of a 15 rating. [Hey! I have at least two of these on the Looking On reissue! - G.S.].
Gerard Nowak <firstname.lastname@example.org> (07.12.2002)
The latest Repertoire re-issue includes more bonuses than regular tracks and somewhat dated sleeve notes inciting us to enjoy "Wild Tiger Woman" (and it has been relegated indeed to Looking On). Now, The Move contains all the regular stuff and all the earliest singles with their B-sides plus three previously unreleased songs plus several stereo mixes or stereo versions of the regular tracks (the most important alternation is new, worse, Wayne's vocal on "The Girl Outside"). The most interesting of all those is a first- released song "Vote For Me" with a terrific low -key singing of Wayne's, solid guitars, an unexpected middle-eight, and nice ironic lyrics. A Move classic for me.
Gerard Nowak <email@example.com> (26.03.2003)
I am absolutely astonished to have heard that the press praised this record. Much as I adore the band, this seems an obvious flop to me - the guys should have stuck to the 3'00' lenght of the songs. So the best conceived is 'Beautiful Daughter'(definitely sung by Wayne), not the best composition on the album but the only one that's not too long. I also like "The Last Thing On My Mind", exceptionally 'emotional' for The Move, with a strange solo - terrific at the beginning and terrible towards the end. One puzzle to me in the song. Look, as for "The Disturbance" (a bonus on the debut CD) it was weird but logical: Wayne singing lead in the 1st and 3rd verses, Wood in the 2nd and 4th, and Burton in the "will they carry me away" chorus. In the present track, Wayne takes the lead for the first two verses and in the second chorus he yields Rick Price, who carries on till the end. What is the great idea behind it? Funny guys.
Mark <firstname.lastname@example.org> (01.01.2004)
Although I agree that the first Move album is more "poppy" and maybe focused due to short punchy songs, I really do like Shazam a lot. I like how the band tried to change their sound/image by cranking up the amps and extending their songs. Granted, "Feilds Of People" and "The Last Thing On My Mind" go on for much too long, I can still listen to it and be amazed at the musicianship and invention in turning the arrangements inside out. And I love "Don't Make My Baby Blue"...great guitar sound and Roy's vocal turn this piece of teen melodrama into something beleivable. "Hello Suzie" is one of their best tracks ever; great vocal, great performance and funny lyrics; "Beautiful Daughter" I like, but I think it's a bit out of place on this album.....this would fit better on the first album ! because of it's "pop" nature, and "Cherry Blossom Revisited" has got to be one of the most incredible recordings I have ever heard. Amazing arrangement and performance makes this one the most unheard masterpieces in rock history. The bonus tracks don't kill me, frankly, not being a fan of the "Something Else" live e.p./album. But I would call Shazam the best Move album (not by much, because I think they're all great) and give it a 10.
Just wanted to say I think that 'Brontosaurus' is one of my favorite 'heavy' songs ever.
It's like heavy metal if done in the 50's. Awwweeeesommee!!
Sergey Zhilkin <email@example.com> (08.05.2001)
Thanks, George, I got mudded again. I should have listened to my compilation at least three times instead of two (both were rather unfull). I just missed such gems as 'Lightening never strikes twice' and 'Omnibus' because they were put after number 20 on my compilation and so I thought: 'This band must have had few hits so all of them should be in the first dozen of songs' and was awfully wrong. 'Blackberry way' is a terrific track. It makes me think about McCartney's 'Monkberry moon delight' with it's dangerous chorus (though, McCartney put out his 'Blackberry' a year later (was it a ripoff?!!!)). If only Roy Wood wrote these songs, he, together with Jeff Lynne, can be considered as one of the best pop masters of 70's. Such experimental songs as 'Turkish Tram Conductor Blues' (I mean that it's the first time we get a pop heavy metall) and 'Brontosaurus' are well worth at least a hundred listens. And the peak of the album is surely 'What', which I suppose was written with the help of Lynne.
Heck, this album grew on me (in just three days!). Firstly, I thought of giving it a ten. The next listen pumped the rating up to 11 ... and now I easily can give this one a 13. Damn it, one more listen and I'll start arguing with you about too low rating of mr. Wood...
OK, everybody ready? One, two, one two three - GOODBYE BLACKBERRY WAY, I CAN'T SEE YOU ....
Gerard Nowak <firstname.lastname@example.org> (26.03.2003)
One of the best things about this record is the cover, it's as brilliant as the one with Ian Anderson with his dog in the wood - two reality poles. As for the music, the regular album copies the very misconception of the Move's previous one. No, The Move's lenghty songs don't work (the bonuses plainly show the contrast). That's why I take "Brontosaurus" as the best one here, not "What?" (what? what for? what for the passage over the chorus chords with the backing vocals in the middle of it?). In "Brontosaurus", on the other hand, all the notes seem logical and welcome. The other Lynne song would have been my favourite song on the album, but I hate the coda (though I generally like backward drums, I hate them here all the more). This number is the only one containing a fine funny solo, though. (This is a double-track oboe, I guess). It seems to me that on this album Wood's instrumental prowess does them (the band) wrong. The bonus tracks are all great except the alternate versions of the bonus tracks (though I find them needless rather than disturbing). But I like the Italian version of "Something", Wayne's rendition is much more passionate than on the English one.
Mark <email@example.com> (01.01.2004)
I agree with you that the album is definately worth looking into and not a "disaster" that some people thing it is. I think it's a fine record; the heavy stuff balanced out with piano based tracks from Lynne. (Lynne's peak was with the Move, not ELO, at least in my humble opinion). I disagree that Wood was not suited to the "heavy riff". Maybe not heavy in the Sabbath/Zeppelin sense, but his heavy riffs have lots of power and tone that separates him ! from Sabbath's "sludge' sound (although yeah, Page had varied tones that set him apart from everyone). I really like the title track a lot, beginning part and all that you don't. Incidentally, ever notice that the vocal on that one sounds like Ozzy? The Move and Sabbath were both from Birmingham....and Move drummer Bev bevan later played with Sabbath......no real point to this aside but it was a coincidence I noticed. And and "Alice" is just a boogie peice, but it's done convincingly (and it's a hell of a lot more fun than the doo wop parodies on the first record). "What" and "Open Up" are good (I dig the backwards drum solo in that one too!!!), but "Brontosaurus" is the killer on this one. With possibly the heaviest riff that Roy ever unleashed, the group chunks out an awesome track that's easily one of their best. (George, on the basis of this track alone, I'd easily say that the Move could be a true "metal" band in the Sabbath vein, because while Sabbath used more distortion, I don't think they ever got this heavy).
I always felt that this album was the first blossoming of the ELO concept with the strings and piano tracks.....of cource, with Wood out of the way later on, Lynne expanded on it greatly, but here was the bridge between The Move and ELO. Great album...............
I first heard Looking On in 1971, then Message From the Country and No Answer by the early ELO (far and away better than anything else the band by that name ever did). We bought them as cutouts.. about three albums for $1. Got a lot of great music that way, including Audience's House On The Hill and Led Zep's first album.
I just got L.O. and No Answer on CD a month or two ago, scarcely believing they were available. I must tell you that I find both to be exceptional albums. heavy riffage? NO ONE EVER did a heavier song than Brontosaurus (which was, of course, the point of the song in my view).
I'm trying to start a band of 50 year old geezers such as myself that would enjoy doing covers of such obscure and unheralded, at least here in the US, artists. Since no one will ever pay a cover band to do music no one has ever heard of, it's a good thing none of us will need the money!!! (plus we can all afford VERy good equipment and have strapping youngsters as free roadies..) I'd really love to do Brontosaurus and Feel Too Good.
I'm glad to hear others out there still appreciate Roy Wood's genius.
Steven Graham <firstname.lastname@example.org> (16.02.2002)
In my opinion one of the most underrated albums of all times....it has it all.
The harmonies on the title track...has anyone ever done it any better?
Mark <email@example.com> (01.01.2004)
This is a fine album that has more of the Move/ELO metamorphisis, but still more Move than ELO. I agree that it is filled with stong material and definately Roy's most brilliant experiments. Plus his guitar work.....everyone overlooks his guitar playing and on this one, he smokes. Check out the picking on the intro and break of "Until Your Mama's Gone". The bagpipes, oboe, flute etc etc he plays on this one make it one of his best efforts in the "musicianship" vein, and his songwriting is great. Lynne's bass playing is super, and you're right about the sonic space that it takes up - it's just massive. And Bevan's tracks ("Marge", "Ben Crawley" and "Don't Mess Me") a re fun like you say and show a playful side of the band that leavens the pseudo-serious side of the album. Some people say that the trio were more interested in ELO in this point than the Move, but if that's true, then this album wouldn't be as ambitious, brilliant and professional as it was. A shame actually, that Lynne and Wood couldn't pull it together in ELO for the long run if THIS could have been the result of that partnership. (The first ELO album hints at it, but soon after that, Wood bailed.......pity).
If you get a chance, pick up the album Great Move! The Best Of The Move that has this complete album plus a few singles from this era. It has "California Man" and "Tonight", two brilliant singles written by Wood, and "Do Ya" which is probably the best single that the Move ever made. It absolutely KILLS the ELO version with killer guitar, vocals and brilliant drumming from Bevan. You're right, as a swan song, it don't get better than this. The Great Move! CD is worth it for these three singles alone. When you add in the Message album...............wow. (Or failing the Great Move album, if you can score up a vinyl version of "Split Ends", it has the three singles, and the complete Message album minus the three Bevan country/novelty tracks).
Oliver Kneale <firstname.lastname@example.org> (10.06.2001)
I think this album is flawless. It's confident, it's as eccentric, and I even think it's catchy. Even if the fuzzy broken radio production isn't to one's liking, they at least have admit that it doesn't sound a whole heck of a lot like anything else of it's time.
And, for me, "Wear a Fast Gun" is the best thing on it. Recording a beautiful, soaring "Let it Be"-style pop song in a tinny haze is truly inspired perversity! It puts the biggest smile on my face. After all of the mad rockin' and rollin' throughout the record, I love hearing this pretty melody suddenly issue out of the distortion. I think it really takes you by surprise. Roy wrote a genuinely pretty song and then mutilated it and it still holds up! That is a damn fine pop songwriter who can do that.
Love love love this record.
Adam K. <email@example.com> (25.10.2005)
When I first got this album, I was horrified by it, totally horrified. I couldn't even listen to it. I cited it as the greatest waste of genius, a sonic porridge that had no reason to exist.
Nowadays, I love it. Absolutely love it. It's big, bold, noisy, chaotic, indulgent, inventive and passionate. And, as you point out, it's big, BIG FUN.
Philip P. Obbard <firstname.lastname@example.org> (10.03.2000)
I agree that BOULDERS is a lost if eclectic classic that would have fared better in the late 60s than it did in the earluy 70s; though I think "Miss Clark and the Computer" is the only *disposable* track on the album - too gimmicky, even for Mr. Wood. But the rest of the LP explains why Wood had such lame compositions left over for the Move's LOOKING ON (although, bizarrely, I recently heard "Feel Too Good" - all 10+ minutes - being played in a Mexican bar in Manhattan...). BOULDERS has been issued on CD in the UK by BGO Records in 1994, and sounds quite solid, with nice liner notes as well. Not sure if it's still in print.
An early instrumental version of "She's Too Good For Me" shows up as "Second Class" on the Move's 1997 3CD MOVEMENT retrospective, although oddly no-one associated with that set seems to have listened to BOULDERS and didn't realize that the track was finished later on. Makes you wonder how you get a job as a CD reissuer!
Thomas McKeown <email@example.com> (03.01.2001)
I was looking through my Dad's old vinel collection (which is quite substantial) looking for something to listen to (that's how I discovered Roy Harper) when I found this. I was slightly more aware than most people as to who Roy Wood than most people in the world (if people in Britain know of him, it is for Wizzard's Xmas classic 'I Wish It Could Be Xmas Every Day', which is much better than Slade's more well known effort, and I think the number of people in the rest of the world who know of him at all is negligable) due to the enthusing of my father. I listened to it and was blown away! For me, it's almost impossible to choose a best song, although I think my money would be on 'When Grandma Plays the Banjo', principaly because you it really sounds, as on no other track on here does (save perhaps 'Miss Clarke And the Computer') that Roy's lost the tenuouse thread connecting him to reality - I mean, we knew he was weird, but this is something else! 'Rock Down Low' is, to me, the weakest track, but that's simply because the production makes it sound a bit too weak when it's trying to rock, and it goes on too long. But I agree with your rating; a lost classic, and I feel so lucky to be one of the few people on the planet to be in possesion of it (or rather, my Dad is.)
Sergey Zhilkin <firstname.lastname@example.org> (04.05.2001)
[Finally, I have enough free time to write a comment on Boulders, which I tend to love by now]...
First of all, I want to say that this is indeed a great album. Plus, very complex one. I wonder how many hours did Roy spend in his studio to produce this record - 500? 800? Hard to say.
The album starts off nicely. 'Song of praise' is a little bit childish but, on the other hand, Roy doesn't take it seriously. And the melody is charming - simple and very hook-filled (inspiration from Beach Boys?). OK, somebody HAD to write this tune and Roy was the lucky one. Unfortunately, the next track 'Wake up' is a letdown. To tell the truth, it's really hard for me to dig a guitar-only song. Well, Dylan's Blood on the tracks and T-REX's Unicorn are exceptions, but not this song. It's a rather cute but, in fact, there's not much to talk about.
However, 'Rock down low' is many times better than 'Wake up'. It has a terrific cello and cool Roy's vocal (I agree, his voice can sound in many ways). My favorite part of the song is the last thirty seconds when Roy repeats this cello riff/hook. The next track is 'Nancy'. Hmmm... I agree that it's not atrocious and ...well, to be fair, I have to say that I like this song. I mean, I have nothing against 'Nancy' and can listen it two or three times in a row but this is a case when I'll never try to sing along with Roy and etc. Forgettable thing.
'Dear Elaine' and 'Miss Clarke' are acoustic, too. I suppose this is what you meant by saying that Roy introduced a 'medieval rock' to public. You say that THIS is a part of his originality / revolution. OK, so what? First of all, how many followers did Roy have? Zero. Besides, T-REX with its Unicorn outrunned poor Roy. You CAN feel this gothic, medieval atmosphere on Bolan's record, can't you?
Secondly, I have to state that music revolution is not when an artist comes up with a original idea, revolution comes true only if many people like this idea (at least I always thought that this statement is true). After all, I can start farting in a glass of water and recording it on a tape. Then I'll produce an album called 'The theory of Big Bang'. And it WILL be original cause it will be the only album with artist farting in a glass of water. But how many people will enjoy it, I wonder? So can't you call it revolutionary. Plus to it, revolutionary record usually has its rip-offs. In our case, you can call my imaginary album revolutionary only if I'll get some followers farting in a glass of soda, Pepsi, Cola and etc. Unfortunately, I can't explain my opinion more clearly so I will be very sorry if you won't get it.
Well, judging by the previous part of the comment one can tell that I don't like 'Boulders' at all, but it's untrue. Actually, I enjoy this record. Such songs as catchy and hook-filled rock medley, funny 'All the way over the hill / Irish loafer' and more funny 'When Gran'ma takes plays the banjo' make much for me (especially the rock medley).
So here's the score - 12. A tasty record but a little bit overrated. Though, out of all made-by-one-person records I prefer this one.
Oh, and I've just got an idea. Maybe the problem is in the fact that Roy doesn't have a band here and that's why such songs as 'Miss Clarke' and 'Dear Elaine' looses their beauty for me?
Oliver Kneale <email@example.com> (10.06.2001)
Oh, this album breaks my heart, I love it so much. I hate hyperbole, but few pop albums move me like this does. The worldview on this album is so sweet and wide-eyed. It's a lovely record, emotional, funny, and full of melody like the ocean is full of water. I don't hear one weak moment. It's all jewels from beginning to end.
As much as I love The Move, I think this album tops those records. Especially the first side which is among my favorite sides in pop music.
One note about the possible inspiration for one of the songs: "Ms. Clarke and the Computer" was likely inspired by the "Daisy" scene in the movie, 2001 (adapted from the book by Arthur C. Clarke) where the computer is pleading for its "life" as it's about to be shut down. It came out in 1968 so I imagine Roy probably saw it was inspired.
Victor Prose <firstname.lastname@example.org> (05.08.2001)
There's little to say about my favorite album of all time that wasn't already said in your review. But rejoice! It will be reissued on CD sometime later this year, remastered and with extra tracks--though I believe the new edition will only be available in the UK. Oh, well. At least a new generation of audiences will soon be either amazed or frightened.
I picked up this album in a cut-out bin back around '73 or '74, after reading a favorable review of the record in, I believe, Circus magazine. It was unlike anything I had heard at that time. I was then a 17 year old stoner into the Stones, The Who, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Some very catchy ditties on this record. "Grandma," "Nancy," "She's Too Good for Me," all cool stuff and that Miss Clarke song is just haunting. In fact I think I'll go dust off the turntable, dig out this reck-ord (British pronunciation, that) and give it a listen for the first time in 25 years.
P.S. Not only did Roy play all the instruments and do all vocals, he also did the front cover art. Hair parted down the middle, one side fire, the other side water. A mad genuis, he.
Gerard Nowak <email@example.com> (07.12.2002)
This is truly a great album, probably the best solo effort EVER! The most striking thing is the versality, something incredible for a one man show. I always laughed at The Move's manner to place two or three ("The Disturbance") lead vocals within a single song, but I understood that Roy on his own could really get on people's nerves. But on Boulders his rooster singing does not irritate me at all. I agree "Dear Elaine" is a flop, overall, but the very song is good, it only shouldn't last so long. And I'd like to highlight "All the Way Over", an archetypal pop song, in my opinion; the one I truly enjoy. I only wish the album closer was more caloric, I guess that "She's Too Good For Me" stands out too much. It should be a separate song, more towards the middle of the album, perhaps.
Mark <firstname.lastname@example.org> (17.01.2004)
Thank you George for making me buy this album. I only knew of it's existence after reading your page and since I (mostly) agree with your comments, I decided to buy this, alas on vinyl.
At first listen, I was thinking, "okay, it's good, but it is not as good as George says it is." I listened to it again, liked it a bit more, and on the third listen, I fell in love with it. I have listened to it a dozen times in a few days and I really love it. I agree entirely with your review of this album, and yeah, it's a pity it's not on CD. I put it on CD, because I have to play this for everyone I know to turn them on to it.
Okay, on to the music....I agree, the only track I don't go nuts over is "Dear Elaine". Everything else is super. "Nancy Sing Me A Song" is just awesome, "Miss Clarke" is great, and I love those "treated" vocals too. "Song Of Praise" is great, and I think "Grandma Plays The Banjo" is great. Like you, George, I love the crowd idea. "Wake Up" is beautiful. And this was 1969....wow. I mean to play all the instruments, and with such precision......incredible. And I am just blown away by the vocals he does on this album. I love The Move, and I can tell his vocals a lot of the time, but to hear all the harmonies he does here, and the different tones for his voice just blows my mind. This is up there with my favorite Move stuff; some of it is better than the Move. The thing that kills me the most is the instrumentation. On the later Move albums, you can't help but be dazzled by the virtuosity of the man. Sitar, guitar, flutes, piano etc etc etc, but you never knew exactly who playe! d certain guitars etc. Here, there is no doubt whatsoever. The man does it all. And brilliantly. The guitars (especially in "Dear Elaine" and "All The Way Over The Hill") are great. But to me, the killer is the banjo in "Grandma". Wow. I mean, he plays so fast and slick and so convincing that it's hard to believe that he is a "rocker", not a hard core bluegrass freak. (I'm not an expert in banjo playing, but man, I think it sounds like the guy is like Grandma, practicing hours a day).
Anyway, I could go on for pages on this one, especially since it's not exactly one of the most known albums ever. I agree with George, buy this album and be amazed. I think that Roy is a genius; albeit a very strange genius. Doubters, listen to this album for the proof. Thanks George, for turning me on to this brilliant album. After being disappointed so many times before by albums that are lauded "masterpieces" ("Odessey And Oracle" anybody????) it's so great to be turned on to an album that is as good as you were informed that it was!!!!! Thank you George. It is shit like this that restores my love of music, and makes me realize that others care about this stuff as much as I do!!!!!!!
Kent Mackey <email@example.com> (16.01.2006)
It was back somewhere in the early seventies... probably 73 I guess. I had just purchased BOULDERS after being told ROY WOOD was the founder of Electric Light Orchestra and rushed over to our midwest basement stoner hangout (with legless sofas and stereo toast nailed to the walls) to turn every one on to it.
SONGS OF PRAISE is a truly bent way to start an album. I guess it qualifies as gospel but I find most real gospel fanatics a little frightening whereas this isn't so much frightening as it is a disturbing way to become aware of Roy Wood. By the time the turntable needle hit WAKE UP my fellow stoners were giving me some very odd looks indeed. ROCK DOWN SLOW was time to tell everyone to have another hit, reload and give the album a chance. Then NANCY came on and the giggling started... by the end of side one I was reluctant to flip it over and continue but at the insistance of the rest I did. Well, WHEN GRANDMA PLAYS THE BANJO came on the laughter and razzing of myself was in full swing. Although a little embarrassed I had to admit I liked the album although I was sure I couldn't explain why. Without question quirky and sort of silly but interesting and strangely pleasing at the same time.
Over the next few months I began to notice BOULDERS in the record collection of many of my group and in their girlfriend's collections as well (I won't get into that). Today, about fourty years later, there isn't one person who was in the stoner basement that night who doesn't have a copy of ROY WOOD'S BOULDERS in their collection. At the same time I don't think there is a single one of them who could explain exactly why they like this album so much that they would hunt it down (not so easy to find in mid west Canada in the 70s) and spend money for it... but we all did. It must be a pretty good album eh?!
Alastair MacMillan <firstname.lastname@example.org> (25.09.2006)
Roy Wood, no question - genius. Songs of Praise off Boulders can lift your heart in seconds and it may well be the ultimate feel good pop/rock record. It is eerie with a spiritual feel that sends shivers up your spine while sounding every bit like a sunshine pop song that would wow the most jaded festival crowd.
Born in 1962, I have sampled a lot of Roy's commercial work (or part thereof) and Boulders illustrates much of his ability. My point here is Roy's work keeps resurfacing and I think it will float on for a while yet. If you feel really low, try a song of praise people!
Mike Weber <email@example.com> (18.08.2006)
As to why the album was held back after being recorded in '69 -- just read an interview with Wood, and he said that the Move had an album coming out just about then and it was thought (not necessarily by him) that it would be better not release both at roughly the same time.
The point that a lot of people seem to miss is that "Miss Clarke and the Computer" is inspired by the movie "2001: A Space odyessy" - the scene in which Dave Bowman shuts down HAL9000's personality center. ("I'm afraid ... Dave ...Please ....stop...")
The spelling "Clarke" - as in Arthur C. Clarke - is a tipoff.
And what makes the song even creepier than the scene in the movie is that in the film, Bowman knows that HAL has a personality that he is destroying in self-defence; Miss Clarke has no idea that the computer has become aware, and she kills it without knowing what she's doing...
Sergey Zhilkin <firstname.lastname@example.org> (04.05.2001)
Here I take your side completely. Thank you for reassuring me in the fact that Eddy was an original record. I just didn't care about the date of release of this album simply because I thought it didn't have any sense.
Now I got it. Indeed, Eddy and Falcons is a real rockin' record (such songs as 'Eddy's rock' and 'We're gonna rock'n'roll tonight' kick out everything out of my mind) and it's a big pity that I didn't realise it earlier. And the idea of connecting old good rock'n'roll with lots of electric guitars was really fresh (to tell the truth, I couldn't even think that such mix of sax and electric guitar was invented by Mr. Wood (in fact, it's my favorite mix and few days ago I was still thinking that G. Harrison invented it!)).
The best song should be 'You got me running' with its wonderful hooks. I rate the album with 12 scores, too.
Gerard Nowak <email@example.com> (05.03.2003)
Perfect agreement on this one. I find this album a little bit too serious, as I definitely prefer Wood's clown disguise than the emotional sincerity he seems to be approaching on "The Song". I think the best songs are "Any Old Time Will Do" and "Why Does Such a Pretty Girl..." - they show that Roy Wood was indeed a genius of clever and self-conscious pop music. But yes, I can't deny, "The Rain Came Down On Everything" IS moving, very much so.
Aidan Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org> (16.04.2004)
This is album is far more magnificent than you noted in your review. My personal favourites are "Why Does...", "Look Thru..." and "Any Old Time", and I would argue that they are among Roy's best ever performances and compositions. "Any Old Time" is a beautiful number, with a really honest lyric that perfectly outlines the difficulty a working musician can encounter with romantic relationships; the need to create and progress musically often overwhelms any other basic human need or emotion, and Roy so eloquently explained this phenomenon in the song. Both"Why" and "Look" has the most mystifying harmony vocals that I have heard on any record; I can listen to these two tracks repeatedly and still uncover another genius moment every time. I defy any contemporary artist to match Roy's vocal prowess. Note how Roy never sticks to the same repetitive melody line, extending the possibilites endlessly. I can't get over how precisely he builds his backgrounds; never has one man blended with himself so beautifully.
Aidan Campbell <email@example.com> (16.04.2004)
The title track is easily one of the best ever Wizzard cuts, worth the purchase price alone. The song runs to nearly six minutes, but it never stays stationary. The jazzy runs are perfectly idiomatic; it's surprising that a rock musician could have such an understanding of the music. The vocal harmony runs after the final chorus must rank as some of the most mind-blowing singing ever committed to tape; a real treat for the Wizzard fan that has not yet unearthed this record. Also, the lyric seems to light-heartedly deal with the subject of suicide, hence the ironically beautiful line "I'm on the roof, I'm gonna drop, to where I can see me, nice and easy..."...the ever-present absurd humour of Roy.
Sergey Zhilkin <firstname.lastname@example.org> (04.05.2001)
This album isn't so bad as you tell. 1 is a way too low rating for this..mmmm.. not so atrocious record. Looks like you dismissed all the tracks that included drum machine beat. It means that only one track out of 9 had a chance to become a mediocre song in you eyes. Indeed, 'On the top of the world' is more or less good track. But you almost forgot about such gems as first two tracks. In fact, both of them (in case if you replace this stupid beat with good drums) are classic Roy's songs. Though, you're right about others - pure sh#t.
My rating is low 4, though. And here's the last note: if I am to choose between Dirty work, Press to play and Starting up, I will choose the last one.
Phillip Maxted <email@example.com> (07.11.2005)
Just wanted to say that I admire you for being able to listen to Starting Up TWICE! I am of the opinion that Roy Wood is brilliant and own pretty much everything he's ever released (and a few that weren't) but couldn't listen to this abortion for one full listen, let alone two. Your level of commitment to reviewing is admirable. Hopefully you have strong drink readily available so that you can quickly erase any memory of aural assults such as Starting Up. BTW, try to find a copy of Wizzo Band, Roy seems to get the balance of Jazz/Rock pretty much right on this one, though some of the numbers do get a little long in the tooth. Even geniuses aren't perfect.