The Move – Shazam (1970): On Second Thought

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Those attending a Move gig were often left speechless. Clad in mobster gear and armed with axes, the band was accompanied by various objects, such as television sets and effigies, which they violently smashed to shreds. But the Move certainly did not need to resort to gimmicks in order to attract attention because their music was good enough to stand on its own.

Coming together in 1965, the Birmingham, England-based band gained the reputation as psychedelic popsters in the form of tunes like “Flowers in the Rain,” “I Can Hear the Grass Grow” and “Blackberry Way.” Although these nifty numbers assaulted the European airwaves, the Move failed to reach American ears and would primarily be recognized on these shores as the group that included future members of Electric Light Orchestra.

The Move’s second studio album, Shazam (A&M Records) observes the band dropping their pop-art instincts in preference of a more experimental slant – which proved to be an agreeable transition.

Aided by the sawing sound of a loping violin, “Beautiful Daughter” sweeps and soars to a theatric delivery, and a cover of Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing On My Mind” starts off on twangy country-fried footing before mushrooming into the kind of droning drama, complete with expansive heavy rock arrangements, associated with a Vanilla Fudge workout.

Also appearing on Shazam is a re-recorded version of “Cherry Blossom Clinic,” which was heard on the Move’s self-titled debut album and released as a single. Re-dubbed “Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited,” the song leans towards a harder edge than the original take and implements fragments of Bach, “The Nutcracker” and Tchaikovsky into the stew, resulting in an A-grade classical rock orgy.

Fashioned around a thick and thudding beat, bolstered by jolly jumbo-sized choruses, “Hello Susie” boasts impressions of both Black Sabbath and bubblegum music. Composed by the Move’s vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Roy Wood, “Hello Susie” was initially recorded by the Amen Corner, who scored a hit with the song in 1969.

Another noteworthy cut on “Shazam” is an adaptation of Ars Nova’s “Fields of People” that clocks in at nearly 11 minutes in length. Spellbinding from beginning to end, the epic entry trembles and thunders to powerful patterns of intense riffing, military styled drumming, commanding vocals, towering harmonies and a trippy raga-rock jamfest.

Not long after Shazam was issued, lead singer Carl Wayne resigned from the band. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Lynne from the Idle Race then joined the Move for their final studio album, and Message From the Country indeed sported a strong country influence. Feeling the Move had gone as far as they could, Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan went on to launch Electric Light Orchestra – and as they say, the rest is history.


Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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