måndag 27 juni 2016

Roy Wood - Boulders (1st Solo Album UK 1973, ex. "The Move")

270:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Relieftryckt utvikomslag. Utgiven av "Strange Days Records" Japan 2007)

An intricate, deliberately idiosyncratic record, assembled piece by piece, Boulders perfectly captures Roy Wood's peculiar genius, more so than anything else he recorded. All of his obsessions are here -- classical music, psychedelia, pre-Beatles pop, pastoral folk ballads, absurdist humor, studio trickery, and good old-fashioned rock & roll -- assembled in a gracefully eccentric fashion. Some listeners may find that eccentricity a little alienating, but it's the core of Wood's music. 

He wrote tuneful, accessible songs, but indulged his passions and weird ideas, so even the loveliest melodies and catchiest hooks are dressed in colorful, odd arrangements. The marvelous thing is, these arrangements never sound self-consciously weird - it's the sound of Wood's music in full bloom. Never before and never again did his quirks sound so charming, even thrilling, as they do on Boulders. As soon as "Songs of Praise" reaches its chorus, a choir of sped-up, multi-tracked Roys kick in, sending it into the stratosphere. 

All nine tunes unwind in a similar fashion, each blessed with delightfully unpredictable twists. It's easy to spot the tossed-off jokes on the goofy "When Gran'ma Plays the Banjo," but it may take several spins to realize that the percussion on "Wake Up" is the sound of Roy slapping a bowl of water. Boulders is a sonic mosaic -- you can choose to wonder at the little details or gaze at the glorious whole, enjoying the shape it forms. Wood has an unerring knack for melodies, whether they're in folk ballads, sweet pop or old-fashioned rock & rollers, yet his brilliance is how he turns the hooks 180 degrees until they're gloriously out of sync with his influences and peers. Boulders still sounds wonderfully out of time and it's easy to argue that it's the peak of his career.

Most of the album was recorded while Wood was still in The Move, although it was not released until he had left the Electric Light Orchestra and was fronting Wizzard. Two singles were taken from the album, "When Gran'ma Plays the Banjo" (February 1972), and "Dear Elaine" (August 1973). The latter reached No. 18 in the UK Singles Chart.

"Rock Down Low" and "The Locomotive" were sometimes featured by Wizzard in their live performances.

"Songs of Praise" was recorded by the New Seekers and reached the last six for the British entry to the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest.

Wood had previously attempted recording "She's Too Good for Me" in 1968 with Move bandmate Trevor Burton, before re-recording the song entirely himself for "Boulders". These early attempts were released on Anthology 1966–1972.

01. "Songs of Praise" – 04:40
02. "Wake Up" – 03:19
03. "Rock Down Low" – 03:25
04. "Nancy Sing Me a Song" – 03:28
05. "Dear Elaine" – 04:09
06. "Medley: "All the Way Over the Hill"/"Irish Loafer (And His Hen)" – 04:49
07. "Miss Clarke and the Computer" – 04:20
08. "When Gran'ma Plays the Banjo" – 03:12
09. "Rock Medley: "Rockin’ Shoes"/"She's Too Good for Me"/"Locomotive" – 07:31

10. "Dear Elaine" (Rough Mix  - 04.14