Music Box


He always seemed like the progressive rock version of Del Shannon, Neil Sedaka and Phil Spector rolled into one triple threat human package. Like Brian Wilson he was separated from the very bands he fundamentally created. And so it goes...40 years ago, Roy Wood was sitting on top of the world. Teamed with Jeff Lynne and Move thumper Bev Bevan, Roy masterminded the last two albums from The Move, a string of late period Move “hit” singles while, the icing on top of the cake was the realization of the first Electric Light Orchestra album—with all of this happening between 1970 and ‘72! Then there’s talk of the evil manager who, in a dastardly deed split Jeff and Roy into two separate acts while breaking up the Move and the original ELO during 1972-73 was the worst news for music fans since the Beatles break-up just two years before in early 1970. It’s sad but true, after the first Electric Light Orchestra album, Lynne and Wood would never record together again. Lo and behold 40 years later, in 2011 EMI Records in England finally assembled Music Book—a two disc, 36 cut package featuring the best of Roy as told through the eyes of a real music fan, Roy Wood himself! Some Music Book tracks are even redone by Roy (the early Move hit “Fire Brigade”) and, with the inclusion of choice Roy solo material, tracks from The Move and ELO, and some choice Move covers (here featuring Nancy Sinatra and Status Quo), the 2 CD Music Box set comes across like a new Roy Wood album in a lot of ways—perhaps the lost Roy Wood album! Eschewing chronology, and ending up in the present tense, Roy Wood's Music Book shows the constant thread of greatness that is/was the trademark of Wood’s tenure as being among the most innovative English songwriters since Lennon & McCartney. It always seemed that Roy would have been better off had his dream come true of having Hank Marvin included in the late period Move around the time of Shazam, before the first ELO album. And can you imagine Hank and Roy on guitars sharing those Mason Williams-like strains on Roy's ingenius “First Movement” (included as the last track on Music Box) from the first ELO album? The superbly mastered Music Book CD sound is fantastic and the in-depth liner notes and packaging—complete with fab color pics of Roy with Paul McCartney and George Martin and Roy with Hank B. Marvin among many—really does right by Roy’s devoted fan base. It’s true in 2012 Roy remains under-appreciated and under-recorded but, who knows! Dedicated to Roy's daughter Holly Wood (what else could it be?) Roy Wood's Music Book just might inspire EMI to give one of rock’s too soon to be elder statesmen a long hoped for new lease on his ongoing musical life. /


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