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2023 Albums Thing 237 - The Move “Fire Brigade”

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A cheapo Music For Pleasure compilation that my Dad used to have a copy of but that arguably contains some of the greatest pop music created in the 1960’s. Roy Wood was a musical pioneer back then and I’ll take The Move’s ’60’s singles over those of many more feted British groups of the time.

The Move had formed out of various Beat groups playing around Birmingham and the Midlands, Roy Wood From Mike Sheridan & The Nightriders, Carl Wayne and Bev Bevan from Carl Wayne & The Vikings, Trevor Burton from Danny King & The Mayfair Set and Chris “Ace” Kefford, well, I’m not sure but it’s said he was inspired to form The Move after seeing the future David Bowie in his band Davy Jones & The Lower Third at the Cedar Club in Birmingham. The idea was to gather together the best musicians in Brum into one band. They began playing covers of American bands and Motown until Roy Wood began to write. He eventually wrote all of their 9 Top 20 singles, 6 of which are on this album.

It begins with “Flowers In The Rain”, the first record played on Radio One (two pieces of music were played before it, George Martin's specially commissioned "Theme One" and Johnny Dankworth's "Beefeaters" which was Tony Blackburn’s theme tune, but “Flowers In The Rain” the first record played) . It reached #2 in the UK charts but due to a publicity stunt by the bands manager, Tony Secunda, involving Prime Minister Harold Wilson, his secretary and an ensuing court case, all Roy Woods royalties from the song went to Wilson (who, in his defence, passed them on to charity)!

Their first and only #1 was “Blackberry Way” in 1968/69. Singer Carl Wayne refused to sing it so vocals are handled by Roy Wood. The song didn’t sit well with Trevor Burton either who left the band shortly after its release. Fortunately Roy Wood did like it, saying it is his favourite Move song of all time, claiming that “it could have been performed in any era and still worked”. As it has been covered in the ensuing years by Italian band Equipe 84, Gary Holton (of the Heavy Metal Kids and “Auf Wiedersehn Pet”) and The Wonder Stuff it appears he was right.

The Move continued into 1972 when they metamorphed into Electric Light Orchestra. They left behind some superb music, singles like “I Can Hear The Grass Grow”, “Fire Brigade” and “Curly” and others on this album like “(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree”, “Omnibus” and “Beautiful Daughter” are very intricate pop music and reasons why I’ll take The Move over many other of their contemporaries (oh, and them being Brummies helps).

Fire Brigade - https://youtu.be/cHolSj-ocNI?si=dtQm1hdtbe0dJ3CW

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