Tapestry of Delights: Upon the demise of the Birmingham-based group, The Move, Roy Wood briefly collaborated with guitarist Jeff Lynne on what was originally known as The Wood-Lynne project, although it soon became known as the Electric Light Orchestra. However, despite their debut 45, 10538 Overture, reaching the Top 10, Roy Wood soon lost interest in this concept and formed his own new band Wizzard. In many ways they were the antipathy of ELO, who were a disciplined outfit with considerable musical finesse. Wizzard were a fun band.Wood's multi-coloured hair and clothes set the tone for the band whose gigs were a kind of bizarre circus. They became a leading glam-rock act. Their debut at a Wembley extravaganza on 5 August 1973 set the ball rolling and their ability to produce fine rock singles with wide commercial appeal ensured it never stopped. Their debut - Ball Park Incident - made the UK Top 10 and thereafter they produced a string of memorable hits:- See My Baby Jive, Angel Fingers, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, Rock And Roll Winter and Are You Ready To Rock all made the UK Top Ten and the first two topped the Charts. Success in the US proved much harder to achieve. They embarked on an unsuccessful US tour in November 1974 and it was their management's refusal to even finance a second one in October 1975 when led to their demise. They were very much a 'singles' band, although their albums sold quite well over here at any rate. Their second one, Introducing Eddy And The Falcons, was rather unusual in that each of the tracks was in the style of a fifties rock'n'roll hero. People like Duane Eddy, Del Shannon and Gene Vincent were all featured in this tribute.
Wizzard will perhaps be best remembered for producing one of the Christmas hits - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. This has been reissued at Christmas-time on several occasions and actually re-charted in 1981 and 1984, peaking at Nos 41 and 23 respectively. Roy Wood also enjoyed a moderately successful solo career during his years with Wizzard and he continued it after they split. Later in 1977 he formed a new band The Wizzo Band, which also included Rick Price, although their story is beyond the time span of this book. Bob Brady, who'd earlier been in The Applejacks went on to play for Fairport Convention. Keith Smart joined a later line-up of The Rockin' Berries and Nick Pentelow went on tour with Steve Gibbons. Charlie Grima later became an actor.
01. "Intro" 0:46
02. "Eddie's Rock" 3:57
03. "Brand New '88'" 3:23
04. "You Got Me Runnin'" 3:16
05. "I Dun Lotsa Cryin' Over You" 3:22
06. "This Is The Story Of My Love (Baby)" 5:46
07. "Everyday I Wonder" 5:24
08. "Crazy Jeans" 2:54
09. "Come Back Karen" 5:01
10. "We're Gonna Rock'n'Roll Tonight" 5:49
11. "Rock And Roll Winter" 5:05
12. "Dream Of Unwin" 3:08
13. "Nixture" 3:30
14. "Are You Ready To Rock" 2:30
15. "Marathon Man" 2:12
Roy Wood – vocals, guitars, drums, oboe, cello, bass, keyboards, bassoon, string bass, tenor and baritone saxes, percussion;
Rick Price – bass guitar, guitar, vocals, percussion;
Nick Pentelow – tenor saxophone;
Mike Burney – tenor and baritone saxes;
Keith Smart – drums;
Charlie Grima – percussion;
Bill Hunt – piano;
Bob Brady – piano and vocals (on final track) and 'incidental boogies'.
The colour depicted above is the colour of my album, although I didn't know it also came in red. I'd have probably bought that too if I'd known. The gatefold sleeve is / was always a plus when buying vinyl. This still is one of my favourite albums of all time. I've been looking for it on CD but it's at silly prices - £130 on amazon.
This is a pretty great album, especially if you love Roy Wood. Although this came on the heels of Sha Na Na, Wood anticipated the '50s revival of stage shows like "Grease" and these quirky songs might have found a better audience had they been written for stage. They're very evocative of the early rock era and have an almost visual quality to them. They're not totally from left field, though; anyone who heard the Move's retro-styled tunes like "California Man" (or their cover of Eddie Cochran's "Weekend") had a reference point for this material.
Of the bonus tracks, "Rock and Roll Winter" is one of the best tunes Woody ever wrote and probably would have been a bigger UK hit had he released it in winter, not spring.
It's amusing that the color of the tablecloth on the CD cover is purple. On the old vinyl record, it was red or blue, depending on which copy you bought. Mine was (and still is) red.
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