Roy Wood

Exotic Mixture: Best of Singles A's & B's

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Even though it spans two discs and nearly 40 songs, Exotic Mixture is hardly the definitive word on Roy Wood. Part of the problem is that it excludes Wizzard recordings (featured on Singles A's & B's), but the real problem is that it, like Wood, simply covers too much ground. Exotic Mixture is evenly divided, with the first disc devoted to Boulders through Mustard (plus assorted singles), the second running from 1977's Super Active Wizzo to 1987's Starting Up (plus assorted singles). The second disc has some fine moments -- Roy's duet single with Annie Haslam, "I Never Believed in Love"/"Inside My Life," isn't bad; "Dancing at the Rainbow's End" is strong; and even 1985's "Sing Out the Old -- Bring in the New" is a solid piece of Wizzard-styled Spector/Wilson pop -- but, by and large, it's forgettable in comparison to the first disc. Although Wizzard singles are sadly absent from the first disc and the inclusion of instrumental B-sides hurts its momentum, it remains terrific. Over half of Boulders is here, as is over half of Mustard, as are such spectacular non-LP singles as "Going Down the Road," the Beach Boys tribute "Forever," and "Indiana Rainbow." These songs capture Wood at a pinnacle, and even if they're surrounded by filler when they should be surrounded by Wizzard, no other compilation has managed to summarize his solo work as well as the first disc of Exotic Mixture.

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