Hits, The Singles A's & B's & Rarities

The Move

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Hits, The Singles A's & B's & Rarities Review

by Bruce Eder

Hits & Rarities/ Singles A's & B's is a nicely put together double-CD set from Repertoire Records -- it's actually a more expansive version of Edsel Records' Omnibus: The 60s Singles A's & B's issued that same year, assembling the Move's 40 official U.K. single releases (or, more properly, non-LP releases, since there are some EP sides represented), all dating between 1966 and 1974 (that latter date is a result of the belated 45 rpm issue of "Do Ya"). It's safe to say that no band this side of the Beatles (and perhaps not even them) ever packed more creative and challenging elements into their 45's, on the A-sides as well as the B-sides, than the Move did. Though they released four albums during this same period, the latter were so infrequent that they couldn't be the group's main vehicle for expression or experimentation -- it was the 7" platters that served this purpose, and it's even more to the credit of Roy Wood and company that they were able to pull that off successfully for five years. From the little vocal vamp inspired by Gustav Holst's The Planets at the end of "The Disturbance" to the reed accompaniment on "Flowers in the Rain," the gently lusting lyric buried amid the psychedelia-soaked "(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree," and the little near-quote from "Heat Wave" in the opening of "Vote for Me," there's just a lot going on in all of the group's songs, and one must give them credit for getting a lot of this recorded in the first place -- assembled together, it all makes for an imposing, at times almost overpowering collection of sounds, not just because of the innovations that they worked into their pop sides, but also the fact that, creative as they ever got, the Move always played their stuff hard, with a good attack on their instruments -- even "Blackberry Way," for all of its seeming debt to "Penny Lane," is played a lot harder than the Beatles ever attacked their instruments on the latter song, pushing that volume very hard (until "Curly," the Move never even issued a single side with an acoustic guitar in the foreground of the mix, and that was a fluke). For completeness' sake, the Italian version of "Something" closes out the first disc -- the second opens with the advent of the Jeff Lynne lineup of the band, kicking off with Wood's "When Alice Comes Back to the Farm" and Lynne's "What," which debuts the vocal/instrumental mix around Lynne's voice that would become the template for the Electric Light Orchestra. That disc gets to 20 songs by encompassing the five live songs off of the Something Else EP and the one odd song, "Useless Information," off of a Spanish EP. The sound throughout is very good -- though one suspects that with advances in digital technology since the late 1990s, it could be improved upon -- and the set includes a very informative interview with Roy Wood.

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