Introducing Eddy & the Falcons

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Since Roy Wood loves music more than the nostalgia, on Wizzard's early rock & roll tribute Introducing Eddy & the Falcons he doesn't offer an oldie pastiche, a la Sha Na Na. Wood takes this project very seriously even when he's offering gentle satire. He wrote eight different stylistic and artistic tributes, summarizing with the closing "We're Gonna Rock n Roll Tonight," a song that recalls such latter-day Move rockers as "California Man" -- a neat way of illustrating what Roy learned, actually. The rest of the album is deliberately self-conscious, as Wood labors to reconstruct specific sounds -- Phil Spector on "This Is the Story of My Love (Baby)," Del Shannon's "Runaway" on "Everyday I Wonder," Elvis on "I Dun Lotsa Cryin' Over You," teen idol pop on "You Got Me Runnin'." The trick is, Wood's writing retains much of its character no matter what suit he tries on. Depending on your point of view, this is a fun stylistic exercise -- either in Wood's musicality or in nostalgic almost-camp -- or it's a little contrived and irritating. Eddy & the Falcons divides audiences in two because it's too easy to hear the wheels turning on certain songs. This may not bother listeners looking for a straight-up rock & roll record, especially since a handful of songs are pretty good, yet Wood fans that cherish his eccentricity and ability to fuse disparate strands into something distinctive will likely appreciate Eddy & the Falcons as a conceptual coup rather than truly enjoy it. [Edsel Records reissued Introducing Eddy & the Falcons on CD in 1999 with five bonus tracks; they don't jibe with the rest of the record, but they are interesting, even if there are no real classics among them.]

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