Stray

Move It

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Stray's fifth studio album, 1974's Move It, was their first recorded in America (Connecticut, to be exact) and represented something of a back-to-basics approach following the baroque orchestrations and surprising horn sections that had dominated the previous year's Mudanzas. Ironically, though, even fans who had thought that album a bit too excessive would probably agree that Move It's comparative boogie rock simplicity felt more like an admission of defeat than a confident creative redirection, especially in light of the abundance of pedestrian tracks like "Hey Domino," "Don't Look Back," and "Give It Up" (a weepy ballad as dispirited in execution as its title suggested) and contrasting short supply of edgy, hard rock muscle (only really mustered for "Somebody Called You"). Vocalist Steve Gadd's songwriting appeared to be growing increasingly distant from that of his bandmates, with ho-hum, hippie-folk-lite contributions like "Mystic Lady" and "Our Plea" featuring hokey words like "Sweet mother Earth, man has raped you," etc., and foretelling this imminent departure from Stray. And, for a band that had heretofore staunchly avoided recording cover versions for any of their previous studio albums, the inclusion of Cliff Richard's ancient hit that named the album and American soul singer Jimmy Helms' (he of "Gonna Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse" fame) "Customs Man" suggested an even more troublesome dearth of inspiration. It was therefore hardly surprising when Move It signaled the conclusion of Stray's career-long relationship with Transatlantic Records and separation from Gadd a short time later, when they would attempt to relaunch their career with 1976's more familiarly eclectic Stand Up and Be Counted.

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