Although it's been a lackluster post-Christmas season week for new music releases, there is one notable exception -- The Move's reissued 1971 swansong, Message From the Country, a progressive rock must-have. I came to The Move via Electric Light Orchestra, the highly successful Seventies prog-rock group founded by The Move's leaders, Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne, the sometimes zany but always creative minds behind the distinctive ELO pop sound. ELO created a novel fusion of rock and roll and orchestra which I first experienced on ElDorado, which I purchased on vinyl in high school (9th grade, I think). I was blown away by the sound and remember playing it for my parents in an attempt to convince them that rock was serious music! Whereas ELO fused orchestra with rock, The Move was more chamber orchestra and rock, with a lot of genre experimentation. For example, between the psychedelic-laced songs or straight rock and roll of Message, you will find a tribute to Elvis (Don't Mess Me Up), the jazz-rock of It Wasn't My Idea to Dance, and the Johnny Cash like Ben Crawley Steel Company (about a steel-driver turned bomb throwing revolutionary!). And then there's nine bonus tracks, which include early versions of Do Ya (later done by ELO) and Words of Aaron.
My favorites on this record, however, are the more focused and lyrically straight ahead numbers, particularly the mostly acoustic and McCartneyesque No Time (also reminiscent of CSN) and the John Lennon homage, Words of Aaron. Beautiful. The Move moved me -- right back to high school, right back to a time when it seemed there was something new under the sun. All from a bunch of boy-geniuses messing around in the studio on EMI's dime.