Arguably the best Brummie export finally receive their visual due – with bells and whistles as befits a fire brigade.
For a band whose music and lyrics could have given THE BEATLES and THE KINKS run for their money, this Birmingham collective is poorly represented screen-wise. Not as expansive as ELO, their offspring, THE MOVE made only a few TV appearances, with even fewer to have been actually aired, that’s why it’s impossible to underestimate their inclusion in “The Lost Broadcasts” DVD series, a priceless collection of clips filmed for German “Beat Club” program and spanning March ’68 to October ’71. It’s a real feast for eyes and ears.
For all Roy Wood’s latter-day clownery, THE MOVE pose the threat even in the television studio and even when they mime to “Blackberry Way”. Preserved in January ’69 with Roy as garish as the black-and-white allows, the group’s sole Number One comes out visually more Elm Street than Penny Lane, while “Curly” from August of the same year has its charm despite the “moving picture” setting, where Wood employs two flutes at once. There, bassist Rick Price wears a smile, unlike his bass predecessor Trevor Burton, who cuts a wicked presence in the former piece to play it cool on the earliest video on offer, “Fire Brigade”, alongside the band’s tuxedoed leader.
Yet what the first two songs stress is the talents of Carl Wayne. The original singer’s absence is strongly felt in the latter-day line-up that features the humbly looking, although nimbly soloing, Jeff Lynne, with the heaviness of April 1970’s “Brontosaurus” not making up for the change. But then there’s a color and some real action being shaken in those sessions. On “The Words Of Aaron” from that year’s November, with Richard Tandy on bass and Bill Hunt who shares piano duties with Lynne, already in the black glasses, the ELO-shaped scope widens immensely. A pity, the erstwhile stylish pull is discarded altogether here and replaced with attire as casual as the band’s delivery is, especially in the light abandon of “Down On The Bay”, the latest clip on the DVD, with a psychedelic background in place of blue screen for the broadcast.
But even these effects can’t smooth the roughness of “When Alice Comes Back To The Farm”, from December 1970, which sees Roy getting to the serious blues business on slide. As serious as it gets, this disc is a fantastic document of an era lost – and finally found.