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by Status Quo
Drawing across this whole body of work, Move, Wizzard and ELO legend Roy Wood has himself selected and sequenced his greatest songs, presented here across two CDs. Newly mastered and many re-mixed by Wood specifically for this project, Music Book is the definitive collection of his career, including all his hits and six previously unreleased tracks. Also included are songs written or covered by other artists, including Nancy Sinatra’s "Flowers In The Rain" and Status Quo’s "I Can Hear The Grass Grow".
"A two-disc compilation of the best of the Midlands Paul McCartney - the pop masterpieces of The Move, the early experiments that led to ELO and the big band sound of Wizzard. A good account of his genius."
-- The Word - December 2011
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Many of the tracks have been re-mastered over the past few years, and the sound is, in the main, as clear as you could expect, allowing for Roy's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to production. Most of the obvious choices are here, and it's good to have them all on one album. My one gripe is that, rather than including "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" and "Flowers In the Rain" by The Move, Roy has decided to include interesting, but inferior cover versions by Status Quo and Nancy Sinatra respectively. Also, the versions of "California Man", "Fire Brigade", and "Blackberry Way" are not the hit versions, so you may be disappointed if you are simply looking for the hits. There are a couple of decent unreleased cuts, "Aerial Pictures" and "New York City" to tempt completists wondering whether they really need this set.
As a fan of Roy and everything he has been involved with musically, I love this set - there's a good mix of favourites, new versions, and surprises. However, anyone new to his work, or who doesn't already own much of his material, may be disappointed that it is not simply a run-through of the hits (although, to be fair, it doesn't claim to be this).
You must also bear in mind that a lot of the tracks are digitally remastered or are new recordings.
If you have never had the chance to see Roy in concert recently, then listen to California Man, as it is recorded live!
I am really pleased to see some tracks being finally acknowledged as some of Roy's best songs. A good example of this is Raining in the City, which often gets over looked as Starting up is not one of Roy's more popular albums. Also great to hear is two Mustard tracks, Look thru the eyes of a fool, and Why Does such a Pretty Girl sing those sad songs.
The Move tracks are sharp and crystal clear, and all the Wizzard hits are on there, and sound great. Has there ever been a row of singles as brilliant as Ballpark Incident, See My Baby Jive, Angel Fingers and I wish it could be Christmas every day?
I think you will love Status Quo doing I can hear the grass grow and Nancy Sinatra doing flowers in the rain. At long last we get some of Roy's more recent work i.e. New York City on CD.
The only glaring omissions for me are Rock n Roll Winter, (Roy seems to completely deny all existence of this song for some reason) and there is nothing off the Wizzard Brew album. Surely there should be Buffalo Station on there? There is a wonderful former single called Dancing at the rainbows end that I personally would have included.
So if you wonder who wrote I wish it could be Christmas every day, it's Roy Wood, and if your fed up of that one this Christmas, have a listen to Sing out the old bring in the new, that's also on this compilation!
Remember Roy Wood is Forever not just Christmas (Forever is my old time favourite, and yes that's on here as well!!!)
Buy the album you will not be disapointed.