on 31 August 2007
'Super-Active Wizzo' originally appeared in 1977. Due to various managerial and contractual complications, Roy Wood's stellar run of automatic hits had pretty much dried up by then. Ever the experimenter, he transformed the remains of his previous outfit Wizzard into a jazz-rock ensemble and recorded not only this virtually unknown album but also a single entitled 'The Stroll' (which should have been added onto this re-release). I am a major Woody fan, but I'm the first to admit that this album is really for the diehards only. No hits ; no snappy three-minute wonders; more a collection of lengthy workouts during which the various players are allowed space to stretch out a little and see what happens. My personal favourites, 'Life Is Wonderful' (very riffy, very Woody) and 'Earthrise' (serene and beautiful, yet augmented by flashes of humour from Rick Price's pedal steel guitar) open and close the album ; in between there is plenty for die-hard Woody fans to enjoy. I just can't see this album selling any better now than when it originally crept out in the 70s ! The band managed just one gig (which was at least screened by the BBC at the time) before the great Mr Wood withdrew to consider his next move. Personaly, I'm delighted that this is now available on CD; I never thought I'd see the day !
on 14 June 2010
The chap before says it all, I bought the album in the early 80's as a Roy Wood fan and must admit it was hard work. This is sort of Pseudo jazz rock and to be honest probably everything that punk was trying to get away from back in 1977, I.E. overly long complex songs that didn't mean much to anyone but played with wonderful skill. What is a shame is the absense of any humour which for Roy Wood was always present in all his works apart from ELO's first album. On the upside there is some great playing on songs like "Another Wrong Night" which has a great funky feel but unfortuntely goes on about 10 minutes too long! "Earthrise" is a beautiful song and should have been shorter without the long instrumental sections and the drums are played like John Bonham which is a little inappropriate for a ballad! In all it's an essential purchase for avid Roy Wood fans and I'm glad they finally released it but for everyone else I'd stay clear. I have a recording of the TV performance of this and it would have been great to have that released as it contains some great tracks including French Perfume and California man which performed by this big band sounds fabulous.