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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
On The Road Again
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£28.86+ £3.98 shipping

on 19 November 2015
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on 4 September 2014
Great price, another for my collection
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on 16 March 2015
Ah, Roy Wood. Brilliant Roy Wood. Mostly unknown in the US, he was a force to be reckoned with in the UK from the mid '60s, with his band The Move, through the first incarnation of ELO and then solo and with his wacky amalgam Wizzard. There is a tremendous amount of brilliance in that career, which spanned the period, roughly, 1966-1975, that is, from the time of The Move through to Roy's 1975 solo album, Mustard.

And then....

Hard to say what happened, but maybe Roy, who could never sit still stylistically, reached the point where he could no longer connect with an audience who wasn't as musically curious. Or maybe he just ran out of good ideas.s

At any rate, after the aforementioned Mustard, Roy recorded a out there jazz band influenced album Main Street which his record company declined to release (it finally squeaked out 25 years later). So he switched record companies, created the "Wizzo" band and recorded Super Active Wizzo. Which was also kind of far out there, and which the US arm of his record company declined to issue (although test pressings were created and it was advertised as coming soon). You might imagine at this point Roy got the message that he might be the brilliant light who gave the world a slug of great and successful music, but the world had moved on. Or perhaps Roy had left the world.

Whatever. It seems that Roy looked over the precipice, and perhaps with some heavy arm twisting by his manager or record label, decided to pull things back a smite and put out something approaching a commercial album. And by commercial I mean 3-5 minute songs without too much free jazz or psychedelic influence. What we got is On the Road Again.

I wish I could say that On the Road Again was a move back to the compact and captivating song constructions of the latter day Move. It's not. It's a mess. Now, Roy had created genius from mess in the past, most significantly with his indescribably weirdfest Wizzard's Brew. But this is a different kind of a mess. Or, rather, it's just a mess. A hodge-podge of styles, but with way too many throwaways.

When this album came out, I, as a hardcore Roy Wood fan, eagerly placed it on the turntable, hoping for something new and brilliant. What I heard was...much less than that. So I promptly filed it away, and other than a cursory listen a few years later, had kept it on the shelf since then. But recently, going through a new Roy Wood appreciation phase, I pulled it out and gave it a thorough listening to. Or three. Was it really as bad as I'd remembered? Well, probably not. 35 years hence, coming at it with low expectation, I heard it with different ears.

It's still not good. Not even close. But there are a few decent songs here, namely (We're) On the Road Again, Jimmy Lad, Dancin' at the Rainbow's End and Way Beyond the Rain. Jimmy Lad, a catchy Irish bagpipe inflused rockfest is perfectly apiece with the jagged corners aesthete of Roy's classic run of '70s singles, and the pastoral Way Beyond the Rain would have been entirely at peace on Roy's great Mustard album. But beyond these four songs, you have another six which are, face it, just boring. They're not really incompetent. And some have a few interesting arrangement ideas in the layers. But they're just not interesting. And say what you will about Roy's classic recordings, even the worst of them were not just boring.

In the end, even with lowered expectation, I can't say this album is a must have for anyone but Roy Wood fanatics. It does have its moments, but not enough of them to sit proudly with his better achievements.

Sadly, after this album Roy Wood would effectively go into retirement for almost a decade, before releasing the lousy Starting Up. And today, he's mostly forgotten by the mainstream. That's tragic, because he deserves to be remembered in the same pantheon of melodic genius as people like Ray Davies (Kinks) and Paul McCartney.
2 people found this helpful
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on 5 June 2007
It is almost unbelievable to think that this has been around since 1979, and never been released in the UK or on CD until now. When you hear this album, you would say a criminal act has been performed, because this album is a true gem.

For starters it has three singles on it, Keep your hands on the wheel, We're on the road again (some Roy fans might have this on picture disc) and the fantastic Dancing at the Rainbows end. This track, if released 5 years earlier would have been a number 1.

Amongst the other tracks you have to hear Jimmy Lad, a very catchy scottish folk song (is that really Roy singing?) and there are some great rock tracks like Road rocket, and the usual Roy diversity magic is worked on such tracks like Another Night, Backtown sinner, and the nice little ditty called Wings over the sea.

When you thought it can't get any better than this, the last track is the awesome Way Beyond the rain. This is just a fantastic piece of songwriting, with such dramatic haunting music.

If you loved Roy's other solo albums Boulders and Mustard, you must have this album.
18 people found this helpful
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on 25 January 2008
What IS IT with Roy Wood anyway?! One of the world's best pop/rock/jazz composers and performers, at least from 1966-1979, he wrote for, sang and played with groups like The Move, Electric Light Orchestra (on their first and best album), Wizzard, and also as a solo-artist. But as soon as he started to get exhausted after a nearly superhumaniac effort in music for so many years, his songs stopped making it into the charts, his popularity vanished fast - and he nearly disappeared into obscurity. The thing is that Roy Wood never got the full credit he deserved, even in his popular era.
This in not the right place to discuss the subject in details. I just want to say that Roy Wood has until now made at least 8 albums that still today deserve 4-5 stars: The Move, Shazam, Message from the Country, Boulders, ELO I, Wizzard's Brew, On the Road Again and Main Street.
In my opinion, On the Road again is the happiest album Roy ever made (at least so far)! He must have been enjoying great happiness in his private life at the time. From beginning to end the album's music runs freely and smoothly with joy, vitality and humor (like played by a prison band who has managed to escape - out on the road to freedom.) The instruments are many and the arrangements not simple, but the outcome is a very simple and pure ode to joy, freedom and the love of life - and love. Even "Jimmy Lad" is strikingly beautiful!
I'll sure take On the road again with me, when at last I start my trip to Kathmandu! A rockin' joy!
9 people found this helpful
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on 3 February 2008
I just recently got this on CD. I had not listened to my vinyl LP in years. Memories came flooding back and I forgot how really good it was. I remember having to buy it through the mail and that it sounded better production-wise than BOULDERS and MUSTARD. Roy was often his own worst enemy commercially, but this is an excellent album. Some of his efforts are quite quirky and experimental and the multitude of overdubs didn't always help the overall sound quality.

The MUSTARD CD got me back into a Roy Wood mood and this is certainly one of Roy's better efforts. BOULDERS made a huge impact on me and MUSTARD sounds SO much better on the remastered CD. If his record company had released MAIN STREET when it was finished Roy would have had a streak of four excellent albums in a row. Definitely recommended if you are a fan of Roy, ELO, and/or The Move.
7 people found this helpful
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on 26 January 2017
An immensely varied and melodic album from Roy Wood. He is an amazing talent and deserves more recognition than he gets- Jimmy Boy is a particular highlight.
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on 2 March 2012
bought for steap dad as there was some songs on here that he had never heard of because they werent released in the uk. he loves it
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