Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Roy Wood - On the Road Again

Roy Wood, England's eccentric jack-of-all-trades, has had one seriously spotty career since leaving his two previous creations, 'The Move' and 'Electric Light Orchestra'. There was 'Wizzard', his brass driven ensemble which borrowed liberally from glam and 50's doowop. Then there was his 'Wizzo Band', which took the brass concept to even wilder jazz-based extremes. Adding more guitar, he launched 'Helicopters' in the early 80's. Staying much in the same vein, he later fronted his all-female 'Big Band', which later evolved into an augmented lineup under the guise of 'Roy Wood's Army'. Whew... Remember, that all the while, he was sporadically releasing solo albums on various different labels. Some were scaled back low budget affairs and others were excessive and eclectic Spectoresque experiments.

No matter your preference, there is no denying his influence or prolificity over the last four decades of the British music scene. Trying to amass his entire recorded output would be akin to capturing lightning in a bottle, as there are not only out-of-print vinyl only album releases, but scattered singles and EP's floating around everywhere. One such obscure release is "On the Road Again". Recorded for Warner Brothers in 1979, this album featured John Bonham on drums, while Roy tackled virtually every other instrument himself. Much like his "Mustard" album from 1974, it is a melange of many different styles. Certainly not his creative peak, it is nonetheless one of the crown jewels of his repertoire simply because it has been somewhat difficult to find.

Well, fret no more! Ripped from clean vinyl and spruced up a bit, here is "On the Road Again" in full digitial glory. Love it or hate it, you can't help but appreciate Wood's conviction here. It's infectious...

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