Thursday, 25 March 2010

“Message From The Country” by THE MOVE (September 2005 EMI/Harvest 'Expanded Edition' CD Reissue with a Peter Mew Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…And The Message From The Country Rises Higher…”

The 2000's have been good to The Move. Their first three albums "The Move" (April 1968), "Shazam" (March 1970) and "Looking On" (December 1970) all received 2008 CD upgrades by Salvo of the UK (their debut is a 2CD set) with great sound and half-decent extras. There are also superlative 'Esoteric Recordings' reissues from 2016 (see reviews). 

But "Message From The Country" - their 4th and last studio album reissued on an expanded EMI CD some years back - seems to have become a bit of a forgotten gem. Time to rectify this oversight on your part…

Released September 2005 - "Message From The Country" by THE MOVE on EMI/Harvest 0946 3 30342 2 8 is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster and plays out as follows (76:19 minutes):

1. Message From The Country [by Jeff Lynne]
2. Ella James [by Roy Wood]
3. No Time [by Jeff Lynne]
4. Don't Mess Me Up [by Bev Bevan]
5. Until Your Moma's Gone
[Tracks 1 to 5 made up Side 1 of the original LP]
6. It Wasn't My Idea To Dance [by Roy Wood]
7. The Minister [by Jeff Lynne]
8. Ben Crawley Steel Company [by Roy Wood]
9. The Words Of Aaron [by Jeff Lynne]
10. My Marge [by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood]

Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Message From The Country" released October 1971 in the UK on Harvest Records SHSP 4013 (a gatefold sleeve) and in the USA with different artwork in a single sleeve on Capitol Records ST-811

Track 11 is "Tonight" [by Roy Wood], a non-album song released as a UK 7" single in June 1971 on Harvest HAR 5038 [it's B-side was the album track "Don't Mess Me Up"]

Track 12 is "Chinatown" [by Roy Wood]; a non-album song released as a UK 7" single in October 1971 on Harvest HAR 5043 [A]

Track 13 is "Down On The Bay" [by Jeff Lynne]; a non-album song, it's the B-side of "Chinatown"

Track 14 is "Do Ya" [by Jeff Lynne], a non-album song; it was the first of two B-sides to "California Man", a non-album track issued as a 7" single in May 1972 in the UK on Harvest HAR 5050. Its second B-side was the album track "Ella James". "Do Ya" was also re-issued in September 1974 in the UK as an A-side in its own right on Harvest HAR 5086 (it's B-side was the album track "No Time").

Track 15 is "California Man" (see 14)

Tracks 16 to 18 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED STUDIO SESSIONS - "Don't Mess Me Up" is a stripped down version newly found at Abbey Road Studios, "The Words Of Aaron" is an extended version with additional woodwind (also newly found at Abbey Road Studios) and last is "Do Ya" - a different mix prepared in Philips Studios in 1972 and originally intended for broadcast as a BBC session (see below about this one).

PETER MEW has remastered the first generation original master tapes at Abbey Road for this release and the sound quality is glorious - really clean and muscular - another great job done by him. The 20-page booklet is superbly laid out - detailed liner notes by noted band expert JOHN VAN DER KISTE, rare worldwide 7" picture sleeves reproduced for the non-album single releases, NME reviews and adverts - even snaps of the tape boxes.

“Message” has often been rated by MOVE fans as one of their best albums - in fact the opening song "Message From The Country" still sounds amazingly fresh to this day - sort of like a follow up to Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air" (lyrics above). But what gets me is the stunning quality of the 7" singles and their B-sides - equal to any of the better album tracks - "Down On The Day" and "Tonight" jump to mind. And then there's the three unreleased sessions which are unexpectedly cool - the first two are almost Acapella backing tracks which give fascinating insights into the quality of their great vocal harmonies, while the seven-minute "Do Ya" stops at about 4:51 minutes into the song and there's suddenly an unannounced version of "My Marge" [last track on the album and a B-side in the States] complete with studio chatter - great stuff!

To sum up - this is another blindingly good reissue from EMI for a band that deserved the accolades. Top stuff all round really…

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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