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Roy Wood & Wizzard

Main Street Remastered & Expanded CD Edition

Review by Gary Hill

Roy Wood came to fame as part of both The Move and Electric Light Orchestra (which basically evolved out of The Move). He put together a band called Wizzard and released some music in the 1970s, this album included. I have to admit that I have a band called "Wizard" in my recent science fiction novel. I came up with that name as a twelve-year old kid in 1975 when I first wrote the book, and had not heard of this act at the time. So, any connection between the two is purely coincidental. This album is a fine example of jazzy prog. It's actually a very strong set, and this new edition is all quality.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Main Street
There is a real jazz rock vibe to this cut as it opens. The vocals are falsetto, and the hooks are so catchy. There is some cool instrumental work on this thing. Some of the guitar calls to mind country music a bit. I love the piano jamming. The vocal arrangement brings a bit of a Beach Boys comparison at times.
Saxmaniacs
There is a killer prog rock meets jazz approach on this fast paced, off-kilter jam. This instrumental is all class.
The Fire in His Guitar
There is a space rock meets psychedelia vibe to this tune. It has some killer guitar sounds that call to mind Santana and Hendrix at different times. It breaks to a classy jazzy jam as it approaches mid-track that serves as the backdrop for a guitar solo. A more full jazz arrangement takes over for a time. Then they explode out into a powerhouse driving prog jam that is on fire. The tune keeps evolving. It's one of the highlights of the set.
French Perfume
Bouncy and fun at the start, this works into some cool proggy explorations from there. It's not as crazed or dynamic as the last piece was, but it definitely covers a lot of ground. There is a cool French cafe bit that features acoustic guitar soloing later in the piece. It's a nice shuffling break.
Take My Hand
Jazz, space rock and mainstream mellow prog merge on this rather accessible piece.
Don't You Feel Better
Fast paced and tastefully quirky, jazz and prog are combined here. I'm reminded a little of Frank Zappa, mainly on the vocal sections, here.
Indiana Rainbow
The rhythm section really drives this. The cut has a bit of a mainstream jazz rock vibe to it. The vocal arrangement makes me think of Todd Rundgren a bit. We get a "clean" electric jazz guitar solo on the number.
I Should Have Known
The jazz rock concepts really drive this one. That said, there are some more pure prog things in the mix, too. I am definitely reminded of Chicago (the band) in some ways here, but there are also hints of Frank Zappa at times. There are some bits of psychedelia drenched across this tune at times, too.
Bonus Track
     

 

Human Cannonball

This track is pure prog rock goodness. It's energized and has some great musical moments. This number was recorded during the sessions for the album, but didn't make final cut for that original release. That's a bit of a shame because I think it's one of the best tunes here.

 

 
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