Roy Wood — Mustard (1975) [Reissue 1999, May 17, 2002]
♣ Ex~ELO, Wizzard, The Move, The Idle Race
Birth name: Roy Wood
Born: 8 November 1946, Kitts Green, Birmingham, England
Instruments: Guitar, bass, cello, flute, sitar, saxophones, clarinet, recorder, oboe, bassoon, drums, percussion, bagpipes, French horn, crumhorn, double bass, keyboards.
Notable instruments: Fender Stratocaster Fender Electric XII Gibson J–45
Location: Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England
Genre: Rock, Psychedelic Pop, Art Rock
Album release: November 1975
Recorded: Phonogram Studios and De Lane Lea Studios, London
Record Label: Jet/Pirate Label/Edsel Records UK
01. Mustard 1:30
02. Any Old Time Will Do 4:13
03. The Rain Came Down On Everything 6:35
04. You Sure Got It Now 5:30
05. Why Does A Pretty Girl Sing Those Sad Songs 4:34
06. The Song 6:36
07. Look Thru The Eyes Of A Fool 2:56
08. Interlude 1:24
09. Get On Down Home 7:32
10. Oh What A Shame 3:51
11. Bengal Jig 2:13
12. Rattlesnake Roll 4:02
13. Can’t Help My Feelings 5:13
14. Strider 2:51
15. Indiana Rainbow 3:54
16. The Thing Is This (This Is The Thing) 5:45
♣ Produced by Roy Wood
• Roy Wood — vocals, guitars, oboe, cello, bass, keyboards, bassoon, string bass, tenor & baritone sax, percussion
• Dave Donovan — drums
• Phil Everly, Annie Haslam, Dick Plant — vocals
• Rick Price — bass, percussion, vocals
• Dave Donovan Drums
• Phil Everly Vocals
• Annie Haslam Vocals
• Beverly Parker Design
• Mike Pela Engineer
• Dick Plant Engineer, Vocals
• Rick Price Bass, Percussion, Photography, Vocals
• Alan Robinson Liner Notes
• Roger Wake Engineer
• Roy Wood Arranger, Art Direction, Bass, Composer, Concept, Engineer, Guitar, Horn, Keyboards, Musician, Paintings, Producer, Vocals
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine; Score: ****½
♠ Unlike Boulders, Mustard is designed as a full–fledged album instead of a collection of pop vignettes. Outside of Wood’s love for Brian Wilson there’s no concept, yet it flows smoothly and attractively, since each song sounds like an epic pop extravaganza in miniature. In a typically perverse turn, Wood opens the record with a scratchy parody of the Andrews Sisters, tackling the harmonies with sped–up vocal tapes, but as soon as “Any Old Time Will Do” kicks off, it’s clear that this is a shining, glittering pop record. There isn’t much of his signature absurdist humor or quirky studio effects, apart from the jaw–dropping “You Sure Got It Now,” a masterwork that Wood claims “sounds like the Andrews Sisters backed by John Mayall,” yet it isn’t missed since the studiocraft on Mustard is quite alluring. Where Boulders felt homemade, almost pastoral, Mustard is unabashedly grand, bolstered by endlessly layered harmonies, chiming keyboards, and cavernous productions. The Beach Boys influences shine brightly on “Why Does a Pretty Girl Sing Those Sad Songs” and “Look Thru’ the Eyes of a Fool,” and are inescapable on the gorgeous ballad “The Rain Came Down on Everything.” Wood never really rocks out until the multi–segmented closer, “Get on Down Home” and even if it’s the one misstep, it hardly detracts from the pop wonders that precede it. Mustard might not equal the brilliantly maverick Boulders, yet it’s easily one of the best, most cohesive records Wood ever made and one of the few to capture him as a (relatively) focused pop craftsman. [Edsel’s 1999 CD reissue of Mustard is graced by no less than seven bonus tracks, all A– and B–sides of non–LP singles, highlighted by “Oh What a Shame” and “Indiana Rainbow.”]
♠ Born in Birmingham, England. Attended Moseley School Of Art during the early 60s. His first instrument was drums, which is the only instrument he has ever had any tuition on. At six years old he was allowed to play a number with a big band at his sister’s wedding. Roy went to see the Shadows at the age of twelve at Birmingham Town Hall. Influenced by Hank Marvin’s sound, he took up playing guitar, and formed a group called The Falcons at the age of fourteen. He then turned professional with Birmingham band Gerry Levene and the Avengers. After which he spent some time with Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders, who later became The Idle Race.
♠ During this period Roy had been writing songs, and at seventeen he became founder of The Move, who went on to enjoy multiple chart successes with songs all written by Roy himself, including “Flowers In The Rain,” which reached No. 2 in the chart, and was the first record to be played on BBC Radio One. Also “Night Of Fear”, “Fire Brigade” and “I Can Hear The Grass Grow” “were all top five hit singles , and also a number one record in the British singles chart “Blackberry Way.”
♠ In 1970, Roy teamed up with fellow Birmingham songwriter Jeff Lynne, who joined The Move for their final two albums. The final single recorded by The Move during this period was “California Man” , which reached the chart position of No. 10.
♠ Roy had an ambition over a number of years, to form a classically based band featuring live strings instead of the conventional guitar line up. Together with Jeff, they formed The Electric Light Orchestra.
♠ 10538 was the first track they recorded. Originally an idea by Jeff to be included in a Move album. They were experimenting in the studio, and after the backing track had been recorded, Roy was just messing around on a cheap Chinese cello. He ended up recording lots of string parts on the track, which finally created the sound of E.L.O. ... 10538 Overture!
♠ They managed to convince EMI that it was time to start this new project, and the first Electric Light Orchestra album came into being. This record mainly featured Jeff and Roy, who co wrote and co produced the album. After a few months of auditioning and rehearsing string players, they finally embarked on a few live tours, Roy unfortunately had political disagreements mainly with the management, and with true regret decided he had to leave the band.
♠ He spent some time writing and adding new material to the collection of songs that he had got together for his solo album “Boulders” which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
♠ Someone rang Roy on the off chance, to ask if he would be interested in taking part in a Rock n Roll extravaganza at Wembley Stadium later that year. This would be appearing with American rock n roll stars Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley.
♠ He of course agreed, not really taking into account that he would now require a band. He quickly formed a rock n roll style pop band which he called “Wizzard”, together with long time friend Rick Price bassist with The Move, and a bunch of buddies from Birmingham.
♠ They started recording at Abbey Road Studios, the first of what would turn out to be a string of hit singles which was “Ball Park Incident” eventually reaching No. 4 in the chart.
♠ The band was quite a strange line up comprising of two drummers two sax players and also two cellists who decided to move across from E.L.O. It was a big group who needed a big sound. After a fair amount of contemplation, and the fact that he had now written some rock n roll tracks, Roy thought “OK Phil Spector” ... The British “Wall Of Sound” was now underway!
♠ The outlandish visual persona of Roy as Wizzard, was a multi coloured version of an image that he had already invented a few years previously to promote a record on T.V. by The Move, called “Brontosaurus”. He said “It would have been a shame to waste that, I just made it slightly more outrageous to fit with the name of the band.”
♠ Considering that the Wembley concert was the first ever live performance by Wizzard, it was accepted quite well. Bo Diddley’s manager then approached Roy to get a band together for recording the Bo Diddley London Sessions album, on which Roy played bass.
♠ Boulders (1973) — UK #15; US Billboard 200 #176
♠ Mustard (1975)
♠ On the Road Again (1979) — not released in the UK
♠ Starting Up (1987)