Title - 'Mustard: Remastered and Expanded' [CD]
Artist - Roy Wood
For those not in the know, Roy Wood is an English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
Indeed, he was particularly successful in the 1960s and 1970s as member and co-founder of The Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard.
As a songwriter, he contributed a number of hits to the repertoire of these bands. Collectively, hit records by The Move, Electric Light Orchestra, Wizzard, and Wood's own solo singles demonstrated an impressive chart run for an individual, both as composer and performer.
Altogether he did had more than 20 singles in the UK Singles Chart under various guises, including three UK #1 hits.
In 2008, Wood was awarded an honorary doctorate for his contribution to rock and pop by the University of Derby and in 2015, his long and eclectic career was recognized with the Outer Limits Award at the Progressive Music Awards in London.
Wood was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 as a member of Electric Light Orchestra.
Esoteric Recordings (via Cherry Red Records UK) have just released a new Remastered and Expanded edition of the legendary 1975 album Mustard by the man himself, Roy Wood.
2. 'Any Old Time Will Do'
3. 'The Rain Came Down on Everything'
4. 'You Sure Got it Now'
5. 'Why Does Such a Pretty Girl Sing Those Sad Songs'
6. 'The Song'
7. 'Look Thru the Eyes of a Fool'
8. 'Interlude / Get on Down Home'
9. 'Oh What a Shame' [Bonus Track]
10. 'Bengal Jig' [Bonus Track]
11. 'Rattlesnake Roll' [Bonus Track]
12. 'Can’t Help My Feelings' [Bonus Track]
13. 'Strider' [Bonus Track]
14. 'Indiana Rainbow' (MONO) [Bonus Track]
15. 'The Thing is This (This is the Thing)' [Bonus Track]
His sophomore solo album released in 1975, the supremely talented Wood brought forth yet another prime example of his eclectic musical nature on Mustard.
Diverse in its style, but also a masterpiece, critics in some quarters hailed the record as Wood’s equivalent to the Beach Boys classic album Pet Sounds!
Remarkably, Wood not only wrote and produced the album, but also played every instrument featured on the recordings. He was also joined by guest vocalists Annie Haslam (of Renaissance) and Phil Everly on the songs ‘The Rain Came Down on Everything’ and ‘Get On Down Home’ respectively.
Well, it's all here, my friends, for the eccentric nature of the album most certainly showcased the fact that Wood had drawn on his own personal influences thus far through his career.
For along with pieces that took inspiration from the producer Phil Spector to Led Zeppelin, we get dives into the rich oceans of jazz, country, classical motives, '40s and '50s arcs, those aforementioned Beach Boy's derivative harmonies, and, of course, the magnificent Annie Haslem!
I mean, come on now, Wood is a multi-instrumental genius and the sounds he pulls on this album by himself are amazing; especially when he arranges and plays an entire string section on 'The Song.'
That said, and yes it is still a very strong album, there's always an exception to the rule. Here it takes the form of the unfortunate title track 'Mustard,' which has been flattened to sound like a '40s recording, along with 'Get on Down Home' - which goes on waaaay too long, and has a lumbering drum solo.
Personally, when I heard 'The Rain Came Down On Everything' with its jazzy breakdown complete with rain and thunder in the background, I was totally sold!
Indeed, this album has it all for Roy Wood aficionados: complex vocal layering (listen to the Roy-choir during the aforementioned 'The Song', every voice sung and recorded by Wood himself), '50s-style Doo-Wop ('Why Does Such A Pretty Girl Sing Those Sad Songs?'), and monumental instrumentation (again on the magnificent 'The Song' and when Wood closes the original album with a classical waltz on 'Interlude / Get on Down Home.'
Now inclusive of seven (7) Bonus Tracks, the '70s classic 'Oh What a Shame' leads the way and actually was something of an apt title because it turned out to be Wood's final hit single as a solo singer!
To be quite honest, all the tracks such as the pop hipsway of 'Bengal Jig,' the pop rock of 'Rattlesnake Roll,' the era-orientated 'Can’t Help My Feelings,' the single (which was also credited to Roy Wood’s Wizzard), 'Indiana Rainbow,' and the non-album track 'The Thing Is This (This Is The Thing'), just enforce the fact that everything he did around this time resulted in becoming a collection of solid pop vignettes.
Official CD Purchase Link