Sunday, 29 April 2012
Review: Sportin' Wood [The Flashcubes]
#336: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It never ceases to amaze me just how far the influence of the music of Roy Wood goes. When Yours Truly KJS commenced ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] and its original goal expanded [see above], I seriously underestimated the influence of not only The Beatles but also that of the song writing genius of The Move [and, of course ELO, Wizzard et al] ... Dr. Roy Wood. So, when I heard about a band out of Syracuse, New York who were working on an album of Woody songs, my interest was indeed piqued and so a couple of ELOBF articles ensued highlighting The Flashcubes thus:
The idea for the project was that of founding Flashcubes bassist and vocalist Gary Frenay - and with the kind assistance of Patrick Pierson - I made contact has been made with the band, who after their recent tour of Japan, forwarded me a copy of the aforementioned and much anticipated album. The CD is currently only available as a Japanese import but a US release is also planned later this year. Having now listened to the album a few times, it is very obvious that "Sportin' Wood" is a labour of love, a real tribute to their musical hero. Indeed, the sleeve notes [above] tell us that they [via The Move] discovered the music of "the man" Roy Wood due to their [lucky] careers in a New York record shop - where they eventually ended up ordering the vinyl!
One thing that this album is not is a copy of the selected Roy Wood compositions and arrangements that it presents. The twelve  tracks on the CD are:  "Hello Suzie";  "Forever";  "Blackberry Way";  "Green Glass Windows";  "Brontosaurus";  "Giving Your Heart Away";  "Wild Tiger Woman";  "Curly";  "Ball Park Incident";  "I Can Hear The Grass Grow";  "The Rain Came Down On Everything";  "On Top Of The World"
The Flashcubes are: Tommy Allen [Drums/Percussion/Keyboards] ~ Paul Armstrong [Guitars/Vocals] ~ Arty Lenin [Guitars/Banjo/Mandolin/Vocals] ~ Gary Frenay [Bass/Guitars/Keyboards/Vocals].
As also evidenced from those MySpace and YouTube postings of their versions of "Hello Suzie" and "Blackberry Way as well as "Forever" - the band have their own 'sound'. Their guitar and drum driven rock re-interpretations of those classic Roy Wood penned songs for himself, The Move, Wizzard [and other not so well known efforts with The Helicopters et al] are refreshing and pleasing to the ear. I absolutely love to hear the superb "Hello Suzie" again and their versions of "Green Glass Windows", "Curly", "Blackberry Way" and "The Rain Came Down On Everything" truly hit the spot. They also manage to squeeze in a hidden cover of a song from the first ELO album [also known in the States as "No Answer"] but I think I will leave you to discover which track they've covered!
As mentioned earlier, a full US release is pending and ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] will advise when more details are forthcoming. ELOBF will be also interviewing, in the near future, the initiator for the project: Gary Frenay - so watch this space! In the meantime, the album is currently available from amazon.co.jp and I've also seen it advertised on eBay thus: