Roy Wood “Boulders”


Roy Wood is one of the architects of ELO and The Move, and possessed some of the most eclectic tastes and interesting ideas of any pop artist in his time. Boulders, his self-produced 1969 (though released 1973) solo-outing combines the hard rock of The Move with Roy Wood’s classical tastes, satisfying pop composition skills, and studio wizzardry.

A fantastic listen from start to finish. “Songs of Praise” might throw off casual ears with layers of harmonized vocals, but throughout the record the dubbed vocals are played almost as masterfully, though more humorously to be sure, as our old friend Nilsson. There’s the brilliantly produced “Wake Up,” with double-tracked acoustic guitars in stereo, flutes, cello, best of all: percussion from a puddle of water! Elsewhere we hear sped up and slowed down vocals, plentiful horns and woodwinds. Delicate sleigh bells and shakers, tiny mistakes, xylophone accents; there are a million precious details. It sounds as if Wood had picked out toys and instruments from the studio like it were a candy store. Additionally, it gives the feel of a fellow finally getting the control over the studio he’s always needed, and just having a blast with it. It is comforting in a strange way to know the record was designed entirely by Roy, making each ornament of sound stand out a bit more.

Despite Roy’s legacy of music in other projects The Move, ELO and Wizzard, I consider Boulders to be his finest work. Roy writes to us on the sleeve of the recent reissue and asks that we not distribute this album illegally online. Boulders is a brilliant listen and is truly worth your money.

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“Wake Up”

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  • David

    Did you see the Argos christmas advert with Roy Wood? It’s very funny:

  • I was stuck behind Roy Wood at a sit down concert once. Wish I’d brought me scissors.

  • Paul T Bennethum

    In 1973 the concept of a solo album that was truely that was rare indeed. About the only one of note to that point had been the first three sides of Todd Rundgren’s brilliant 1972 double album Something/Anything. Roy Wood’s first official solo record, Boulders is a stylistic equal in breathtaking singlehanded musical creation. Some might have accused both men of artistic overindulgence but I prefer to consider their recorded creations akin to DaVinci painting the Sistine Chapel. Too many hands would have ruined it too. Wood didnt stay within the lines here. He gleefully bounces from gospel to folk to straight out rock and roll and thats just in the first three songs. Using a bowl of water to keep the beat on Wake Up, a bass violin in place of an electric guitar on Rock Down Low and sped up backing vocals on Song of Praise adds a quirky originality as well. I wonder if, all these years later, when Mr. Wood plays the opening notes to the wonderful Dear Elaine, the assembled crowd, with misty eyes, bellow out the lyrics in heartfelt sincerity? If so, it must be an awesome moment indeed. Bravo, Roy Wood! This is your finest record.

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