Move have been forced to go pop

by Gordon Coxhill

Welcome back Carl, Bev, Rick and Roy. With "Curly", about to sweep all before it on its path to the top of the charts, the Move are back in town. I phoned Carl at home earlier this week, to find him munching mid-morning biscuits and in high spirits. "It's gone up, has it?" he enquired eagerly. "That's good, I'm quite satisfied."

Curly, yet another piece of delicious commerciality from the golden quill of Roy 'Friendly' Wood is all set to give the Move their sixth big hit, which out of seven releases can't be a bad average.

It'll get a lot more plays now that it's in the thirty," said Carl. "Saturation coverage I think they call it. I still love having hit records, that's the only reason we record. We have to be a commercially minded group, because even if we wanted to appeal to the underground market, we couldn't.

"We've had a few hits, and that's unacceptable to underground fans. So we have to lean over right the other way At the moment, everything seems to be great. The ballrooms are still a good scene for us, and after we did a week's cabaret in Newcastle recently, the guy told us he hadn't done such good business for months."

Can you imagine Carl singing "Ave Maria" with a Latin rhythm? Nor can I, but he assures me he does, and very well down it does go.

"None of us really like cabaret, you have to play so much quieter, and cut out all the freakier stuff. So we do all the hits and slip in a few goodies like 'Sounds Of Silence' and 'Walk Right Back', the old Everly Brothers' hit. But we seem to do well in cabaret, and two thousand pounds a week is a lot of money to turn down.

"You know me, I'll sit in a field and play a set of bongo drums if someone paid me enough. People knock cabaret, but it really widens your horizons. You don't score if you don't work on your act.

"The audiences are out to be entertained, and the first thing you have to do is to convince them that they came to see the Move, and not the other way round. If you go down well, it does wonders for your confidence.

"But we're not doing any more cabaret for a while. A few weeks here and there are enough. We've got to get down to some work on a stage act for America.

"We've never had a hit out there, so they don't know what to expect from us. I like it that way, we can put in some numbers that we couldn't do in Britain."

I put it to Carl that the Move have now almost turned a full circle as far as live shows are concerned, and are once more including lots of harmony in their act.

"That's right," he agreed, "back to the old days at the Marquee. It was more like a show then and I suppose we are coming back to it gradually, but I'm not really getting closer to what I eventually want to do.

"What I aim to do has got nothing to do with the Move, I can see the day when I will have to leave, and I might not wait until we aren't a draw any more,"

Despite talk of departure, which one day of course is inevitable, Carl assured me that. the Move are closer together than they have been for many a long day.

"And yet," he went on, "we almost broke up last week. We had a terrible row. It was all so stupid really. Roy and Bev were doing something on their own, not knowing I knew about it, and I was doing something else, thinking nobody else knew. So, it all blew up, until we realised that we might as well do our own little things and own up about them.

"It's just the sheer frustration of being in a machine, which is what the Move is. Roy and Bev want to work with a string quartet, and I am very keen to work with a twelve piece.

"Obviously we can't do every thing everybody in the group wants, so the idea is to use the Move as a mother company and use it to branch out into other things.

"We must have had more bust ups within the group than anyone else. First Ace, then Trevor left but it wasn't the same with him. Even now, when we are so much more together, four so very different people can't expect to get along all the time.

"It just happens that when the Move have a row, we all get very heated, but we've got sense enough to realise that we need each other for some time yet, When we don't..."

A couple of weeks ago, I saw all the group together at their publicist, Brian Longley's office. Between bouts of wrestling amongst themselves, Rick Price told me how he had fitted into the group.

"Sideways,'' he replied, falling about on the floor. ''No, seriously, I'm not getting along with them at all. They  hate me as much as I hate them and we fight all day long."

Roy who is threatening to add in to his already Rasputin like appearance by dyeing his long locks grey was his usual quiet self speaking only when spoken to.

"Naturally I'm dead knocked out with the Amen Corner having a big hit with Hello Susie. That was my first song to be recorded by another group and it made me feel very good.

"There are other people interested in doing my songs but the Move will always have first choice. There will come a day when the group doesn't exist and I can sit down and write for anybody who's interested but at the moment it's more important for the Move to have hits."

"To my way of thinking", interrupted Carl, "Roy is second only to Lennon and McCartney in consistency He's a very strange boy but he's got a very alert mind and he doesn't miss much. One day he's going to be recognised as a very great writer."

For a while the Move have been searching for some sort of musical identity even though their sound on disc is one of the most distinctive and easily recognised around.

They made a brief return to rock and roll, they delved into country music, they were among the first to get into light shows and psychedelia.

"We've finished looking for some thing to take up", said Carl. "We realised that we are what we want to be already, a good, exciting pop group. But don't think you've seen all you are going to see from us. We've got a few surprises in store for everyone."

New Musical Express, August 9, 1969