THE MOVE-I Can Hear The Grass Grow/Wave The Flag And Stop The Train U.K. Deram DM 117 1967
Since we covered the whole Move story in an earlier posting (see August 13, 2009 entry) let's skip all that and get down to their second single . Their debut "Night Of Fear" rocketed to #2 in the U.K. charts turning the "five Brummie thickos" (as they were described by their late lead singer Carl Wayne) into over night stars. Stardom demanded a new single A.S.A.P. and in house tunesmith/lead guitarist Roy Wood responded. What always blew me away was that Roy Wood wrote some lyrically trippy tunes and was a professed and confirmed non-drug taker. Where most people suspected Roy's songs were about drugs more than often they dealt with mental illness (more on that in a bit). Released on March 31, 1967 today's topic made it to #5 in the U.K. charts.
"I Can Hear The Grass Grow" indeed has a sort of "psychedelic message":
"my mind's attracted to a magnetic wave of sound. With the streams of colored circles making their way around".
Led by bassist Chris "Ace" Kefford's rumbling bass run intro , "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" is a perfect vehicle for The Move's well oiled "West Coast" harmony vocals machine and some very melodic licks and manic drumming keep it lively. What I've always dug about The Move were their vocal prowess. During the breaks Roy Wood takes a line while the rest do Beach Boy's styled "oo-oo-oo's" then Ace Kefford shows off his soulful Windwood style pipes for a line before it all comes back to lead singer Carl Wayne. And that's rhythm guitarist Trevor Burton singing the barely discernible bass vocal parts on the chorus.
The flip, "Wave The Flag And Stop The Train" is another classic pre-perm (I'm referring to the period where some of the band got perms and they all started wearing kaftans and all that clobber) "mod era" Move track when they were as powerful as the Who or The Creation. The chunky rhythm of this track is propelled by Ace's funky bass and Bev Bevan's classy but disciplined drum breaks, and of course once again the four man vocal team lends it's hand (and Roy even gets to sing a verse) before it all fades out. The lyrics? About a girl trying to throw herself from a moving train.
The band listen to the playback of "I Can Hear The Grass Grow"
Both sides have been issued on numerous Move compilations but I strongly recommend the box set ("Anthology") that came out last year where you can hear both tracks in pristine quality!
The flower power pre-perm Move play "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" live on
German TV's "Beat Beat Beat" June 26, 1967
Hear "I Can Hear The Grass Grow":
Hear "Wave Your Flag And Stop The Train":
Ace Kefford signing copies of "I Can Hear The Grass Grow"
at an April 1967 Move "in store"
The Move outside The Tiles, early 1967. The mod look
is fading and the flower power look is coming.
"I Can Hear The Grass Grow" live on French TV 1967, try not to laugh at Car's showboating and bad hair.