Friday, May 8, 2009


This album was, for many years, a choice and expensive collectable in the U.K. and elsewhere, mostly owing to its sheer obscurity -- the group had virtually ceased to exist by the time the 12" vinyl platter made it into record shops on either side of the Atlantic, and it disappeared soon after. But The World of Oz has more than rarity or obscurity to recommend it -- it actually works on two levels, the original album's 11 songs holding up as first-rate sunshine pop, strongly reminiscent of the Bee Gees' Horizontal and Idea albums, while more select parts of the record document a band that was regarded as one of the more promising to come out of late-'60s Birmingham. On the softer side of the music, "Beside the Fire" recalls "World" from the former album, while "Jackie" is strongly reminiscent of any number of early Robin Gibb-sung ballads, and that is hardly to be considered negative criticism. The only problem one has with those songs, and the album as a whole, is the same one that the bandmembers reportedly had with it: that it doesn't always represent what the group really sounded like. Deram Records A&R chief Wayne Bickerton lavished attention on this band, including the budget for a 35-piece orchestra that accompanied them on many of the tracks, which made the music sound great but somehow lost the sound of the band itself in the process. The group does reveal a somewhat heavier sound on "The Hum-Gum Tree," which was also their third single -- the thicker-textured guitar and bass work are probably closer to what this group sounded like on-stage, while the haunting "With a Little Help" mixes a restrained orchestral accompaniment and Beatlesesque harmonies, it's a great compromise between their pop and rock aspects. The music may sometimes seem a bit fey and light, but as with the Bee Gees on Horizontal, one does get a strong sense of a band with some solid chops there beneath the harmonies and orchestral flourishes. "Mandy-Ann" works even better as a horn-and-harmony driven piece with the rhythm section coming to the fore, though one wishes that the producers had avoided one annoying punctuating sound-effect. The band gets to indulge in a leaner (and perhaps, by 1969, more dated) brand of psychedelia on "Like a Tear," in which Indian sounds -- especially sitar and tabla -- crop up beneath a solid core performance, but for the finale, "Willow's Harp," producer Bickerton pulls out all of the stops on the orchestra. It's difficult to imagine the group performing the latter on-stage, but there's just enough of the real World of Oz on this record to make it worth hearing as a document of the band, as well as the psychedelic indulgences of the time. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

Tracks :

1. Muffin Man
2. Bring The Ring
3. Jackie
4. Beside The Fire
5. Hum Gum Tree
6. With A Little Help
7. We've All Seen The Queen
8. King Croesus
9. Mandy Ann
10. Jack
11. Like A Tear
12. Willow's Harp

Link : @

Artwork Included


  1. Preacher,

    Here's the Harlow/Fox First Light link:

    also, a friend is in the process of putting out McKay Take 2.

    Any chance you have either Bob Berry-Heavy Berry or T-Kail - Somewhere, Sometime?


  2. sorry, First Rays lp, not First Light

  3. This is wonderful. More of the same please.


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