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Sep 07

WIZZARD – “Angel Fingers”

FT + Popular64 comments • 4,235 views

#337, 22nd September 1973

Again Wizzard offer maximalism pushed to the point of grotesquerie, a sprawling rock’n’roll pastiche that keeps flinging hooks at us, simply not knowing when to stop. This time though the effect is more touching, as “Angel Fingers” is a love song, and a music nerd’s love song at that – Roy finds himself surrounded by his favourite records on a jukebox, pleading with his baby not to leave him. Maybe the song is just all of them playing at once.

Actually, let’s look at that line, “I drove my motorcycle to that small café” – and think about one of Wood’s acknowledged inheritors, Bruce Springsteen. “Angel Fingers” lends “Born To Run” its size and clarity and a heap of specific ideas, but that line encapsulates why there hasn’t been, and can never be, a British Springsteen: our motorcycle dreams end in small cafes, service stations, scuffles on beaches, cold Midlands nights. Our roads are rarely open.

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Comments

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  1. 51
    DJ Punctum on 9 Jun 2008 #

    Speaking of which, we ought to compile a list of OTHER RECORDS ARE AVAILABLE BY THIS ARTIST for the benefit of radio station programmers, and Mott/”Dudes” would be top of the list.

    Also:
    Harley/Cockney Rebel (Make Me Smile)
    Talking Heads (Lifetime/Road To Nowhere)
    Curtis Mayfield (Move On Up)

    (posters plz come up with other examples kthnxbye)

  2. 52
    Billy Smart on 9 Jun 2008 #

    We may be pre-empting ourselves a bit here, but –

    THE HUMAN LEAGUE, CULTURE CLUB AND DEXYS DID HAVE OTHER HITS, YOU KNOW! Some of which are every bit as good…

    Barry White

    Take That

  3. 53
    mike on 9 Jun 2008 #

    Human League: “D*** Y** W*** M*”
    The Clash: “Rock The Casbah”
    The B-52’s: “Love Shack”

    (EDIT: Oh, snap!)

  4. 54
    DJ Punctum on 9 Jun 2008 #

    Yesterday on BBC Radio London Tony Blackburn treated us to “Together In Electric Dreams” by “Philip Oakley.”

  5. 55
    Billy Smart on 9 Jun 2008 #

    Heaven 17

    ABC (why does everybody know The Look Of Love, and no-one under 35 know Poison Arrow?)

  6. 56
    Laban on 6 Jan 2009 #

    A lot of Roy Wood’s Wizzard stuff is pop-fan-as-pop-star. I’m particularly fond of “Eddy and the Falcons”, pastiche of everyone from Del Shannon through Dion to Neil Sedaka. And the cover features a small ‘greasy spoon’ caff of the sort where you’d go to hear the jukebox and play pinball, before you were old enough to go to the pub.

  7. 57
    wichita lineman on 7 Jan 2009 #

    Yes, Laban, I’ve always been very fond of Forever which is theoretically a Neil Sedaka tribute but trumps everything that noxious character every recorded (how unpleasant is The Queen Of 64?). “I saw my brand new baby walk out the door” – such a fabulously POP opening line.

    Just dug out Eddy & The Falcons for the first time in years. It’s rather pub singer isn’t it? And incredibly muddy. Hats off to Everyday I Wonder for blurring the lines between Del Shannon’s Runaway and ELP. Spector-drear This Is The Story Of My Love is quite perfect, though. Such odd chords. The brownness and pub element take it away from ’62 pastiche and into suburban 70s caffdom; it’s the sound of Angel Fingers slowly being swished around the two-thirds-empty glass of a pint of mild.

  8. 58
    AndyPandy on 4 May 2009 #

    Listen to “In a Shady Nook (By a Babbling Brook)” by Donald Peers then listen to this – slight similarities to put it mildly…

  9. 59
    wichitalineman on 4 May 2009 #

    Bloody hell, good spot! I was prepared to give Roy the benefit of the doubt til it got to the last line of the chorus. Unlikely source of a Popular entry on a par with Rolf Harris’s War Canoe. I’m also impressed by how you ended up listening to Donald Peers on a grey bank holiday.

    In A Shady Nook reached no.3 on the Radio Luxembourg chart in early 1949, even though Peers recorded it in ’44. For the record.

  10. 60
    Erithian on 5 May 2009 #

    Another connection we can no doubt credit to Mike’s “Which Decade” project, which recently featured Donald Peers’ unlikely top-five comeback in 1969 – that has to be why Andy was searching out his work. I love how this stuff all fits together!

  11. 61
    AndyPandy on 5 May 2009 #

    Erithian beat me to it there!
    I read about Donald Peers on here the other week and remember my dad mentioning him once or twice (I think in a kind of ‘Peers=very old-fashioned way’) then when I saw he’d had a hit in the late 60s thought I’d see what it sounded like (ie there’s not many top 10 hits from about 1964-about 1987 I havent heard).
    Been meaning to mention the Angel Fingers similarity on here for the last week or so…

  12. 62
    wichitalineman on 6 May 2009 #

    Snap. I don’t think I’d ever heard Please Don’t Go, which has to be one of the most obscure Top 3 hits of the 60s (in as much as it’s never been an oldies hit). More cod contintentalism. Not as good as In A Shady Nook, is it?

  13. 63
    AndyPandy on 6 May 2009 #

    I’ve already forgotten what it (“Please Dont Go”) sounded like! Shady Nook I suppose would have already been slightly dated in the 30s kind of a slightly more poppy ancestor of the kind of thing that’d be being sung as they shifted to the more middle class characters in a dinner party scene in a dramatisation of “Our Mutual Friend” or something…

    I say dated although particularly amongst Celts (esp Irish, Welsh) up until quite recently there has been quite an audience for this type of stuff amongst quite working class people (Joseph Locke etc).

  14. 64
    Lena on 17 Sep 2013 #

    Drug is the love?: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/vanishing-dreams-rolling-stones-angie.html Thanks for reading, everyone!

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