The Move’s Classic 1970 Sophomore Album Shazam Gets a Much Needed and Most Welcome Abbey Road-Remastered Vinyl Reissue Via Esoteric Recordings

The Move, in their heyday — which was roughly 1967-71 — were quite popular in England and in Europe, despite never quite breaking through in a big way here in the States. Even so, The Move’s reputation has since continued to grow in stature as subsequent generations of fans have discovered their still exciting, fresh, and wondrous music.

The Move’s February 1970 sophomore LP Shazam is highly regarded by many fans as the group’s finest hour, a hard-rocking affair featuring three glorious Roy Wood originals on Side One (“Hello Susie,” “Beautiful Daughter,” and “Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited”) plus a trio of inspired, expansive arrangements of cover songs on Side Two from the likes of Tom Paxton (“The Last Thing on My Mind”), the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil writing team (“Don’t Make My Baby Blue”), and a cult-favorite progressive rock band, Ars Nova (“Fields of People”).

Sporting eye-catching comic book-styled artwork (which re-imagines the four Move bandmembers as superheroes), Shazam was released on A&M in the States, and on Regal Zonophone in the UK. And now, the notable UK archival label Esoteric Recordings has just reissued Shazam for the first time on vinyl in many years, mirroring the look and feel of that original English release.


To confirm the crucial DNA stats for this fine 1LP reissue of Shazam, I reached out to Esoteric directly, and learned that the album was mastered off a hi-rez digital transfer from the original analog master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, and that the new remaster’s lacquers were cut by Christian Wright. The album is pressed on standard weight vinyl (140g), and it comes packed in a simple audiophile-grade plastic-lined inner sleeve.

Happily, the new pressing is quiet, dark, and — most importantly — well-centered (more on that latter point in a moment). We have not yet received exact confirmation of where this version of Shazam was pressed, but it most certainly feels like an imported pressing one might obtain from a plant of European origin.

The SRP for the Esoteric Recordings Shazam LP is £23.99 — which, at the time of this posting, converts to about $30.37 (sans shipping). If you can’t find this particular Esoteric edition of Shazam in your favorite indie record store, you can order it directly from Esoteric (which is an imprint of the Cherry Red Records group) right here.


So, how does the new Abbey Road remastered edition of The Move’s Shazam sound? Well, before I cued the new LP up, I gave myself refresher spins of the two other versions of Shazam that I own: the original A&M 1970 pressing (shown above), and a 1972 Cube/Fly combo reissue (shown below). A completist’s sidenote: the very first pressings of Shazam on Regal Zonophone were actually defective — they had a pressed-in scratch — so there was a repressing to correct that error. Either way, those original pressings remain elusive here in America and are quite pricey, if you do find one on the collector’s market. (They’re going for $80 and up on Discogs, as of this posting.)


Thus, up until now, that above-noted (and above-shown) Cube/Fly 1972 edition — issued as a 2P set, as it was then paired with the band’s eponymously titled March 1968 debut Move (itself also a very rare record here in America) — has long been considered one of the best-sounding versions available of Shazam.

As for the Esoteric version. Initially, I was a little bit concerned when I took the new LP out of its sleeve, and saw that the grooves were very tightly packed. At first glance, it looked like there were no track separations at all. Upon looking at it very closely, I did find there are indeed separate tracks, but it’s in much less distinct manner than how they appear on both the original A&M pressing and the 1972 2LP edition.


During the revisitation of my other two versions of Shazam, I found the A&M version sounds pretty good, but the UK pressing is much fuller, with richer instrumentation, a better sense of air, and overall less compression. I was pleasantly surprised when I put on the new Esoteric version and found that it sounded even better still! The new Abbey Road lacquers are indeed cut more quietly than the originals — but when you turn up the volume, it delivers a quite vibrant punch.

For example, “Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited” (Side One, Track 3) delivers some nice stereo-panning moments that were not as apparent in the earlier incarnations. Overall, drummer Bev Bevan’s cymbal crashes are more present, with a more natural sense of decay. The bass — played by both Rick Price and Trevor Burton — is overall punchier. The acoustic guitars feel less compressed and more woody. It is also really nice hearing the swells of phasy-distorted rising guitar notes in the choruses punched up.

Bevan’s kick drum on “Fields of People” (Side Two, Track 1) is super-round and distinct, while his tom-tom hits resonate with enormous reverb that you can feel pushing air from the speakers. And the proto-heavy metal dirge of “Don’t Make My Baby Blue” (Side Two, Track 2) is positively ripping, with Roy Wood’s rich overdriven guitar amp tones coming through loud and clear.

Overall, as I noted earlier, my new Esoteric pressing of Shazam is happily well-centered, something that is pretty essential, in my opinion — especially since my Cube/Fly copy is a little off-center, resulting in wavering notes during the aforementioned “Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited” in particular.

The recreated original Shazam cover art looks very nice too — and while its construction is nothing fancy, it is certainly respectful of the original editions. That said, it might have been nice to have had a fancy tip-on style cover or something similar, but that would have likely bumped up the SRP significantly.


My only real complaint with the whole Esoteric package is that the silver-ish printing on the label is poorly realized against the red background — which, although it does mimic the look and feel of the original Regal Zonophone label, is very difficult to read. Someone in QC probably should have paid more attention to how the lettering would pop. (Curiously, I’ve seen this kind of problem recently on similarly colored labels from LP reissues on the Fantasy label.)

As far as the numeric ratings go for the Esoteric Recordings edition of Shazam go, the Music is a solid 10, start to finish. We’ve given this reissue a 9 for Sound, as it is overall more than very good indeed. However, we are leaving a little wiggle room here if we ever get to experience a full analog remaster of the album, which would give that rating the opportunity to go up to 10, or even 11. Time will tell. (We can dream, after all. . .)

Anyhow, with all that in mind, the big question remaining is: Do you need to own this new Abbey Road remastered edition of The Move’s Shazam? That, my friends, depends on how into The Move and this particular album you are! For me personally, Shazam is one of my all-time favorite rock albums and certainly my favorite by this band, so it was a no-brainer to pre-order it from Esoteric Recordings directly as soon as I learned about it late last year.

In fact, given that I recently obtained an original UK pressing of The Move’s 1968 debut LP, I may well purge my copy of the 1972 Cube/Fly 2LP set now that I have this new edition of in hand, seeing how I have no real reason to play that early ’70s version now. And that is probably the best compliment I can offer you regarding the merits of obtaining a copy of the Esoteric LP edition of Shazam, especially if you’re on the fence about it.

Mark Smotroff is an avid vinyl collector who has also worked in marketing communications for decades. He has reviewed music for, among others, and you can see more of his impressive C.V. at LinkedIn.



1LP (Esoteric Recordings)

Side One
1. Hello Susie
2. Beautiful Daughter
3. Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited

Side Two
1. Fields Of People
2. Don’t Make My Baby Blue
3. The Last Thing On My Mind


Trevor_Bartram's picture

I'll have to pull out the CD, it's their best album!

orthobiz's picture

I love everything the Move ever did and pretty much have all available music that was released on vinyl. Gave my daughter a sealed (!) cutout of Shazam, just to pass on the legacy of great music, that alone makes me a good dad! I have the Fly TOOFA which sounds great.

But I love all phases of the Move so much that my "favorite" album changes depending upon my mood and the year. So, it could be the first with pure pop and singles. Or the venerable Shazam. Or the fans-only Looking On which introduced Jeff Lynne. And Message From The Country (similar US Split Ends) at other times.

Over the course of four years and four albums, few groups managed so thoroughly to change their sound from light to heavy to light AND heavy like the Move. Tracing roots back to Jeff's Idle Race and culminating in the planned obsolescence of the Move which morphed into ELO and then split into Wizzard and more ELO...I mean there's so much good stuff to absorb and digest.

I envy Planet readers who have not yet tapped into the wealth these guys have to offer. I will say that Shazam is the ideal place to start! Thanks for the review!


Mark Cherrington's picture

I bought Shazam the day it came out, and in my opinion it's one of the top ten records ever made. Their harmonies at the end of The Last Thing on My Mind send chills down my spine every time, and there is no stereo system big enough to play Don't Make My Baby Blue as it demands to be played. Hello Suzie is brilliant, too. I've never been displeased with my original A&M version, but it sounds like this one might be an improvement, and if that's the case, I have to have it. Thank you for the invaluable review.