More than a few of you may be aware of my love for Roy Wood’s solo masterpiece, Boulders. This one-man band outing represents, for me, a landmark in Prock, that is the as-yet-not-fully defined subgenre of progressively self-referential rock and pop music.
You may have heard my spiel before, even if you’ve never heard the album. You may have heard the album before, but even if you couldn’t stand it, I encourage you to grab a copy out of a dollar bin – hell, sadly almost no one wants their old copy – and listen to it in order, preferably a few times. I believe it’s an album of obsessive, whimsical craft and strange beauty. You’ve heard me rattle on about a song’s ability to meet the True Objectives of Rock. An album like this one surely was not part of the original plan. However, in the post-Sgt. Pepper’s era, when the artifact of a rock ‘n roll recording and album could hold as much value as the record’s emotional and rhythmic content, a special place was carved out for rock ‘n roll shut-ins to enjoy in the privacy of their own room. Boulders is just such an album. Do not expect to throw this on at a party and proceed to high-five your friends. See if you can stick in there for the first three tracks, and then see if you can hang on through track 7. If you can get that far, I beg of you to hold tight for track 9, the aptly named “Rock Medley”.
Effin’ Jeff Lynne! The guy used every move in Wood’s book, dating back to his pre-Lynne work with The Move through this stuff and the worst boogie-glam of Wizzard. Wood was the real deal, so real that he often sucked in his overreaching, high-concept flights of fancy. I don’t mean to get down on Jeff Lynne too much, because a Townsman played me the new album by that 40-piece band in the brightly colored robes. My god, Jeff Lynne’s worst work with ELO outshines that crap, but Lynne never put his Prock talents to work on such an inner plane as Wood did on Boulders. This album is sorely in need of some explanation. I’ve got some questions for Wood, and don’t think I haven’t been trying to track him down.