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Movies, The - 1976 The Movies

ARTIST: Movies, The
ALBUM: The Movies
LABEL: Arista
YEAR: 1976


LINEUP: Michael Morgan - acoustic piano, electric piano, mellotron, synthesizers, harp, kazoo * Peter Barnes - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, violin, chimes, shakers * Ted Medbury - drums, percussion, toys, harmonica * Davy Faragher - bass * James Newton Howard - arp

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dancin' On Ice * 02 Rainy Weather * 03 American Beauty Rose * 04 Satellite Touchdown * 05 Better Wages, Better Days * 06 Empty Room * 07 If I Can Just Get Through Tonight * 08 You Think You're Too Good To Be True * 09 Sugarloo * 10 Would You Believe

Milwaukee, Wisconsin band signs to Clive Davis' Arista Records, releasing an album of charming pop that hardly anyone heard. Produced by Vini Ponica who would later work with KISS, Tycoon and Adrenalin, The Movies were out of place in 1976 and just one look at the back cover tells the story with three average looking guys dressed in funny hats. Not very rock n' roll, disco or even close to the safety pin minions starting to influence pop an ocean away, The Movies played music from another time, ten years too late to make their mark.

The Songs
The Lovin' Spoonful, Harry Nilsson and Brian Wilson's work when the Beach Boys left him alone with Van Dyke Parks are good points of reference here. This is happy music conjuring images of Americana long gone: traveling carnivals, soda shops, town square gazebos and hobos looking for work through a black and white filter of classic film and old Hollywood. The Movies put all this together with some contemporary (for the time) tracks like the opening 'Dancin' On Ice' and the wonderfully clever 'Satellite Touchdown', but it's songs like 'American Beauty Rose', the Nilsson- like 'Better Wages, Better Days' and 'Sugarloo' where The Movies found their true voice with the use of mandolin, upright piano and even kazoo. Absolutely wonderful!

In Summary
Needless to say, I give this album my highest marks for originality and if I ever do come up with a 'top 100' album list The Movies would certainly make the grade. There has been a renewed interest in music of this type in recent years with people like REM's Peter Buck calling The Lovin' Spoonful America's most underrated band to a recent movie on the life of Harry Nilsson not to mention new bands like The Now People are making inroads commercially with similar music. Since what was considered 'old' is now hip once again, it would be nice to see this album get another look in the CD reissue sweepstakes for those who missed out the first time.

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#1 | jeffduran on June 20 2008 18:25:13
Good descriptions here on this band I don't think i've heard. Will check out! Thanks!
#2 | TheMurf on June 15 2009 05:42:00
Is this the same band who had a song on the soundtrack of the original "Fun With Dick and Jane" movie. I think the song was called either "Time Flies" or "We Were Once Ahead of the Game"
#3 | gdazegod on June 15 2009 05:55:58
I'm guessing it is Murf. There's not much detail to the 1977 original movie, but I found this link in IMDB. Eric will probably know more..
#4 | Eric on June 15 2009 11:15:04
I'm stumped on this one guys. I saw the original version a few years ago and didn't pay much attention to the soundtrack. Saw the remake with Jim Carey a couple times and paid more attention to Tea Leoni so... *blushing*

I've been over at the UK Movies (band) web site and there's no mention of it that I can find, so it probably is the same band. I wonder if a soundtrack LP was released...

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