World of Oz, The
Band members Related acts
line up 1 ()
- Rob Moore -- drums, percussion
- Geoff Nicholls -- lead guitar, keyboards
- Christopher Robin -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
line up 2 ()
- David Rea -- drums, percussion (replaced Rob Moore)
- David Kubinec -- lead guitar, keyboards (replaced
- Christopher Robin -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Nicky James Movement (Tony Clarkson)
- David Kubinec (solo efforts)
- Pieces of Mind (David Kubinec)
- Zeus (Tony Clarkson)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: The World of Oz
Company: Deram / London
Country/State: Birmingham, UK
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: DJ sample stamp onback cover
Catalog ID: 5865
NB: (1) was counterfeited in the late eighties, with white labels and reissued officially on CD by Si-Wan (SRMC 0077) in 1998
This Birmingham band were managed by Barry Class and their catchy debut 45, The Muffin Man, was an adaptation of a children's nursery rhyme. Its flipside, Peter's Birthday, was marginally better due to the fairground organ, which gave an additional dimension and prevented it being just another mundane pop single. Sadly this is just what their next two 'A' sides - King Croesus and Willow's Harp were. Still their finest moment was tucked away on the flip to their final 45:- Indian-flavoured Like A Tear with its delightful whispered vocal backed by an acoustic guitar and gentle tabla.
Their album was rather disappointing - too whimpy and juvenile.
World of Oz" track listing:
1.) The Muffin Man - 2:37
2.) Bring the Ring - 3:03
3.) Jackie - 2:49
4.) Beside the Fire - 3:06
5.) The Hum-Gum Tree - 2:19
6.) With a Little Help - 3:15
2.) King Croesus - 3:08
3.) Mandy-Ann - 2:59
4.) Jack - 2:26
5.) Like a Tear - 3:10
6.) Willow's Harp - 2:07
their brilliant single 'Peter's Birthday', which has been featured on
various psych comps over the years, the World of Oz proved themselves to be
true veterans of the pop-syke genre.
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
Not much is known about the World of Oz, we all know that the group were signed up to Deram, recorded three singles and an album and appeared on TV shows 'Beat Club' and 'Colour Me Pop'. Recent contacts with David 'Kubie' Kubinec and second drummer, Rob Moore can at last give some insight about those days in the late sixties. First, 'Kubie' talks about his days with the World of Oz.....
us about the beginning?
Tell us about the
time in the studio?
How was it recording
for Deram? (I've always been fascinated by that label!)
How did you get
an album out with little 45 success? Did Deram guarantee you an album?
How much of the album
do you appear on?
The art-work is
pretty interesting, any idea who designed this?
Tell us about the TV
shows you recorded in Holland and Germany?
what happened then, the group's line-up changed?
So what has happened
Notes from Rob Moore on his days in the World of Oz :
The line-up of Oz when I
joined was Geoff Nichols, Tony Clarkson and Chris Evans. David Reay was the
original drummer but he left to move into group management. I replaced him
and started to practise with Oz at the Kingstanding Settlement in
Birmingham. I played with the band on 'Colour Me Pop', 'Like Now' in Ireland
plus a TV show in Paris with the band, Grapefruit.
WHAT THE PAPERS SAID
The World of Oz is the group that got such a lot of publicity, when their manager fed and clothed them in a luxury Park Lane flat for several months before their debut disc, "Muffin Man" was well recieved, but unfortunately could not live up to the publicity. However, a fine group with great songwriting potential, they are able to write up to forty-five songs in one month! Their history is that Christopher Robin (lead) and David Reay (drums) played with a group, The Mayfair in Germany for a year. On returning home the disbanded. Dave and Chris put an ad in a record paper and Kubie Kubinec (organ) and Tony Clarkson (bass) were selected at the audition.
WILLOWS HARP : A track from the group's self-penned Lp, "World of Oz". Very difficult to decribe because it's a disc of so many different facets. A thought provoking lyric, a cantering beat and a magnificently scored orchestral backing (with wowing guitar prominent) are the main features. But it's a record you can hear over and over, and still find something new on it.
THE WORLD OF OZ are becoming something of a cult themselves. Although they haven't yet toppled the charts, they have a huge following both here and in the States. Listen to "Willow's Harp" and you'll understand why. It's on Deram, DM 223, Very weird and wonderful.
WILLOWS HARP : Some time ago I said watch out for this group and for once I was right. Their records have got progressively better until this - which really proves that they are a group who have something new to offer. This odd pretty song is from their new LP. And if this is a sample of what's to come then I wait with eager anticipation. Doomy strings, weird guitar, peculiar lyrics, bongoes and very nice vocal. A very sharp clean-cut record that deserves attention.
Is that what it's called - "Willow's Harp"? I couldn't begin to tell you who it is. I quite like the words - to see your maker's face is a very good idea. It's refined rubbish, really. I'm crazy about the song and it won't be a hit in my humble opinion.
WILLOWS HARP : Good, but hard to see in the charts as it is from a new album. But a Record of the week nevertheless. Can't understand to this day why "Muffin Man" didn't make it. This is excitingly performed with off-beat sounds.
WORLD OF OZ have had several changes in the past few months - and an interesting excursion into the LP market with "The World of Oz" (Deram). A foretaste of the album will be in the shops on Friday on a single trailer, "Willow's Harp".
The World of Oz whose new single, "Willow's Harp" and album were released last week, have been approached to work on the follow-up film to "The Rope and the Cult" which Scott Walker did the soundtrack for. Director Robert Hussein has also asked Christopher Robin to take a major acting role in the film but it is felt that this would disrupt the group's activities too much. The group's first major TV appearance, in BBC 2's "Colour Me Pop" is transmitted on March 1.
....World of Oz have been approached by a French film company to play on a film soundtrack. Lead singer, Christopher Robin may have a part in the film....
WORLD OF OZ get their first ever major TV booking on BBC-2's "Colour Me Pop" on March 1. They'll play all their own material. Listen out also for their current album. It's a gas!
The biggest earners of all, by their own admission - the Jimi Hendrix Experience. "After us come the Cream, although of course they have now disbanded," says Experience's Noel Redding. "Then the Who and even Deep Purple, who haven't made it in their own country, must come pretty soon. World of Oz, for example, mean much in Britain, but their two singles - "Muffin Man" and "King Croesus" - flops here, were enormus overseas sellers, right across the Continent into Spain, down to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, across to America. Even a cover version of "Muffin Man" topped the Irish charts for four weeks.
£10,000 BOOST : World of Oz have already had over £10,000 pumped into their promotion, make another bid for the charts with "Beside the Fire". They have had some cause for celebration for their single, "Muffin Man" released here last May, was a hit in Holland, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and "King Croesus" got into the American Top 100. It just seems to be Britain where they are still waiting for a hit. Everyone at Luxy loves the record, I'm sure you will. Keep tuned into 208 and listen out for it. The boys will have an LP out soon. They were thinking of calling it Fluid Oz.
The World of Oz is a lovely group. Their sound is not particularly original - they tend to be rather Bee Gee - like in sound - but they get our full marks for a pretty, medlodic effect, and real originality in their songwriting. On no account should you miss hearing their first album, "The World of Oz" (Deram), a super showcase for all their talents. Good singing, especially
Soaring Orchestral Psychedelic Pop.
On the surface this Lp seems kind of lightweight, especially with tracks like "the Muffin Man". Half of the tracks are so so. However some tracks have some really nice vocal harmony work which seems deceptively simple but the combination on the best tracks ("We've All Seen The Queen", "With A Little Help") after a few listens just blows me away.......
Una joya oculta
Es lo que es este disco: una joya oculta. Una obra maestra del pop psicodélico/barroco de los 60. Posiblemente no tan experimental como ciertas obras curiosamente más conocidas y populares, pero rozando la perfección dentro de su intranscendencia.
En "The Muffin man", tal vez la canción más conocida, se inclinan por la psicodelia más festiva al estilo de los Status Quo de "Pictures of Matchstick men". Pero a partir de ahí, con alguna pequeña concesión a los precedentes más trillados Beatles, Beach Boys, más los primeros que los segundos) y a otros menos psicodélicos (a mí King Creosus me recuerda mucho a The Band) las referencias más palpables pasan a ser los Bee Gees de sus primeros discos (alguna canción como Jackie parece cantada por el mismísimo Robin Gibb), los Left Banke más elegantes y los Move más melódicos. Incluso cuando se ponen épicos y barrocos lo hacen con elegancia, y me recuerdan entonces a Marmalade o los Walker Brothers.
Eso es: melodía y elegancia. Cóctel aparentemente fácil de preparar pero que no sirven en todos los bares, y no siempre en la proporción adecuada. Aquí, en el mundo de Oz, tienen la fórmula mágica para prepararlo como en ningún otro sitio.
Questo è un disco, che consiglio a tutti quelli che vogliano davvero assaporare i toni essenziali della psichedelia britannica, nel suo spirito totalmente british, privo di contaminazioni d'oltreoceano, tutte le tematiche della british psychedelia si trovano in questo gioiello, dei bravissimi "Wordl of oz" condensate, intrecciate, dai toni fiabeschi e fanciulleschi, alla ricerca meticolosa, ma mai pesante della melodia, agli intarsi strumentali sempre delicati e mai pesanti, alle tematiche dell'infanzia e del gioco, e a quelle d'amore filtrate dalle sensazioni della british psychedelia, tutto questo si trova in questo magico disco, la best song dell'album è a mio avviso "Beside the Fire" ma tutto l'album scorre che è una meraviglia il giocoso e divertente intro di "The muffin Man" al momento più onirico della bellissima " Like a Tear" Un gioiello dal 69, per il mitico complesso degli "World of Oz" tanto sfortunato in patria, quanto invece ebbe discreti riscontri fuori dalla terra di sua maestà la regina, sopratutto in Olanda e Germania. Momento di imprescindibile ascolto!!
An uneven psychedelic pop record, with half great songs in the Left Banke's style, the other half a bit too sentimental with heavy orchestrations that don't fit...Nice remastered edition...
One of the most popular group/album in Indonesia in 1969 with all beautiful songs in this album.
Psychedelic pop from this studio band which displayed some moments of excellence up to par with the best of the psychedelic pop in Britain at the time. This album focuses on solid orchestral arrangements, poppy guitars and sometimes fantasy lyrics. Song highlights include "Like A Tear" and "The Muffin Man."
very poppy and sometimes ridiculous,this studio project of jonathan king,but for well or for badly is one of the best album of psicodelic-pop of the 60´s.
Psychedelic sixties were never more sixties to me than here
The album sounds more than a collection of singles...every song could be a 'hit'
Orchestral arrangements as we now from the Moody Blues;The psychedelic feel of'Love'in their 'Forever Changes' era;A very Barry Gibb-esque voice),early Strawbs(yes...I like to compare)but all in a 'light' version as we know from bands like 'Amen Corner','The Move'and the late-sixties Manfred Mann(Fox,Clown)
Three top 40 hits (Benelux)on it:King Croesus,Willow's Harp and The Muffin' Man....Songs ,completily forgotten by today's 'classic' rock DJ's .
All the original singles (in mono) are included as bonus tracks.
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