Monday, 19 November 2018

Review: Legs & Luggage (Vegas With Randolph)

Five years have passed since Yours Truly KJS reviewed Washington DC outfit Vegas With Randolph's third studio album "Rings Around The Sun" for elobeatlesforever (elobf) so it was rather nice to discover that a new album "Legs & Luggage" was due out in Autumn 2018.

A lot has happened in that time - including the passing of founding member and bassist Dan Aylestock - yet Vegas With Randolph have managed to produce and construct another set of attention grabbing Power Pop songs oozing with their trademark zip, commentary and effervescence during their half a decade hiatus. The nett result is a record packed with catchy guitar riffs, anthemic lyrics and electrified energy as evidenced by opener "You Could Say Yes", continued by "Jacob" and underlined by "The Girl Holding Out For Me". Punctuated by the classy keys led "I Could Be The One" and one of my fave tracks, the observational "Women In Airports", this album never lets up until you reach closing track "I Have You", a string laden ballad with a nod to both ELO and The Beatles in their prime and another fave of mine! Make no mistake about it, "Legs & Luggage" rocks. And so do Vegas With Randolph. Best you partake of your allowance soon. ★★

Trax: [1] "You Could Say Yes"; [2] "Jacob"; [3] "The Girl Holding Out For Me"; [4] "I Could Be The One"; [5] "Free Your Soul"; [6] "She's An Intellectual"; [7] "Women In Airports"; [8] "Chick Fighter"; [9] "Three Red Hooks"; [10] "The Weekend's Coming"; [11] "The Comeback Kid"; [12] "Ain't So Complicated"; [13] "I Have You"

Review: Rings Around The Sun [Vegas With Randolph]
Review: Above The Blue [Vegas With Randolph]

Vegas With Randolph are: Dan Aylestock [Bass]; Brock Harris [Lead/Rhythm Guitars]; Eric Kern [Vox/Keys/Guitar]; Andy Hamburger [Drums/Percussion]; John Ratts [Vox/Guitars]. You can read up on all things Vegas With Randolph via their official web sites thus:

www.facebook.com/VegasWithRandolph   twitter.com/vegaswrandolph
www.youtube.com/vegaswithrandolph

"Legs & Luggage" by Vegas With Randolph is available in CD and/or download formats via these links thus:

vegaswithrandolph.bandcamp.com/album/legs-luggage
www.amazon.com/Legs-Luggage-Vegas-Randolph/dp/B07JJ6HKSG
www.amazon.co.uk/Legs-Luggage-Vegas-Randolph/dp/B07JJ6HKSG

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Legs & Luggage" by Vegas With Randolph to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 19-Nov-2018

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Chart Tragedy: What Went Wrong with Zoom?

When Jeff Lynne abruptly purchased Bev Bevan's share of the ELO brand, name and rights in November 1999, it opened the door for the ELO maestro to embark on another electric light fantastic journey with a band not only underpinned by his acclaimed songs, production and musicianship but now his 100% ownership. It also put fans on notice of the potential recommencement of new Electric Light Orchestra material whilst also signalling the eventual transition of ELO Part II into The Orchestra. Within a year "Flashback" - a 3CD career anthology - had been released to rave reviews with hints of a new album circulating in fanzines and a world largely devoid of Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Thinking that Jeff's ELO career was over, many fans had been expecting a second solo album to follow up the modest chart success of "Armchair Theatre" in 1990 but his various production projects during the nineties with the likes of Tom Petty, Julianna Raye, the late Roy Orbison, Paul McCartney and (of course) The Beatles likely meant that it remained incomplete and shelved. So when news of a new ELO album - the first since "Balance Of Power" in 1986 - surfaced in the early part of 2001, the ELO fan base got excited. Who would it feature? What would it sound like?

Yours Truly KJS still remembers when Sir Terry Wogan aired "Alright" as announced it as "the new ELO single" on his then BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show in May 2001. New album "Zoom" followed in June. My initial reaction upon first play was that "Zoom" sounded more like a Jeff Lynne solo effort that an ELO record. In fact, I still recall renaming it "Armchair Theatre Part II". "Zoom" sported the familiar ELO logo and the artwork was appealing and impressive. The familiarity of Lynne compositions and arrangements gave it an ELO feel in places but one could not escape the fact that this was Jeff plus a few famous friends, even though Richard Tandy appeared on one track. Essentially, that is what most reviewers said at the time too. It had the name of ELO but the sound of Jeff Lynne - an observation, not a criticism.

Perhaps the strangest thing about the release of "Zoom" was the lack of promotion by both artist, management and record company - almost as if it had been presumed that it would pick up commercially where "Balance Of Power" left off. The casual record buying public in 2001 were very much different than that in 1986 and some ELO fans had long since moved on. I remember struggling to find a copy in my local HMV store. There was no attention grabbing display, like those that were found for the debut Electric Light Orchestra Part Two album in 1991 or the frequent TV adverts that elevated the "Very Best of ELO" compilation put out by Dino in 1994 to #4 on the Official UK Album Chart, their highest chart placing of the nineties. The tide was out at that time for ELO with a number of greatest hits packages permeated by the aforementioned "Armchair Theatre" (#24) and "Electric Light Orchestra Part Two" (#34). It was therefore ironic that "Zoom" peaked at the same chart position as ELO Part II's debut LP ten years earlier.
Fast forwarding to a rainy night in November 2018 and writing this article for elobeatlesforever (elobf), my view and opinion of "Zoom" has softened somewhat over the years, especially with the 2013 reissue via Frontiers, its arrival on 2LP vinyl via Let Them Eat Vinyl in the same year and a new lease of life this year via Sony Legacy. In fact, I am now of the opinion that "Zoom" resembles more of an ELO album as a whole than 2015's "Alone In The Universe", released under the different moniker of Jeff Lynne's ELO but essentially the same formula. So what went wrong with "Zoom"? The answer is that it was perhaps the right album at the wrong time or a mixture of both.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 14-Nov-2018

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Roy Wood: The Cheap Trick Connection

Being as both Roy Wood and Cheap Trick will be touring the UK this December, Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) reckoned that it's an opportune time to look and the connections between Woody and the legendary rockers with a nod, of course, to ELO.

As far as this writer is aware, Cheap Trick have covered four Roy Wood penned songs to date. The Move's "California Man" in 1978, "Rock 'n' Roll Tonight" in 1990 (a version of "We're Gonna Rock 'n' Roll Tonight" from "Introducing Eddy and the Falcons" found on the album "Busted"), "Brontosaurus" in 1997 (the flip side to their "Baby Talk" single) and their 2017 cover of Wizzard's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" (as found on their "Christmas Christmas" album - see elobf review below). Roy also sang on "Money Is the Route Of All Fun", a demo found on the fourth disc of the 1996 box set "Sex, America, Cheap Trick" but recorded in sessions for "The Doctor" (1986).

Guest Review: Christmas Christmas (Cheap Trick)

And those links between Cheap Trick and ELO? The obvious one is Rick Nielsen's tongue-in-cheek "ELO Kiddies", the 'B' side of the 1978 single "Ain't That A Shame". The not-so-obvious mutuality is that the aforementioned album "The Doctor" also included a cover of the Billy Steinberg/Tom Kelly song "Kiss Me Red", which was also to be found on the debut Electric Light Orchestra Part Two album in 1991.

In terms of performing together, Cheap Trick and Roy Wood have gigged together on a number of occasions, the first being at Barbarella's in Birmingham on Friday 16th February 1979 with another occurring during a 1995 charity concert in New York. They were also pictured together backstage at Holmdel, NJ in September 2016. Their respect is mutual with Roy often lauded as a major musical hero and inspiration for the band.

Tickets are still available to see the Roy Wood Rock 'n' Roll Band and/or Cheap Trick supporting Def Leppard via these links thus:

Roy Wood: On The Road Again in 2018
www.livenation.co.uk/artist/cheap-trick-tickets

Left: Cheap Trick press release portrait
Above right: Cheap Trick at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1979 (Source: ~It's_me! @ Flickr)
Bottom right: Cheap Trick with Roy at Holmdel, NJ (Source: Cheap Trick @ Facebook)
Find out more about Cheap Trick via these official links thus:
www.cheaptrick.com
www.facebook.com/cheaptrick   twitter.com/cheaptrick   www.youtube.com/user/cheaptrick

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommend Cheap Trick to those enlightened folks who love ELOJeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 10-Nov-2018

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Remembering Hugh McDowell

Fans of the Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard were left stunned and saddened on Wednesday 7th November to hear the news that ELO's very own eclectic cellist Hugh McDowell had passed away in St. John's Hospice in London at the age of 65 years having been ill for some time.

London born Hugh was on stage when ELO's live career commenced in Croydon on 16th April 1972 and rejoined Jeff Lynne's orchestrated rockers in 1973 after a successful stint with Roy Wood's Wizzard during which he received a songwriting credit for "Bend Over Beethoven", the reverse side of "See My Baby Jive" and perhaps a backhanded nod to his then former band mates. Hugh developed a reputation for his energetic cello sorcery during ELO's live shows for the next five years and played on the albums "On The Third Day", "Eldorado", "Face The Music", "A New World Record" and "Out Of The Blue" as ELO approached their commercial peak. He was also to be found bearing his belly button on the revamped  front cover of OTTD as well as having his nose somewhat squashed on the rear cover of FTM!
The tongue-in-cheek flip side of Wizzard's #1 hit "See My Baby Jive" (HAR5070) was credited to Hugh ...
Hugh also appeared on the promo film for "Discovery" in 1979 although he did not participate in the recording sessions. Over a decade passed before Hugh returned to the ELO universe as he played alongside The Moscow Symphony Orchestra with Electric Light Orchestra Part Two in 1991 and also reconnected with Kelly Groucutt and Mik Kaminski for their OrKestra project. More recently in 2016, Hugh could be found contributing to The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers' "El Original Brew", the follow-up to another famed Wizzard 'B' side: "The Carlsberg Special" alongside Nick Pentelow and Bill Hunt.
Hugh McDowell: 31st July 1953 to 7th November 2018
As far as Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) are concerned, Hugh McDowell will forever be remembered as one of the Magnificent Seven, the classic ELO line up that adorned the album covers and inner sleeves of the first records I ever bought. ELO were a band like no other and Hugh was an integral part of their Seventies success as he cavorted across the stages of the world with white cello in hand whilst being immortalised in a certain poster found inside copies of the OOTB double album (see above). Our thoughts and commiserations go out to his daughter Adelise as we bid farewell to someone recently lauded as "the Jimi Hendrix of the cello".

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 07-Nov-2018

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Recommended: The Beatles Fab Four Taxi Tour

Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) would like to take the opportunity to heartily endorse Liverpool based Fab Four Taxi Tour being as this is our 100th article this year. We've been meaning to partake in a Beatles themed taxi tour of their famed hometown for what seems like eons so whilst we were on Merseyside to see Jeff Lynne's ELO perform last week (Tuesday 23rd October) and elobf was busy hitting 3 million views, it was an opportunity too good to miss!

Our guide was Alan Fairclough and he did a magnificent job for over two hours in showing not only The Beatles' childhood homes and some of the places that inspired their songs but also the history of this city beside the Mersey. See our recent Trip Advisor review here and find out more via their official web site thus:


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Liverpool's Fab Four Taxi Tour to those enlightened folks who love ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, 'Brum Beat', The Idle Race, The Traveling Wilburys, The Move, The Beatles (of course!) and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 31-Oct-2018

Monday, 29 October 2018

Caught Live (16): The ELO Experience @ Cannock 27/10/18

Just four days after Yours Truly KJS caught Jeff Lynne's ELO live in Liverpool, the opportunity to go see The ELO Experience perform at The Prince of Wales Theatre just up the road in Cannock for the first "Time" in 16 months on Saturday night (27th October) was just too good to miss.

The Hull based octet have now been treading the boards for over a dozen years and, in all honesty, every ELO Experience concert has given me something new to smile and enthuse about as they deliver professional performances that perfectly balance the familiar Jeff Lynne (mostly) penned ELO hit singles with their welcome if not wonderful renditions of not so familiar album trax. This was the case again as Andy Louis and Musical Director Steve Hemsley led the packed house on a journey from ELO's Top 10 debut with "10538 Overture" all the way through to "When I Was A Boy" whilst treating those assembled to sublime versions of "Latitude 88 North", "Believe Me Now", "Steppin' Out", "Four Little Diamonds" and "Across The Border" - not forgetting "Prologue"!

Caught Live (5): Jeff Lynne's ELO @ Liverpool 23/10/18

Sixteen songs from EJLO's Liverpool set list were played plus another twelve tunes ensuring adequate coverage of ELO's "Time" and "Secret Messages" albums alongside their 70's material underpinned, of course, by "Out Of The Blue". Undoubtedly, The ELO Experience are at the top of the game, as evidenced both here and by their being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Tribute Music Awards earlier this year. Fave moments on the night had to be those album rarities being given another airing.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article (click here to read) for elobeatlesforever (elobf) that drew not a little criticism that advocated the important role of ELO Part II, The Orchestra and the ELO tribute bands in keeping the music of the Electric Light Orchestra out there in the live arena, particularly in the years when Jeff was otherwise occupied. The ELO Experience continue to prove my point, perfectly. Go see 'em!

The ELO Experience performed 28 songs: "All Over The World" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" ~ "Latitude 88 North" ~ "Believe Me Now" ~ "Steppin' Out" ~ "Showdown" ~ "When I Was A Boy" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "Xanadu" ~ "Confusion" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Prologue" ~ "Twilight" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "Four Little Diamonds" ~ "Across The Border" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Last Train To London" ~ "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" ~ "Rockaria!" ~ "Hold On Tight" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky"
The ELO Experience were: Andy Louis (Lead vocals/guitar) ~ Steve Hemsley (Keyboards/vocals) ~ Pete Smith (Bass/vocals) ~ Jan Christiansen (Lead guitar/vocals) ~ Tony Lawson (Drums) ~ Liz Stacey (Violin) ~ Francesca McDonald (Cello) ~ Rachel Hoffman (Cello)

The ELO Experience continue to tour the UK extensively and you can view all their Tour Dates, sign their Guest Book and find out what they are currently up to via their official sites thus:


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends The ELO Experience to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 29-Oct-2018

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Jeff Lynne's ELO: 2019 Take That Tour Clash + Ticket Info

As suggested in this elobeatlesforever (elobf) article last weekend, Jeff Lynne's ELO confirmed a twenty (20) date tour of the United States and Canada in Summer 2019 commencing at Anaheim on Thursday 20th June and finishing in Pittsburgh on Thursday 1st August. Whilst it was not a surprise in and of itself, a return to more North American shows so soon did raise a few third eyebrows.

Caught Live (5): Jeff Lynne's ELO @ Liverpool 23/10/18

Yet when Yours Truly KJS looked at the EJLO tour itinerary, the most obvious aspect was that there will be a significant clash with nine (9) Take That Greatest Hits Live 2019 tour concerts taking place in Europe at the same time as Jeff Lynne's ELO are scheduled to play six (6) gigs up and down the Pacific coast (see table below). Therefore, we must draw the conclusion that either Take That or Jeff Lynne will utilize a new touring band (at least in part). This would be a departure for either artist and, if Mike Stevens, Milton McDonald and Donovan Hepburn are contracted for the TT dates, it will be interesting to see which musicians will back the ELO maestro for his shows - likewise if the scenario is reversed. Watch that space!
Tickets for the Jeff Lynne's ELO 2019 US tour go on sale to the general public on Monday 29th October. Click on these links for further details thus:

Thursday 20th June: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA

Saturday 22nd June: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

Monday 24th June: SAP Center, San Jose, CA

Wednesday 26th June: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, Canada

Friday 28th June: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA

Saturday 29th June: Moda Center, Portland, OR

Wednesday 3rd July: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

Friday 5th July: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

Sunday 7th July: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

Tuesday 9th July: BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL

Thursday 11th July: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC

Saturday 13th July: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday 16th July: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

Thursday 18th July: Scotia Bank Arena, Toronto, Canada

Saturday 20th July: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI

Tuesday 23rd July: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

Thursday 25th July: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN

Saturday 27th July: United Center, Chicago, IL

Tuesday 30th July: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH

Thursday 1st August: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA

Find out more about Take That 2019 UK/EU tour dates and tickets via this link thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Jeff Lynne's ELO and Take That on tour in 2019 to those enlightened folks who love ELOJeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe Traveling WilburysThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 27-Oct-2018

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Caught Live (5): Jeff Lynne's ELO @ Liverpool 23/10/18

A trip to see Jeff Lynne's ELO (the band once termed "son of Beatles" by none other than John Lennon) perform the final UK mainland date of their 2018 tour at The Echo Arena in Liverpool, just a stones throw from where the phenomenon that is The Beatles carved their reputation at The Cavern was just too good an opportunity to miss for Yours Truly KJS on Tuesday night (23rd October). It was an event made all the more poignant especially when considering the fact that elobeatlesforever (elobf) hit the milestone of 3 million views earlier on that very day!
Much has been said and written about the tour over the previous months as the ELO spaceship has zoomed from US city to US city before finally landing in Europe and the UK (including three dates "Down Home Town" in Birmingham). Whereas the modest set length and largely unchanged set list of 19 songs might have restricted other acts, the state of the art stage production and polished, pristine performance of the ELO maestro and his merry band - orchestrated magnificently by Musical Director Mike Stevens - has engendered many positive reviews. This was a wonderful journey of Electric Light Orchestra classics all the way through from debut single "10538 Overture" to 2015's "When I Was A Boy" and permeated with a plethora of those 70's hit singles that we all know and love plus "Standin' In The Rain" and (US single) "Do Ya". Undoubtedly, Jeff is enjoying his new lease of life with his latest ELO vehicle with this particular audience soon up on their feet to drink in the moment. I did miss "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" and "Strange Magic". One would think that those newly announced US/Canada dates in 2019 will drive some changes to the set list to include (hopefully) "Hold On Tight" and more representation of their 80's hits too. As ever "Mr. Blue Sky" drew the greatest reaction but the ultimate conclusion of this concert could be determined by the happy, smiling faces of the 11,000 capacity crowd meandering home.
Jeff Lynne's ELO performed 19 songs: "Standin' In The Rain" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "All Over The World" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Do Ya" ~ "When I Was A Boy" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Handle With Care" ~ "Rockaria!" ~ "Last Train To London" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven"

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Jeff Lynne's ELO to those enlightened folks who love ELO, Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe Traveling WilburysThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 25-Oct-2018

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Three Million Thanx!

Here Is The News: elobeatlesforever (elobf) nudged over the three million (3,000,000) visitor threshold early yesterday evening (Tuesday 23rd October). Rather than list the many exclusives, interviews, reviews et al, Yours Truly KJS would like to thank each and every visitor and/or contributor to elobf since we started out back on Monday 2nd February 2009.

The first million took 2,694 days and 1,129 articles to achieve. The second million was attained in 505 days and 207 articles and the third million took just 351 days and 120 articles so that this amazing journey has now endured for 3,550 days or 507 weeks or 116 months and 1,456 articles since elobf was launched on Groundhog Day almost ten (10) years ago.

I'm really hoping that you've enjoyed the journey and that you've found elobf to be an accurate and helpful source of information. I've tried to give fair and unbiased coverage of all artistes in the ELO universe (and beyond). Many thanx for your continuing support. We're now dreaming of 4,000,000!

#ThankYou #elobf #elobeatlesforever

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 24-Oct-2018

Sunday, 21 October 2018

ELOpinion: What Do Those Jeff Lynne's ELO Teasers Tell Us?

The folks at Jeff Lynne's ELO and Live Nation in the United States have been busy dropping a few hints and teases over the last few days with tweets and social media images of a certain familiar spaceship and spurious comments including "Where will the ship land?", "Your Ticket To The Moon is coming soon ..." and "Hold On Tight" (see above).

This has led to some fans going into overdrive with various theories to the point where Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) have been asked for an opinion as to what might be unveiled soon. It's even been postulated that the much vaunted new album or another collection of more re-recorded ELO classics by Jeff Lynne might be on the cards, being as two "Time" tracks are being quoted that have neither been performed live by Jeff Lynne's ELO or included on 2012's "Mr. Blue Sky".

But, speculation aside, what do we know? We know that according to their various Twitter pages, Live Nation will be making an announcement on Monday 22nd October at 9:00AM (PT) or 12:00PM (ET). We also know that those Twitter and Facebook posts seem to be aimed at the North American market, particularly when considering that the 2018 European/UK tour is almost at an end. Thus the most likely scenario is that more US and Canada dates are on the cards, most likely in new cities and venues as well as those visited earlier this year. Tour timing will, of course, have to be coordinated to align with next years Take That Greatest Hits Live 2019 dates, presuming that Jeff will retain his current touring band.
A new album may also be on the horizon but the only caveat to that is that in a recent Billboard magazine interview with Jeff Lynne on the subject of The Traveling Wilburys' 30th anniversary (click here to view), the ELO maestro states that he's "already halfway through it" and after this tour, he'll be back in his studio. In other words, this writer believes that we should expect more Stateside (and perhaps beyond) tour dates to be announced but not necessarily a new album - yet!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 21-Oct-2018