Thursday, 26 November 2020

Review: Singularity (Rain)

#1,548: elobeatlesforever couldn't let local prog rockers Rain release their debut album " Singularity" (Giant Electric Pea #GEPCD1067) without running the proverbial elobf rule over it. Many ELO fans forget that they were considered to be a progressive outfit themselves thanx to their early LP's "ELO II" and "On The Third Day" and this enjoyable five track, forty seven (47) minute journey by Rain, who include Rob Groucutt (yes, Kelly's son) and Mirron Webb alongside current Quill members Andy Edwards and John Jowitt in their ranks, will likely tick the box for those searching for new prog talent with an experimental aspect.

"Singularity" is ironically an album of differing streams starting with the excellent (and my fave) "Devils Will Reign". It's classic prog with apt if not prophetic lyrical observation of current societal machinations. "Population will reduce, Innocence is now". Indeed. Without doubt there are elements here of Yes in their prime. Vocals are solid throughout hence with its prominent pulsing bass, wonderful guitar craft, articulate percussion and inventive keys, the whole recording hangs together quite nicely closing, as it does, with a surprising twist of industrial jazz vibe for the title track. I have a feeling that this album will suit vinyl quite nicely. Water great debut for Rain! ★★★★
Trax: [1] "Devils Will Reign" (7:02); [2] "Dandelion" (7:01); [3] "Walk Away" (12:50); [4] "The Magician" (11:16); [5] "Singularity" (9:24)
"Singularity" by Rain (CD) is currently available to purchase by clicking this link. Vinyl edition to follow soon!

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Singularity" by Rain to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELORoy WoodThe Move, The Idle RaceQuillThe Beatles and related artistes.

With thanx to author James R Turner for his timely nudge.

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 26-Nov-2020 ***

Friday, 20 November 2020

Roy Wood Returns with Orchestral Take on Christmas Classic

#1,547: elobeatlesforever (elobf) are pleased to announce that after a period of radio silence, Roy Wood has been working closely in the studio with Danny McCormackThe Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Swan Music in recording a stunning new orchestrated version of his perennial Wizzard festive classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" as part of the forthcoming new album: "A Royal Philharmonic Christmas".

Having heard a sample of this lush interpretation, Yours Truly KJS can confirm that the end result is a triumph! This is no ordinary cover as Roy has been instrumental in the arrangement and production of this version. It's also been chosen as the lead single with Roy's permission. You can find out more about the new single and album by joining the A Royal Philharmonic Christmas Facebook group wherein you can expect to see brand new interviews with Roy and be first in the queue for pre-order info. A limited number of CD's will also be exclusively available to order for group members.

"I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be released on Friday 4th December with pre-orders available via iTunes, amazon and Google Play from Friday 27th November. Click on the links below for further info and to visit/join the official Facebook group:

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elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and "A Royal Philharmonic Christmas" by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of Roy WoodWizzardJeff Lynne's ELOThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 20-Nov-2020 ***

Friday, 13 November 2020

Five Years Later: Alone In The Universe

#1,546: Today is Friday 13th November and -  not unluckily for fans and followers of Electric Light Orchestra maestro Jeff Lynne - it's the fifth anniversary of the release the Jeff Lynne's ELO album "Alone In The Universe" on this day and date back in 2015! AITU was a huge commercial success "Down Home Town" in the UK peaking at #4 and staying in the Official UK Top 100 Album Chart for an impressive seventeen (17) weeks whilst also enjoying significant chart success "All Over The World" - as detailed here.
The standard CD and vinyl issue of "Alone In The Universe" comprised ten (10) new Lynne penned songs (including the title track) with two bonus trax ("Fault Line" and "Blue") offered in a lenticular sleeved deluxe edition and "On My Mind" included in the Japanese release. Lead single "When I Was A Boy" preceded AITU in most territories with another three songs promoted as singles for ongoing radio promotion. In the UK, a limited quantity of single track CDR singles were also produced and distributed (see above montage).

Thanx to a strong promotional campaign by Jeff himself and his then new deal and laid the foundation for with Sony's well known Columbia Records label (via their UK imprint RCA), "Alone In The Universe" surpassed the earlier Top 10 attainments of "Long Wave" (#7) and "Mr. Blue Sky" (#8) in 2012, laying the foundations for several high grossing stadium tours in the UK, Europe and the States as well as an iconic appearance at Glastonbury in 2016 and a packed house at Wembley Stadium in 2017.
In the opinion of Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever, the release of "Alone In the Universe" ensured that an ELO with Jeff Lynne firmly in the spotlight returned to the fore not only in the eyes of home fans and the Great British public but also their many admirers across the Atlantic and English Channel as both a recording and touring legend. Happy 5th Birthday AITU!

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Friday, 6 November 2020

Compilation Corner: ELO Part II

#1,545: When it comes to talking compilations, perhaps locating any collection including original songs by ELO Part II is noteworthy being as only two studio albums ("Electric Light Orchestra Part Two""Moment of Truth") and two live albums ("Performing ELO's Greatest Hits Live" & "One Night Live in Australia") were released during their decade long existence.

Aside from the many multiple budget cut and paste versions of the "One Night" album that continue to proliferate across Europe to this day, Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) have only identified a couple of various artistes CD compilations wherein ELO Part II trax are included. There may be more out there but these two come to mind for the purposes of this elobf article ...
1995: Nestled between Wendy & Lisa's "Waterfall" and Lou Reed's "Perfect Day", you'll find the excellent Eric Troyer penned "1000 Eyes" on "Precious Metal" (#TEMPCD014), released by Temple (an imprint of Telstar Records) and later renamed "Precious Rock" due to a clash with a similarly entitled hits package. This writer remembers being surprised that that an ELO Part II song was included a full 4 years after Telstar released "Electric Light Orchestra Part Two" in 1991 and it's not out of place in such illustrious classic rock company.

1996: Rock ballad "One More Tomorrow" (written by Bev Bevan, Phil Bates and Mik Kaminski) can be found on budget CD "Summer Dance Party" (#SP01654) issued in Germany by Mediahaus Productions in a rather eclectic mixture of trax including "Lola" by The Kinks and "It's A Heartache" by Bonnie Tyler. The 2CD live album "One Night Live in Australia" was initially put out by Mediahaus Strobel through SPV GmbH with "One More Tomorrow" also released as a single earlier that year, hence its inclusion.

Please contact KJS@elobf if you are aware of any other releases that include original ELO Part II songs excluding, of course, their live recordings of ELO hits ... 

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Roy Wood: Live 2021

#1,544: It's great to see live dates starting to pop up in the 2021 calendar for Dr. Roy Wood and his accomplished Rock & Roll Band! So far the postponed Rockmas 2020 event at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham and a newly confirmed date at The Picturedome in Holmfirth are on the roster. Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) understand that more dates are set to be revealed. We'll do our best to collate and list any confirmed Roy Wood UK dates in 2021 within replete with pricing and links to buy tickets. Please consider bookmarking this elobf article in order to keep yourself up to date with any Woody gig developments as we head towards the "Rock 'n' Roll Winter" and beyond!

Saturday 4th December 2021
Tickets: £28 each plus fees

Saturday 11th December 2021
Tockets: £38 each inc. fees

Related elobf articles

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Roy Wood Live to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneWizzardThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 03-Nov-2020 ***

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Treasured ELO Memories

#1,543: Earlier this year you may remember that my mother Beryl Lilian Sinclair passed away in March and Yours Truly KJS wrote this elobf article in memory of her influence on me in terms of not only my early interest in records but also the first inklings of a lifelong association with the Magnificent Seven who were the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and by extension Roy Wood, The Move and Wizzard.
The Magnificent Seven: ELO's classic line-up ...
It was during a visit to see my parents last year that whilst having a rummage through some dusty drawers that this writer (if you'll excuse the pun) discovered an early KJS artifact that evidenced my attraction to all things ELO: a blue badge scratched with a certain trio of letters. For some reason I was reminded of that badge this week. Memories of posters from the "Out Of The Blue" and "Discovery" albums pockmarked with drawing pin holes and my treasured old red 7" record box festooned on both ends with not one but two great big ELO stickers from the "Confusion"/"Last Train To London" AA sided single (Jet/CBS #JET166) also came to mind. Which leads me to ask you a question:

What are your most treasured ELO memories?

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Live Alert: Quill @ Lichfield Garrick (Postponed)

#1,542: The effects of the current plandemic on professional musicians and entertainment venues is undoubtedly beyond measure in these uncertain days so the positive news that bands and artistes in general are planning their return is most welcome.

And elobeatlesforever wouldn't be elobf if we didn't bring it to the attention of our readers that Joy-Strachan-Brain and Quill featuring The MoveELO and Black Sabbath drumming legend Bev Bevan are just a few weeks away from their return to performing live at The Garrick Theatre in Lichfield on Saturday 21st November. Having spoken to Joy recently, Yours Truly KJS can assure you that this intimate gig (due to a much reduced seating capacity) will be poignant for both the band and those who get to see them on the night. You'd better be quick though as only 50+ tickets priced at £24.50 each remain (at the time of writing) via this link thus ...

Quill are currently: Joy Strachan-Brain (Vox); Abby Brant (Vox/Keys); Kate McWilliam (Violin/Vox); John Jowitt (Bass); Lee Evans (Guitar) and Andy Edwards (Drums/Percussion) with Bev Bevan (Percussion/Drums)

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elobeatlesforever (elobf) continues to recommend Quill featuring Bev Bevan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 28-Oct-2020 ***

Friday, 23 October 2020

ELO Classics Burning Bright

#1,541: Fans and collectors of all things Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) will tell you, if asked, that it is quite possibly impossible to come up with a definitive list of every ELO compilation released across all territories, whether it be on vinyl, tape or CD (not forgetting those in VHS, DVD and Blu-ray formats) starting with the early ELO Harvest Heritage retrospectives in the UK and the success of "Olé ELO" (United Artists/Jet #UA-LA630-G) in attaining a respectable #32 in the US Billboard 200 during the Summer of '76.

Over in the United States, the advent of the CD presented opportunities for CBS (later to be rebranded Sony Music and then Sony BMG) to release and licence budget greatest hits compilations that contained not only hits but also selected album trax. These compilations turned up both in record shops and supermarkets and produced buoyant sales for the larger labels and imprints. Naturally, ELO's extensive back catalogue was ripe for the issue of such CD (and initially cassette) collections. Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) thought that it would indeed be a good idea to put together a brief overview of those aforementioned releases for you to peruse at your leisure.
1990: "ELO Classics" (CBS Special Products #A21583) featured an odd cover merging artwork from the "ELO II" album with the familiar ELO logo from the "Out Of The Blue" spaceship. The first seven of the ten trax were US singles (including "Boy Blue") with "Bluebird", "Birmingham Blues" and "Loser Gone Wild" making up the numbers. There was also a pselling mitsake (see above).

1992: "Burning Bright" (Sony Music Special Products #A22639) comprised another selection of ten ELO songs with seven US singles (including "Stranger") plus "Standin' In The Rain", "Night In The City" and "Fire On High". The glowing ELO logo on a black background certainly made this collection stand out. One has to wonder what the rationale was for picking the album trax!
2001: "ELO Classics" (Sony Music Special Products #A52073) licensed through KRB Music Companies (#KRB7045-2) resurfaces as this reissue with a twist in that "Birmingham Blues" is swapped out with "Waterfall". The new artwork replete with "Time" era portrait again makes this attractive CD worth collecting! Perhaps they were thinking of the other Birmingham in Alabama!

2003: "ELO Classics" (Sony Music Custom Marketing Group Collectables #COL-CD-9341) makes another return but this time it's a straight reissue of the 1990 edition with rather strange cover art using Richard Avedon's famous "On The Third Day" portrait (on steroids!) on the front and the photo of ELO's Magnificent Seven taken from the "A New World Record" inner sleeve on the rear.
2007: "Electric Light Orchestra 2CD Collection" (Sony BMG Custom Marketing Group #A712251) sees both "ELO Classics" and "Burning Bright" bundled together as a bargain 2CD package with the original trax and artwork from 1990 and 1992 referenced. Of the quintet of compilations featured herein, this is perhaps the hardest to locate at the time of writing.

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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Review: Made In Britain (Morganisation)

#1,540: Former Electric Light Orchestra member Dave Scott-Morgan is a man with a mission - literally! After a hectic decade in which he has released an amazingly prolific number of physical and digital albums, from the 2011 reissue of "Earthrise" through to the most recent "Seven", whether it be solo or with his Morganisation outfit, he has grasped the nuances of the modern music media business with both hands whilst writing and recording a remarkable collection of memorable songs.

As 2020 recedes, new album "Made In Britain" sees Dave and Morganisation return with an exceptional set of eleven (11) new tunes thanx to the combined resources of wife Mandy, guitarist Alex Lowe and Rick Benton (Rebecca Downes, Magnum) whilst renewing musical acquaintances with fellow ex-ELO tourist and bassist Martin Smith (Balance of Power, 1986).

"an album just waiting to be discovered"

"Made In Britain" duly landed at elobf HQ earlier this week and Yours Truly KJS has to say that from the first play of track numero uno onward, this is a record that will most certainly appeal to not only Dave's growing band of admirers but also fans looking to explore and expand their musical horizons beyond the proverbial ELO spaceship. This is an impressive collection of songs that serves to highlight the songwriting and production skills of someone who is surely one of the most unsung of Birmingham's musical talents.

You could say this is an eclectic as you venture through the songs and you get the feeling that Morganisation had fun putting this together! Whether its the stomping rock 'n' rollers "Lovin' On You" and "Cindy's Place" or sublime ELOesque ballads "Starry Lady" and "A Day Called Today" (replete with a superb guitar solo!), the folksy almost Beatlesque "Go-Getter Lady", the pensive "Turn To Grey" or atypical Morganisation stomper "Love Is ...", you find yourself musing on how quickly "Made In Britain" seems to fly by. ELO fans will love the pacy if not funky opening title track and "In The Darkness" (which wouldn't be out of place on any of ELO's Eighties long players). Check out the expansive "Big Ocean" and the Celtic tinged "Ammer & Pickle" which has the feel of a glorious jam session too! Ultimately this is an album just waiting to be discovered and something that is sure to uplift the listener during difficult times. ★★★★★

"A time to get up and step out of the footprints of yesterdays sand"
"Made In Britain" can be purchased in CD (£11.99) and/or digital (£9.99) formats via these links thus:
Related articles from the elobf archives

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Made In Britain" by Morganisation to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 20-Oct-2020 ***

Friday, 16 October 2020

ELO: The UK Singles Volume Two 1979-1986

#1,539: It's been a couple of years since Sony Legacy and Epic combined to release ELO: The UK Singles Volume One 1972-1978 back in September 2018. The sixteen (16) disc boxed set featured relatively faithful reproduction of all Electric Light Orchestra 7" singles and (picture) sleeves from "10538 Overture" to The ELO EP during their time on the Harvest, Warner Bros. (Burbank) and (of course) Jet labels. Fan reaction was generally positive despite its initial RRP of £100+ (currently available for £80 via amazon here).

Which leads many fans and collectors to question when a second volume covering ELO's singles from "Shine A Little Love" in 1979 to "Getting To The Point" in 1986 will see the (electric) light of day. Such a collection is expected to contain all eighteen (18) ELO UK singles from this period including their 1980 chart topping duet with Olivia Newton-John (subject to somewhat awkward licensing negotiations regarding "Xanadu" and its ONJ* only flip side "Fool Country").
Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever have compiled a list of the singles in question replete with 'B' sides and their original UK catalogue numbers for you to peruse below. Watch this proverbial elobf space for further updates ...

[1] "Shine A Little Love" b/w "Jungle" (#SJET144)
[2] "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" b/w "Down Home Town" (#JET150)
[3] "Don't Bring Me Down" b/w "Dreaming of 4000" (#JET153)
[5] "I'm Alive" b/w "Drum Dreams" (#JET179)
[6] "Xanadu" b/w "Fool Country"* (#JET185)
[7] "All Over The World" b/w "Midnight Blue" (#JET195)
[8] "Don't Walk Away" b/w "Across The Border" (#JET7004)
[9] "Hold On Tight" b/w "When Time Stood Still" (#JET7011)
[10] "Twilight" b/w "Julie Don't Live Here" (#JET7015)
[12] "The Way Life's Meant To Be" b/w "Wishing" (#JET7021)
[13] "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" b/w "After All" (#A3500/JET7034)
[15] "Four Little Diamonds" b/w "Letter From Spain" (#A3869)
[16] "Calling America" b/w "Caught In A Trap" (#A6844)
[17] "So Serious" b/w "A Matter Of Fact" (#A7090)
[18] "Getting To The Point" b/w "Secret Lives" (#A7317)
Volume One included the singles "10538 Overture" through to "The ELO EP" ...
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