Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Review: Live - The Early Years (ELO)

#125: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Exactly a week ago today on Monday 9th August, Yours Truly KJS returned home from work to find a copy of the new DVD release by entitled "Live - The Early Years" by our beloved Electric Light Orchestra (Eagle Rock Entertainment #EREDV780/111 minutes) waiting patiently to be reviewed by ELOBF. Here are two of my earlier articles on the subject of this release thus:

Recommended: Live - The Early Years (ELO)

I am not going to trawl over each and every track. You need to get a hold of this DVD your good selves and do that in your own good time. But what I am going to say is this. After seeing very many bootleg CD's of these gigs and the release of the "Electric Light Orchestra - In Performance - The Seventies" DVD last year, we are at last privy to the first ever decent official issue of live ELO footage from before the multi-released "Out Of The Blue Tour" material at Wembley in 1978.
This new release includes excerpts from three gigs at Brunel University in 1973, the German 'Rockpalast' session from 1974 (including an abridged and obtuse interview afterwards) and the 1976 "Fusion" gig from the New Victoria Theatre in London. I have to say that the quality of the video and music soundtrack is the best that I have ever seen or heard for live ELO recordings. The first two concerts feature the ELO line-up for the "On The Third Day" and "Eldorado" albums. The guys look so young! The craft of Jeff Lynne is there to be seen but I was also taken by the great stage acoustics of the string section, the keyboard magic of Richard Tandy and the 'presence' of the slightly croaky (at times!) Mike De Albuquerque. No wonder the Americans were blown away by those early "Do It With The Light On" coast-to-coast tours and why their first major successes were in the US Billboard charts rather than our own Top 40.

It's nice to see the whole of the "Fusion" video release from 1990 (Pickwick/#PTR2152) included here too. The difference between this release and the original video &/or the aforementioned "In Concert" DVD is that this is the real deal. For the first time, we can see and hear clearly the sound mechanics of the classic ELO line-up including the late, great Kelly Groucutt. I was reminded when watching this concert just how much input he had in terms of vocals and co-vocals with Jeff Lynne. You can maybe begin to see how sad it was that he left the band in 1983 and that he and Jeff were still (musically) estranged when he died last year. Hopefully this full duration CD/DVD set of the gig will see the light of day next month thus:

Maybe Eagle Rock Entertainment should consider issuing the ELO Part II concert with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra from May 1991 (Telstar/#TVE1037) on DVD too? I only mention this because the copyright for this new DVD release is with 'Arden Enterprises'. Being as they were the 'Executive Producers' for those ELO/MSO gigs, then maybe the Ardens or 'Rockview Promotions' still own those rights and might be open to offers? Considering that 2010 was supposed to be ELO's 40th Anniversary, there has been precious little activity on the ELO/Jeff Lynne CD re-master front so this exciting release by Eagle Vision is certainly one to be embraced.

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Live: The Early Years" by the Electric Light Orchestra to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 17-Aug-2010

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Prologue: Turn To Stone

#124: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! A friend asked me the other day: "What was it that got you interested in ELO?" Well, I do remember my older brother Bob playing "A New World Record" (Jet/UA #UAG30017) quite a lot back in the day and I also remember when he got his copy of "Out Of The Blue" (Jet/UA #UAR100) in late 1977.

Yours Truly KJS also remembers putting on his headphones and hearing "Sweet Is The Night" at far too high a volume! But the real deal started when I bought my first ever record, a 7" single. It was "Turn To Stone" (Jet/UA #UP36313) and ironically enough I think I played the 'B' side "Mister Kingdom" more than the 'A' side! Then it was "Mr. Blue Sky" b/w "One Summer Dream" (Jet/UA #UP36342) on blue vinyl. That was when I think I got hooked. And when all the other kids took their toys into Junior school at the end of the summer term, I took my ELO records! I was not even ten (10) years old so I guess I've always been an ELOnorak but not before I was an "ELO Kiddie".

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 10-Aug-2010

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Recommended: The Guitar, Vocal & Pints Tour (BBBV)

#123: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It looks as if the BBBV trio Tina McBainPhil Bates and Mik Kaminski are to soon to embark on a series on intimate pub gigs under the title of "The Guitar, Vocal & Pints' Tour", according to my good friend Jim Hoban over at www.theelonetwork.com thus:

"05/08/2010 - The latest edition of The Publican magazine (the trade magazine for all public houses i.e. pubs) has a feature about the Beatles, Blues & Blue Violin project "Guitar, Vocal & Pints" tour being put together by Tina McBain; Phil Bates & Mik Kaminski ...

"Former Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) band member prepares for 'Guitar, Vocal & Pints' pub tour" ~ Sarah Simpson (23rd June 2010)

Top musicians are leaving stadium’s bright lights behind them and are seeking pub venues. Former members of legendary rock group ELO and ELO Part II are launching a tour of British pubs around the country in an effort to support the industry. Phil Bates and Mik Kaminski will team up with singer Tina McBain, performing as the 'Guitar, Vocal & Pints' tour. Inspired by singer-songwriter Paul Heaton, who completed a tour of 16 pubs around England last month, they will perform an acoustic set which they feel is best suited to intimate venues. The set list will include ELO classics as well as Beatles favourites, and they hope that the ELO associations will help stimulate trade. Tina said "When you are on the road, driving around the towns and cities of the UK it is particularly saddening to see the amount of public houses that are closed down and shuttered. The British pub is part of our heritage and of course in many cases it is a vital first stepping stone for musicians just starting out. We all started with gigs in our local pub." The group will tour from September 2011, and will be offering to perform at pubs for reasonable rates. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Tina McBain: beatlesblueviolin@btinternet.com. Check out the full article here: www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=67324"

You are doubtless already aware of how good the Beatles, Blues & Blue Violin Project are hence this is a wonderful opportunity to go, see and hear these accomplished and talented musicians flying the ELO Beatles flag in the most intimate of settings from Autumn 2011 onwards.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 08-Aug-2010

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Recommended: ELO Convention

#122: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) would like to bring you some interesting if not important news from The Orchestra [former members of ELO & ELO Part II]'s official website.

Please consider supporting this project ...

"Plans are currently being put together for a possible UK ELO Convention for next year (2011) in Tamworth. It's being organised by Tina McBain, Ian Gibbons and Jeff Cooper. Phil Bates is also onboard for this project. The organizers really need to know if there is enough interested people out there to pull off what they have planned for such an event. A Facebook group has been setup on Facebook for you to register your interest, so please go there and leave a message. You'll need to sign up to Facebook if you're not already a member (it's free). There is a massive international ELO/Orchestra community on Facebook so join in the fun with this friendly community."
source: www.theorchestra.net/news.html

This is the statement on the above Facebook page:

"Market Research by The Home Sweet Home Agency is being undertaken for a major new event. We are planning an ELO Convention to be held in Tamworth, England in 2011 (10:00AM-10:00PM; date to be advised) and need to gauge interest from friends and fans. Please sign up to this group to express interest in attending and to keep up-to-date with all the forthcoming news about the day." 

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 07-Aug-2010

Friday, 6 August 2010

Caught Live (2): Wheels of Fire @ The Robin 05/08/10

#121: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Last night's gig by Phil Bates' new project Wheels Of Fire was a concert to savour. In front of a lively crowd at The Robin 2 in Bilston near Wolverhampton - this 'new' outfit performed THE classic tribute to the R&B's classic artistes including BB King, Cream, Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix et al. The set list was - naturally - distinguished and the notable renditions (in my opinion) were "Wishing Well""While My Guitar Gently Weeps""Layla" and a funked-up version of The Beatles' "Daytripper" - a song covered (of course) in those early live sets of the Electric Light Orchestra.

Sadly there was no "Ma Ma Ma Belle" but this is no criticism of the band. I did have a few brief words with Phil but time was short and the gig was ready to roll. If you have heard Phil's professional and incisive guitar work when he has played with ELO Part II or The Orchestra or the Beatles; Blues and Blue Violin Project, then last night's gig was a further and more diverse showcase for the full range of  his rhythm guitar musicianship. That is not to ignore the tight musical unit that is Wheels Of Fire and also includes Brian Badhams on bass guitar, Clive Bunker on drums/percussion and last - but not least - Mark Stanway on keyboards - formerly of ELO's Jet Records one-time label mates MagnumSpeaking of which, I always remember Magnum's 1982 "Chase The Dragon" LP (#JETLP235). It was Mark Stanway's first studio album with the outfit which was produced by Jeff Glixman - later to produce ELO Part II's eponymously titled first album in 1991 (#STAR2503). The links with ELO go a little deeper when you recall that Phil Bates was also a member of Trickster, who supported ELO's 1978 "Out Of The Blue" stadium tour and were also ELO's label mates at Jet Records.

Hence, if Wheels Of Fire do come calling at a venue near you and you fancy having a listen to something different - you can do no worse than invest in a ticket or two and get your ears cleared out!

Recommended: Wheels of Fire @ The Robin 05/08/10
Last Call: Wheels of Fire @ The Robin 05/08/10

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Wheels Of Fire to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 06-Aug-2010

Monday, 2 August 2010

Recommended: Wheels of Fire @ The Robin 05/08/10

#120: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Just a brief reminder folks regarding the gig at The Robin 2, Bilston near Wolverhampton on Thursday night (5th August) by Phil Bates' new project Wheels Of Fire thus:

Yours Truly KJS will be there with Jonathan 'Big Bill' Spillane and my good friend Chris 'Cross' Evans too. I've asked Phil to consider including that ELO (and Marc Bolan) classic track "Ma Ma Ma Belle" in the set list of this fantastic tribute to the guitar greats in future.

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Wheels Of Fire to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 02-Aug-2010

Sunday, 1 August 2010

ELO: Live In London 1976 (Part 1)

#119: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) came across this interesting info via www.elodiscovery.com yesterday:

"A DVD and a CD entitled "ELO - Live In London 1976" will be released on 14th September 2010. There is not a lot of information about these items but I suppose it's the "Fusion" concert at the New Victoria Theatre in London in 1976 during the "Face The Music" tour. Up to now, It has only been available on video tape since 1990. If that is the case, let's hope the show will be complete. In fact, the full show was filmed but quite a few songs were missing from the video release. Wait and see for more details ... (for your information, this concert will be available in the 1990 version with the DVD “Electric Light Orchestra - Live - The Early Years" which will be released on 9th August 2010)"

My thoughts are that the rights have obviously been sold in order for this concert to be published practically twice in two months. Yours Truly KJS thinx that it would be equally good if a veritable music video &/or DVD publisher would get a hold of the rights to the ELO Part II gig with the MSO from May 1991 - released originally by Telstar (#TVE1037) - and put that out on DVD too!

On a similar thread: If it is truly ELO's (supposed) 40th anniversary this year, shouldn't Sony BMG be considering the release of a definitive ELO video hits compilation? The Telstar release in 1991 (#TVE1033) was incomplete to say the least.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 01-Aug-2010