Saturday, 31 December 2011

Yours Truly 2011: A Year in Review

 #288: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This is the third time in which I have attempted to write up my exploits with ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) in 2011. I simply didn't realise the amount of output this year. This is the 115th ELOBF blog of the year and first of all I would like to thank each and every visitor for taking the time to check out my writings and musings. 2011 was a year of many varied activities including interviews, reviews, introductions, recommendations and (of course) gigs! Hence I've decided that the best way to cover the year is to simply list some of the highlights.

Mark Stanway (Magnum) ~ The BeatBack Brothers ~ Rick Price (The Move/Wizzard) ~ Bob Lawton (The Rockin' Berries) ~ Andy Louis (The ELO Experience) ~ Mel Gale (ELO) ~ The Electric Live Orchestra ~ Sean Mack Page (Imaginos/Fragile X) ~ Michael Laine Hildebrandt (Bubble Gum Orchestra) ~ WelshMansHill (Phil Hatton/Steve Turner/Phil Ridden)

"Live In London 1976" (ELO) ~ "The View From Here" (Fay & Latta) ~ "Another Good Reason" (Groucutt & Haynes) ~ "EarthRise" (Morgan Tandy) ~ "Out Of This World" (Bubble Gum Orchestra) ~ "Tape Recorders Changed Everything" (Cult of Wedge) ~ "The Olympus Sound" (Pugwash) ~ "The Classic Albums Collection" (ELO) ~ "Music Book" (Roy Wood) ~ "Welcome To Soonville"/"The Neglected Gambit" (Maxi Dunn)

"LovePower and Peace" ~ Band On The Runn ~ "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" ~ Debra Dee's Exhibition of Roy Wood Art ~ David & Mandy Scott-Morgan ~ "The Move: Live At The Fillmore 1969" ~ "Hooked On Classics - Live" (Louis Clark) ~ WelshMansHill ~ Bubble Gum Orchestra ~ Band On The Runn

Caught Live
Electric Live Orchestra ~ Beatles Blues and Blue Violin ~ Bev Bevan's "Walk of Stars" ~ The ELO Experience ~ Band On The Runn ~ The Trevor Burton Band ~ Paul Parker & All The Right Friends ~ "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" ~ Roy Wood ~ Phil Bates & Tina McBain ~ The Lemuns

Many thanx go to my concert cohort Chris 'Joyride' Evans. I've so enjoyed meeting up with such great folks as Andy Wood, Paul Richardson, Geoff Cook, Martin Kinch, Jeff Cooper, Ken Latta, Phil Hatton, Steve Turner, Phil Ridden, Graham Struggles and Bernie Toner!

So as you can see; it has been a great year and 2012 looks like being busy too. More interviews; more Reviews; more Introductions and even more gigs! Once again I truly thank you for your support and wish you a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous if not ELOtastic New Year!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 31-Dec-2011

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Recommended: Hooked On Classics - Live (Louis Clark)

#287: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! When Louis Clark isn't pulling the strings (literally!) in The Orchestra (former members of ELO and ELO Part II), he is out and about either conducting other orchestras or he is involved with Hooked On Classics - the musical phenomenon he created some three decades ago which has sold over 13 million copies worldwide and has now returned to the live format.

In fact, Yours Truly KJS is reliably informed that the concert at the BIC in Bournemouth on Thursday 22nd December was sold out and very well received by press, public and critics alike with a set list that included "Hey Jude" and Louis' fantastic string arrangements on the classic ELO track "Eldorado Overture". You'll therefore be pleased to hear that a new four date Spring 2012 tour has been announced between Friday 25th and Monday 28th May next year wherein Sir Lou Clark will again conduct the English Pops Orchestra and take us through those classical classics via Hooked On Classics - LIVE in his own unique style. You can visit the Hooked On Classics web site or view the official advert by clicking on these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Louis Clark and Hooked On Classics - LIVE to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 25-Dec-2011

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Caught Live: The Lemuns @ The Royal Oak 23/12/11

#286: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It was great to sneak in another gig just before Christmas yesterday (Friday 23rd December) just down the proverbial road at The Royal Oak when local rock and blues trio The Lemuns played out an impressive set of covers in a packed festive house. Featuring familiar fruity friend Ian Hammond from fellow ELOBF recommended artiste Band On the Runn, bassist Gary Knight and guest BOTR drummist Dave Cottle on drums, this writer was most impressed with their live renditions of classics including "Whiskey In The Jar", "Sultans Of Swing", "Get It On" and "Sweet Home Alabama" and not a few others. Yours Truly KJS wanted to give these talented local musicians a mention whilst adding them to our growing roster of recommended local bands! So if The Lemuns are playing near you ... go see 'em! You can find out more about them via this link thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommend The Lemuns to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 24-Dec-2011

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Recommended: The Move: Live At The Fillmore 1969

#285: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Here is news of an exciting new release for fans of the predecessors of ELO: The Move. Although only just released as a MP3 download this week on Monday 19th December, the whole of their legendary set at The Fillmore West, San Francisco in October 1969 appears to now be set for release in 2CD format next year on Monday 5th March according to (three weeks later than the originally stated date of Monday 13th February).

"The Move: Live At The Fillmore 1969" (#RIGHT116) is being released by  with the full backing of Sue Wayne, widow of the late, great Carl Wayne. The 2CD edition has significantly greater content than the download edition including a 10:30 long version of "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" as well as a near 11 minute recollection of that US tour by Bev Bevan. Here is the text of the official press release from thus:

"The Move were one of the 60’s most controversial and legendary groups and one of the most contradictory. A string of memorable hit singles, all written by pop genius Roy Wood, were set against a musically thrilling and often brutal live act, centred around lead singer Carl Wayne. The band achieved major recording success with UK and European hits including: "Blackberry Way"; "Fire Brigade"; "Curly"; "Night Of Fear"; "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" and "Flowers In The Rain" - the first ever record played on BBC Radio 1 ... Thought lost for over 30 years, the master tapes from The Move’s shows at the Fillmore West were saved by Carl Wayne but suffered technical problems and could not be released. Thanks to advances in studio technology, Carl began restoring the tapes in 2003. Sadly Carl died in 2004 and was never able to complete the live album he believed would show how incredible The Move was as a live band. Now, with the full co-operation and permission of his wife - Sue Wayne - the tapes have been painstakingly restored, remastered and released in memory of The Move’s dynamic front man and lead singer."

And here is some really great news ... all pre-orders for the 2CD are being despatched (prior to the above 'official' release date) from Wednesday 1st February onwards (Ed: this date has obviously also slipped too!). The basic set is attractively priced at just £10.99 each and you can also have the release signed by The Move co-founder Bev Bevan (also supplied with a Collectors Edition Move postcard) at just £15 each. A special edition T-Shirt (normally priced at £25) is also on offer with the 2CD (if ordered together) for just £20. Fans of The Move should enter promotional code: Move1969 at the checkout stage for free worldwide postage. You can pre-order this excellent release directly here:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Live At The Fillmore 1969" by The Move to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneBev BevanRoy WoodWizzard'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 21-Dec-2011

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Review: Welcome To Soonville/The Neglected Gambit (Maxi Dunn)

#284: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Regular visitors to ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will (hopefully) remember my post on 9th November entitled Review: Tape Recorders Changed Everything where Yours Truly KJS took a look at the new album by Cult of Wedge (a.k.a. Pete Hackett), who is a local performer, songwriter and producer heavily influenced by Jeff Lynne and (naturally) by extension ELO - especially if you have a listen to his new seasonal release "Christmas On The Moon". One of the artistes that Pete Hackett produces is a superb singer songstress from Prescott near Liverpool whose name is Maxine 'Maxi' Dunn. Her first CD self-release in 2009 was the 14 track "Welcome To Soonville" which was followed in 2011 by 12 track offering "The Neglected Gambit".

"Welcome To Soonville" is a collection of songs from Maxi that is part-produced by Pete Hackett (nine songs) and it ably demonstrates the full remit of Maxi Dunn's crystal clear voice and impressive song construction. Tracks such as the strong opener: "How Was I To Know" and sure fire foot tapper: "Always Be My Friend" are held in tension by the title track and a fine collection of songs of differing styles with the same theme of introspective regret and tentative forward steps.

"The Neglected Gambit" is a progression from "Welcome To Soonville" which displays the same smouldering back glance, lyrically, of romantic angst but is a little more jolly and positive of yet future days. It is this second CD where the partnership between Maxine and Pete comes into its own. The 'big sound' of Hackett's ELO influenced production values and from the rock fuelled title track to musical gems such as "Why Do I Want You?", "Make It Better", "You Took The Sunshine From My Heart", "Weather Warning" and "Winter Ghost". On this CD you can hear flamenco in one song, blues on the next and then a Beatlesque ditty after that! The layered backing vocals, for me, give away the influences of the producer - and beautifully support the song construction.

Folks that know me know that besides ELO, I'm a huge fan of ABC and Martin Fry too. Some of the bittersweet lovelorn angst of the songs on this duo of Maxi Dunn albums really take me back to the heady days of "The Lexicon Of Love" in 1982 with their tales of heart wrenching broken promises. It's a tremendous piece of work in the opinion of this particular writer and listener.

The CD versions of "Welcome To Soonville" and "The Neglected Gamble" are available direct from the official Maxi Dunn website (see below). You can also download some or all of her albums from or thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends independent artistes Maxi Dunn and Cult of Wedge 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 ... 18-Dec-2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Caught Live: Phil Bates & Tina McBain @ Middleton Hall 10/12/11

#283: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! In many respects, Yours Truly KJS had many thoughts as I travelled over to Middleton Hall near Tamworth with ELO gig buddy Christian Evans last night (Saturday 10th December) to attend and witness the much anticipated Phil Bates & Tina McBain Christmas Show. I sensed that this seasonal gig signalled a kind of musical crossroads for Phil Bates, Tina McBain and the loyal fans there in attendance and so it was.

Not only was it confirmed by the former Trickster front man that his time with The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II) was over for a second and final time, we were also further enlightened as to the formation of Phil's new project The Abbey Road Experience [with co-foundees Chris Brighton and Derek Holt] as he and Tina produced a show of immense musical variety and style which covered their past, present and yet future careers. We heard old favourites, new favourites and some nice surprises too. It was quite surreal to see Phil sat up there solo on stage for the first half of the show as he fiddled with his gadgets (as well as his plaster cast!) and treated us to some of his own compositions, some ELO and Beatles classics and even a Hollies cover. I couldn't help remembering that Carl Wayne was singing their material not so long ago. The second half of the show saw Tina link up with Phil for a great set of songs with the odd spot of humour. There were so many songs given special treatment during this concert. "Empty Rooms" was a new song Phil has written about a house where its children have flown from the nest. A superlative tribute to the late great Kelly Groucutt in "Midnight Blue" was also there to cherish again among the well over  twenty songs that were performed on the night. It was great to hear "Bus Stop" and even a nice rendition of "Time After Time" too. We also had the pleasure of hearing (amongst not a few others): "It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Can't Get It Out Of MyHead", "Rock 'n' Roll Is King", "If I Needed Someone" and "A Hard Days Night" during the evening. The gig ended with the strange sight of of one one half of the act leaving the stage to rapturous applause whilst the other half stayed put! But what an encore it was as we first listened to a great acoustic version of Roy Wood's iconic Move track "Blackberry Way" - with a glowing nod to both Roy and former band mate Bev Bevan by the former ELO Part II man. The real treat was revealed at the finale with a wonderful musical interpretation was of the John Lennon seasonal classic "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)". It rounded off a fantastic gig by these two supremely talented musicians of whom we should take the time to listen and support in the months and years to come.

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends both Phil Bates & Tina McBain 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 ... 11-Dec-2011

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Phil Bates Announces Abbey Road Experience Project

#282: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Here's some exciting news regarding former Trickster, ELO Part II and The Orchestra front man Phil Bates. Regular visitors to ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will doubtless be aware of Phil's recent decision to continue with his German projects in 2012: ELO Klassik and The Music of ELO as well as (of course) The Beatles Blues and Blue Violin Project - but not as a member of The Orchestra (former members of ELO and ELO Part II) thus:

And here is that news. Phil Bates announced on Wednesday 7th December that he has a new project in the works with Chris Brighton for next year, named The Abbey Road Experience. The new band will cover live, note by note, the whole of The Beatles' final seminal 1969 album "Abbey Road" which (of course) includes classics such as "Come Together""Here Comes The Sun", "Something" and not a few others. Here is the text of Phil's announcement:

"I would like to tell you all about my new project - The Abbey Road Experience - which will seek to reproduce The Beatles Abbey Road album note for note, or as near as possible, on stage in a 'live' situation. Involved in this project are Chris Brighton and Steve James from Eagles tribute 'Desperado', and Derek Holt from Climax Blues Band. In fact, the whole thing was Chris' idea ... it came to him in a moment of madness, I think ... As yet we haven't decided on a keyboard player, but this will happen soon. Rehearsals are under way, and first gigs will be in March 2012. Our main focus will be October 2012 for a tour ... the March dates will be largely to assess whether we have an audience for this, and to make sure it all works musically. Look at my gig page for details! Suffice to say, I am very excited about this project. It is a BIG challenge, but one I am very excited about. I hope you will come and support us."

The new band will include two members of the superb Eagles tribute band Desperado in Chris Brighton and Steve James plus ex-Climax Blues Band founder Derek Holt. A keyboard player will be announced in the near future. The band are planning to commence gigging in March looking towards an October tour. To this writer, it's an exciting new band to look forward to seeing and hearing! Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF will (naturally) recommend and endorse The Abbey Road Experience.

Note also those ever increasing and strengthening links between The Beatles and ELO universes in that we have a new Beatles flavoured project that features current BBBV and ex-ELO Part II member Phil Bates in tandem with former CBB member Derek Holt - who was himself also a former band mate of ELO Part II co-founder Pete Haycock. Watch this space!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 10-Dec-2011

Thursday, 8 December 2011

New Developments in Mike Edwards Case #3

#281: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS received another telephone call this evening from my good friend and erstwhile ELOBF roving reporter down in South Devon - Pete Reynolds - informing me that there has been another interesting development in the sad story of the unlucky and tragic demise of former ELO cellist Mike Edwards last year:

The news is that farmer Brian Burden and agricultural contractor Russell Williams, have been given unconditional bail and the case has now been committed to Plymouth Crown Court on Monday 23rd January 2012. Both defendants have been charged with Health and Safety offences relating to operations on farmland at Halwell, near Totnes in September 2010. The case continues.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 08-Dec-2011

Monday, 5 December 2011

Caught Live (2): Band On The Runn @ The River Rooms 04/12/11

#280: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS travelled the ten miles or so to nearby Stourbridge last night (Sunday 4th December) in order to attend what was only my second ever Band On The Runn gig at the marvellous River Rooms venue. Band On The Runn are a relatively new West Midlands based act who perform a wide-ranging set covering most (if not all) of the musical career of Sir Paul McCartney and have been previously featured on ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) thus:

As mentioned before; it is a great pleasure of mine to be able to able to go out and about to hear, see and support local bands in the ELO and Beatles universe doing their thing. During the unbroken two hour set last night, Band On The Runn demonstrated a noticeable increase in maturity and looked a lot more comfortable in front of the appreciative audience. In short, I would say that the band graduated last night onto the next level of their musical journey.

The fine keyboard work of Adam Willetts ably supported the driving percussion of Dave Cottle whilst the sublime guitar work of Ian Hammond was a marvellous foil to lead vocalist, guitarist and piano tinkler Craig Whale as the band re-interpreted those classic compositions of Paul McCartney from the very first Beatles album right through his Wings career and beyond. All the familiar songs were there and the set hinged nicely around most of the "Band On The Run" album.

It was a successful gig in this writers opinion but a band like this should be headlining venues on a Friday or Saturday night to maximize their potential and that of their potential fan base. A tight, accomplished performance produced great live versions of "Jet", "Flaming Pie", "Hey Jude""Coming Up", "Back In The USSR", "Hey Jude", "Let 'Em In", "My Love", "Live And Let Die", "1985", "Let It Be" and "Drive My Car" amongst not a few others. But for me - once again - my fave song of the night was "The Long And Winding Road".

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Band On The Runn to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, The Beatles, 'Brum Beat' and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 05-Dec-2011

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Recommended: Debra Dee's Exhibition of Roy Wood Art

#279: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Debra Dee is a supremely talented Australian artist who has produced some excellent portraits of The Move and ELO co-founder Roy Wood amongst others. You can catch a glimpse of her work if you visit Woody's Bar at The Robin 2 in Bilston near Wolverhampton because you will find one of her wonderful Roy Wood portraits proudly displayed just inside the front door (unveiled back in June 2011) thus:

Yours Truly KJS has been talking to Debra about her portfolio and have some exciting news pertaining to her work dedicated to Roy Wood. An exhibition of many of Debra's interpretive paintings of Roy Wood will open next year on Thursday 2nd February and run until Thursday 23rd February at St. Pauls Gallery in Birmingham in a three week run. And with painting titles such as "Reflections", "The Muse" and "White Magic" - one can only count down the days until the exhibition begins.

The opening night will see a host of 1960's and 1970's music personalities in attendance and hopefully Roy will be in attendance too. This whole three week event is a must for fans of Roy Wood, ELO, The Move and Wizzard to see not only these great paintings of Roy but also appreciate the talent and artistic licence of Debra. I hope to attend the premiere with Martin Kinch of Cherry Blossom Clinic. You can visit their web sites and/or Facebook pages via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Debra Dee's Exhibition Of Roy Wood Art to those enlightened folks who also like ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 03-Dec-2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

Recommended: Dave & Mandy Scott-Morgan

#278: Hello again folks! A thoroughly enjoyable video is doing the rounds on YouTube featuring Dave Scott-Morgan (former member of ELO between 1981-86) in an interview which covers his musical career to date and his gospel concert presentation with wife Mandy. It's interesting to hear excerpts of the interview as Dave talks about his musical roots in Birmingham including his time with Danny King, the formation of The Move and, of course, his time with ELO. Dave also mentions in the abridged interview that he covers "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Livin' Thing" during his concerts and also talks about his conversion to Christianity in 1988. Visitors to ELOBF will be aware that Dave and ELO keyboard maestro Richard Tandy re-released their excellent "Earthrise" concept album earlier this year to rave reviews thus:

Yours Truly KJS is also pleased to announce that I hope to interview both Dave and former ELO sound engineer Colin Owen about their music careers, testimonies and Christian ministry for ELOBF in days yet future. Find out more via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Dave & Mandy Scott-Morgan 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-Dec-2011