Wednesday, 27 February 2013

George @ 70: All Those Years Ago (David Myhr)

#505: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) has long been an admirer of Swedish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Myhr.

His excellent album "Soundshine" was a musical highlight last year and David's live performance in hometown Piteå (click here to view) has also been featured as was his Abbey Road take on "Never Mine" and his fantastic cover of the 10CC classic "The Things We Do For Love" for the much anticipated Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock project. David has now released a video of his tribute to George Harrison (and by extension John Lennon) - an acoustic cover of "All Those Years Ago" - on what would have been George's 70th birthday earlier this week thus:
And the really good news is that David is playing a rare UK acoustic gig on Tuesday 21st May in central London at The Betsy Trotwood, ably supported by Mick Terry. Yours Truly KJS hopes to be there. Tickets are priced at just £7.50 each and you can purchase them here

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends David Myhr to those enlightened folks who also like ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, 'Brum Beat', The Move, The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 27-Feb-2013

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Japanese Jewels: ELO & Jeff Lynne Bonus Trax

#504: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) are pleased to confirm that the Japanese CD editions of the trio of new ELO & Jeff Lynne releases: "Live", "Zoom" and "Armchair Theatre" on Wednesday 17th April will each contain these additional bonus trax thus:

"Electric Light Orchestra Live"
(14) "Telephone Line" (Live from Bungalow Palace)
(16) "Lucky Motel" (Previously Unreleased)
"Armchair Theatre"
(14) "Strange Magic" (Live from Bungalow Palace)

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 26-Feb-2013

Monday, 25 February 2013

Recommended: Loving One Another (BGO)

#503: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Sunday 24th February saw the worldwide premiere of the new music video by Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) which accompanies the wondeful "Loving One Another" from their recent "BGO II" release back in October 2012.
BGO supremo Michael Laine Hildebrandt afforded me the honour of viewing the video in advance of its official premiere last weekend. "Loving One Another" also includes a cameo performance by Michael whilst being a fine testimony to the talent of MLH and his excellent BGO project! Watch the official music video below!
Don't forget that "Loving One Another" and "BGO II" are still available to purchase via the Official BGO web site thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Loving One Another" and "BGO II" by Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) 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 ... 25-Feb-2013

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Review: Obscuriosity (Stephen Lawrenson)

#502: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS was most pleased when Stephen Lawrenson first contacted me a couple of weeks ago about his newly released album "Obscuriosity".

Stephen has been following ELO Beatles Forever for some time and felt that his new recording would appeal to folks who visit ELOBF being as he is a huge Jeff Lynne fan and that recent reviews of "Obscuriosity" (as well as his other two albums "Somewhere Else" and "Every Summer") have mentioned the obvious influence of the ELO maestro. The ten track CD arrived earlier this week after traversing the Atlantic and even after one play, it strikes me as a very good album. Indeed, after reading this overview of the album before that, I immediately bought the mp3 downloads of "Words To Say" and "Pale Yellow"  - out of "Obscuriosity" - and was literally "Blown Away" by them upon first listen:

"WOW!! Stephen makes quite a pop splash here on his 2013 Kool Kat debut! And to drive home this point, the crack "Pop Squad" of Kool Kat insiders/contributors cheerfully chime in! "Playing every note on the record, he proudly wears his pop influences on his sleeve. Tell me "Small White House" wouldn't pass for a Brian Wilson-penned song. His inner Jeff Lynne pops up on both "Pale Yellow" and the 12-string laced "Words To Say"" (Count Keef), "It's intelligent, well written, and completely catchy. Awesome, just awesome power pop, with loads of great hooks, melodies and harmonies. It rocks. It moves you. A masterful malange of 60's, 70's, and 80's guitar rock mixed and matched with no concern for the name check. That's how good this is. Five stars isn't enough. Six, maybe!" (MR Gomez), "What do you think would happen if you threw The Goldbergs, The Beatles, Three Hour Tour, Teenage Fan Club (in their fuzzy period), Big Star, The Posies (circa "Frosting On The Beater"), "Pet Sounds" period Brian Wilson, and the Electric Light Orchestra into a giant pop blender? You'd get Stephen Lawrenson, That's what!" (Max Humphries), Well guys, you've summed Stephen up quite nicely we must say!"
"Obscuriosity" is a fine album, full of originality, verve (with those  Jeff Lynne influences apparent) and varying musical styles. This is a fine showcase for this particular singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. From the manic opener "Your Karma" to the signature title track to the superlative "Words To Say" (which is more Beatlesque than even the Fab Four were themselves at times!) to "Small White House" (very much later Beach Boysto the bass driven power pop of "Second Time Around" (reminiscent of Paul Weller and later The Jam) to the rousing, multi-layered, marvellous choir-backed closer "Pale Yellow" (which could be an ELO track in anything other than name), the whole album is a wonderful expose of the talent who is Stephen Lawrenson. I like it ... a lot! (10/10)

You can check out and purchase the music of Stephen Lawrenson including "Obscuriosity" for your good selves by visiting these web sites thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Obscuriosity" by Stephen Lawrenson 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-Feb-2013

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Interview: Bryan Gibson (Session 60)

#501: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This is an interview long in the making! Back in the early days of ELOBF in June 2009, shortly after the death of the late, great Kelly Groucutt, Yours Truly KJS posted this article about the role of Kelly in his 'other' band: Session 60 thus:

Recommended: 60's Sessions (Session 60)

At about that time, Bryan Gibson contacted me and mentioned his involvement with Session 60 and how sad he was that the group had disbanded. I wanted to find out more about Session 60, those links with the much-missed ELO musician and the Midlands music scene in general so I put together an interview with Bryan about his career and that of Session 60. Henceforth, and amazingly so, nearly four years later, both Bryan and I have managed to complete that interview! What follows is an interesting dialogue that not only strengthens those links between Session 60 and ELO, but also delves into the 'Brum Beat' scene and highlights the colourful musical career of one Bryan Gibson.

BG: A bit of background first ... A brief history of Session 60: In November 1989, Tim Bellamy put together Session 60 to play a fundraising night at the Hatherton Country Club in Penkridge for the Rainbow House Children’s Hospice. Tim, a highly popular and charismatic figure, had played drums in many bands in the Birmingham area throughout the sixties and seventies and he wasn't short of well known pals willing to do the gig. Tim had been in The Chantelles with Dave Morgan, so Dave along with Richard Tandy (both, of course, from ELO) joined the band. The line-up was completed by Graham Clarke on Bass (another stalwart of the Birmingham scene) and Phil Hicken of The Steelwater Gang on lead guitar. Dave Hill of Slade popped along to auction some of his stage gear and a fine night was had by all.
The band found themselves in demand and were soon inundated with requests to do more gigs, but after a while Tandy, Morgan and Hicken had to bow out having commitments elsewhere. Tim then drafted in Steve Stuart and Gordon Bennett, both on vocals and guitar. Steve Stuart had been performing in the Midlands and abroad for many years and was popular on the USAF bases in Europe; Gordon was well known on the BrumBeat circuit. So off they went and began building a reputation in the social club scene in the Midlands. After a couple of years, Bennett left the band, and that’s where I came in.
About a year after I joined, Graham Clarke left, I don’t think the two events were connected. Graham was replaced on bass by Steve Horton. Again, Steve was well known on the scene having been in Denny Laine and The Diplomats and (I think) an early Moody Blues. We became very popular on the social club circuit and were never short of work. Gradually, we started going further afield and picking up work with Butlins and Gala clubs, often being booked as support to the likes of Gerry and The Pacemakers, Joe Brown, Marty Wilde, The Searchers etc. It was usual for a weekend to consist of, for example, Friday in Southampton, Saturday in Birmingham and Sunday in Liverpool. I always travelled ahead with Paul, our roadie and sound engineer, to set the stage up so that the others could swan in, do the gig and clear off, leaving Paul and I to take it all apart and load the van. I got paid extra, so I didn't mind. Steve Horton was a great guy, but a little fiery, and left the band abruptly after a spot of fisticuffs with Steve Stuart. Step forward Bob Blair, who saved the day coming in on bass at less than 24 hours notice to play a 2,000 seat gig in Hull. Bob remained as bass player for the rest of my time with the band. A really solid player, utterly reliable, and with a musical education to boot, he remains my favourite bass player.
I left the band after twelve great years. I was replaced by a guy called Adrian (never knew his surname) who was a completely different player and he changed the feel of the band. I play in a very straightforward way, no effects, just guitar, amp, turn it up to eleven and off we go! Adrian was much more studied in his playing. Hi-tech gear and a bank of effects pedals, his sound was more lush and versatile and Session 60 moved from being The Rolling Stones to being Pink Floyd, as it were. I lost touch with them after that, but would have loved to have gone along to their final gig.
KJS: So what was your musical journey before your time with Session 60?
BG: Like a lot teenagers, I spent much of my youth in and out of various bands attempting to play Rock covers in local pubs. As usual, these bands would rehearse for six months, do one shambolic gig and split up. When I was about 18, a friend of mine, Pete May, who wrote lyrics, started putting together a small home studio and, together with some other friends, we began writing and recording. Some of the stuff we did was quite good, and I still listen to the old cassette tapes occasionally. In about 1981, I met a folk singer called Jood York (who had the most beautiful voice) and we soon put together a little folk band called Lazy Bob. This lasted a couple of years and I became interested in the Folk-Rock scene, Fairport Convention etc. Following this lead, I joined a band called Black Pig with some like minded pals and started gigging the folk clubs of Birmingham. This band included Dominic Allan (now a bagpipe maker in Somerset and still gigging in that area), Dave Simcox (who records and performs under the moniker of Bruford Lowe) and Simon Allan (who now performs with his wife in the Leeds and Bradford area as the popular folk duo Strid). You can find all these folk on Facebook and listen to what they are up to now.
KJS: How did you become a part of Session 60?
BG: I had a friend, a professional entertainer, called Stuart ‘The Rockin’ Jock’ McDonald. He had done a show with Session 60 and in conversation they mentioned that Gordon was leaving the band and that they needed a lead guitarist. Stuart gave them my name and called me the next day. Tim Bellamy got in touch and I went along to an audition. I played one number with them ("Wonderful Tonight") and I was in the band.
KJS: What was your musical journey following your time with Session 60?
BG: My first love has always been the Blues. Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf etc. I love Rory Gallagher and Peter Green (I want to be Rory Gallagher when I grow up!) and I play electric Blues in that sort of style. So, I got together with a couple of guys, and a string of temporary drummers, to form The Fridge Magnets.

We played lots of gigs round Birmingham, a couple of festivals and developed a bit of a following. We eventually settled with a steady drummer named Stuart Wilson. He was (and probably still is) Glenn Hughes' cousin and had been in early Trapeze with Glenn. He went on to be a session drummer in the 1970’s, playing on stuff by The Knack and others. Most recently he received the call to Abbey Road to play on the new Pixie Lott album. After The Fridge Magnets fizzled out I met a lunatic called Tony Mottram. Tony is a well known Rock ’n’ Roll photographer. He has worked with everyone, done album covers, and toured the world as official camera jockey with Aerosmith, The Clash, Eric Clapton name ‘em ... he’s done ‘em. Anyway, Tony plays bass, and wherever he has lived he has had a Blues band called 58 Deluxe.
Before I knew it, I was signed up and then followed seven years gigging all round the country and having a ball. The line-up was me (guitar/vocals), Tony Mottram (Bass), Mario Blowman (Drums) and Tony Stokes (Harmonica). It was the most fun I’ve ever had in a band and we developed a strong following. I stayed with them until 2010 when I suddenly decided to up sticks and move to The Outer Hebrides.
KJS: Although you never crossed paths with Kelly in the band, did you ever meet him or any of the ELO and related musical family in any other capacity?
BG: Kelly and other ELO folk used to turn up at Session 60 gigs now and then and were always great fun. I can’t say I knew him well, but it was always good to see him and he would hang out after the gig. I’m glad to have known him, if only slightly. We worked with The Rockin’ Berries a lot and in the afternoon, after the sound check, Keith Smart was always up for a jam and we would play all kinds of stuff! I always enjoyed that.
KJS: Your musical influences are?
BG: First influence: Focus. It was listening to "Sylvia" on Radio Luxembourg under the bedclothes that made me want to learn to play guitar. Thereafter, all the major guitar players, Page, Gilmour ... but once I came across Rory Gallagher, that was it!
KJS: Your most memorable moment with Session 60?
BG: Loads! Meeting, and playing huge gigs with the likes of Gerry Marsden. The Sixties themed weekends at Butlins in Llandudno where we would do all the support spots: Freddie and the Dreamers, The Real Thing ... loads of them! We did it for years. And then there was Paul falling asleep at the wheel of the van on the M1 and veering across the carriageway because he dreamed he’d seen a battleship crossing the road ahead of us!
KJS: And what is Bryan Gibson up to these days?
BG: I’ve just left the Hebrides and moved back to Oban on the mainland. I have met a few Blues players and am hoping to get something together. However, in October last year, I fell and badly broke my right hand. It has not healed well and I find playing difficult now. Certainly my finger-picking has suffered as two of my fingers are slightly twisted and no longer where I think they are. So if I try to play an acoustic piece like "Anji", half the notes are missing. It’s going to take some re-learning. Using a pick is not too bad, but my hand and wrist are very stiff. I shall persevere though!
KJS: Finally a question that I always ask ... your favourite ELO song is?
BG: Well, the first ELO single I ever heard was "Roll Over Beethoven" - which I rushed out and bought, but that's not one of theirs really. So, I’ll have to go with ... "Mr. Blue Sky". I love the arrangement! Hope this is all OK and that you managed to stay awake, Keith!

I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did writing it up! ELO Beatles Forever wishes to extend many thanx to Bryan Gibson for his participation in this interview and looks forward to informing visitors to KJS/ELOBF about his next musical projects in the near future.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 20-Feb-2013

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

April Release for ELO & Jeff Lynne Album Trio

#500: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It seems most apt that this ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) article heralds the much anticipated next batch of ELO/Jeff Lynne releases by Frontiers Records/Big Trilby Records, which have just been confirmed in this Frontiers press release thus: 
The release trio - available in CD, download and limited edition (coloured) vinyl formats - will be headlined by "Electric Light Orchestra Live" (CD: Special Ecobook Edition) which will comprise these songs from the "Zoom" PBS Television Special in 2001: "Evil Woman" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Secret Messages" (*) ~ "Livin’ Thing" ~ "Sweet Talkin’ Woman" (*) ~ "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ "Can’t Get It Out Of My Head" ~ "Twilight" (*) ~ "Confusion" (*) ~ "Don’t Bring Me Down" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven" ~ "Out Of Luck" (Bonus/previously unreleased/2010) ~ "Cold Feet" (Bonus/previously unreleased/1992). Note: (*) not included in the "Zoom Tour Live" DVD.
Next on the release roster is the remastered edition of the 2001 album "Zoom" will feature thirteen trax from the original release plus "One Day" (Bonus/previously unreleased/2004) and "Turn To Stone" from the aforementioned 2001 "Zoom" PBS Television Special. Yours Truly KJS can confirm that "Long Black Road" (originally an additional track within the Japanese edition of "Zoom") will not feature in this particular edition.
Last - but not least - is the remastered edition of the 1990 debut Jeff Lynne solo album "Armchair Theatre" which will feature all eleven original tracks as well as "Borderline" (Bonus/previously found on the CD/12" single edition of "Lift Me Up") and "Forecast" (Bonus/previously unreleased/ 1989).

Worldwide Release Schedule
Wednesday 17th April (Japan) ~ Friday 19th April (Europe) ~ Monday 22nd April (UK) ~ Tuesday 23rd April (US)

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will publish pre-ordering details as soon as they become available. It's looking like another bountiful year for ELO/Jeff Lynne fans, followers and collectors to savour!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 19-Feb-2013

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Paul Melancon: Jeff Lynne

#499: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! My good friend Toshiki Komeda over at ELO・Moveファン (Japan) recently alerted Yours Truly KJS & ELO Beatles Forever to a wonderful song by talented Atlanta singer/songwriter Paul Melancon which more than name checks a certain ELO maestro. entitled "Jeff Lynne". You can watch the above live version or the equally superb original studio recording below thus:

"Jeff Lynne" by Paul Melancon is taken from his 2002 album "Camera Obscura" and can be purchased digitally via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Jeff Lynne" by Paul Melancon 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 ... 17-Feb-2013

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Recommended: elobeatlesforever #3

#498: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Did you know that Yours Truly KJS and  ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) also has a channel entitled (strangely enough) elobeatlesforever over at YouTube?

You can find videos (at the time of writing) including all those ELOBF featured artistes including: Kracked Earth, David Myhr, Pugwash, Symphonika, Dave Scott-Morgan, ELO, Kelly Groucutt, Bev Bevan, The 286, Maxi Dunn and The Trembling Wilburys amongst not a few others! You can check out elobeatlesforever by clicking on this link thus:

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 16-Feb-2013

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Caught Live: Dave Scott-Morgan @ Bodenham Boudoir 14/02/13

#497: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS has just finished watching and listening to a hugely enjoyable one hour streamed set live from The Bodenham Boudoir featuring former ELO member (1981-86) Dave Scott-Morgan, his wife Mandy and a talented local Indie band by the name of Winston's Big Brother.

This homely and intimate gig showcased not only songs from Dave's new album "Across The Divide" but also featured covers of Beatles, Sixties and ELO classics. The set list included "Girl In A Jaguar""Across The Divide""Benediction" and "Mission Impossible" from XTD plus covers of "Come Together""This Boy""Sea Of Heartbreak" and "Love Hurts" et al. The evening was completed by nice renditions of "Telephone Line" and "Mr. Blue Sky". The whole set can be viewed via or YouTube (at the time of writing).

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Dave Scott-Morgan and Winston's Big Brother 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 ... 14-Feb-2013

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Recommended: Toxic Melons

#496: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Just after I had posted my review of the new Maxi Dunn album Edmund & Leo last week, I was contacted by Paul Fairbairn regarding his musical progeny Toxic MelonsPaul told Yours Truly KJS that "The Beatles and ELO are big influences on what I do." His four track EP "International Accident" (October 2012) and nine track album "Melon Jam" (January 2013) followed thereafter for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) to sample.

A cursory glance at their Bandcamp page reveals that the band list Electric Light Orchestra, The Beatles and The Move as their influences amongst The Divine Comedy, The Beach Boys and The Zombies et al. And you can add to that list of influences The Idle Race. Both records contain tracks that much remind the listener of those eclectic and innovative pre-ELO recordings of Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood. There are many styles on display in both recordings and this is the reason that Toxic Melons are worth a listen to. Their latest EP release "International Accident" has a much more developed and mature sound to it replete with strings and layered harmonised backing vocals particularly with "Diffidence" and "Ode To Procrastination". "Melon Jam" is equally diverse in styles yet delivers a nice set of songs that showcase the writing and talent of Paul Fairbairn, especially when one has a listen a couple of times to the likes of "Today Didn't Go", "All In A Dream""The Dole Revisited" and "Tomorrow".
With their first two releases priced at just £5 and £2 each respectively, a visit to the Toxic Melons Bandcamp page is well worth it - as is checking out all of their various websites thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Toxic Melons 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 ... 13-Feb-2013

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Recommended: She Was Never Really There (Arthur Nasson)

#495: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) is pleased to recommend and endorse this superb song and music video by Arthur Nasson entitled "She Was Never Really There"Arthur contacted Yours Truly KJS this week with this video and told me that MTV (US and Canada) have just picked it up and it is also featured by the likes of Blurt, Yahoo News and Neufutur among others. It's a catchy tune that very much mingles Beatles and ELO influences whilst demonstrating the many musical talents of the artiste.

Why not also check out Arthur's website &/or consider buying his latest album "West Cambridge Cowboys" from iTunes (which, of course, includes "She Was Never Really There") thus:

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends Arthur Nasson 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 ... 12-Feb-2013

Friday, 8 February 2013

Recommended: Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock

#494: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again!  Just wanted to give you a 'heads up' about an exciting new project being produced by Andrew CurryDrink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock is the coming together of over two dozen Indie recording artistes in tribute to those Lite Rock hits of the seventies and eighties by the likes of 10cc, Leo Sayer, Climax Blues Band and Andrew Gold - amongst many others. Indeed, Yours Truly KJS is excited that ELOBF recommended artiste David Myhr has recorded his version of the 10cc classic "The Things We Do For Love" for the album:
A CD and vinyl release is planned for May 2013 provided that the necessary $10,000 in pledges is attained by Saturday 9th March. At the time of writing, over $2,600 has already been raised so the project is well on its way to fruition. You can read up on and donate to the project by visiting their Facebook and Kickstarter fund raising pages thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 08-Feb-2013

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Review: Edmund & Leo (Maxi Dunn)

#493: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It really is a pleasure to support talented artistes who emanate from the musical heartlands of the Midlands and Liverpool out there in the ELOBF universe. And I have to say also that I have been blessed to discover the gifted singer/songstress Maxi Dunn over the last eighteen months or so too. Maxine is just about to release her third album entitled "Edmund & Leo" - out on Monday 25th February - and I've been in happy receipt of what is a beautiful gatefold CD package this week for the purposes of this review.
In many ways, "Edmund & Leo" continues in the themes and style of its predecessors "Welcome To Soonville" and "The Neglected Gambit" yet it also represents an immense musical advancement. The themes of angst and lost love are still there but this album has more warmth and hope sprinkled throughout. Indeed, if all three releases were a trilogy, then this record would be a more than fitting climax. "Edmund & Leo" also sees the return of talented producer Peter Hackett (alias Cult of Wedge) in this superb sonic collaboration. The musical marriage of Maxi and Pete continues to blossom and impress, especially with the addition of the adept and rhythmic percussion of Damon Roots to the partnership.

"Edmund & Leo" comprises twelve wonderful songs penned by the pensive Maxi from the opening title track, reminiscent of "Welcome To Soonville" itself, through to the excellent closing crescendo of "Meteor Shower". The soaring vocals of Maxi are a perfect match to the programming, guitar work and ELO influenced production values of Pete Hackett with excellent effect. The four pre-release singles "Dragonfly""Watching The Stars""Change The Record" and "I'm Only Here Because Of You" underpin the recording but tracks such as the funky "Buffoon Man" and "Everything" absolutely shine. Indeed, there really are no weak tracks here. At the time of writing, I can only settle on two co-faves: "Dragonfly" - a superb song that should grace any radio play list - and "I'm Only Here Because Of You" - a lovely, upbeat, feel good heartfelt romp.

Yours Truly KJS managed to catch up with Maxi for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) earlier this week and I asked her for a brief commentary on each song thus:

"Edmund & Leo": The album is named after my primary and high schools (St. Edmund Arrowsmith RC Comprehensive and St. Leo's Primary). We recorded this last, the grand finale track, although it kicks the album off. I was unsure of which direction to take it, but I am very happy with the end result!
"Change The Record": This is definitely one of the big pop songs on the album. It had to have lots of guitars and a great guitar solo.
"Dragonfly": Originally inspired by my daughter running away from a dragonfly one day and me shouting to her: "Don't be scared of the dragonfly!". A few days later a song emerged, taking into account how I was feeling at the time. Life is short and it doesn't always turn out how we had hoped. We shouldn't cling onto the past as current happiness is passing us by meanwhile. I was definitely coming around to the idea that I could be happy again one day and all those "choices" may not be there any more. They have most definitely gone for "some people".
"Bite Your Tongue": We all have to do this at times, I know. The Internet and social pages can turn us mad sometimes. There is always going to be something from your past creeping back now and again. I learned to bite my tongue a lot and I would chant to myself "it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter" ... "I carry on regardless, it's the British way to be". Also, Damon performs some beautiful percussion on this!
"Take It Or Leave It": This maybe a little country [some of my Dad's influences coming out in me here] and it reminds me a bit of the late Kirsty McColl. Another great guitar solo from Pete. This was a song I wrote about myself, from the outside and looking in at what I had become. Again, time for change song.
"Buffoon Man": I wrote this while we were working on The Neglected Gambit. I remember I was off work, sick, when I wrote it. I was going to include it as a hidden track but changed my mind last minute. It isn't a nice song and thought it was a bit harsh - but true. I am at a stage now where it doesn't matter and I really don't care. I wanted to give it a bit of a cheesy feel, but it ended up with a great groove.
"I'm Only Here Because of You": This was the last song written for the album and the last song I wrote before I moved house back in May. I am definitely saying here "time to change this lifestyle and to start enjoying life again". It is quite a sweet song though, imagining care and comfort from a lost love in the shape of a blackbird that used to sing outside my window, during the spring.
"Everything": I actually whistle on this at the start ha ha! I was recording vocals one day and as I was listening through I found myself whistling this melody. I thought "Oooh, that's quite nice!". So I recorded it up and sent it to Pete. It then became part of the intro of the song. The perils of the hurt of seeing lost loves on the Internet - trying to be nasty but knowing you miss them deep down.
"Cover Me": Another song I wrote during the recording of The Neglected Gambit. This I gave away with pre-orders. For Edmund & Leo, I recorded the vocals again and had it remixed. I wrote this after finding out some really bad news during the Summer of 2011. It shook me up and upset me for a while. There is someone in this world who definitely left a void in my life. It took a long time to get over it/him.
"Watching The Stars": I was inspired to write this after watching the Nicholas Cage film "Knowing". Even if people leave your life, one day your stars may align again, be it here or in a different lifetime. Also, why worry, the sun will burn us all anyway, one day. Ha! Positive ending there!
"Tuxedo Cat": I always say this song may put men off wearing tuxedo suits! Ha! It is based around a photograph. One little photograph. It isn't a nice song.
"Meteor Shower": I needed to get away from writing songs about lost love and "Miss you, love you" etc. I was looking for a dramatic ending to the album. There was a lot in the news about meteor showers at the time and I was inspired to write something around that. Pete and Damon totally rock their socks off on this track - they are total animals! :-) This would be amazing live and look forward to performing it one day.

"Edmund & Leo" will be released in CD & digital format on Monday 25th February and is available to order from the official Maxi Dunn website thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Edmund & Leo" by Maxi Dunn 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 ... 06-Feb-2013

Monday, 4 February 2013

Recommended: The Traveling Pilburys

#492: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! I have discovered this last week that there is a Birmingham based band who, despite what the name suggests, are not only a tribute act covering purely The Traveling Wilburys. Touring the Midlands from time to time, The Traveling Pilburys are a five piece band - with strong ELO and Jeff Lynne connections - who deliver a strong set of songs across four decades which, of course, includes songs from The Beatles (their musical heroes)The Traveling Wilburys, Roy Orbison and a selection of other artistes. There is so much more to this band than that. Here's what the band say about themselves:

"The Traveling Pilburys are a five piece band based in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. Formed out of a bunch of ex-professional musicians from the sixties, who got together for a bit of fun in 2008. It started as a jam session, when one time Andicaps guitarist and vocalist Jake Commander returned from his adopted home in New Hampshire, USA and wanted to get together and play live music with some of his old band mates. Not a de facto tribute band, as the name might suggest, but with Jake and John Kerton's connection with Jeff Lynne, the cross-Atlantic trip Jake had made back home and the fact that we are all a little more 'Pilbury dough' than we were in the 1960's, the name Traveling Pilburys just seemed to fit!

Founder members include John Kerton, who joined The Andicaps as front man and lead vocalist in 1964, alongside Jeff Lynne on guitar, later of course of The Idle Race, The Move and ELO. John went on to front the band Red Sun for many years before becoming band leader on the QE2. Jake replaced Jeff in 1965 and went on to front the band Ochre Daydream, becoming live on-stage engineer with ELO in the late seventies and backing vocalist on a number of ELO world tours and on the Jeff Lynne solo album "Armchair Theatre"Steph Griffin (of Decca recording artistes Sundance and Ochre Daydream) joined the fun on keyboards alongside. Graham Savage formerly of Zeth, The Likely Lads (and too many other forgettable names to mention!) on bass and supporting vocals. Jake returned home to New Hampshire, USA in late 2008, but the band had such a ball that they wanted to stick together and carry on playing good time, crowd pleasing music. After a number of personnel changes, the current line up was completed early in 2012 when Conrad Carpenter (formerly of Eagles tribute band Talon) joined on lead guitar and vocals, together with John Wilson on drums (formerly with Zeth, The Likely Lads and Alvin Stardust). So here we are today - five guys of a 'certain' age, but who can rock and roll, swing, swoon and sway with the best of them. Our set list is extensive and varied with songs that everyone will know from their past and they are delivered with a passion and professionalism that few others can match."
Yours Truly KJS caught up with bassist Graham Savage earlier this last week and he told me that the band were indeed "big Beatles and ELO fans and (in particular) of the work of Jeff Lynne". Graham also told me that the band plan to cover some Tom Petty songs in the near future plus some tracks from the Jeff Lynne album "Long Wave" too! So why not check out the band and what they are currently up to via their official website thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The Traveling Pilburys to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneThe Traveling WilburysRoy Wood'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 04-Feb-2013

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Limited Edition Morgan Red Vinyl Single

#491: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Dave-Scott Morgan has released a limited edition cherry red 7" picture sleeved vinyl single featuring two trax from his excellent 2011 album "Across The Divide", an album significantly featured here on ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) in recent months thus:

The single contains the songs "Mission Impossible" and "Normal Day" and only forty copies have been pressed. This attractive and collectible release comes not only autographed by Dave but also with a free download (in a choice of formats) of the "Across The Divide" album. The record is priced at £20 (plus P+P). Please click on this link should you wish to view &/or buy it:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Mission Impossible", "Normal Day" and "Across The Divide" by Morgan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 03-Feb-2013

Saturday, 2 February 2013

ELOBF: 4th Anniversary Today!

#490: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This is the 490th ELOBF article and today is Saturday 2nd February 2013 or Groundhog Day! It's also the fourth anniversary of this, my ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) article.

A lot has happened in that time. We've lost Kelly Groucutt and Mike Edwards yet we've also witnessed the return of ELO maestro Jeff Lynne - with original material - to the UK Top 10 album chart and our TV screens, amongst many other happenings. Indeed, 2013 promises much for the Electric Light Orchestra (and related artistes) fan base. May I take this opportunity to thank each and every visitor, reader and follower of ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) for journeying here and long may you long continue to do so! 

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 02-Feb-2013

Friday, 1 February 2013

Recommended: Symphonika

#489: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It's a measure of the successful return of ELO/Jeff Lynne to releasing new material and returning to the fore of the music scene that there is an increasing demand to hear the production values and the melodic, symphonic music of ELO live here in the UK and beyond. Yours Truly KJS recently made contact with another band who are not only looking to perform those Jeff Lynne penned songs live - but also a band writing, recording and releasing their own original music too. And the name of that band is Symphonika.

Symphonika are also known as The Explosive Light Orchestra when they take to the stage to perform the songs of ELO live. But what makes Symphonika somewhat different is that they are also right now in the studio recording their debut album of original material under the direction of legendary ELO engineer and Queen producer Reinhold Mack.

The Explosive Light Orchestra feature: Robin Myles (as Jeff Lynne), Julian Hutchings (as Bev Bevan)Joel Jordan (as Kelly Groucutt) and Mike Després (as Richard Tandy). Also featured in their show is an animated orchestra created by Emily Currie, who won the Worcestershire Film Festival last year using the Symphonika track "In Dreams" thus:

Symphonika (and The Explosive Light Orchestra) will be playing selected concerts in the UK this year as well as releasing and promoting their much anticipated Mack produced first album. Those gig dates can be found on their official website. Here are two confirmed upcoming Spring dates thus:

 Saturday 23rd March
The Blake Theatre, Monmouth
Tickets: £17 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 10th May
The Gate Arts & Community Centre, Cardiff
Tickets: £15 each (*plus booking fee)

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Symphonika to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood, The Move,  'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 01-Feb-2013