Sunday, 28 April 2013

Subdued Chart Performance for ELO & Jeff Lynne Album Trio

#532: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Although the trio of new ELO & Jeff Lynne releases failed to dent the UK Official Top 100 Album Chart this week, they do feature in the Independent Albums Top 40 with "Armchair Theatre" attaining #27, "Live" entering the chart at #34 and "Zoom" making #37.

It has to be said that the media campaign this time around has been somewhat subdued when compared to the fanfare that heralded "Long Wave" and "Mr. Blue Sky" last Autumn but the interest in the ELO fan base itself has been intense. A trio of releases on the same day by effectively the same artist has not aided their chart performance either.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 28-Apr-2013

Friday, 26 April 2013

Recommended: In Dreams (Symphonika)

#531: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Earlier this year, Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF introduced you to Symphonika a.k.a. Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO). An excellent video featuring their song "In Dreams" was included within that article as was the mention that they had been working with legendary former ELO engineer and Queen producer Reinhold Mack.

The band have now released "In Dreams (2013 Mack Mix)" as their debut single via iTunes and the song is well worth the investment as a symphonic rock track which perfectly fuses the ELO and Queen sound together, being a credit to both the band and their iconic producer. Here are some links to buy the song via their official website and revisit my ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) article thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Symphonika to those enlightened folks who also like ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

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

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Vinnie Zummo: Fab Four Homages Finito

#530: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Back in June 2012, Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) introduced you to Vinnie Zummo and would now like to bring to your attention that Vinnie has now completed recording tribute songs to each of his four Beatles heroes. They are: "John Lennon", "Ringo", "George Harrison" and now "Play Paul McCartney" respectively.
The good news is that twof the songs now have an accompanying music video available to view on his YouTube channel: Vazmusic and you can view both of them via ELOBF (see above). And if you listen to them, both songs have a real Lynnesque sound to them. They really are top notch. Vinnie also has plans to put together music videos for "John Lennon" and "George Harrison" too. There are also two John Lennon homages to sample entitled "Homicidal" and "Heartless" as well as two Beatles tribute songs entitled "Fab Gear" and "Can't You See" - all written, produced and recorded by Vinnie. All six tracks can be purchased and downloaded via reputable sites such as,, Reverbnation and MySpace. You can also check out Vazmusic and his Facebook fan club for more music and all the latest happenings.

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Vinnie Zummo to those enlightened folks who also like ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 25-Apr-2013

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Caught Live: Made In Brum @ Lichfield 17/04/13

#529: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It was a last minute decision to drive the short drive over to Lichfield on the evening of Wednesday 17th April to take an early look at the much anticipated Made In Brum show - featuring Jasper CarrottBev BevanTrevor BurtonJoy Strachan-BrainDanny KingGeoff TurtonTony Kelsey, Phil Tree and Abby Brant - early in their Midlands theatre tour. From the opening notes of the opening Midlands music medley through to the all ensembled encore of "Blackberry Way", this wonderful new production turned out to not only be a select few of Brummie superstars gracing the stage with their interpretations of the musical output of the 'Second City' but it was also their tribute to those Rock 'n' Roll, Blues and soul icons we all know and love from the 'Swinging Sixties' onwards.
 The music was ably supported by the genial comedy of the legendary Jasper Carrott, who had the audience eating out of his hand on not a few occasions with jokes such as "I went to Moseley Mixed school ... I knew it was bad because it had its own mortuary!" as well as taking lead vocals on "All Around My Hat". The percussion of Bev Bevan was, as ever, the heartbeat of the gig. It really was great to see and hear Bev playing an ELO song live for the first time since 1999 and he was in his element with Move mate Trevor Burton's rasping vocals for "Something Else" and "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" contrasted later on in the set by his superb rendition of "Drift Away".
Rockin' Berry Geoff Turton's wit and sheer showmanship meant that his performance of "Pretty Woman", backed by projected screen images of the late, great Roy Orbison, brought this writer to tears, as did his version of "Claudette". The surprise packet, of the night, for me, was Joy Strachan-Brain (Quill) who, with her effervescent stage presence and marvellous vocal range, was able to sing effortlessly in the style of Tina Turner and Dusty Springfield in consecutive songs.
And what can we say of the loveable Danny King? Only to say that he added his enigmatic royal vocals to "Save The Last Dance For Me" and was to provide the most moving moment of the night when, while the projected faces of Midlands musical heroes now departed graced the screen at the rear of the stage, he sang "My Prayer" from the wings. Indeed, at least two lumps in the throat occurred when the photographs of Carl Wayne and Kelly Groucutt were displayed. Truly moving indeed.
It should also be noted that The Bev Bevan Band were (again) superb with the clear vocals and sublime bass of Phil Tree in combination with the wonderful, bright and very talented newcomer, the awesome Abby Brant on keyboards. Last (but definitely not least) was Musical Director Tony Kelsey, who like any top notch arranger, not only pulled all the strands together in the many pre-tour rehearsals but also provided some awesome guitar work in support of all the artistes on show.

Act I: Overture (Peter Gunn/Apache/Keep On Running/Daytripper/Purple Haze/I'm A Man/Paranoid/Whole Lotta Love) ~ Gimme Some Lovin' ~ Something Else ~ I Can Hear The Grass Grow ~ Move It ~ True Love Ways ~ Claudette ~ You’ve Got Your Troubles ~ Pretty Woman ~ Nut Bush City Limits ~ Going Back ~ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ~ It Takes Two ~ Dancing In The Street. Act IIMystery Train ~ You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling ~ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? ~ Hold Me ~ Nights In White Satin ~ All Around My Hat ~ Surrender ~ Save The Last Dance For Me ~ My Prayer ~ Wild Thing ~ Drift Away ~ Hey Joe ~ Don’t Bring Me Down ~ Blackberry Way

Please note that some of the above photographs were expertly taken by and are courtesy of Sir Jeff Cooper.
At the time of writing, there are still twelve shows remaining so there is still a reasonable chance that you may be able to purchase tickets thus:

Wednesday 24th April: Palace Theatre, MansfieldTel. (01623) 633133
Thursday 25th April: Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham - Tel. (0844) 871 3011
Friday 26th April: Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham - Tel. (0844) 871 3011
Sunday 5th May: Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury - Tel. (01743) 281281
Thursday 9th May: Garrick Theatre, Lichfield - Tel. (01543) 412121
Wednesday 15th May: Palace Theatre, Redditch - Tel. (01527) 65203
Thursday 16th May: Palace Theatre, Redditch - Tel. (01527) 65203
Saturday 18th May: Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury - Tel. (01684) 295074
Thursday 23rd May: Opera House, Buxton - Tel. (0845) 127 2190
Friday 24th May: Civic Hall, Bedworth - Tel. (02476) 376707
Saturday 25th May: Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton - Tel. (01902) 429212
Thursday 30th May: Town Hall, Sutton Coldfield - Tel. (0121) 464 8990

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Made In Brum" 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 ... 23-Apr-2013

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Review: Armchair Theatre, Zoom & Live (Jeff Lynne/ELO)

3LO ... a trio of ELO/Jeff Lynne releases
#528: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The second ELO/Jeff Lynne multi-release in just over six months is now upon us with "Live""Zoom" and "Armchair Theatre" and this brings us not only the opportunity to revisit the long out of print 1990 Jeff Lynne debut solo album and the 2001 return of Jeff's re-vamped ELO but also the formal release of a selection of the songs from the "Zoom Tour Live" live set at CBS Television City in LA.
Two decades on, the listener is given an opportunity to enjoy and rediscover this first Jeff Lynne solo effort. The format of "Armchair Theatre" gave us a clue to the direction that Jeff Lynne was going to take in the post-Traveling Wiburys days that led up to 2012's "Long Wave" with its mixture of original songs combined with his own take on the likes of classic songs "Don't Let Go""Stormy Weather" and "September Song". The 2013 version sees those original tracks augmented by "Borderline" (previously released as bonus track on the CD and 12" single edition of "Lift Me Up") and "Forecast" (an unreleased 'bonus' track from 1989). Both tracks remind this writer a little of "Wild Times" from the "Robin Hood - Prince Of Thieves" OST in that they provide an apt and enjoyable new epilogue to an album not so much loved by critics but cherished by the fans. Our Japanese friends also get to hear "Strange Magic (Live from Bungalow Palace)" performed acoustically by Jeff and Richard Tandy within their edition. (9/10)
"Zoom" came along a full eleven years after "Armchair Theatre" loaded with the expectations of the press and the fan base with the return of a new spaceship and the.classic ELO branding. It was ultimately labelled as a Jeff Lynne album in all but name but, crucially, with the inclusion of Richard Tandy, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (in part), "Zoom" was a kind of ELO hybrid album fusing elements of the Jeff Lynne solo sound with songs still fully ELO - even after that fifteen year break. Again, the 2013 version sees the addition of two bonus trax in "One Day" (an unreleased 'bonus' track from 2004) and "Turn To Stone (Live)" from the "Zoom Tour Live" performance. "One Day" (one of the songs on the three track CD promoting the triple releases) is undoubtedly the pick of the 'new' ELO trax on offer and a worthwhile addition to the "Zoom" song set. Of note is the fact that there is no room for the 2001 Japanese bonus track "Long Black Road" this time around. The Japanese edition sees "Turn To Stone (Live)" supplanted by "Do Ya (Live)" and "Lucky Motel" - an instrumental ditty featuring (one supposes) the very ukulele given to Jeff by George Harrison. (9/10)
It is therefore quite natural to conclude this brief overview of the three new albums by turning to the first ever worldwide release of an ELO live album, aptly entitled "Electric Light Orchestra Live". This, for me, is the most anticipated of the three albums because we see the official issue of some of the "Zoom Tour Live" set as a bona fide album. The album artwork is neat with a rainbow coloured ELO spaceship and the track listing is: "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" and "Roll Over Beethoven". The bonus tracks are "Out Of Luck" (an unreleased song from 2010) and "Cold Feet" (also an unreleased song, but from 1992). The Japanese edition also includes "Telephone Line (Live from Bungalow Palace)" again performed acoustically by Jeff and RT. The CD features four songs not found on the "Zoom Tour Live" DVD but with, interestingly, none of the live "Zoom" songs being featured at all. For Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever, the real highlight of these releases is to hear "Secret Messages" as an 'official' live recording. (10/10)

All three albums have their selling points whether viewed as a whole or individually and will be a valuable and essential addition to the collection of any ELO/Jeff Lynne admirer. ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) has been pleased to feature these releases (in both CD/LP formats) thus:

The worldwide release schedule for the albums is Wednesday 17th April (Japan), Friday 19th April (Europe), Monday 22nd April (UK) and Tuesday 23rd April (US).
ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Live""Zoom" and "Armchair Theatre" by ELO & Jeff Lynne to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of the Electric Light OrchestraRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 21-Apr-2013

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Caught Live: Cult of Wedge @ Wednesbury 19/04/13

#527: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Regular visitors to ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will doubtless know that Yours truly KJS is indeed proud to also highlight local musicians who are influenced by ELO/Jeff Lynne, The Beatles and associated artistes. And one of those cultured artistes who has been featured on here is Cult of Wedge alias Peter Hackett.

So when I had the opportunity to meet up with this erstwhile multi-instrumentalist and Maxi Dunn producer at (of all places!) Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery last night (Friday 19th April) for a chat and to also witness his fifteen minute acoustic contribution to an evening of performances by local musicians in this unusual setting, I didn't need any persuasion to travel over and attend the gig.
And it was well worth it as Pete performed four songs on the night from both Cult Of Wedge albums "Tape Recorders Changed Everything" and "On The Green Seventy Seen" with acoustic renditions of "St. George And The Dragon""1977""On The Green Seventy Seen" and "Super Duper Sunshine Man". I really relished hearing these songs live and in person after they had become a familiar friend through my speakers and headphones - and my anticipation was justified.

Check out the music of Cult Of Wedge and some ELOBF album reviews here thus:

Cult Of
Review: Tape Recorders Changed Everything (Cult of Wedge)
Review: On The Green Seventy Seen (Cult of Wedge)

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Cult of Wedge 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 ... 20-Apr-2013

Monday, 15 April 2013

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

#526: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! As ELO approached their commercial peak between 1976 and 1982, their many visits to the Top 40 Single and Album charts in the UK, USA and beyond meant that they were often nestled alongside some of the classic radio friendly MOR and AOR artistes and songs that we still love, even now here in 2013.

So when Executive Producer Andrew Curry conceived the idea for "Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock" and enlisted Associate Producer Elizabeth Racz to help him compile an album of covers of those 'Lite Rock' classics of the late 70's and early 80's, reinterpreted by the pick of Indie pop artists of the present day, it was not only a step out in faith financially but also a bold stride towards the gathering of an eclectic and appealing collection of vibrant, new versions of those songs.

"Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock" is an impressive testimony to the vision of Andrew from start to finish. To approach, record, collate and integrate nearly thirty different artistes is no mean feat. And it works! Included here in the impressive roster of songs and artistes are ELOBF featured David Myhr with his excellent cover of the 10cc classic "The Things We Do For Love" and Vegas With Randolph with their version of "Cool Change", originally released by Little River Band.

There are many styles evident in these interpretations, whether it be the early thrash through "Just When I Needed You Most" by The Davenports or the classy "How Much I Feel" by Kyle Vincent or the acoustic "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight" by Kelly Jones or the sublime "Baby Come Back" by Bleu. Highlights for me also include Brandon Schott's "Thank You For Being A Friend"; "On And On" (The Sonic Executive Sessions) and "More Than I Can Say" by Linus Of Hollywood.

Of special mention must also be "Steal Away" by Mike Viola which often seems to morph into "What A Fool Believes"! Every track on here has its merits but if I have to pick a favourite then I have to defer to the aforementioned 10cc tribute by that Swedish Merrymaker David Myhr. Now that the necessary monies have been pledged via the successful Kickstarter campaign, a CD (and a limited edition 2CD) of up to 28 trax plus a limited edition LP of ten tracks will be available to order in advance of the official release date of Monday 29th April 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 WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 15-Apr-2013

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Interview: Steve Howard (Wings/BGO)

#525: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) are pleased to publish this long-in-the-works exclusive interview with Steve Howard - former member of Wings - fresh from his work with Michael Laine Hildebrandt, the man behind Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) - for this long-distance interview carried out in person on behalf of ELOBF by Michael himself in Texas a few short days ago:

ELOBF: My first question has to be how did you become involved with Michael on his song: “Blowin’ Away”?
SH: Michael and I have mutual friends here in the area where we both live. I met Michael several years ago and he had this song that he felt like the trumpet would be good on and he called me up and said “Would you like to come and play on it?” ... I said “Sure!” and we got together and did it.
ELOBF: What was it like working with Michael on BGO II?
SH: Well, it was real easy. Michael had clear ideas about what he wanted for the song and we got together in his studio and ran through the stuff a couple of times and started recording. He was real easy to work with and it was really a good project. I think it came out pretty well.
ELOBF: You played the very same trumpet that you played on all those tours with ‘Wings’ ... So what is the story behind that famed trumpet?
SH: Well that’s a real long story but I'll try to shorten it a bit! I started playing that horn back when I was a school at North Texas State University. I loved the way it played and the sound it had. Then I went to New Orleans, travelled down there and started playing for Allen Toussaint, record producer, and used that same horn to record on Patti LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” and Allen’s “Southern Nights” LP. It was also used on all the Wings stuff and then I also played it on a DVD of an Austin City Limits concert with Delbert McClinton. I used the horn all the time and I loved the horn except that the valves started kind of giving me some problems, so I went back to my old horn. My playing changed a bit when I went back to that original old horn, a Bach trumpet that I still play today. But I loved that old horn, it’s a great horn and we used it on Michael’s recording. 
ELOBF: Tell me about your career before you worked with Paul McCartney and ‘Wings’?
SH: Well, I was a dish washer at a local restaurant! Well, no actually I did do some dish washing and cooking back when I was a kid but before Paul McCartney and Wings! I guess the thing that launched me into the gig with them was that I had moved to New Orleans and was working for Allen Toussaint, record producer. I was pretty much his first call trumpet player at Sea-Saint Studio in the early seventies and when Paul McCartney came to town to record: “Venus and Mars”, they called me in to play on part of the session. I met McCartney and his arranger and trombonist Tony Dorsey, with whom we did the tours together. Tony wanted to hire me to play with the band, so that was it.
ELOBF: Steve, you toured extensively with the four piece brass section for both of the “Wings Over America” and “Wings Over Europe” tours. Who were your brass compatriots and what was life like on the road with them?
SH: Well, the other members of the horn section were Tony Dorsey, who was the arranger and the guy who initially got me hired on the gig through the connections at Sea-Saint. Tony played trombone, he had originally played with Joe Tex and the way that he got the gig with Wings was that Paul had heard some stuff that he had arranged on that Joe Tex album and had said: “I love that ... Get me ... find out who that guy is and get me in touch with him!”. So McCartney’s people tracked down Tony, he got hired and the rest is history with that! The other guys that were in the horn section were Thaddeus Richard, who was a friend of Tony’s and another Louisiana native. He’s from Thibodaux, Louisiana which is just outside of New Orleans. Thaddeus is an excellent musician, he’s a multi-instrumentalist, he plays bass and piano, an excellent piano player. He played the alto sax, the flute and the soprano sax on the tour. Thaddeus today (I still stay in touch with him), he lives in New Orleans and he’s most recently been seen in the: ‘Treme’ series on HBO and he’s the piano player in one of the bands that have been on there regularly. He’s had a reoccurring role and a couple of speaking roles actually in the film. You wouldn’t recognise him today because he’s been eating a lot of that good New Orleans food! And last but not least, is Howie Casey. Howie is the most famous of the Wings horns guys because he’s from Liverpool and he had a band called ‘Howie Casey and The Seniors’ which at one time was bigger than The Beatles ... and The Beatles actually opened for them! Howie is a dear friend and I stay in touch with him. He’s a great guy. We all had a lot of fun and we all got on real well ... so it was a lot of fun!
ELOBF: It must have been a tremendous time in your personal and musical life touring with Paul, Linda, Denny and the gang ... How did you end up in the ‘Wings’ set-up?
SH: Well, I pretty much covered that before how I wound up working for Wings through the New Orleans connection but yes it was a pretty interesting kind of a thing to go from playing in a little club on Bourbon Street, although I’d played in some pretty big concerts. I played at The Beacon Theatre and done some shows with Allen Toussaint for a few thousand people but I hadn’t played in front of a crowd of twenty or thirty or fifty or sixty thousand like we did with Wings. It was pretty different because I was only a young kid, about twenty five years old, when I was doing all that! It was pretty crazy but Paul and Linda and Denny and all the guys were real nice, easy people to be around. He included the horn section just like we were part of the family, so to speak. We travelled together and hung out together, went to their home and it was a lot of fun!
ELOBF: I’m sure that there were many highlights and that there are many stories from those days ... Care to share any tales that absolutely stand out from that time?
SH: Well, probably not so much for legal reasons, but I’ll just say that there were some moments and I guess I can tell you about one story that was pretty interesting. We used to have a guy who did all the pyrotechnics. When they played: “Live And Let Die”, they had all these flash pots that went off. He liked to drink a bit - as a lot of those guys did ... well all of us did – and one time he set a flash pot on the stage. It was pretty close to my backside. I could feel the heat coming from that thing and I almost jumped off the front of the riser when it went off because I wasn’t expecting it! It was usually farther back from us and that was a memorable thing but there were a lot of others too! But that was just one of them!
ELOBF: I know that ELO and ‘Wings’ were in the studio concurrently when they were recording: “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Live And Let Die”. But did you ever cross paths with Jeff Lynne and ELO when you were recording or out on the road?
SH: No, I never did ... I didn’t record on the original: “Live And Let Die” ... just on the live versions of that but I never met those guys, we never crossed paths. But I would have liked to!
ELOBF: How did you get on personally with Paul and Linda?
SH: I got on real well with them. We had a nice relationship, I thought, during the time that I was with them. They were real easy people to be around. Paul wanted things to be right but as long as you did a good job, he was very easy to work with - and Linda was real nice. We had a good time!
ELOBF: You spent some time at Abbey Road Studios recording some of the most loved and remembered ‘Wings’ tracks. Please tell me about which songs you contributed to and which one was your favourite?
SH: Well, if I can remember correctly, I do of course remember; “Silly Love Songs” because that was the big single from the “Wings At The Speed Of Sound” LP and when we recorded those tracks, Paul didn’t have any parts written out. He just sat down at the piano and played things for us and then we would work them out with the section and decide who was going to play what. And then there were a couple of spots where he wanted us to come up with some little parts and I was actually able to contribute a couple of lines in that song. We just pretty much did what they call in the business as 'head arrangements'. And that was what we did. But I played on that, I played on: “Let ‘Em In” and I played on another tune called “San Ferry Ann” which just wound up being an album track that never really got much air play or anything I don’t think! That was probably my favourite because it had a pretty little melody and I got to play a flugelhorn solo in there. It kind of featured the horn section more and in rock and pop music, there’s not a lot of space for horn solos unless you’re a saxophone player. So it was nice to get a little spot there on the recording. I recorded: “Coming Up” but I didn’t record on the original because Paul did the original in the studio and he used synthesised horns. And then what happened was when we came over for the tour, he had already recorded it and released it as the single which, in my opinion, he should have waited for the horn section because it had a bunch of horns in it! But, it didn’t matter because then what happened was that we recorded a live version of it on the road and then that became the one that they played on the air because it was just better! To me, live horns are always better! I’m prejudiced as I’m a horn player but that’s it!
ELOBF: What did Steve Howard do after ‘Wings’? What other musicians and bands have you worked with in the three decades and more since?
SH: Well, I’ve worked with Michael Hildebrandt! And in addition to that, after Wings there was a period of time here I really didn’t play all that much but I did do some live recording and a DVD of Austin City Limits with Delbert McClinton. I’ve also worked with (and this isn’t concurrent time wise, it’s just that I’m reminiscing about the different people that I’ve played with) the blues guitar legend Albert Collins for three years before he died and I played on two or three records with him. And then I recorded a couple of albums with Edgar Winter, I went on and played with Ray Charles, I toured and did gigs with Boz Scaggs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Then I moved in the early nineties back to New Orleans and I was working extensively for Black Top Records and I couldn’t even name all the artistes that I recorded for - but I recorded on a lot of blues albums for Black Top Records ... Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Junior Wells (that featured Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana and a bunch of really cool people) and then I went to Germany and toured and recorded for four years with a German pop star named Peter Maffay. Currently, I’m the trumpet player for The Original Blues Brothers Band - that’s the guys who were in "The Blues Brothers" movie – the band members, but not Dan Ackroyd – Dan doesn’t come out and do the gigs anymore! But I play with them and we travel over to Europe and Asia, mostly in the summer, doing the festivals circuit and stuff like that. I also work locally in the Dallas and Fort Worth area just as a freelance musician and I have my own band called: The N’Awlins Gumbo Kings and if you want to find out about that, our web site is: ... and Hey! We got CD’s for sale!
ELOBF: I understand that you are involved in the much anticipated re-release of the “Wings Over America” live album set. That must be pretty exciting to re-visit those days. Can you give us a hint about your input and what we should expect from the project? Do you have an estimate of the release date?
SH: I don’t have an estimate of the release date just yet but before I talk about that, let me back up to the last question, I left out one of the most important people that I worked for and have continued to have a friendship with and that is: Dr. John ‘Mac’ Rebennack from New Orleans, who has been in the Ringo Starr All Starr Band and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. Great guy! He actually performed a couple of tunes on our second CD "UFO Saloon" and you can, again, see about that on The Gumbo Kings website. But with regards to the “Wings Over America” LP, my involvement was that I got a 'phone call from the McCartney office, they said that they were going to re-release it and that they were going to put a booklet inside that was going to include interviews with all of the people that were involved in the project. And so David Fricke, who is Associate Editor of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine, called me and we did a 'phone interview. I haven’t seen any of it yet, don’t really know anything about it really other than it is going to come out, there’s going to be a booklet, I’m going to be in it and I’m excited to kind of re-visit it! It’s very strange to look back and realise that it’s a piece of musical history and that I was a part of it! And it’s even stranger when I look at pictures of myself and I realise that I was a young man and now I’m an old man!
ELOBF: Please tell us about: The N'Awlins Gumbo Kings? What other projects is Steve Howard involved in, here and now in Yours Truly 2013? Will you work with BGO again on the future?
SH: Now I’ve already mentioned something about The Gumbo Kings ... we’re a group of guys who live in the Dallas and Fort Worth area, who are either from New Orleans or have spent time in New Orleans, playing – more or less – music that is based in traditional New Orleans style, an example being Dixieland, New Orleans funk music and second line brass band sounding stuff. It’s instrumentation is a horn section which is a clarinet tenor guy, me on trumpet and a trombonist and then a rhythm section – piano, bass and drums. Our drummer is from New Orleans, plays the authentic second line beat and we have quite a bit of original stuff on our records too so it’s not just Dixieland – a lot of people get us confused because we can play one song that sounds like pure Dixieland and then we can play another song that sounds like a pop funk thing or something so it’s kind of a hybrid, as I call it, but it’s all with a New Orleans flavour. You can check us out on YouTube and you can check us out at our web site, where there is a YouTube link as well. I have also assumed the role of the trumpet player with The Original Blues Brothers Band. I’m going to be in Europe in 2013, I’ll actually be in London on 29th June playing a concert. I can’t tell you where it’s going to be yet but we will be doing a concert in London in June and I am the new trumpet player with The Blues Brothers Band with the sax player Blue Lou Marini, who was in the movie, is an old friend of mine from North Texas State University. And when the original trumpeter Alan Rubin, who was an unbelievable musician and a great trumpet player, became ill, I started filling in for him and, about a year and a half ago, he died so they called me to go ahead and take his place so I’ve been doing that for a while. So, I'm working with them; The Gumbo Kings and, Yes, I am doing another project with Michael! He’s currently talking with me and we’re getting ready to do another recording and put some trumpet on the next Bubble Gum Orchestra project in 2013!
ELOBF: Now finally, here is the question that I always ask next when interviewing for ELOBF: What are your personal favourite ELO, Paul McCartney and Beatles tracks, and why?
SH: Well, I didn’t really listen back then to ELO so I don’t really have a personal favourite. I thought that they were a good band but I wasn’t really into them, being a horn player. But I did like “Boy Blue” a lot ... especially that intro! I was more into bands that had a lot of horns and stuff. So, as far as The Beatles go, I always enjoyed the songs with brass in them. I liked “Got To Get You Into My Life” and “Penny Lane” was exceptional. I don’t know who played the piccolo trumpet on that song but it was absolutely one of my favourites. Back in the Wings days, I spoke to Paul about doing that song live. I do remember telling Paul that if we were going to do it, I would need quite a bit of time to rehearse. I would have had to get a Piccolo trumpet and learn all those very intricate parts. But as it turns out, of course, that song never materialised into our live set. It’s a classic of course as all The Beatles stuff is and as for the Paul McCartney stuff goes, in my opinion Paul wrote some really good songs and he’s like all great songwriters in that even the really great songwriters don’t always write songs that are just ‘the best’. But he had a lot of good songs and I guess the ones which involved the brass were the ones that I liked best.

I would like to extend my personal appreciation and thanks to both Steve Howard and Michael Laine Hildebrandt for participating in this interview for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF).

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The Original Blues Brothers BandThe Gumbo Kings and Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) to the 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-Apr-2013

Friday, 12 April 2013

Video Premiere: Spaceship Earth (Tandy/Morgan)

#524: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Morgan/Tandy, alias Dave Scott-Morgan and Richard Tandy, have just released a fantastic new music video via YouTube for "Spaceship Earth", a track from their excellent "Earthrise" album, reissued back in 2011. It really is "out of this world" and well worth viewing below this:
With its references to ELO's "Time", the good old days of vinyl, a cameo appearance by Steve Gibbons, a time travelling robot and even a slightly warped copy of the original LP (released on Wolverhampton's legendary FM Records label) being played on a lonely turntable - the whole production is one to be enjoyed by any reminiscing ELO fan and is very much in the best traditions of that classic ELO imagery. Read my ELOBF review for "EarthRise" &/or buy the album in digital &/or CD formats via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Spaceship Earth" by Morgan/Tandy to those enlightened folks who also like ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 12-Apr-2013

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Jeff Lynne: Save Me Now (Brand New Electric Version)

#523: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Last Friday 5th April saw the release of "Songs After Sandy - Volume 1" - the first of three download releases in aid of the victims of Hurricane Sandy in Red Hook. Of special interest to fans of ELO/Jeff Lynne will be track #12 where there is a "Brand New Electric Version" of "Save Me Now" to listen to. The track is just 1:52 in length with additional percussion and keyboards giving the song a little more sophistication.

The recording features fifteen trax including a live version of "Rocky Mountain Way" by Joe Walsh (with Ringo Starr on drums) recorded at The Troubadour last year as well as a live recording of "Wings" by Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band in Atlanta, also during 2012. You can still pledge (at the time of writing) and buy this release in aid of a very worthy cause via this link thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Songs After Sandy: Friends of Red Hook for Sandy Relief 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 ... 09-Apr-2013

Monday, 8 April 2013

Next Delivery: Sticky Wickets (The Duckworth Lewis Method)

#522: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) understands that the much anticipated new Duckworth Lewis Method album featuring ELO/Jeff Lynne admirers Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Thomas Walsh (Pugwash) will be entitled Sticky Wickets. The provisional release date is Monday 1st July. Further details of this exciting new release will follow in the near future.
DLM are also scheduled to appear at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire in London on Saturday 21st September. Tickets are priced at £27.50 each and will be available to purchase from 9AM on Thursday 11th April via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Sticky Wickets by The Duckworth Lewis Method to those enlightened folks who njoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

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

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Caught Live: Off The Ground @ Bilston 06/04/13

#521: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Whilst it is true to say that The White Hart is a traditional family pub in the heart of the Black Country, it is also the intimate 'home' venue for Off The Ground, the new Midlands musical venture for Craig Whale, Adam Willetts and Ian Hammond, a band raised from the ashes of Band On The Runn and featuring members of The BeatBack Brothers and The Lemuns.
Sadly for me, last night (Saturday 6th April) was just a flying visit to sample the first half of their take on familiar songs by the likes of The BeatlesELODavid BowieT.Rex and Dire Straits amongst not a few others. Yours Truly KJS managed to miss their cover of "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" but saw enough in their new live adaptations of "I Shot The Sheriff""Starman""Sultans Of Swing" and a Jeff Healey flavoured "Stuck In The Middle With You" coupled with established Band On The Runn favourites such as "C Moon""Got To Get You Into My Life" and "The Long And Winding Road" to be confident that this new band and will grow and flourish in the gigs ahead of them.
Off The Ground are currently taking bookings for gigs and the band will next take to the stage at The Swan in Kingswinford on the evening of Bank Holiday Sunday 5th May.

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 07-Apr-2013

Thursday, 4 April 2013

ELO & Jeff Lynne in Red, White & Blue + Trax

#520: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Our friends over at Plastic Head have just confirmed the track listings and vinyl colouring (whilst also mimicking the limited edition red, white and blue offerings of "OlĂ© ELO" celebrating the US bicentennial in 1976) for the first 1,000 copies (reverting to black thereafter) of their trio of ELO/Jeff Lynne 140g double album (2LP) releases via Let Them Eat Vinyl/Plastic Head on Monday 27th May thus:

"Armchair Theatre" (LETV098LP) will be released in BLUE vinyl thus:
(A1) "Every Little Thing" ~ (A2) "Don’t Let Go" ~ (A3) "Lift Me Up" ~ (A4) "Nobody Home" ~ (B1) "September Song" ~ (B2) "Now You’re Gone" ~ (B3) "Don’t Say Goodbye" ~ (C1) "What Would It Take" ~ (C2) "Stormy Weather" ~ (C3) "Blown Away" ~ (C4) "Save Me Now" ~ (D1) "Borderline" (Bonus) ~ (D2) "Forecast" (Bonus)

"Zoom" (LETV097LP) will be released in WHITE vinyl thus:
(A1) "Alright" ~ (A2) "Moment In Paradise" ~ (A3) "State Of Mind" ~ (A4) "Just For Love" ~ (B1) "Stranger On A Quiet Street" ~ (B2) "In My Own Time" ~ (B3) "Easy Money" ~ (B4) "It Really Doesn’t Matter" ~ (B5) "Ordinary Dream" ~ (C1) "A Long Time Gone" ~ (C2) "Melting In The Sun" ~ (C3) "All She Wanted" ~ (C4) "Lonesome Lullaby" ~ (D1) "One Day" (Bonus) ~ (D2) "Turn To Stone" (Bonus)

"Live" (LETV096LP) will be released in RED vinyl thus:
(A1) "Evil Woman" ~ (A2) "Showdown" ~ (A3) "Secret Messages" ~ (B1) "Livin’ Thing" ~ (B2) "Sweet Talkin’ Woman" ~ (B3) "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ (C1) "Can’t Get It Out Of My Head" ~ (C2) "Twilight" ~ (C3) "Confusion" ~ (D1) "Don’t Bring Me Down" ~ (D2) "Roll Over Beethoven" ~ (D3) "Out Of Luck" (Bonus) ~ (D4) "Cold Feet" (Bonus)

All three of the above LTEV/Plastic Head releases can be ordered via these links thus:

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