Thursday, 31 October 2013

Remembering Pete Haycock

#609: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Even at the age of ten years old, I was an avid Electric Light Orchestra fan. That musical interest, as anyone who truly knows me will tell you, continued into my teenage years and beyond as the ELO phenomena waxed and waned in the mid to late eighties.

The first time I came across Pete Haycock was just after reading in an April or May 1991 issue of The Daily Mirror that a 'new' band called the Electric Light Orchestra Part Two were touring with the eighty (80) piece Moscow Symphony Orchestra in the UK and that a new single entitled "Honest Men" was "out now". There was no internet back then and I was unaware of any ELO fanzines hence I rushed out to buy said single in both 7" and 12" formats.
An ELO Part II photo call with Pete Haycock (second from right)
Another ELO Part II photo call with Pete Haycock (second from right)
I remember seeing that Pete had co-written the 'B' side of that single - a track called "Love For Sale" with Bev Bevan - and was first in the queue to buy the ensuing album and other releases. I liked the first ELO Part Two album a lot. I was impressed not only with the Eric Troyer compositions therein but also the songs offered by Pete, Bev and the band. I loved the bluesy "Easy Street", the nostalgic "Once Upon A Time", the jolly opener "Hello Hello" and the classy rocker "Heartbreaker".

I went on to see Pete play live with ELO Part Two on three occasions during May 1991 and October 1992. I was always impressed with the way that Pete blended in with the ELO 'old guard' on stage and the way he went about his craft. He was a sublime guitarist and we were all honoured to see him adapting not only his own music but that of Jeff Lynne on such a big stage. I think it would be fair to say that without the underpinning of Pete Haycock, the second incarnation of ELO might never have been the viable (live) band that it eventually became.
ELO Part Two programme profile for Barnardo's Bandwagon charity concert (Thursday 8th October 1992)
I remember being so impressed that I sought out his previous band The Climax Blues Band and began to really appreciate what a great singer songwriter he was as well as being one of the worlds greatest slide and Blues guitarists. When I finally got to go see the post-Pete Climax Blues Band at the old Robin R 'n' B Club in Merry Hill (in the mid 90's), my appreciation of Pete had grown immeasurably.

It was therefore one the highest highlights of my time with ELO Beatles Forever to eventually interview Pete about his entire career. That article was published in December 2012 and has always been a source of great pleasure to me. You can read the interview here thus:

So, here in late October 2013, after looking forward to the potential of a new tour by Pete Haycock's Climax Blues Band dropping by somewhere close to ELOBF HQ in 2014, I find myself profoundly saddened tonight by the passing yesterday of such a talented and iconic musician who, by the testimony of mutual friends, was also a generous and obliging human being as well as being a much sought after movie soundtrack composer and oft collaborator with the legendary Hans Zimmer.

Pete Haycock: 4th March 1951 to 30th October 2013

Keith James Sinclair ... 31-Oct-2013

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Review: Rings Around The Sun (Vegas With Randolph)

#608: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Back in September 2012, ELOBF proudly introduced folks to the US Power pop outfit Vegas With Randolph with the article Review: Above The Blue (Vegas With Randolph) where their second album "Above The Blue" (2011) was the main focus. So when Eric Kern, the bands co-main songwriter and keyboards maestro, was good enough to send me their third release "Rings Around The Sun" to have a listen to, Yours Truly KJS was pleased to see it arrive in the post earlier this week.

And it seems that their latest effort "Rings Around The Sun" has been well worth the wait as, even upon the first listen, it comes over as a pleasing and classy album of songs that set the foot tapping with a guitar driven wall of sound that oozes both Power and Pop simultaneously. This writer can well imagine that VWR are also an awesome live band on the evidence of this collection of tunes alone!
The album opens with the bands stomping ode to their personal heroes and the energy does not let up all the way through this recording. There are times I could be listening to The Cars and The Move at their peak! Anyone producing a release with so many songs could be forgiven for sliding a few 'stocking fillers' to add mass to the greater work but I do not believe that there are any 'weak' compositions to found here.
Indeed, the ear catching tunes range from the opener to the superb bass driven: "Empathia" to the pulsating, anthemic rocker "Everybody Wants An Atom Bomb" to the catchy and romantic reminiscent "Julianne" to the excellent riff powered "Open Road" to the string-laden ELOesque title track and sublime album closing: "Drops Of Gold". This is really good rockin' album. (9/10)

Trax: "You Set The World On Fire" ~ "Salt Water Taffy" ~ "Cool Things" ~ "Nikki's Plan" ~ "Broadway" ~ "Empathia" ~ "Everybody Wants An Atom Bomb" ~ "Julianne" ~ "Snow Day" ~ "Late June" ~ "Open Roads" ~ "My Lost Colony" ~ "Rings Around The Sun" ~ "Drops Of Gold"

Vegas With Randolph are: Dan Aylestock (Bass)Brock Harris (Lead/Rhythm Guitar)Eric Kern (Vox/Piano/Keyboards/Guitar)David Purol (Lead/Rhythm Guitar/Backing vox) and John Ratts (Vox/Electric/Acoustic Guitar/Mandolin). You can read up on all things Vegas With Randolph via their official web site thus:

"Rings Around The Sun" by Vegas With Randolph is available in CD and/or download formats via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Rings Around The Sun" by Vegas With Randolph to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, The Move, Roy Wood, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

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

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Nick Owen & Roy Wood Event Postponed

Nick Owen (l) + Roy Wood (r)
#607: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It was announced earlier today that the Nick Owen In Conversation with Roy Wood event originally scheduled for tonight (Tuesday 22nd October) at Birmingham Town Hall has been postponed "due to scheduling difficulties." The Birmingham Town Hall web site also stated that: "We are working with the artists to find an alternative date in early 2014 and hope to confirm this very soon."

Yours Truly KJS & ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will advise the new date for this noteworthy event in late January 2014 just as soon as it is published. The postponement can be read about via these links thus:

Meanwhile, tickets are selling well and are still available for Roy's live UK dates in December with his Rock 'n' Roll Band via these links thus:

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 22-Oct-2013

Monday, 21 October 2013

Roy Wood: Official Website Relaunched

#606: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The Official Roy Wood website has received a major refresh and has just been formally relaunched. A brand new Roy Wood Facebook page has also been launched thus:

The new look home of all things Roy Wood includes news on Roy's "40th Anniversary Christmas Special" with The Proclaimers and Quill on Monday 16th December at Birmingham Symphony Hall and other happenings.

Tickets for the above event are priced at £25 each (*plus booking fee). Further details (including all live dates in December) can be found in these recent ELOBF articles thus:

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

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

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Roy Wood Reveals Back Pain Trauma

Roy joked about his slipped disc during his Christmas date at The Robin 2 last year
#605: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This interesting and informative interview with Roy Wood in the 20th October issue of The Birmingham Mail includes details of Roy's recent struggle with back pain as well as his forthcoming 40th Anniversary Christmas Special with The Proclaimers and Quill on Monday 16th December at Birmingham Symphony Hall. The article can be accessed via this link thus:

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

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

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Move Announce Final UK Tour

#604: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! You may recall that ELOBF reported that guest percussionist Bev Bevan announced during the excellent Quill gig in Lichfield last week that we could look forward to seeing The Move on their final nationwide tour in 2014. And today, that much anticipated tour was confirmed by Bev himself and promoter Brian Yeates with an initial eighteen dates likely to be added to in the near future for the four piece combo who also include Trevor Burton, Tony Kelsey and Phil Tree. Ticket pricing information is incomplete at the time of writing. Here is the detail of those final dates for you to peruse thus:

Wednesday 12th March
Yardbirds Rock Club, Grimsby
t: (07771) 520374
Tickets: £13.50 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 14th March

The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington, Devon
t: (01805) 624624
Tickets: £12 each (*plus booking fee)

Thursday 20th March
Pennington's Octagon Live, Keighley
t: (01274) 562252
Tickets: £15 each (*plus booking fee)

Sunday 23rd March
Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston
t: (01205) 363108
Tickets: £16 each (*plus booking fee)

Thursday 27th March
The Globe, Cardiff
t: (07590) 471888
Tickets: £13.20 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 28th March
The Marr's Bar, Worcester
t: (01905) 6133360
Tickets: £12 each (advance) or £14 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

Saturday 29th March

The Banbury Club, Birmingham
t: (0121) 770 3368

Sunday 6th April

Empire Theatre, Halstead, Essex
t: (07778) 025490
Tickets: £15 each (*plus booking fee)

Monday 7th April

Kings Theatre, Southsea, Portsmouth
t: (02392) 828282
Tickets: £16 each (*plus booking fee)

Tuesday 8th April

Swindon Arts Centre, Wiltshire
t: (01793) 614837
Tickets: £14 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 11th April
The Roadhouse, Stirchley, Birmingham
t: (0121) 246 2273
Tickets: £12 each (advance) or £14 each (door)

Sunday 27th April
The Tropic at Ruislip
t: (0208) 707 2256
Tickets: £12 each (*plus booking fee) or £14 each (door)

Wednesday 30th April

Beechwood, Easterside & District Social Club, Middlesbrough
t: (01642) 316065
Tickets: £5 each (*plus booking fee)

Thursday 1st May
Riverside Lodge, Morpeth, Northumberland
t: (01670) 512771
Tickets: £tba each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 2nd May

Backstage @ The Green Hotel, Kinross, Scotland
t: (01577) 863467
Tickets: £18 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 3rd May

Marsden Mechanics Hall, Huddersfield
t: (01484) 844587
Tickets: £15 each (advance) or £18 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

Wednesday 14th May

The Diamond, Sutton-in-Ashfield
t: (01623) 456617
Tickets: £6 each (*plus booking fee)

Thursday 15th May

The Musician, Leicester
t: (01162) 510080
Tickets: £12 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 16th May
Touchline Live Music at Hullbridge Sports Club, Essex
t: (07775) 761406
Tickets: £13 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 17th May

The Half Moon, Putney, London
t: (0208) 780 9383
Tickets: £14 each (*plus booking fee) or £16 each (door)

Monday 19th May

Shanklin Theatre, Isle Of Wight
t: (01983) 868000
Tickets: £15 each (*plus booking fee)

Thursday 22nd May
The Horns, Watford
t: (01923) 225020
Tickets: £tba each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 23rd May
The Crown Hotel, Nantwich, Cheshire
t: (01270) 625283
Tickets: £tba each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 24th May

Portishead Workmans Club, Bristol
t: (01275) 842428
Tickets: £14 each (*plus booking fee)

Sunday 25th May
The Brook, Southampton
t: (02380) 555366
Tickets: £14 each (*plus booking fee)

Thursday 29th May

The Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst, Kent
t: (0208) 761 9078
Tickets: £12 each (advance) or £15 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

Friday 30th May

The Boom Boom Club, Sutton, Surrey
t: (0208) 761 9078
Tickets: £15 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 31st May

Shaftesbury Arts Centre, Dorset
t: (01747) 854321
Tickets: £20 each (*plus booking fee)

Thursday 5th June

The Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton
t: (01902) 401211
Tickets: £12.50 each (advance) or £15 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

Sunday 15th June
Main Stage, Isle of Wight Festival
Tickets: £75 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 20th June

Warehouse 23, Wakefield
t: (01924) 361300
Tickets: £15 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 21st June

The Brindley, Runcorn (with The Troggs)
t: (0151) 907 8360
Tickets: £20 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 28th June
Walmley Club, Sutton Coldfield
t: (0121) 351 1253
Tickets: £15 each (*plus booking fee)

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The Move ft. Bev Bevan & Trevor Burton to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, 'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 18-Oct-2013

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Phil Bates: ELO Klassic Trio Announce UK Dates

#603: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! With thanx again to Sir Jeff Cooper. Phil Bates (a former member of Quill, Trickster, ELO Part II, The Orchestra, The Move and many other fine bands) will be bringing his ELO Klassik Trio (Phil, Jo Bates and Violinist Susanne Filep) over from Germany for some intimate, acoustic gigs in the UK soon:

Saturday 15th March
The Keys Restaurant, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Tickets: £13 each (* plus booking fee)
Sunday 16th March
The Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton
Tickets: £10 each (advance) or £12 each (door)(*plus booking fee)
Tuesday 18th March
Middleton Hall, Staffordshire
Tickets: £12.50 each (* plus booking fee)
Please telephone: (01827) 68336 to purchase tickets

Saturday 22nd March
The Baskerville Arms, Clyro, Hay-on-Wye, Powys
Tickets: £12 each (limited availability)

Yours Truly KJS believes that there will be more UK dates announced in the near future. ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) also featured Phil's twin German projects back in May 2013 here:
ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends both The Music of ELO performed by Phil Bates & Band and ELO Klassik: The Music of ELO performed by Phil Bates & The Berlin String Ensemble to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle RaceThe Beatles and related artistes.

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

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Recommended: George Harrison (Vinnie Zummo)

#602: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommended artiste Vinnie Zummo, having completed the recording of his four Beatles homages "John Lennon""Ringo""George Harrison" and "Play Paul McCartney", has now completed his third music video of the series, this time for his song "George Harrison" and he has now formally released it to view via YouTube. We look forward to seeing Vinnie's visual treatment of his remaining Beatles tribute "John Lennon" in the not so distant future! Here's the current video trilogy for you to peruse and enjoy thus:

Here are my previous articles for ELOBF about Vinnie Zummo for you to peruse thus:

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

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

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Trembling Wilburys: Handle With Care

#601: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) featured artiste The Trembling Wilburys have today (Monday 14th October) released their debut music video "Handle With Care" to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the issue of the very first single from The Traveling Wilburys back on Monday 17th October 1988.

The single reached #21 in the UK Top 75 with a 13 week chart run. Their cover of this classic song (see below) is both a credit to this talented London based band and an apt tribute to their musical heroes.

The Trembling Wilburys are: Glen Knowler (as George "Nelson" Harrison)Dave Collison (as Roy "Lefty" Orbison) ~ Andy McNish (as Bob Dylan/Tom Petty)Marko Laver (as Jeff Lynne)Dzal Martin (lead guitar)Howard Robin (keyboards)David Stark (as Buster Sidebury a.k.a. Jim Keltner)

Regular visitors to ELOBF may recall my interview with Dave Collison in October 2012 and the feature on their live performance of "Here Comes The Sun" in March 2013 thus:

Interview: Dave Collison (The Trembling Wilburys)
The Trembling Wilburys: Here Comes The Sun

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 14-Oct-2013

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Recommended: Symphonika Kickstarter Campaign

#600: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The intent of this ELO Beatles Forever article, is to highlight and endorse an exciting KickStarter campaign to fund the proposed exciting new studio album by ELOBF recommended artiste Symphonika.
The South Wales based band - who also perform live as The Explosive Light Orchestra from time to time - are looking to raise £45,000 by Thursday 21st November in order to fund a twelve track album to be produced by Mack - engineer for all Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) studio albums from "Face The Music" to "Balance Of Power" (excluding "Secret Messages") and the producer of six Queen studio albums from "The Game" to "A Kind Of Magic". Please consider contributing to and being a part of this innovative and 'explosive' project.

ELOBF have featured both Symphonika (and their two digital single releases to date) as well as The Explosive Light Orchestra on a number occasions thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends both Symphonika and The Explosive Light Orchestra to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, The Move, Roy Wood, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles, Queen and related artistes.

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

Friday, 11 October 2013

Caught Live (3): Quill @ Lichfield 09/10/13

Photograph courtesy of Sir Jeff Cooper
#599: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The long awaited theatrical bow of Quill was, indeed, well worth the wait as the Joy Strachan-Brain fronted Midlands based Celtic rock outfit thrilled a packed audience at The Garrick, Lichfield on Wednesday night (9th October).
Impressive support: Ben Cowcill & Amy Sharp
The evening commenced with the twin debuts of Ben Cowcill and: Amy Sharp, who each delivered their own stunning four song set. The highlights of which (for me) were Ben's versions of "Come Together" and "Mrs. Robinson" as well as Amy's renditions of "I Feel The Earth Move" and "Skyfall" before they combined for their fantastic encore.

This was my third Quill gig and having seen the band in acoustic mode and full electric mode previously, this was the most impressive of their performances to date as they captivated those in attendance and went about owning the stage upon their arrival on the provincial scene.
Quill in full effect!
With a set list of superb interpretations interspersed with their own compositions, the evening was not only entertaining, it was also moving and truly energetic from the opening chords of "Tumbling Years" all the way through to their exhilarating encore "Whiskey In The Jar". The inspired, soaring vocals of Joy Strachan-Brain and the guitar work of Paul Sargent was again of particular note but the cohesiveness of the band meant that they were all worthy of the extended applause.
Acoustic Quill
The memory and presence of the much-missed Ben Brain was perfectly conveyed with the show stopping vocal delivery of Joy Strachan-Brain during the song "Life Is Life". Not for a long time have so many tears trickled down my face. It was a moment to never forget for Yours Truly KJS.
Quill with special guest Bev Bevan
The set list also included the bands own patriotic "England" and anthemic "Say It Ain't So" as well as instrumentals "Duelling Banjos" and "Jig-A-Jig". Quill take on classics including "The Chain", "Drops Of Jupiter", "Stairway To Heaven", "Hotel California", "Galway Girl" and "Take It Easy" was innovative, professional and enthralling. I particularly enjoyed the freedom with which violinist and vocalist Kate McWilliam traversed the stage in a fashion reminiscent of the antics of one Mik Kaminski but with added feminine grace! It was nice to see the image of a young Phil and Jo Bates (former Quill members) projected against the stage backdrop during the proceedings.
Quill take a bow
Penultimate song "The Celtic Experience" saw the guest arrival of The Move and ELO co-founder Bev Bevan on stage to add his percussion skills to the proceedings before his announcing that we can look forward to seeing an extended "Made In Brum" and The Move tour in 2014 as well as announcing that Joy had joined Bev's other musical combo The Bev Bevan Band too - more to follow on ELOBF soon! Of note also was that earlier in the evening, Joy had announced that Quill were embarking on their own theatre tour during 2014 thus:
Quill are: Joy Strachan-Brain (Lead Vox/Percussion) ~ Paul Sargent (Guitar/Vox) ~ Kate McWilliam (Violin/Vox) ~ Dave Bailey (Keyboards/Guitar/Vox) ~ Christian Nokes (Bass) ~ Tim Tandler (Drums) ~ Bev Bevan (Percussion)

Their official web site includes the up-to-date band information including: News, Discography, Merchandise, Gig Guide, Gallery and Links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Quill 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 ... 11-Oct-2013

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Recommended: Escape From The Shadow Garden (Magnum)

#598: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! With an album cover reminiscent of their classic 1982 LP, "Chase The Dragon", Midlands rockers Magnum have just announced the release of their nineteenth (19th) album, entitled "Escape From The Shadow Garden" and is released in the UK on Monday 24th March via the German label SPV/Steamhammer.
Many Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) fans will recall that Magnum were label mates with ELO on Jet Records between 1978 and 1983, releasing five albums with significant chart success thus:

"Kingdom Of Madness" (JETLP210; 1978; #58)
"Magnum II" (JETLP222; 1979)
"Marauder" (JETLP230; 1980; #34)
"Chase The Dragon" (JETLP235; 1982; #17)
"The Eleventh Hour" (JETLP240; 1983; #38)

Magnum, who once featured Dave Scott-Morgan in their ranks, have had many ELO connections throughout their career. Whether it be sharing labels with both ELO (at Jet) and ELO Part II (at SPV) or keyboardist Mark Stanway working with both Phil Bates (Wheels Of Fire) and Carl Wayne, both bands have earned the respect of and continue to retain a significant fan base. Yours Truly KJS also interviewed Mark Stanway back in early January 2011 in advance of their album "The Visitation" and you can read that interview here

ELOBF very much look forward to this follow-up to "On The Thirteenth Day". Further details of the album and the forthcoming 2014 European tour promoting "Escape From The Shadow Garden" can be found via their official web site thus:

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 10-Oct-2013

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Gary Barlow: New Solo Album Inspired by The Beatles & Jeff Lynne

#597: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! With thanx to ELOBF's roving reporter in South Wales, Mark Burrows. The Saturday 5th October edition of The Daily Star features an interesting interview with Gary Barlow on the subject of his new solo album "Since I Saw You Last", which is released on Monday 25th November. What is of interest to Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF is that in the interview with Kim Carr, Gary states:

“I was brought up on The Beatles, so was my producer Steve Power, he’s a Scouse, so I’m not surprised it has a Beatles vibe ... I love the Revolver record and Jeff Lynne, there’s a bit of that in there. It’s old school.”

We are also told in the interview that the album opener:

"Requiem" sounds"... like a long-lost Paul McCartney track" and that in Gary's own words: "I like the acoustic thing ... [the] last Take That album Progress had a lot of synths and drum mach­ines. I felt I want to strip things back again - no synths, all acoustic instruments."

Gary has form as an artiste inspired by Jeff Lynne and ELO. The track "Shine" from the Take That comeback album "Beautiful World" in 2006 is not only ELOesque, it was also preceded by the finale to "Mr. Blue Sky" from "Concerto For A Rainy Day" in their "Beautiful World Live" show and subsequent DVD release. These early ELOBF articles highlighted this at the time:

New single "Let Me Go" precedes the album on Sunday 17th November and tickets for Gary's 2014 solo arena tour go on sale at 9AM on Friday 11th October. The Deluxe Edition of "Since I Saw You Last" is currently available for pre-order via

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Let Me Go" and "Since I Saw You Last" by Gary Barlow 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 ... 05-Oct-2013

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Light Shines On #2

#596: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! I guess you knew that this was coming after yours truly painstakingly reproduced the sleeve notes from the 1977 Harvest Heritage compilation by Colin Miles entitled "The Light Shines On" (SHSM2015)!
So, here are the reverse LP cover notations from the 1979 follow-up Harvest compilation "The Light Shines On Vol. 2" (SHSM2027) by the self same Harry Doherty for you to also peruse thus:

"Since we last spoke the ELO success story has taken yet another giant step forward. The eight night residency at the Wembley Empire Pool last June emphasised (as if it needed emphasising) that the Electric Light Orchestra were indeed a unique phenomenon in contemporary Seventies' pop, oddly joining a club that includes Abba, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Boney M as its elder statesmen.

"The Light Shines On", this album's predecessor, was designed in part to show British audiences, who, let's face it, were embarrassingly slow to catch onto ELO, that the present-day ultra-commercialism of the music had, at its roots, an admirable sense of adventure  and experimentation. So mush so, in fact, that although the music was essentially hummable pop, it went totally over the heads of home audiences circa 1971-1973. Harvest, who possess the rights to the first two ELO albums - "The Electric Light Orchestra" and "ELO 2" - are singularly determined to sustain their faith in that early material. Hence Colin Miles' second compilation.

And - please - will you sit up and take notice this time. If you're a real ELO fan, there's a lot to be learned from this early stuff, you know.

To recap, let's briefly recall the birth of the Electric Light Orchestra. The original band was very different from today's troupe. It all started back in 1968 when Roy Wood, becoming rather bored with the limitations that the Move was imposing, looked for another vehicle. Jeff Lynne, a latterday Move member who later professed that he joined them from his own group, Idle Race, as a means to an end (i.e. today's ELO which he has total control over), and drummer Bev Bevan, concocted to form the Electric Light Orchestra with him.

Out came the first album and the pretentiousness of the concept - violins, cellos, oboes and horns were being touted as the future of rock and roll ("It took me ages to get that violin out of me ass," Lynne later joked) - proved too much for critics and public alike. But under all the superficial gloss was a solid pop album with interesting experimental overtones. There were a couple of classic tracks, notably "10538 Overture" and "1st Movement (Jumping Biz)", both of which appear on this album. From the blatant patronising nature of the titles, you can judge why ELO were being called pretentious.

With Wood being put in the limelight although Lynne wrote half the material, there was, not surprisingly, a good deal of discontent within ELO. Roy admirably took the ultimate solution to the problem by quitting and leaving the entire show to Lynne, whose eloquence, we've since learned, is not displayed through Press interviews but through his music. With a possible clash of egos erased, Lynne set about realising his vision of the band and the vital addition in that respect was undoubtedly keyboard's player Richard Tandy, still his right hand man.

"ELO 2" was still shrouded slightly in a vague cloak of experimentation which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't but there was always the impression that Lynne's brilliance would shine through. On "From The Sun To The World (Boogie No. 1)" and "Kuiama", which conveniently appear on this compilation, Lynne showed that he could mess about with the structures and overburden arrangements with strings and still come out with a good pop tune. That was the most fascinating aspect of ELO's approach at that time.

But they still couldn't break through to a major audience and only spasmodically, with obvious adaptions like "Roll Over Beethoven", did they make the charts. It wasn't until he arrangements were watered down further, with the string section playing more of a complimentary role than being to the forefront, was Jeff Lynne's value appreciated.

It's for that very reason that you should listen attentively to these early works. Okay?"

See also: The Light Shines On (1)

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

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Light Shines On #1

#595: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Back in 1977, on the cusp of the rise and rise of the Electric Light Orchestra, Harvest (ELO's first UK label) released one of their now many compilations of selected tracks from their eponymously entitled first album (in 1971) and "ELO 2" (released in 1973).
Yours Truly KJS was rummaging through some of my ancient ELO vinyl recently and fell upon the forward for the compilation: "The Light Shines On" (#SHSM2015) written by Harry Doherty of Melody Maker and conveniently printed on the rear of the LP sleeve! Therefore, I thought it would be fun and quite interesting to quote this historical treatise here on ELOBF, word for word, for your perusal thus:

"There is an inclination, an unfortunate one, to disregard the past of a band that has spent many years patiently building in the belief that eventually the masses would accept their music. Such is the case with the Electric Light Orchestra, but this album should go some way towards redressing the misbegotten notion of  ELO as an overnight sensation. The ELO was born seven years ago in a spirit of experimentation. The theory was to play with the idea of mixing contemporary rock music with the instruments and arrangements of the classics, just to see what would happen. It was a courageous adventure, one which was as open to failure as it was to success.

As it has already been well documented, the ELO formed as an off-shoot of The Move, then one of Britain's most important sixties pop groups. Roy Wood, the mentor behind Move's achievements, had decided that another outlet was required to realise his ambitions, so with Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, the Electric Light Orchestra came into being.

Not surprisingly, Wood hogged all the limelight, although he bent backwards to ensure that Lynne, who was playing as important a part in the development of the ELO concept, received a fair share of the credit. When Lynne's contribution to the first ELO album (he wrote half the songs) was ignored by the media, Wood felt that the only option open in the circumstances was to quit the band. This he did in June, 1972, and the media was left with no choice but to take a fresh look at Lynne's talent.

Lynne, who had earned a healthy reputation as a player and writer with Birmingham group the Idle Race for four years before joining the Move in 1970, thrived in his new position as unchallenged leader, and, with Bevan, set about the task of forming ELO as a working band, as opposed to the tentative unit it had previously been. From that base, Lynne shaped the band's future, quietly confident that the public would show their appreciation. And they did, first in America, then in Britain, where barriers of reluctance slowly tumbled down in the face of some of the world's best rock music.

The music on this album, then, is the foetus from which the ELO experiment expanded. It is important music and one of its finest characteristics is the enthusiasm with which the task of merging rock and classical is tackled.

There are songs from the first two ELO albums, with compositions from both Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. It's interesting to note the slight change in Lynne's compositions from "ELO 2" which appear here ("In Old England Town" and "Momma"), which were written without Wood's influence, in contrast to his earlier material.

Fans who recently picked up on ELO will undoubtedly realise that during its embryonic stages, the band were much heavier proposition. The songs and arrangements are definitely more demanding than the more recent compositions, but get inside them and they're twice as fulfilling. In this collection, too, is the classic "Showdown", a hit single which was a forerunner to "Evil Woman" and "Livin' Thing". Those three songs bear startling similarities. And, of course, there's the anthem, "Roll Over Beethoven", the rocking statement of intent. As the man said, "Roll over Beethoven,dig these rhythm and blues." HARRY DOHERTY, Melody Maker"

See also: The Light Shines On (2)

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