Monday, 28 April 2014

Caught Live (5): The Abbey Road Experience @ The Robin 27/04/14

The Abbey Road Experience are: Nick Tinsley, Darren Ashford, Chris Brighton, Colin Noon & Nick Mellor
#705: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The Abbey Road Experience made their debut at The Robin 2 last night (Sunday 27th April) with yet another classy performance of (most of) The Beatles' seminal 1969 album "Abbey Road" followed by a storming second set with a mixture of hits and album tracks by The Fab Four.
Rock covers trio: The Captains Hat provided more than ample support
First up were Wolverhampton based trio The Captains Hat, who delivered an impressive and entertaining set of covers of songs by the likes of ZZ Top, The Eagles and Queen amongst not a few others. Believe it or not, my fave song of theirs on the night was their great rendition of "Valerie".
Note perfect: The Abbey Road Experience
In a slightly abridged first set that excluded "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" due to time constraints, the band (who were co-founded by former QuillTrickster, ELO Part II and The Orchestra member Phil Bates) again reproduced an album live - which many consider to be The Beatles' finest - to such a degree of accuracy that the watching audience were in absolute admiration of their craft. Their second set included not only the familiar with the likes of "Help!", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Don't Let Me Down""Drive My Car""Lady Madonna", "Get Back""Let It Be" and "Hey Jude" but also selected album tracks including "Fixing A Hole""And Your Bird Can Sing" and "Taxman".

The undoubted versatility of the band will be enhanced later in the year when Debbie-Lee Richardson joins the quintet on vocals/keyboards. Their second set will then be transformed into a tribute to the musical prowess of Paul McCartney and Wings with Wings Over Abbey Road emerging thereof. Please find below details of the bands next couple of gigs for you to peruse thus:

Friday 30th May (Abbey Road Experience)
The Diamond, Stoney Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, NG17 4GH
Tickets: £8 each

Saturday 9th August (Wings Over Abbey Road)
The Roadhouse, Stirchley, Birmingham
Tickets: £6 each

The Abbey Road Experience/Wings Over Abbey Roadare: Chris Brighton (Lead vox/guitar)Colin Noon (Keyboards)Mike Tinsley (Vox/bass)Nick Mellor (Guitars)Darren Ashford (Drums) ~ *Debbie-Lee Richardson (Vox/keyboards)

The Abbey Road Experience official website features individual band member biographies and dates as well as audio clips of the band and other useful information thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The Abbey Road Experience and Wings Over Abbey Road to those enlightened folks who also 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 ... 28-Apr-2014

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Jeff Lynne: The Night That Changed America #4

#704: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Our friends over at ITV have now confirmed that the UK TV premiere of "The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles" will be aired Friday 2nd May on ITV1 from 10:35PM until 12:40AM with a one hour delayed repeat following on ITV+1 from 11:35PM until 1:40AM. The show will then be made available to view on ITV Player for a limited period thereafter. Further details about this much anticipated programme can be found via this Radio Times link thus:

Fans of ELO/Jeff Lynne can look forward to live performances of both "Hey Bulldog" (with Dave Grohland "Something" (with Dhani Harrison and Joe Walshamongst not a few others.

It must be written in the "Starlight" or, indeed, the "Twilight" that Yours Truly KJS and ELOBF will be at The Robin 2 tonight to see The Abbey Road Experience in advance of this celebratory Beatles broadcast! Please find below my previous articles for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) on this subject via these links thus:

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 27-Apr-2014

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Fragile X: Autumn UK Tour

Fragile X albums: "Return To Paradise" (2012), "Time" (1996) & "Yesterday's Tomorrow" (forthcoming)
#703: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! News has reached Yours Truly KJS that ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommended rockers Fragile X are to tour the UK later this year. The Colorado based band will be playing several gigs between 15th September and 15th October and ELOBF has it on good authority that the band will not only be featuring songs from their albums "Time" and "Return To Paradise", they will be also covering one or three ELO classics in their set too. That's double the reason to go see and support them!
In the studio: Gail Sutton, Sean Mack Page and Chris Aderhold
ELO Beatles Forever will, of course, post further and full details of the 2014 Fragile X UK tour when all the dates and arrangements are confirmed. In the meantime, why not get yourselves up to speed with this great band with my interview with drummer Sean Mack Page for ELOBF in 2011 and the ELOBF review of their 2012 album "Return To Paradise" via these links thus:

Fragile X on tour are likely to be: Sean Mack Page ~ Lance Allred ~ Gail Sutton ~ Chris Aderhold ~ Martin Schroeder ~ Carl Houston

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Fragile X 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-2014

Monday, 21 April 2014

RSD14 Gallery: The Birthday Party (The Idle Race)

#702: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Some 46 years after the original release in 1968, "The Birthday Party" by The Idle Race saw a limited edition gold vinyl re-release on Saturday 19th April as part of the seventh Record Store Day event with 4,000 copies pressed for worldwide distribution and a limited number of copies being made available in the UK. Originally issued on Liberty Records (#LBF15026), the much sought after reissue was released on Parlophone Records (#0825646335374) with this brief overview by the folks at RSD14:

"The band that served as a springboard for Jeff Lynne. Reissued on gold vinyl, with stereo audio and the original UK gatefold artwork."
This photo courtesy of A Jeff Lynne And Related Blog
This photo courtesy of Sir Jeff Cooper
Here's hoping that the bands second eponymously titled album "The Idle Race" - produced, of course, by Jeff Lynne - will also find its way onto vinyl for Record Store Day next year or beyond!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 21-Apr-2014

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Caught Live (2): Explosive Light Orchestra @ The Tackeroo 19/04/14

#701: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO) made a welcome return to the Midlands heartland of ELO last night (Saturday 19th April) with, quite literally, an explosive performance of Electric Light Orchestra classics at the The Tackeroo in Hednesford, Staffordshire.

The foursome from South Wales delivered an incendiary set of the ELO songbook from "10538 Overture" to "Calling America" to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. It's a difficult thing to reproduce those textured and multi-layered ELO trax that we all know and love live but ExpLO managed to do that in a way that not paid due respect to the compositions of Jeff Lynne but also relayed the bands own unique identity. This time around, their delicate versions of "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" and "Strange Magic" counterbalanced the raw power of a rocked-up "All Over The World" and, of course, "Ma Ma Ma Belle". Their cover of "Prologue/Twilight" was superb too. Yours Truly KJS was also impressed by the quality of the vocals and harmonies on display. This band can, and should, go from strength to strength as they develop their own flavour and orbit in a steadily growing, healthy ELO tribute market.
ExpLO performed: "Standin' In The Rain" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" ~ "Last Train To London" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Prologue" ~ "Twilight" ~ "Confusion" ~ "Ma Ma Ma Belle" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Strange Magic" ~ "All Over The World" ~ "Xanadu" ~ "Calling America" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven"

Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO) are: Robin Myles (Guitar/Lead vox)Aidan Thorne (Bass/Backing vox)Luc Befu (Lead Guitar/Backing vox)Gethin Jones (Drums/Backing vox). Check them out via their official website thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO) 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-2014

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Caught Live (4): The Trevor Burton Band @ Wolverley 18/04/14

The Trevor Burton Band (l-r): Trevor Burton, Bill Jefferson and: Pez Connor (Photo: Jan Davis)
#700: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It really is quite surreal to travel the twenty miles or so to a small country pub in Worcestershire to see not only an original member of The Move gigging with his own band but also to witness a real character share his undoubted supreme guitar craft in such humble settings in front of such a packed house.

And so it was last night (Friday 18th April) at The Queen's Head in Wolverley near Kidderminster as The Trevor Burton Band delivered another stunning set of their own material and some astonishing Bluesy interpretations of the classics. That you can witness someone so close to home who must surely be one of the worlds top Blues guitarists (and not a bad vocalist either with quite a range) plying his trade with his two classy cohorts Pez Connor (Bass/backing vox) and Bill Jefferson (Drums) in such a tight unit really is a privilege and a blessing.
The Trevor Burton Band: A band who never fail to delight each other and their fans (Photo: Jan Davis)
Highlights for me of last nights gig were once again many but once again Trev's southern Blues re-interpretation of "Heartbreak Hotel", the stomping "Master Of Disaster", "Dear Mr. Fantasy" and (of course) "Hey Joe" were a delight to the ears. The icing on the cake was that the band rolled out their fantastic version of "Werewolves Of London" again - much to my own personal delight! You really should make some time in your calendar to go see these guys. You really should.

You can find out more about The Trevor Burton Band - including their current gig schedule - via their official website thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The Trevor Burton Band 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 ... 19-Apr-2014

Thursday, 17 April 2014

BGO: Beyond Time Set for July Landing

#699: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! BGO maestro Michael Laine Hildebrandt has just announced that the new Bubble Gum Orchestra album - entitled "Beyond Time" - has been set a new worldwide release date of Tuesday 1st July.

This follows the much anticipated release of lead single "ELO Forever" on Tuesday 6th May, as exclusively revealed by ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) yesterday in this article.

Yours Truly KJS has been granted the extraordinary privilege of listening in advance to the fourteen trax that comprise "Beyond Time" (running time: 50' 17") straight from the mastering desk. The best words that I can find to summarize BGO IV in one phrase are:

"You'll find out what happens when BGO meets Les Paul with the new Bubble Gum Orchestra album "Beyond Time"! There's so much going on here with the majestic "ELO Forever" being its event horizon."

The album artwork for "Beyond Time" is also stunning and will strike a chord with those ELO fans who sometimes "wish that they were back in 1981" ...

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "ELO Forever" and "Beyond Time" by Bubble Gum Orchestra 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 ... 17-Apr-2014

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Exclusive New BGO Single: ELO Forever

#698: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It was perhaps inevitable that, as a result of the friendship between ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) and Michael Laine Hildebrandt of Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO), that the marvellous news that the lead single from BGO's highly anticipated fourth studio album "Beyond Time" (and it really is well worth the wait folks!) will be the wonderfully titled "ELO Forever", truly sets the senses tingling for this particular ELO fan. You may (or may not) be aware that ELOBF started back in 2009 initially to campaign for the release of "Secret Messages" in its originally intended format (its mission has since expanded!) replete, of course, with the legendary "Beatles Forever". So, to be announcing the release of this wonderful tribute to the influence and legacy of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) really is truly thrilling.
I've had the great privilege of listening to "ELO Forever" (3:57) for the last couple of weeks - I'm listening to it again as I write this! And it still brings a smile to my face with the clever use of ELO song lyrics over a tune replete with nice guitar riffs and a sweet repeating piano tickle. Add to that layered backing vocals with a hint of vocoder as well as that anthemic chorus and you have a superb ELO themed single!
I remember asking Mike if he would consider a cover of "Beatles Forever" what seems like eons ago but I never imagined that the BGO maestro would come up with this! So earlier today, I asked Michael for an overview of his new single and he told Yours Truly KJS@ELOBF this:

"I have always been intrigued with the mystery surrounding ELO's song, "Beatles Forever". From the time that I learned about the existence of that song, I've always believed that it would be nice to write a song paying homage to the Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne's fine work. I thought it would be different and unique to write a song which only included ELO song titles to make up the storyline. It was challenging to do this and make it all sound "right" and cohesive. I started writing it several years ago and then put it on a shelf until Keith James Sinclair at ELO Beatles Forever sparked my interest again this past year during the writing of "Beyond Time". It is a nice little song that I hope ELO fans will enjoy for years to come!"

"ELO Forever" by Bubble Gum Orchestra will be released on Tuesday 6th May via the official Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) website thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "ELO Forever" by Bubble Gum Orchestra 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-2014

Monday, 14 April 2014

Review: Television/Broken Satellite (Cult of Wedge)

#697: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) would like to take the opportunity to inform you that the new single by Cult of Wedge - alias the multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Pete Hackett has just been released.

"Television" b/w "Broken Satellite" sees Pete writing, performing and producing two great trax about "the hell of Saturday night reality TV" and "a lonely astronaut tuck on the ISS". "Television" is a punchy, anthemic kind of protest song whilst "Broken Satellite" sees the man from Rowley Regis pull out all the stops with a rockier number, featuring a killer guitar solo, musing on the solitude of space. Pete must be a busy man at the moment having just worked with Michael Laine Hildebrandt on the forthcoming new Bubble Gum Orchestra album"Beyond Time". He's also likely to be working again with Maxi Dunn on her fourth studio album as well as completing a new, full Cult of Wedge release! In Pete's own words:

"Cult Of Wedge is the musical alter ego of Pete Hackett. It's a bit like a car crash involving members of - ELO, Genesis, Human League, Kraftwerk, Motorhead and Yes. With John Shaft and Starsky and Hutch being the first on the scene, (and) with Beck and Air driving the ambulances!"

"Television" b/w "Broken Satellite" by Cult of Wedge was released on Saturday 12th April and is available to purchase from Bandcamp via this link thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Television" b/w "Broken Satellite" by 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 ... 14-Apr-2014

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Caught Live (3): The Move ft. Bev Bevan & Trevor Burton @ The Roadhouse 11/04/14

#696: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The Roadhouse, Birmingham was bursting at the seams last night as The Move landed for the latest leg of their UK tour last night (Friday 11th April). The atmosphere was as electric as a light orchestra as the band revelled in this, their home town gig.
Pumping It Up: Mods & Sods
 As with the concert in Worcester last monthThe Move were more than ably supported by the excellent Mods & Sods with their crowd rousing covers of classics by The Who, The Beatles, The Small Faces and The Kinks. This is a fine local band and they showed it with a superb pumped-up performance (oddly enough) of the Elvis Costello classic "Pump It Up" as a preface to the arrival of The Move.
Bev introduces the band
One of the benefits of going on tour is that a band gets time to gel and to refine and to learn not only songs, but each other. With such a rich song book of Roy Wood compositions and also the music of their contemporaries, The Move have a sure and proven formula for an explosive night of class music. This gig was truly memorable not least due to the fantastic atmosphere generated by the full house but also the inspired oratory of Trevor Burton between songs during the evening. He simply endeared himself to those in attendance by being ... himself ... and didn't we love it!
Phil Tree and Trevor Burton shared vocal duties with Abby Brant and Tony Kelsey as the band served up most of their singles from "Night Of Fear" all the way through to "California Man" with Woody classic "Hello Suzie" and the iconic Jeff Lynne penned "Do Ya" in amongst a smattering of covers including (of course) their Marquee EP classic "Something Else", "Mercury Blues" and encore "Gimme Some Loving". I cannot fail to mention that, once again, Trev enchanted everyone present with his tribute to old pal Jimi Hendrix with his take on "Hey Joe". The assembled masses were sent home more than happy after singing in unison with the anthemic "Blackberry Way" in a rousing finale.
This gig also saw 'Movette' Abby Brant again impress with her keyboard contribution and Tony Kelsey again showed what a valuable addition he is to this the latest incarnation of this truly iconic band. Last - but not least - it was a real pleasure to see the percussion prowess of Bev Bevan in action again, especially during "Mercury Blues" and "Wild Thing", proving what a world class drummer he still is. All in all, it was a highly anticipated gig that well and truly delivered on the night.

Final Tour Announcement
At the end of the evening, Trevor announced that, sadly, this the current Move tour would be their last. There are two things to take away from his statement. Firstly, we hope that the band will continue to perform live from time to time after the current tour finishes. Secondly, wouldn't it be fitting if their final Midlands date of the tour at The Robin 2 on Thursday 5th June is another sell-out? Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF sincerely hopes so!

The Move are: Bev Bevan (Drums)Trevor Burton (Guitars/vox) Phil Tree (Bass/vox)Tony Kelsey (Guitars/vox)Abby Brant (Keyboards/vox)

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Move ft. Bev Bevan & Trevor Burton to those enlightened folks who also like ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 12-Apr-2014

Caught Live (6): Quill @ Shrewsbury 10/04/14

#695: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Quill arrived in Shrewsbury at The Walker Theatre last night (Thursday 10th April) for the latest leg of their UK theatre tour to deliver another inspired and high quality live performance of their own Celtic tinged songs coupled with their unique take on classics by the likes of Thin Lizzy, Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles - amongst not a few others.
Cooper & Davies provided excellent support
But first, mention must needs be made of the excellent support set by Bridgnorth based Cooper & Davies. The acoustic duo, especially selected for the evening by Quill, delighted the enthusiastic audience with an impressive array of their own songs and a marvellous cover of The Everlys' "Bye Bye Love". Rob Cooper (Vox/acoustic bass/hi-hat/harmonica) and Simon Davies (Vox/guitar/bass drum) are clearly 'ones to watch' and their EP: "The Coach House Sessions" has an ELO connection too, as it features, is mastered by and produced by none other than Rob Groucutt.
The outstanding aspect of last nights concert by Quill was that their show was not impaired by the recent double change in personnel. Most musical projects who see the departure of two established members and the arrival of new blood would expect them to take a little time to adjust and find their feet. But Quill are somewhat different. Paul Sargent and Christian Noakes were indeed missed but new recruits Tony Kelsey and Matt Davies managed to seamlessly weave themselves into tapestry of their new band whilst giving the new look Quill a new flavour. Joy Strachan-Brain was, as ever, charming with her superb vocals ably matched by her violin virtuoso and 'soul sister' Kate McWilliam. The classy drum work of Tim Tandler and the essential omni-talent of Dave Bailey sealed the deal. Last night, Quill were not better, they were transformed into a new phase.
Mention must needs be also made of the contribution of Bev Bevan with these very special Quill collaborations. Down the years, Bev has received many accolades and nicknames including, of course, "Bullfrog Bevan" and "Basher Bevan"Bev's percussion contribution really was outstanding in the show and demonstrated another side of the legendary drummer's talent not previously appreciated.

Quill are: Joy Strachan-Brain (Lead vox/percussion)Dave Bailey (Vox/keyboards/guitar) ~ Kate McWilliam (Violin/keyboards/recorder/vox)Tim Tandler (Drums)Tony Kelsey (Guitars/vox)Matt Davies (Bass/vox)Bev Bevan (Percussion)
Lots of Quill to look forward to this year!
Their official website includes the up-to-date band information via this link thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Quill 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-2014

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Official Phil Bates Statement: Jeff Lynne

#694: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The general reaction to my previous article The Jeff Lynne & Phil Bates Controversy has been that it was a balanced assessment of the situation existing presently between Jeff Lynne and Phil Bates, following this article published by The Birmingham Mail on Sunday 30th March. Phil contacted me yesterday regarding my article and has asked whether ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) would publish his formal response to this Birmingham Mail article, written by Paul Cole. KJS/ELOBF always aims to present factual and fair coverage of all ELO and related artistes and wishes to state that the door is firmly open for Jeff (or his appointed representatives) to respond to Phil's comments in kind. It is my sincere hope that both parties can resolve their differences amicably in the near future. Here is the statement in full as issued by Phil Bates today thus:

"Recently, on my birthday as it happens, The Birmingham Mail printed a story which accused me of being a 'copycat' and that me performing ELO music was 'illegal'. Having contacted Paul Cole, who wrote the original article, and who failed to research the facts thoroughly enough before he went to press, I received a promise that my side of the story, i.e. the truth of the situation, would be printed. As I write, no such article has appeared. I know that in the grand scheme of things this is a very small and insignificant incident. But I will not have my personal and professional integrity slurred in the way this article, and all that contributed to it, have done.

The truth is that neither Jeff Lynne or his representatives have EVER been in touch with me or my agent/promoter in Germany directly to complain about the way we operate in Europe, or beyond. Neither have they requested us to stop doing what we are doing, or issued a 'notice to desist'. Neither have they accused me personally of doing anything 'illegal'.

There has been contact on two occasions, and don't forget that I have been doing this in Germany for 11 years. Earlier this year, Jeff Lynne's representatives contacted one of the venues on our South African tour, The Emperor's Palace in Johannesburg, to complain about their on-line advertising of our concert. In this complaint they were completely correct because the concert was billed wrongly as ELO. This happened despite our endless directives to promoters everywhere to advertise our concerts correctly, the correct billing is also contained in ALL contracts for various gigs/concerts. The correct billing is 'ELO CLASSICS performed by PHIL BATES and band, plus the BERLIN STRING ENSEMBLE'. I see absolutely NOTHING ambiguous about this. Our six piece band is billed 'THE MUSIC OF ELO performed by PHIL BATES and band' ... equally unambiguous. But, in South Africa, the mistake was acknowledged and corrected, and the concerts went ahead as planned, and nothing more was heard.

But I have to re-iterate that ANY time any of my projects are billed or advertised incorrectly, the fault ALWAYS lies with the local promoter, who will have ignored the contract stipulations and telephone/email instructions, and gone ahead and done his own thing.

Contrary to some of the comments I have read since this article, I do NOT think I am Jeff Lynne, or that my band is ELO. Neither do I want to be Jeff Lynne in any way shape or form. Neither am I a 'copycat'. I am involved in many different musical projects which cover a pretty wide range of musical styles, and always have been. The reason I became a musician, and why I remain a musician is because I love diversity, and love to be involved in diverse musical situations. Playing Jeff Lynne's fantastic songs is just a part of that diversity. Anyone that take the time to read my biography will recognize this. Whilst I do not enjoy being criticized or insulted, I recognize that people have their opinions and, of course, they have the right to voice these opinions. But before anyone leaps to judgement, all I ask is that they do it on the basis of having the facts, knowledge and truth at their disposal. And a BIG THANK YOU to all those that have supported me during this ... or at least have not jumped to hasty conclusions."

See also: The Jeff Lynne & Phil Bates Controversy

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 09-Apr-2014

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Jeff Lynne & Phil Bates Controversy

#693: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This has been a difficult article to write, evidenced by the fact that what you are now reading is my third edit. Nearly a week has passed since an article was published in The Birmingham Mail and The Sunday Mercury sensationally headlined "Mr. Sue Sky" last Sunday 30th March.

The article centred on the news that lawyers acting for Jeff Lynne have served a "notice to desist" upon Phil Bates due to local promoters in Europe and South Africa erroneously billing the former Quill, Trickster, ELO Part II and The Orchestra singer/guitarist at times as ELO or even the "legendary frontman". The article sparked long debates within ELO centric Facebook groups and other forums including that of ELO Beatles Forever. Invariably, Yours Truly KJS has been asked for an opinion on the matter during the week, hence this article for ELOBF. Hopefully, the dust has settled a little in the last six days enough for my thoughts to be read and considered as what they are - an opinion - and that this causes no further schism in the ELO fan base between those who support and those who disagree with the output of bands or projects including former members of both ELO incarnations and, by extension, tribute acts.
Jeff Lynne (l) and Phil Bates (r)
Jeff Lynne requires no introduction. He was the co-founder of The Electric Light Orchestra with Roy Wood and Bev Bevan, he is the majority composer of their recorded material and he the sole owner of the Electric Light Orchestra and ELO brands. As a songwriter and musician, he will recognise that, if successful, people will want to record his songs, copy his arrangements and perform his music live. That is a given. Jeff is also an artist who is always at home in the studio and is essentially not one for touring. Indeed, it has now been 28 years since the last brief ELO tour in 1986 to promote "Balance Of Power" and nearly thirteen years since the curtailment of the "Zoom Tour Live" shows. Yes, occasionally Jeff will guest in selected live events, but - as a rule - he is a recording artist first and foremost. And if I were Jeff, I would of course be annoyed if anyone else was being billed as ELO (solely) or even as its "legendary frontman".

Phil Bates has a unique connection with ELO. He was a member of ELO's fellow Jet Records label mates Trickster, who also supported ELO during their legendary "Out Of The Blue" spaceship themed world tour in 1978. He joined ELO Part II in 1993 to replace the departing Pete Haycock and Neil Lockwood before leaving in 1999, being replaced by Parthenon Huxley. He returned to the band, now renamed The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II) in 2007 for another four year stint before leaving and forming new ELO themed projects whilst touring extensively in Europe and, latterly, South Africa. Phil was also intimately involved with the Beatles Blues & Blue Violin Project with Mik Kaminski and Tina McBain during this time - a fact misreported in the article.

Unfortunately, it is those very connections with ELO Part II and The Orchestra as well as Phil's similar facial appearance to Jeff (with his permed hair, glasses and beard) that leaves the door open for certain local promoters of his gigs (either through genuine ignorance or as a deliberate marketing ploy to sell tickets) to advertise concerts by Phil Bates performing the music of ELO as something else. From a legal point of view, the lawyers representing Jeff Lynne could, in all probability, only have Phil Bates in their sights (as an easier target) due to him being perceived as 'guilty by association' with those promoters who were printing and publishing factually incorrect advertising for his concerts.

This writer does not believe that Jeff Lynne has a problem with the plethora of ELO related musicians, tribute bands and other artistes who seek to record or perform his music live, as long as they pay their dues and do not make unsubstantiated claims as to their identity or names. This is evidenced by the attendance of members of two UK based ELO tribute acts at his private Birmingham Broad Street 'Walk Of Stars' celebration last month.

This writer also does not concur with the newspaper claim that Phil Bates is a "copycat" artist. His permed hair is natural, he wears glasses because he has to and he sports a beard for personal reasons. He often covers songs by other artistes during his concerts including, naturally, The Beatles and others. I met Phil for the first time in 1993, backstage at ELO Part II's Wolverhampton Civic Hall gig, and during the ensuing two decades, I can honestly report that he has never stated that he is Jeff Lynne (or his successor) and that I have never seen any project with the involvement of Phil Bates billed as ELO but rather always as Phil Bates performing the music of ELO.

So, we have a successful and prolific songwriter and performer in Jeff Lynne who much prefers the environment of the studio to the stage and Phil Bates, essentially a musician comfortable on stage (with not a few ELO connections) who has been incorrectly promoted on certain occasions as being ELO or the equivalent of Jeff Lynne.

On one hand, who else can Jeff Lynne's lawyers focus their attention on - with this controversy - other than Phil Bates himself? On the other hand, with the best will in the world, how can Phil Bates prevent the ignorant or the intentional inaccurate promotion of his shows by foreign promoters? I'm sure that Phil Bates does provide clear communication to local promoters as to who he is (and who he is not). The same applies to his musical vehicles. Therein lies the frustration, I guess, on both sides.

While Jeff remains averse to touring, the many ELO related bands and projects continue to successfully tour and perform his music live - some even with the letters 'ELO' within their name. There remains a paradox created essentially by Jeff Lynne himself in an industry driven by the desire of the public to see and hear the music of a genius who is happier in his ivory bungalow rather than in the gaze of his many, many fans and admirers. For me, there will always be room for Phil Bates in the ELO universe but there is also no place for the false promotion of any artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 05-Apr-2014

Friday, 4 April 2014

Caught Live (10): The ELO Experience @ Telford 03/04/14

#692: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Hull based ELO tribute band The ELO Experience - who are now an eight piece unit with the addition of their new violinist - made their latest landing at Oakengates Theatre @ The Place in Telford last night (Thursday 3rd April). ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) was there in the company of John Collins (from Forever website) to witness them as they continued their current Mr. Blue Sky Tour.
The 3LO Experience: Andy Louis, KJS and Steve Hemsley
The remarkable thing about The ELO Experience, for me, is that despite the fact that I've been to at least ten gigs by the band, they never cease to amaze me with their attention to detail, their obvious on stage enjoyment of their craft (and each other) and that the band do not take themselves too seriously. All the hits were there again with "Latitude 88 North" replaced by superb live renditions of my all-time ELO favourite "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" and the haunting "Strange Magic".
Andy and Steve finally met up with their hero Jeff Lynne recently
In addition to those beauties, an excellent "10538 Overture" and a raucous "Showdown" had the audience truly rocking and reeling! It's always a pleasure to hear the band perform album tracks. To see and hear "Concerto For A Rainy Day" performed again during the second set was simply sublime. Where else can you actually experience "Big Wheels" and "Summer And Lightning"? Where else can you hear the studio recordings of ELO faithfully reproduced in a live setting?
The ELO Experience are the reason that ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) supports the work of professional tribute bands and why I believe that they have a rightful place in keeping the national (and international) appetite for the live performance of ELO's music satisfied alongside artistes such as The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II) and Phil Bates' excellent ELO themed projects. I look forward their return visit to Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Hall on Friday 4th July with much anticipation.

The ELO Experience are: Andy Louis (Lead vox/guitar)Steve Hemsley (Keyboards/vox)Pete Smith (Bass/vox)Jan Christiansen (Lead guitar/vox)Tony Lawson (Drums)Viv Blackledge (Cello)Clare Little (Cello)Emily Blackledge (Violin)

The ELO Experience continue to tour the UK extensively and you can view all their latest news and Tour Dates via their official website thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The ELO Experience 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 ... 04-Apr-2014

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

An Appreciation of Roy Wood

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! In less than a decade, Roy Wood wrote twenty Top 20 singles (if you include Amen Corner's #4 hit cover of "Hello Suzie"). That's fifteen Top 10 hits and three chart toppers! Yours Truly KJS & ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) thought that it's about time that Roy's huge run of UK single chart successes (as a songwriter) between February 1967 and June 1975 should be appreciated again by his many fans and followers especially as the popularity of ELO/Jeff Lynne is on the rise again.

When you look at the list of hits below, you begin to both wonder at and appreciate his huge musical legacy as the co-founder of The Move, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), the creator of Wizzard and as a solo artiste. Remember: No Roy Wood ... No ELO!
Dr. Roy Wood ... We salute you!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 01-Apr-2014