Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Louis Clark: Orchestrating a Full Recovery

Perspektiv: Louis Clark now in finer fettle
#882: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) is pleased to inform you that ELO string maestro Louis Clark left hospital last Saturday 28th March and is continuing to recover well after his recent struggle with acute kidney failure. Lou - famed for his involvement with ELO, ELO Part II, The Orchestra and Hooked On Classics (and not a few other projects) - was pictured at home last weekend very much enjoying his home comforts.

Louis Clark: On The Road To Recovery

Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF wish Louis a full recovery and looks forward to his return to performing and conducting with The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II) soon!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 31-March-2015

Monday, 30 March 2015

Kelly Groucutt Blue Plaque Revealed

Wolverhampton's Express & Star newspaper, page 10, Tuesday 31st March
#881: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The Groucutt family finally saw the fruit of their successful Kickstarter campaign as the long awaited English Heritage Kelly Groucutt Commemorative Blue Plaque was unveiled in Coseley yesterday, Sunday 29th March. The ceremony saw the Mayoress of Dudley - Councillor Margaret Aston - reveal the Blue Plaque, with members of the Groucutt family, friends and supporters looking on at 39a Gough Road, the former abode of a certain Mick 'Kelly' Groucutt. The rather attractive plaque celebrates the life of Kelly G and declares to all his immense decade long contribution to the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) whilst being certain to be a big part of the Dudley (and Black Country) tourist trail from now on - especially for ELO fans!

Phil Bates was on hand later to join Rob, Chris, Jenny, Steve and Gary Groucutt on stage (with a little help from some friends and a somewhat emotional 'appearance' by a very special 'guest') for the evening celebration concert in Wolverhampton, capping a memorable day for all those involved and those fellow backers who could not be there in person on the day including Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 30-March-2015

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Review: Silhouettes and Pirouettes Volume 4 (Alex Vann)

Alex Vann: Steppin' Out with "Silhouettes and Pilhouettes Volume 4"
#880: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It must have been written in the stars that Yours Truly KJS would cross paths eventually with local artist and musician Alex Vann following an unplanned Sunday lunch at The Plough Inn in Shifnal, Shropshire last month. That is where I came across a flyer for an exhibition entitled "Drawn To The Beat" featuring the homegrown art (including The Beatles) as well as highlighting an opening acoustic gig by this Wolverhampton based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, later featured in this ELOBF 'Caught Live' review.
Fourteen Little Diamonds
It was natural step, therefore, to grab a copy of Alex's latest recorded offering "Silhouettes and Pirouettes ~ Volume 4" (2014) at the launch event being as one of the tracks "I Will Be The Air" closed out an impressive evening. And what shall I say of this album? Only that it is an album of many musical styles and some memorable songs! As it is with his art, so it is with his music. Undoubtedly, The Beatles are an obvious influence throughout but this really is a delicious mixture of tempo and content that highlights a musician at the top of his game.

With the Beatlesque "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" thrown at its finale, "Throw A Stone" impresses as does the moody rocker "Blow Me Down" (which reminds me of The Police in their prime) featuring the fantastic Pete Kent guesting on guitar. Contrast that with the wonderfully jazzy, saxophone straddled "Candles and Wine" and the simply superb ditty "Just Another Teenage Dream", an instrumental "The White Rose and The Child", the pensive "Shall I Pretend" or the introspective "A Better Me" and you start to realise just how good an effort "Silhouettes and Pirouettes ~ Volume 4" is. Rest assured that all 14 trax are worthy of equal mention. A cracking album, truly. (9/10)
Another opportunity to catch Alex Vann in person soon
"Drawn To The Beat" runs until Thursday 30th April at The Plough InnShifnal in Shropshire and features many of Alex's original drawings and paintings. "Silhouettes and Pilhouettes Volume 4" is attractively priced at just £5 and you'll also be pleased to know that both Alex's music and his art can be viewed &/or purchased via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Silhouettes and Pilhouettes ~ Volume 4" by Alex Vann to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood, The Move, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 28-March-2015

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Trevor Burton: Brewood Return with Rebecca Downes

As you can see above ... tickets for this event are now on sale!
#879: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! My good friends at Brewood Music Festival have just announced that both The Trevor Burton Band (featuring, of course, the much respected co-founder of The Move: Trevor Burton) and Rebecca Downes are returning to the Staffordshire village after their successful performances at the acclaimed festival last year.
The double header is set for Saturday 23rd May at The Jubilee Hall venue and features both ELOBF recommended artistes with Rebecca taking to the stage at 8:00PM and Trevor following at 10:00PM in what promises to be a fantastic gig! Tickets can be purchased from The Mess either on the door, by telephone on (01902) 851694 or email at: info@the-mess.co.uk

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends both The Trevor Burton Band and Rebecca Downes 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 ... 26-March-2015

Monday, 23 March 2015

Classic ELO Concert Tops UK Chart

ELO: Back where they belong!
#878: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) are pleased to announce that ELO's classic "Out Of The Blue: Live At Wembley" concert from 1978 has entered the Official UK Music Video Chart at Number One this week! The #1 Blu-ray edition - packed with bonus footage of three other ELO gigs and the "Discovery" promo film - was released on Monday 16th March by Eagle Vision/Universal (#ERSBD3017).
Best Seller: "Out Of The Blue: Live At Wembley"
The success of the release returns Jeff Lynne to the top of the Official UK Chart for the first time since The Traveling Wilburys Collection attained #1 in June 2007. It is also the first ELO #1 in the Official UK Chart since "Time" back in July 1981.

Commercial Own Goal?
One has to ask if the success of this release really does highlight the commercial own goal that has been scored by BBC Worldwide (and certain other parties) due to their reluctance to release either last September's Hyde Park spectacular by Jeff Lynne's ELO &/or 2012's "Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne & ELO" in popular, accessible audio/video formats.

With a total running time of well over three hours at 205 minutes, "Out Of The Blue: Live At Wembley" collates much of the available ELO video footage from their most successful period between 1973-1979 and is available from amazon.co.uk via this link thus:


ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Out Of The Blue - Live At Wembley" 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 ... 23-March-2015

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Reluctance to Release: A Bootleg Controversy

What might have been?
#877: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The subject of unofficial releases or 'bootleg' recordings can be emotive - if not emotional - for the fans and collectors of any band, especially ELO. From a personal point of view, I've rarely been tempted by such items but there are many folks who do include them in their collections and want lists. Yet, very rarely, something does come along that makes one consider another line of thinking.

The above 2LP coloured vinyl album contains the entire set from last September's Hyde Park spectacular by Jeff Lynne's ELO and has turned up recently on eBay and other vendor sites for seemingly ridiculous amounts of money. Whilst being very attractive and well presented, this album is not sanctioned. But it does make you wonder why an official album &/or DVD release of what many pundits stated was the gig highlight of last year has not been taken up by the BBC or the artist to date.
What might have been?
Whether it be politics, commercial issues, publishing rights or something else, a major opportunity has been missed. For me, that is perhaps the overhanging controversy of the above double album. The same can also be said of the documentary "Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne & ELO". A film that also enjoyed extensive BBC coverage but has only seen a limited iTunes and amazon Instant Video (US only) download only release, making it also inaccessible for most fans of ELO/Jeff Lynne at the time of writing.
No official  DVD or Blu-ray release ... yet
Commercially, both were winners and likely to sell well. One can only speculate as to the reasons behind the reluctance to release both or either. Having said that, the flip side of not releasing such items makes unofficial releases or 'bootleg' recordings all the more attractive to certain fans and collectors. Chicken and egg. Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF sincerely hopes that we see such official releases announced soon.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 21-March-2015

Friday, 20 March 2015

Five Recommended Reads

Five great books recommended by ELOBF for you to consider checking out
#876: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELOBF has recommended a number of books recently by the likes of Dave Scott-Morgan (The Uglys/Magnum/ELO), John Van Der Kiste, Randy Blazak, Bob Lawton and Charlie Grima (Wizzard).

Within these five books you can find recollections, memoirs, fiction and a biography. Hence, Yours Truly KJS thought that it would be a good idea to collate this particular literary quintet into an ELOBF reading list. Click on the links below to find out more about each publication thus:

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 20-March-2015

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Recommended: Aren't You Glad That It's Not Christmas Everyday? (Charlie Grima)

#875: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Sir Martin Kinch - erstwhile proprietor at the famed Cherry Blossom Clinic - has recently been alerting his subjects to an interesting if not exciting book by former Wizzard drummer Charlie Grima entitled "Aren't You Glad That Its Not Christmas Everyday? Memoirs of a Wizzard Drummer" (Mirag Publications ISBN 9780993187711). In his own words, Charlie explains the motivation behind his new book thus:

"After a few years of friends encouraging me to write about my times in this business of showing off, I decided to give it a go. I’ve started from the humble beginnings of emigrating to the UK, in the hope that you get a grasp of the culture shock of change that I have experienced. For the better of course. I like to think that I have grasped the “Brummie” sense of humour along the way. Oroight?"

This book really does looks like a great read! "Aren't You Glad That Its Not Christmas Everyday? Memoirs of a Wizzard Drummer" by Charlie Grima can be purchased in Paperback &/or Kindle formats from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk via these links thus:



ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Aren't You Glad That Its Not Christmas Everyday? Memoirs of a Wizzard Drummer" by Charlie Grima 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 ... 18-March-2015

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Don't Believe the Type!

"On The Run" is only missing on the new Blu-ray sleeve ... not the disc!
#874: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! You may (or may not) be aware that the newly released Blu-ray edition of ELO's legendary 1978 "Out Of The Blue: Live At Wembley" concert released by Eagle Vision/Universal (#ERSBD3017) also contains the footage of three other ELO concerts at Brunel University (1973), Rockpalast (1974) and "Fusion" (1976) as well as the entire "Discovery" promo film (1979). Unfortunately, there is a typographical error on the sleeve of the newly released Blu-Ray which omits "On The Run" from the track listing for the "Discovery" promo film. Please be reassured that "On The Run" remains in its familiar position sandwiched between "Midnight Blue" and "Wishing" on the actual disc!
"Do Ya" really think "Ma Ma Ma Belle" could be mistaken for the former Move track?
But did you know that it isn't the first occasion where an ELO video release has been blighted by this type of mistake? Back in 1989, when "The 'Out Of The Blue' Tour: ELO: Live At Wembley"  was issued by Castle/Hendring on VHS (#CASH5036), the sleeve unfortunately listed "Ma Ma Ma Belle" in place of "Do Ya". A case of history repeating itself but also another reason why collecting ELO (and related) media is never boring - at least in the opinion of Yours Truly KJS!

With a total running time of well over three hours at 205 minutes, "Out Of The Blue: Live At Wembley" remains a real value for money release which collates much of the available ELO video footage from their most successful period between 1973-1979. "Out Of The Blue: Live At Wembley" is available from amazon.co.uk via this link thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Out Of The Blue - Live At Wembley" to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 17-March-2015

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Caught Live: Wings Over Abbey Road @ Bridgnorth 14/03/15

Wings Over Abbey Road put on their very own 'Rockshow' at The Theatre On The Steps last night
#873: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! If last Friday's gig at The Grapes in Stafford was a 'warm up' for the formal theatre debut of Wings Over Abbey Road, then their stunning performance last night (Saturday 14th March) at Bridgnorth's quaint if not aptly named Theatre On The Steps was the full works as the band enchanted the appreciative audience with wonderfully entertaining and note perfect rendition of not only "Abbey Road" but also other selected works of The Beatles, Wings and Paul McCartney.
"Taxman" is given the WOAR treatment (Photograph courtesy John Collins)
This was a simply magnificent trawl through songs - some familiar and some hidden within a certain classic 1969 album - with pitch perfect vocals by Chris Brighton and Mike Tinsley, astounding guitar craft by a much more prominent Nick Mellor, top class percussion by Darren Ashford, a cracking keyboard contribution by Colin Noon with the lovely, sultry vocals by Debbie Lee-Richardson capping some beautiful harmonies that were a real pleasure to be able to hear. Their Wings set was electric and crowd pleasing and hearing "Abbey Road" live is always a pleasure to experience. The opening notes of "Golden Slumbers" are still so movingly realised by this group and their accurate performance of songs that are essentially not easy to replicate live is to be admired. So, if Wings Over Abbey Road come to a venue near you, you owe it to yourself to go see 'em! They're Maccatastic!

Wings Over Abbey Road performed: "Come Together" ~ "Something" ~ "Here Comes The Sun" ~ "Nowhere Man" ~ "And Your Bird Can Sing" ~ "Back In The USSR" ~ "Get Back" ~ "Taxman" ~ "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" ~ "Because" ~ "You Never Give Me Your Money" ~ "Sun King" ~ "Mean Mr. Mustard" ~ "Polythene Pam" ~ "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" ~ "Golden Slumbers" ~ "Carry That Weight" ~ "The End" ~ "Her Majesty" ~ "Band On The Run" ~  "Silly Love Songs" ~ "Drive My Car" ~ "Maybe I'm Amazed" ~ "Let Me Roll It" ~ "Yesterday" ~ "Let 'Em In" ~ "Another Day" ~ "Lady Madonna" ~ "My Love" ~ "Jet" ~ "Live And Let Die" ~ "Hey Jude" ~ "Got To Get You Into My Life"

Wings Over Abbey Road are: Chris Brighton (Vox/Guitar)Mike Tinsley (Vox/Bass)Colin Noon (Keyboards/vox)Nick Mellor (Guitars)Darren Ashford (Drums)Debbie Lee-Richardson (Vox)

You can find out more about Wings Over Abbey Road via these links thus:

The Abbey Road Experience   Wings Over Abbey Road

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Wings Over Abbey Road 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-March-2015

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Part II Trax Feature in Kriegsman Promo Trailers

Michael Kriegsman ponders his "One Of Us" Kickstarter campaign
#872: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO super fan Jeff Cooper has kindly alerted ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) to an interesting Kickstarter campaign which features music by ELO Part II within the scores of these two promotional trailers for the project. Louis Clark's wonderful "Moment Of Truth (Overture)" composition features on one trailer with a re-worked "Hello Hello" - featuring Parthenon Huxley and Gordon Townsend from The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II) - on the other. You may recall that "Hello Hello" was originally the opening track of the first Electric Light Orchestra Part Two album back in 1991, credited to Eric Troyer, Bev Bevan, Pete Haycock and Neil Lockwood.

The man behind the project is Michael Kriegsman who has written and produced movie and TV trailers for the likes of The DaVinci Code, The X-Files, Family Guy, 2012, 21 Jump Street, Despicable Me, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Fast & Furious 5, Ice Age, It's Complicated, Men In Black 3, Napoleon Dynamite, Pineapple Express, Spider Man 3 and Pirates Of The Caribbean amongst not a few others. Michael explained the reasons behind his choice of music for the trailers thus:

"I first listened to Louis Clark's "Moment of Truth Overture" in 1994. Frankly, I've never stopped. I play it at home; at work; in the car - parked and driving; and to my family, friends and people I barely know. And I always play it LOUD! I grew up on classical music and - with respect to Beethoven and Brahms - I find Louis' Overture more stirring than any orchestral piece I've ever heard. It is cinematic. It makes movies in your head. In '94, the internet didn’t have kinetic neon websites that screamed "LOOK AT ME!"" We had Usenet where text did all the talking. On one ELO forum some astute member wrote something like "... when I listen to The Moment of Truth Overture I picture Peter Cushing's Dr. Van Helsing chasing Christopher Lee's Dracula across the steepled rooftops of old London in one of those Hammer horror movies from the early '70s." BINGO. I did, too! That post validated my feelings. If that (person) is reading this, Thank you! For 20 years I tried unsuccessfully to find a home for the MOT Overture in movie trailers and TV spots I've produced. When it came time to score my own promo trailer for my graphic novel, One of Us: The Making of Tod Browning's "Freaks", not only did I have the perfect score in mind, it was already playing in the background. LOUD. Thank you, Louis, for delivering a soundtrack that compels my imagination to run alongside Dr. Van Helsing across those dark gothic rooftops with every listen. Your score has also inspired a million new scenes and adventures of my own. I'm forever grateful".

The aim of the Kickstarter campaign is to fund the first issue in a series of four graphic novels that will focus on the real story behind the making of Tod Browning's 1932 movie "Freaks". The goal is $12,000 with over $3,000 raised and twelve days to go, at the time of writing. Further information can be found via these websites thus:


Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 14-March-2015

Friday, 13 March 2015

Two Toads & An Iron Horse: Pugwash Stateside

Live at The Iron Horse: Pugwash (Photo courtesy of David Tolar)
#871: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The love of Pugwash engenders many things. And one of those is endearing friendships ... even with folks that you haven't (yet) met. One of those wonderful folks is David Tolar, a huge fan, of course, of ELO and now a confirmed member of a growing band of Pugwashian disciples. David has had the good fortune to be able to go see the mighty Pugwash on their second tour of the US eastern seaboard in the last week or so. Not once, not twice but three times. I thought that it would be a good idea to ask David to carry out the first ever stateside gig review for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF). So, without further ado, here are David's recollections and thoughts regarding those two Pugwash concerts he attended at Toad in Cambridge, Massachusetts sandwiched betwixt their gig at The Iron Horse, Northampton earlier this week thus:
Vocal harmonies Pugwash style: Thomas and Shaun (Photo courtesy of David Tolar)
Saturday 7th March: At The Toad
Despite a situation where the boys couldn't hear themselves (due to a lack of stage monitors or wedges), they pulled off a show so eclectic and so insanely good that it left my wife saying, "So why didn't you hear about them YEARS AGO?" ... again! A bit of background on the venue itself: Toad is a venue that holds no more than 60 people comfortably, and anything over and above that is stifling. And folks, the place was PACKED. Stuffed to the proverbial gills with fans that in some cases had travelled great distances just to see the band. In fact, the venue eventually had to stop letting people in due to the demand. Pugwash took the 'stage' just after 11:00PM. I'm using the word 'stage' lightly because in all truth, the venue wasn't really designed with a four piece band in mind, and between the drums and amps, there wasn't enough room for all of the band to actually BE onstage - bassist Shaun McGee had to spend the evening on the floor as a result.

The other 'hindrance' to the staging? The bathrooms are located right behind a swinging door, and to actually get to the door, you have to walk past the band. A constant parade of people walking back and forth was the result, not to mention the bar staff who also had to weave their way around the scene. The words 'controlled chaos' came to mind!

At this point, you're probably asking "But how was the show?" If you're familiar with the Omnivore Recordings anthology, Pugwash hit virtually every touchstone on that collection, plus they previewed a track from their forthcoming album, arriving in stores in August. "Take Me Away", "Keep Movin' On", "Answers On A Postcard", "There You Are", "Apples", "Here", "Finer Things In Life", "Anyone Who Asks", "Fall Down", "Be My Friend A While" and set closer "It's Nice To Be Nice" were all from the anthology. They did a lovely version of "Dear Belinda" which was "... dedicated to anyone named Belinda here!" and as for the band's covers on the night, there were some inspired moments including snippets of "Whole Lotta Love", "A Well Respected Man", "Paint It Black" and "Sunshine Of Your Love". The big highlight was a simply stunning off-the-cuff version of Roy Orbison's "Crying", featuring guitarist Tosh Flood's soaring falsetto at the end which even caught Thomas Walsh a bit by surprise.

I can't remember EVERY little snippet that they did, of course as being at a Pugwash show is like being inside of a jukebox that is prone to jump around from genre to genre and style to style in ways that are unimaginable unless you've actually EXPERIENCED this for yourselves! It's a remarkably unique performance by four incredibly talented musicians who just happen to be four of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet and know in the 'music industry'. So yeah ... It's 4:00AM and I'm still awake. And best of all ... I'm doing this again Monday and Tuesday night!

Monday 9th March: Rocking The Iron Horse
It's now a Tuesday morning, just after midnight here at Chez Nous. I'm "Giddy" ... and amazed ... and humbled ... and grateful ... and gobsmacked ...and I could go on and on for hours! I still can't describe what I feel at the moment. Two nights. One with a Toad, the other with an Iron Horse. Two completely different venues. A tiny pub/bar/local watering hole, and one of the truly great concert venues in both Western Massachusetts and the entirety of the Pioneer Valley. Two nights where the crowds exceeded expectations. Two nights of amazing people, and even more astounding music. And now, something that might possibly be the biggest "DUH!" moment I have EVER written in ANY review I've ever done:

If you hear them once, you will want to hear them more.
If you like one Pugwash album, you cannot stop there. You will want them all.
If you see them once, you will be a fan for life.
Two nights. Two polar opposites on the surface.
The true commonality: Pugwash

The performance tonight had a similar set of songs played as the show at Toad, with a dazzling set of cover tunes (and some truly inspired false starts). The primary emphasis again was on the Omnivore anthology released last fall, with additional tracks such as "Dear Belinda", "This Could Be Good" (a track they did at Toad that I forgot to mention the other night), and set closer "Two Wrongs" (not done at Toad), plus not one, but TWO songs from the forthcoming album arriving in August ("Hung Myself Out To Dry" and an amazing version of "The Fool I Had Become", which they had not aired previously on the tour to date) and a song that made me say "If THIS is what the album is going to sound like, then this is DEFINITELY going to be my "Album of the Year". The remaining anthology tracks were identical to the Toad show.

One of the more humorous moments was when Thomas started "Hey Jude", but then reenacted a skipping record, jumping from artist to artist (including an inspired few seconds of "Sweet Caroline" - of all things!). The sound mix was incredible, and more than one audience member said "It's a shame this wasn't shot on video or recorded for a live album - this is INCREDIBLE!". And it was. This show truly was one for the ages. Perfect. Sublime. Ridiculously amazing. Pugwash at their best.

A brief personal interjection: The first concert I ever attended was on 27 September 1978, at the old Boston Garden, as I witnessed the Electric Light Orchestra on "The Big Night" tour, with that spaceship of theirs. Since then, I've seen more than 2000 shows, and have personally played at least another 500 more. Tonight was in my all-time Top Ten shows. EVER. It. Was. Just. That. Good.

Tuesday 10th March: Return to The Toad
The staging was the same as the first show. How Pugwash managed to squeeze that gear onto THAT stage still blows my mind - and once again, bassist Shaun McGee had the floor to stand on - these things ALWAYS happen to the bassist, don’t they?! This show felt more like a very loose jam or rehearsal than a more 'proper' gig, in sharp contrast to the Iron Horse show the preceding evening. Due to an earlier start time, there weren't as many songs aired, but that didn't mean the audience didn't have our share of laughs and a surprise or two along the way...so with all of that in mind, here's the set list from the second and final Toad performance:

Take Me Away; Keep Moving On; I Want To Break Free (a very brief Queen snippet), Kings & Queens, Hung Myself Out To Dry, Gunga Din (a Byrds snippet), Hickory Wind (a Gram Parsons song with vocals by Tosh, while Thomas Walsh tuned), Don't You Write Her Off (a track by former Byrds members McGuinn, Clark and Hillman - and a song which Thomas frequently teases), Eye Of The Tiger (a Survivor snippet), Be My Friend A While, Apples, There You Are, Words (a Bee Gees snippet), Dear Belinda, Here, Your Friend (the first airing of the track on this tour), Are Friends Electric? (a Gary Numan/Tubeway Army snippet), Tainted Love (a simply amazing version of that chestnut), Anyone Who Asks, Answer On A Postcard, Fall Down and It's Nice To Be Nice.

That was it for my three nights with Pugwash. To Thomas Walsh, Tosh Flood, Shaun McGee and Joey Fitzgerald: my sincere thanks! Cheers! Dave Tolar, ELOBF's roving (if not raving) reporter!
Yours Truly KJS thinks that you will agree with me that DT has done a stellar job in reviewing all three gigs for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) and adding his amiable commentary. My thanx are extended to Dave and his wife Susan for their time, hard work and sheer enthusiasm. Over here in the UK, we can look forward to this quartet of Pugwash gigs in May thus:

Saturday 23rd May
Pugwash @ The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Tickets: from £15 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 29th May

Pugwash @ The Barfly, Camden Town
Tickets: £12.50 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 30th May

Pugwash @ Westway Cinema, Frome
Tickets: £10 each (*plus booking fee)

Sunday 31st May

Pugwash @ The Joiners, Southampton
Tickets: £12 each (*plus booking fee)

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 13-March-2015

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Caught Live (3): ELO Again @ Birmingham 11/03/15

ELO Again entertained a healthy Brummie crowd
#870: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Again journeyed "Down Home Town" to ELO's birthplace in Birmingham last night (Wednesday 11th March) as they put on an amazing show at The New Alexandra Theatre for the many enthusiastic Brummies (and visitors) in attendance. This was my third time of seeing the South Wales based group following on from their impressive outings at The Robin 2 in 2013 and Ludlow Assembly Rooms last year.
Light Fantastic: ELO Again's visual effects were superb
This was an important gig for ELO Again as they advanced their show to the needs of a bigger stage and the even bigger expectation that goes with the territory. And it can be truly said that based on the evidence of this performance and the reaction of those watching, the night was a great success as we were not only treated to a professional live rendition of those familiar Jeff Lynne penned ELO songs (except, of course, for "Roll Over Beethoven") that we all know and love, we also witnessed another energetic and charismatic display by the ELO Again string section and some truly magnificent image projection, especially that during the bands introduction during "Eldorado Finale" and "The Diary Of Horace Wimp". Highlights for me this time were "Big Wheels" and "Can't Get It Out Of My Head". My only observation regarding the sound was that the lead guitar was slightly under-amplified. But make no mistake about it, this was a great gig and a memorable occasion. Be sure to catch ELO Again when they return to the Midlands next month on Friday 3rd April at The Robin 2 in Bilston.
ELO Again performed: (Intro: "Eldorado Finale" & "Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20") ~ "Standin' In The Rain" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "Big Wheels" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Hold On Tight" ~ "Ma Ma Ma Belle" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "All Over The World" ~ "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" ~ (Intro: "Prologue") ~ "Twilight" ~ "Do Ya" ~ "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" ~ "Confusion" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ (Gaelle's violin solo) ~ "Last Train To London" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Rockaria" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven"

ELO Again are: Colin Smith (Guitar/Lead Vox)Jim Ramsey (Bass/Vox)Mike Holcombe (Keyboards/Vocoder)Clive Smith (Drums/Vox)Gaelle Favre (Violin)Sarah Waycott (Cello)Sion Dawson (Cello/Guitar)

You can find out more about ELO Again via their official website thus:

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 12-March-2015

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Recommended: The Man Who Stole Rock 'n' Roll (Bob Lawton)

Another ELOBF Recommended Read: "The Man Who Stole Rock 'n' Roll" by Bob Lawton
#869: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It's a small world. I was talking with a work colleague today about some forthcoming concerts by Fleetwood Mac in Birmingham and happened to mention that there was a mention for Christine McVie (née Christine Perfect) within my interview with Bob Lawton back in 2011 for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF). Yet, amazingly, on the very same day, Bob got in touch with Yours Truly KJS today regarding his new book and accompanying music video! Bob has also teamed up with Rick Price (Sight 'n' Sound, The Move, Wizzard, The Rockin' Berries) to write a rather nice song entitled "Jive Away The Tears" with Rick providing the music and Bob supplying the lyrics thus:

"The Man Who Stole Rock 'n' Roll" by Bob Lawton (ISBN 9781508729228) has an interesting synopsis involving a familiar ELO theme within it - time travel - thus: "It's rock 'n' roll plagiarism ... but this time the songs are stolen from future. It's February 1963, with The Bombastics on the threshold of stardom, Britain on the brink of the Swinging Sixties and the whole country locked in the icy grip of the coldest winter for sixteen years. The Bombastics' own Mr-Sex-Drugs-&-Rock 'n' Roll, Barry Harper, is driving the band's Volkswagen home after a gig and is forced to take shelter from a blizzard in a snow-bound lay-by. Impatiently twisting the knobs on the radio for a better reception it starts to glow a dazzling white light; Barry is drawn in and cast down a time tunnel twenty years into the future. The Volkswagen now belongs to The Robbie Rochester Band. After a week marooned in 1983, Robbie Rochester helps him return to the sixties. Fearing ridicule, at first Barry tells no-one of the world he found, the people he met, or the pop music he heard. Frankie Atom & The Bombastics are propelled from local dance hall heroes to teenage idols ... and national adoration ... but eventually their hit records dry up and their golden days are over. In a fit of drunken remorse, Barry tells of his time travel adventure and the wretched decision he made; a decision that will reverberate down time, wrecking careers and changing lives forever. What surprises do Frankie Atom & The Bombastics discover at their reunion 50 years later ... and what was Barry's dark secret?"

"The Man Who Stole Rock 'n' Roll" by Bob Lawton can be purchased in Paperback &/or Kindle formats from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk via these links thus:

Paperback: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Man-Stole-Rock-Roll
Paperback: www.amazon.com/The-Man-Stole-Rock-Roll
Kindle: www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Who-Stole-Rock-Roll
Kindle: www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Stole-Rock-Roll

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "The Man Who Stole Rock 'n' Roll" by Bob Lawton 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 ... 11-March-2015

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Recommended: The Mission of the Sacred Heart (Randy Blazak)

Fingers and thumb courtesy of Rebekah Marie Sinclair
#868: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It really was a pleasant surprise earlier this week when Randy Blazak dropped me a line here at ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF). The Portland based author has written a book entitled "The Mission Of A Scared Heart" (ISBN 9781460976159) a novel based upon the songs of ELO's much loved classic 1976 LP "A New World Record". Here's the synopsis of the book to further whet your appetite:

"'The Mission Of A Scared Heart' takes place in Portland, Oregon in the year 2000. It follows a group of young creatives as they struggle with the question, why stick around? The protagonist is Zak Quisp, a suicidal graduate student and music junkie. His fiancé has left him with the alter and he’s facing dark thoughts. He’s joined by his friends, Lenny, a rock band leader, and Cozy, Lenny’s opera singer girlfriend, as well as Lucinda, a 19-year-old homeless mother. The final member of the cast is Telly Max, who may or may not be from another planet, but is also looking for the answer to this timeless question. The narrative is based on the author’s own issues with suicide and searching for the answer to the question, why is it so hard to kill yourself? Mission is a 'rock novel'. It is structured around a 1976 album by the Electric Light Orchestra. Each chapter is grounded in some of the elements of each song on the album. Mission has sold well as self-published paperback and ebook, garnering positive reviews and support from singers Storm Large, Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Chris Robinson (Black Crowes) and actress Laura Slade Wiggins (Shameless). It has been optioned as a screenplay in Hollywood and is destined for a larger audience."
This book looks like a good read so Yours Truly KJS immediately ordered the paperback from amazon.co.uk and it duly arrived this morning. It should therefore come as no surprise that an ELOBF book review is forthcoming. The news that it has been optioned for a screenplay in Hollywood means that we can hopefully expect an ELO themed film soon too! You can order paperback and kindle editions from amazon.co.uk and amazon.com as well as checking out the Facebook and Twitter pages for the book/author thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "The Mission Of A Scared Heart" by Randy Blazak 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 ... 08-March-2015

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Caught Live (6): The Abbey Road Experience @ Stafford 06/03/15

Wings Over Abbey Road
#867: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! A twenty mile trip to the county town of Stafford was on the cards last night (Friday 6th March) to go see The Abbey Road Experience in action at The Grapes. It was also the first opportunity for Yours Truly KJS to see the band double up for their Wings Over Abbey Road set. The journey was well worth it.
The Abbey Road Experience
This gig was more like a live session with the band flexing their muscles in a near three hour performance. With precise percussion, soaring vocals, sublime guitars and impressive keyboards, this was a show that had the venue not only rocking, it also had those in attendance amazed at the accuracy of the song delivery and in awe of the skill of the musicians on show. For me, there were many highlights but the craft of guitarist Nick Mellor was truly awesome, especially his spine-tingling, awe-inspiring extended guitar solo during "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
Fully Focussed: Darren Ashford, Chris Brighton and Mike Tinsley
As usual the vocals of Chris and Mike were spot on with the drum work of Darren again perfect, not forgetting the contribution of Colin - particularly during the Wings tracks. A special mention must be made for Debbie, whose contribution added a new dimension to the vocal arrangements during the Wings Over Abbey Road portion of the show. On this showing, their forthcoming appearance at The Theatre On The Steps in Bridgnorth next Saturday 14th March is not to be missed!

The Abbey Road Experience performed: "Come Together" ~ "Something" ~ "Oh! Darling" ~ "Here Comes The Sun" ~ "Nowhere Man" ~ "Don't Let Me Down" ~ "And Your Bird Can Sing" ~ "Back In The USSR" ~ "Get Back" ~ "Taxman" ~ "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" ~ "Because" ~ "You Never Give Me Your Money" ~ "Sun King" ~ "Mean Mr. Mustard" ~ "Polythene Pam" ~ "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" ~ "Golden Slumbers" ~ "Carry That Weight" ~ "The End" ~ "Her Majesty"

Wings Over Abbey Road performed: "Band On The Run" ~ "Silly Love Songs" ~ "Maybe I'm Amazed" ~ "Let Me Roll It" ~ "Let 'Em In" ~ "Another Day" ~ "My Love" ~ "Jet" ~ "Lady Madonna" ~ "Live And Let Die" ~ "Got To Get You Into My Life"

The Abbey Road Experience & Wings Over Abbey Road are: Chris Brighton (Vox/Guitar) ~ Mike Tinsley (Vox/Bass) ~ Colin Noon (Keyboards/vox) ~ Nick Mellor (Guitars) ~ Darren Ashford (Drums) ~ Debbie Lee-Richardson (Vox)
Next Gig: Saturday 14th March
Wings Over Abbey Road @ The Theatre On The Steps, Bridgnorth
Tickets: from £12 each

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The Abbey Road Experience & Wings Over Abbey Road 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 ... 07-March-2015

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Thanks a Half Million!

#866: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yesterday evening (Wednesday 4th March 2015) at circa 7:30PM, ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) clocked up our 500,000th visitor! ELOBF was launched on Monday 2nd February 2009 (Groundhog Day) with the initial aim of campaigning for the release of the originally intended 2LP edition of ELO's enigmatic 1983 album "Secret Messages" including, of course, "Beatles Forever". 866 articles and 2,221 days later, ELOBF has grown to feature not only the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and its co-founders Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan, we also feature the happenings of ELO's many musical friends and relatives as well as selected local, national and international independent artistes. ELOBF can now also be found on Facebook, TwitterYouTube and via the Hamilton Radio show "KJS Suggests".

Yours Truly KJS would like to thank every visitor, musician and band for their interest, support, dialogue and participation in the last six years, one month and two days. I hope that you will keep checking in as ELOBF charts a course towards one million views.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 05-March-2015