Monday, 29 June 2015

At Last: Official Release for ELO Hyde Park Gig

#933: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! In a smart commercial move via an official press release just a few hours ago today (Monday 29th June), Jeff Lynne has announced that, almost a year to the day, the critically acclaimed live performance by Jeff Lynne's ELO at Hyde Park in September last year will see an official release on Friday 11th September via Eagle Rock Entertainment (in association with the BBC), in DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats.

Catalogue numbers EREDV1185, ERBRD5268 and EVD1169 have been allocated. The much anticipated release will also include the long overdue formal issue of "Mr. Blue Sky: The Story Of Jeff Lynne & ELO" making this truly a "must buy" for fans of Jeff and his ELO vehicle frustrated previously by the limited download only release of the 2012 documentary and various Hyde Park bootlegs. Once again, Eagle Rock have confirmed their premier position when it comes to releasing ELO studio and live video footage. This will likely be ELO's second #1 this year in the Official UK DVD Chart following the success of the Live At Wembley DVD in March. The Press Release goes on to state:

"This release offers fantastic value with full length concert and feature length documentary on the same disc. The show from Hyde Park includes "Mr Blue Sky," "Sweet Talkin' Woman," "Livin' Thing," "Evil Woman," "Telephone Line," "Don't Bring Me Down," "Showdown," "Roll Over Beethoven," "10358 Overture," "Can't Get It Out Of My Head," "Strange Magic" and many more!

The Electric Light Orchestra, led by one of rock's most iconic songwriters and producers, Jeff Lynne, are one of the most successful bands of all time with global sales of over 50 million albums. In September 2014, Jeff Lynne's ELO headlined BBC Radio 2's "Festival In A Day" in London's famous Hyde Park. It was the first time in almost 30 years that the band had performed on a festival stage. Jeff Lynne said, "It seemed like the entire 50,000 were singing and clapping along, which carried on for the whole night. The Hyde Park concert turned out to be one of the most memorable shows ever for me."

The critics agreed, with The Times of London saying it was 'near perfect' in their 5-star review and the Evening Standard marvelling that 'ELO still have the power to flick switches' in their 4-star review. Neil McCormick of the Telegraph noted how "fifty thousand grown men and women sang along in joyous rapture to some of the greatest pop music ever heard."

As well as the full "Live At Hyde Park" show, the Bonus Features offer the feature length documentary "Mr Blue Sky - The Story Of Jeff Lynne and ELO" and also new interviews filmed at Hyde Park. Jeff Lynne has been involved every step of the way with every aspect of this production, especially the audio delivery, saying: "It's important to me that viewers experience the Hyde Park show exactly as it was performed on the night ... in stereo.

Tracklisting: "All Over The World" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "Ma Ma Ma Belle" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Strange Magic" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Steppin' Out" ~ "Handle With Care" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven"

This show was a truly special moment that will live on in fans' memories forever - the 50,000 tickets for the event had sold out in a matter of minutes and the fans sang along to hit after hit performed by Jeff Lynne and the band accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. "Live At Hyde Park" by Jeff Lynne's ELO will be cherished by all who love this truly important band."

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Live In Hyde Park" by Jeff Lynne's ELO to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELORoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 29-June-2015

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Caught Live (2): Wings Over Abbey Road @ Bridgnorth 27/06/15

#932: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This was my second Wings Over Abbey Road gig following on from their triumphant debut at Bridgnorth back in March. Hence, a trip to see this rather unique Beatlesque sextet step up a gear with their first gig at the larger and wonderful Garrick Theatre in Lichfield, Staffordshire on the evening of Saturday 27th June was eagerly anticipated and totally justified.

The Abbey Road Experience are now Wings Over Abbey Road so that they bring the more accessible and familiar jewels of what - in my personal opinion is the best Beatles album - to the live stage together with an inspired selection of more Fab Four classics and highlights of Paul McCartney's post-Beatles career, specifically with Wings. And this they more than accomplished in front of a sizeable audience last night as, once again, the wonderful Abbey Road Medley was performed perfectly together with the delightful "My Love", "Maybe I'm Amazed", "Yesterday" and "Something". Once again the crisp, clear vocals of Chris Brighton and Mike Tinsley were coupled with those of Debbie Lee-Richardson to deliver some lovely vocal harmonies throughout the concert whilst Nick Mellor once again excelled with his superb guitar craft, especially (again!) during "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". The precise percussion of Darren Ashford and concise keyboard contribution of Colin Noon ensured that Wings classic "Silly Love Songs" was one of the many other highlights during a most enjoyable evening. Their next scheduled gig - a twin headliner with The Rollin Stones - will be at Conkers in Swadlincote, Derbyshire on Saturday 18th July. My tip? Go see 'em!

Set list: "Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" ~ "Got To Get You Into My Life" ~ "Back In The USSR" ~ "Something" ~ "And Your Bird Can Sing" ~ "Get Back" ~ "Come Together" ~ "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" ~ "Yesterday" ~ "Here Comes The Sun" ~ "Another Girl" ~ "Taxman" ~ "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" ~ "Paperback Writer" ~ "Let 'Em In" ~ "Another Day" ~ "Lady Madonna" ~ "My Love" ~ "Jet" ~ "Live And Let Die" ~ "Hey Jude" ~ "I've Just Seen Face"

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

Find out what Wings Over Abbey Road are up to via these links thus:

The Abbey Road Experience ~ Official
Wings Over Abbey Road ~ Official

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 ... 28-June-2015

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mr. Blue Sky: Jeff Lynne Endorses Cancer Charity Single

#931: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The schoolchildren of King's St. Alban's in Worcester have recorded and just released a fantastic new version of ELO's seminal Summer feel good anthem "Mr. Blue Sky". The charity single, released on Monday 15th June, has even been endorsed by Jeff Lynne himself, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK thus:

Their charming interpretation of "Mr. Blue Sky" was initiated by Charlie Collinson (now aged 7) and Henry (now aged 11) who lost their dad - Nigel - to oesophageal cancer back in January 2014, aged just 45 years. The brothers were inspired to record "Mr. Blue Sky"their Dad's favourite song (also their family anthem) - with their 223 school friends (aged between 4-11 years of age) to celebrate not only the life of their father, but the lives of fathers everywhere in aid of Cancer Research UK.

A limited quantity of the CD - comprising two trax and a "Making Of" video - can be purchased for £5 each (payable by cheque) by sending a private message to the Mr. Blue Sky Appeal Facebook page.

The single can also be downloaded from iTunes or via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Mr. Blue Sky" by The Children of King's St Alban's School Worcester 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 ... 25-June-2015

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Orchestra: New Website

#930: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The Orchestra appear to have just launched a revamped new official website. The band feature, of course, former ELO stalwarts Mik Kaminski and Louis Clark in their ranks alongside fellow ELO Part II co-founder Eric Troyer plus Parthenon Huxley, Gordon Townsend and Glen Burtnik. They also appear to have been re-branded as The Orchestra Starring ELO Former Members whereas they previously held the title of The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II). Both the new site and previous site can be accessed via these links thus:

The Orchestra Starring ELO Former Members
The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II)

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 24-June-2015

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Coming Up: Wings Over Abbey Road @ Lichfield

#929: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Fans of ELOThe Beatles and related artistes who live in the Midlands of England should seriously consider a visit to see ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommended artiste Wings Over Abbey Road/The Abbey Road Experience this weekend at Lichfield's Garrick Theatre in Staffordshire on the night of Saturday 27th June. Tickets can be purchased via this link thus:

To give you an idea of what to expect, here's my review of their recent show at The Theatre On The Steps in Bridgnorth for you to peruse thus:

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

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 23-June-2015

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Picture This: The Jet Picture Discs

#928: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The fourth in a series of ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] articles looking at the tenure of ELO at Jet Records. For a band that released twelve [12] original studio albums between 1971-1986 [if you include the "Xanadu" OST] and multiple singles, compilations, boxed sets and some very attractive limited coloured vinyl editions at that "Time", there were remarkably few picture discs issued by Jet during the tenure of ELO between 1975-1983, specifically their commercial peak, save for just two items.
Also a picture sleeve for "The Way Life's Meant To Be" in Europe ... 
Following on from the disappointing UK chart performance of "Twilight" [#JET7015; #30], Jet released a AA sided third single from the "Time" album in late 1981 featuring "Ticket To The Moon" and "Here Is The News" [#JET7018; #24] and to promote it, a 12" picture disc [#JETP12018] was issued, much to the delight of stalwart ELO fans and collectors. It was a significant release as the first two singles from "Time" were only issued on 7" with picture sleeves.
Both Sides Now: Spot the difference?
ELO's second [and final] picture disc was an intriguing 7" [#WA3720] issued to promote their second single [#A3720; #48] from the "Secret Messages" album in Summer 1983 [being, of course, the title track from that album]. The picture disc included a competition to win a personalized gold LP "Secret Messages" disc, two 7" silver discs and 25 "Secret Messages" LP's by identifying a line from a certain ELO song using the four clues presented in the picture disc.
Know the answer? Were you a winner? 
Stay tuned to ELOBF as the answer to this three decade old quiz will be explained and revealed by Yours Truly KJS in a future article, that is if you can't work it out for yourself! ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] would, of course, love to hear from any of the winners of the above competition.

Thereafter, fans of ELO & Jeff Lynne did get to see Jeff's solo single "Video" from the "Electric Dreams" OST in 1984 [Virgin #VSY695]. The only other ELO related picture disc that comes to mind is the 1980 US 10" withdrawn promo picture disc [#MC10384] of "Xanadu", an item which still attains bids of several thousand dollars every time one turns up on eBay and was recently named as the #1 collectible by Record Collector magazine [see this ELOBF article].
Hence, amidst all those lovely ELO coloured vinyl issues and rarities [new and old], their official picture discs remain distinct and attractive to all ELO fans and collectors. Should you be interested, my previous articles in this series looking at the tenure of ELO at Jet Records can be viewed via these links thus:

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 20-June-2015

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Confirmed: Bryan Adams New Single Produced by Jeff Lynne

#927: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Bryan Adams tweeted the above screen shot earlier this evening from the video for his new single coming out this Summer. Yours Truly KJS asked on behalf of ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) whether it could be confirmed that the song is indeed produced by Jeff Lynne and the answer was affirmative from the Canadian rocker that the single (co-written with Bryan's longstanding songwriting partner Jim Vallance) is indeed produced by the ELO maestro! We look forward to said single and the ensuing album "Get Up" which is due out on Friday 16th October.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 18-June-2015

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Caught Live: Elton John @ Walsall 13/06/15

"Bennie And The Jets"
#926: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! If I'm honest, I originally had no intention of writing a gig review for the concert given last night (Saturday 13th June) by Elton John at The Banks's Stadium in Bescot, Walsall. The links between EJ and ELO are, to say the least, tenuous with Elton, Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with their joint contributions to the OST for "All This And World War II" back in 1976. Yours Truly KJS was therefore pleasantly surprised to find that Matt Bissonette was also to be found on stage as bassist and backing vocalist in the Elton John Band. You may recall that Matt was a member of the proposed touring band for Jeff Lynne's ELO back in 2001 and was featured in the best-selling "Zoom Tour Live" DVD alongside his percussionist brother Greg Bissonette. The brothers were also a part of Ringo Starr's touring band between 2003 and 2005.
But what of the the gig itself? This was both an impressively organized event (with an attendance of over 14,000 folks) and a hugely enjoyable performance by a relaxed and appreciative modern musical icon as he delivered a balanced set that not only included a generous selection of his many hits but also gave those in attendance the opportunity to hear some of those album tracks - significantly from "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" - which have built the foundation of his near fifty year career.
For me, it was a marvellous spectacle to see such a amazing pianist and songwriter deliver remarkably strong vocals as he trawled his bejeweled songbook (not forgetting, of course, the lyrical contribution of Bernie Taupin). You'd expect to be tapping (and even shuffling) your feet to the likes of "Crocodile Rock" and "I'm Still Standing" but it was the slower numbers "Candle In The Wind", "Tiny Dancer", "Daniel", "Your Song" and "Rocket Man" that caught my attention. My personal fave had to be "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word", a song I've always loved but never seen or heard in the flesh. A thoroughly enjoyable evening indeed after the heights of Paul McCartney last month in Birmingham. Now for Fleetwood Mac in early July ...
Former ELO bassist Matt Bissonette can be (just about) seen third from the left
Set list: "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" ~ "Bennie And The Jets" ~ "Candle In The Wind"~ "All the Girls Love Alice" ~ "Levon" ~ "Tiny Dancer" ~ "Believe" ~ "Daniel" ~ "Philadelphia Freedom" ~ "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" ~ "Rocket Man" ~ "Hey Ahab" ~ "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" ~ "Your Song" ~ "Burn Down The Mission" ~ "Sacrifice ~ "Sad Songs [Say So Much]" ~ "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"  "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" ~ "The Bitch Is Back" ~ "I'm Still Standing" ~ "Your Sister Can't Twist [But She Can Rock 'n' Roll]" ~ "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" ~ "Crocodile Rock"
Elton's excellent current touring band are Davey Johnstone (Musical Director/Guitars/Mandolin/Banjo/Vox)Matt Bissonette (Bass/Vox)Nigel Olsson (Drums/Vox)Kim Bullard (Keyboards)John Mahon (Percussion/Vox)

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

Friday, 12 June 2015

Showdown: On/Off/On The Third Day

"Showdown" initially made its UK debut in "On The Third Day" during 2006
#925: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! One of the quirks of early ELO releases (and also that of Wizzard) in the UK that came about as a result of their proposed change of record label from Harvest to Warner Bros. in late 1973 as a result of the machinations of a certain Don Arden.
The original UK issue of OTTD in 1973 had no "Showdown"
Their third single "Showdown" (HAR5077) - a third ELO hit that peaked at #12 in the Official UK Chart with a ten week chart run - did not feature in the November 1973 Warner Bros. UK issue of "On The Third Day" (K56021) or any subsequent Jet Records reissues (UAG30091/JETLP202) in their home country - that is until it was included in the Epic/Legacy remaster in 2006. For contractual reasons, "Showdown" was left bereft as a stand alone UK single (although it in featured in numerous Harvest compilations thereafter and twice saw re-release, coupled with "Roll Over Beethoven") until it finally found a home in "ELO's Greatest Hits" (JETLX525) in late '79. Note also that the publishing rights for "On The Third Day" were shared with Roy Wood Music (see above) for the original issue of OTTD on Warner Bros. to further complicate things!
"Showdown" has always been an OTTD track in the States
Over in the United States, "Showdown" did appear on "On The Third Day" (UA-LA188-F) after "New World Rising" on Side 1 of the LP and before "Daybreaker" on later CD releases. It has always been an integral part of ELO's much loved third studio album in the US since then. This meant that many ELO fans and collectors - including Yours Truly KJS - had to double up with both versions of "On The Third Day"!
OTTD's UK reissue sleeve: No sign of any "Showdown"
OTTD's US sleeve lists "Showdown" at the end of Side 1
Perhaps more famously, the transfer of Don Arden artistes Jeff Lynne (ELO) and Roy Wood (Wizzard) from Harvest to Warner Bros. caused more difficulties at the time with the seasonal classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" initially being released on Warner Bros. (K16336) before being quickly withdrawn so that it could be 'officially' issued on Harvest (HAR5079) due to a legal loophole. This undoubtedly had a negative impact with its peak chart position of #4 somewhat lagging behind that of Slade's  Christmas #1 single "Merry Xmas Everybody".

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

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Groucutt on Groucutt: Tony Remembers Kelly

#924: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Last week, local newspaper The Black Country Bugle published a delightful article by Tony Groucutt - elder brother, of course, of the late, great Michael 'Kelly' Groucutt. The article (No. 1188; Thursday 4th June 2015; page #16) is a wonderful overview and recollection of the life and career of the ELO, OrKestra, ELO Part II and The Orchestra bassist, singer, songwriter and musician.

The above reasonably high quality scans will (hopefully) allow visitors to ELO Beatles Forever to download, read and enjoy the article for themselves and/or purchase The Black Country Bugle!

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The Black Country Bugle 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 ... 09-June-2015

Monday, 8 June 2015

Knight in the City: ELO Again @ Chepstow Castle 29/08/15

#923: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO Again have just announced what looks to be a very attractive outdoor concert overlooking the River Wye at Chepstow Castle, Gwent in South Wales during the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend on Saturday 29th August. This is very much a 'home' gig for this ELO tribute band and, weather permitting, it promises to be a fantastic event for fans of ELO/Jeff Lynne. Tickets can be purchased directly from their official website via this link 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 ... 08-June-2015

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Review: Autumn In The Neighbourhood (China Crisis)

#922: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! From time to time, indeed when "Time" allows, I like to feature the musicians and artistes who float my boat besides those in the ELOBF universe. And one of those 'other' bands that I have always liked are China Crisis.

The city of Liverpool has bequeathed us many great bands as well as The Beatles and, for me, China Crisis are one of those groups. Now, after a hiatus of over 20 years, the band have presented loyal pledgers and fans with a wonderful new studio album entitled "Autumn In The Neighbourhood". All eleven songs within have a  homely if not intimate, jazzy feel to them and this wonderful recording is a real return to the heady days of "Flaunt The Imperfection" led by co-founders Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon with a little help from their friends Howard Jones, Maggie Reilly and a cast of familiar faces including Gary 'Gazza' Johnson, Kevin Wilkinson and (producer) Brian McNeill. There are some wonderful tunes nestled in this release with deep meaningful lyrics to partner them. From the opening notes of "Smile" - replete with their unique, classic 'sound' - all the way through to the closing bars of the pensive and optimistic "Wonderful New World", this is a thrilling yet relaxing album to listen to.

The sentimental if not moving "Bernard" is the ultimate ode for final farewells and "Fool" is both a sure fire single and deserves significant airplay alone. "Autumn In The Neighbourhood" dips into jazz, country and soul yet it retains a marvellous balance and the trademark sound which has always endeared me to the band. "My Sweet Delight" is sheer class and "Tell Tale Signs" must be the ultimate chill-out track ever. Mention too must also be made of the continuing sublime vocals of Messrs. Daly and Lundon. KJS@ELOBF sincerely hopes that this record is formally issued soon so that not only can it grace the album chart (as it should) but also because it will help China Crisis attract deserved new followers. (9/10)

Trax: "Smile (What Kind Of Love Is This?)" ~ "Down Here On Earth" ~ "Autumn In The Neighbourhood" ~ "Because My Heart" ~ "Bernard" ~ "Joy And The Spark" ~ "Being In Love" ~ "Fool" ~ "My Sweet Delight" ~ "Tell Tale Signs" ~ "Wonderful New World"

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Autumn In The Neighbourhood" by China Crisis 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 ... 07-June-2015

Saturday, 6 June 2015

A New World Record: ELO's Jet 'B' Sides

#921: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This is the third in a series of ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) articles looking at the tenure of ELO at Jet Records. Did you know that there was one ELO LP (apart from "Xanadu", for obvious reasons) that remained untouched (to my knowledge) when it came to providing 'B' sides for their singles released via Jet Records?

"A New World Record" (JETLP20/UAG30017/JETLP200) gave ELO three UK Top 10 singles with "Livin' Thing", "Rockaria!" and "Telephone Line" and was also their breakthrough album in the their home country, reaching #6 whilst spending 100 weeks in the UK Album Chart and attaining multi-platinum status. Over in the United States, "Do Ya" was released as a single in lieu of "Rockaria!". The 30th Anniversary issue of ANWR in 2006 (see above) also saw "Surrender" released as a download only single (also as an ultra-rare one-sided promo 7" in blue vinyl/CD promo).
But original ANWR cuts "Tightrope" (surely the single that was not), "Mission (A World Record)", "So Fine", "Above The Clouds" and "Shangri-La" remain as solely album tracks to this day. This is of note especially when considering how many ELO album trax were trawled for 'B' sides by Jet!

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 06-June-2015

Friday, 5 June 2015

Review: File Under Pop Vocal (Gary Frenay)

#920: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Gary Frenay is known as the co-founder, bassist, guitarist and vocalist for The Flashcubes. The band - based in Syracuse, NYC - are often featured here at ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) and are known more recently for their excellent album of Roy Wood covers entitled "Sportin' Wood".

Gary's third solo album "File Under Pop Vocal" has just been released - and what a great record it is! His latest ten track CD offering (plus three additional bonus tracks on the digital release), produced mostly by fellow Flashcube Tommy Allen, is flavoured throughout with the influence of the likes of Elvis Costello, The Beach BoysThe Beatles and, of course, our very own Woody.

Opening with the catchy and infectious "Blue Topaz" and progressing to the Chicago-like "Our Eyes Have Voices", the album title is apt as Frenay provides guitar licks, beautiful harmonies, succinct lyrics and a variety of musical styles throughout. This perfect example of this can be found on the wonderful "It's Like Heaven". It's a dream to listen to with its Harrisonesque side guitar, Costello vocal and layered vocals (which The Beach Boys would be proud of) encouraging the use of my repeat button, often!

The mood is mellowed with tracks such as "Winterview", "It's Your Heart" and "Luckiest Man" but predominantly this is an upbeat record of pondering, gratefulness and thankfulness. "Everything But Love" has a Beatles quality to it with the rocker "We Could Be Brothers" always setting the foot tapping.  My fave track has to be "It's Like Heaven" for the reasons stated above, closely followed by "Blue Topaz". This is a balanced and well thought out record, "File Under Pop Vocal" is most certainly well deserving of attention. (9/10)

Trax: "Blue Topaz" ~ "Forgot How Good Love Feels" ~ "Our Eyes Have Voices"  ~ "It's Like Heaven" ~ "Winterview" ~"We Could Be Brothers" ~ "It's Your Heart" ~ "You're Only Hurting Yourself" ~ "Everything But Love" ~ "Luckiest Man" ~ "How Do You Hold Onto Happiness" (Acoustic Demo)(Bonus) ~ "Let's Try Fantasy" (Acoustic Demo)(Bonus) ~ "Surf's Down" (Acoustic Demo)(Bonus)
You may also recall that Yours Truly KJS also chatted with Gary Frenay back in May 2012, primarily about The Flashcubes' "Sportin' Wood" album, in this interview for ELOBF thus:

"File Under Pop Vocal" by Gary Frenay can be purchased via these links thus:

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Xanadu Musical Set for London Theatre Debut

Xanadu: The hit Broadway musical is set to land in the UK later this year
#919: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It looks like Xanadu: The Musical will be finally making its theatrical debut here in the UK later this year at Southwark Playhouse in London between Friday 16th October and Saturday 21st November. The cast is yet to be announced but the creative team of Paul Warwick Griffin (Director), Morgan Large (Designer), Nathan M. Wright (Choreographer) and Richard Brooker (Sound Designer) are already hard at work. You can read more about the production via this link thus:

You may recall that the Broadway run of "Xanadu" back in 2007 was successful beyond expectation garnering several awards and four Tony nominations. The film, originally released in Summer 1980, was somewhat dwarfed by the success of the Original Soundtrack album (UK: #JETLX526) where it reached #2 in the Official UK Album Chart with the title track produced ELO's only #1 UK single (in tandem with Olivia Newton-John) and six other UK Top 40 hits including "I'm Alive", "All Over The World" and "Don't Walk Away". Note that this theatrical production will also include "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic" in its suite of Jeff Lynne penned songs. Tickets are already on sale and can be purchased via this link thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Xanadu: The Musical 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 ... 04-June-2015

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Review: Brush With The Moon (Quill)

The amazing cover artwork by Ben Brain features Ben, Joy Strachan-Brain and Kate McWilliam
#918: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The tragic passing of Ben Brain some three years ago left Joy Strachan-Brain - and his many friends and admirers - initially with an immense sense of grief and loss. However, Ben left us with more than memories and, after some time of formal mourning and reflection, Joy decided, thankfully, to carry on her journeying with Quill whilst ensuring the legacy of song craft and, indeed, art left by Ben would see a full and proper release. The personnel may have changed a little in the ensuing years but the legacy of Ben Brain continues to shine most brightly, judging by the quality and class of Quill's brand new album "Brush With The Moon" (Cherry Red Records #MMPSCD1) released on Monday 1st June.

The addition of Tony Kelsey, Bev Bevan and Matt Davies to the core 'Quilltet' of Joy, Kate McWilliam, Dave Bailey and Tim Tandler has served the band well in their well received theatre shows of late making Quill a potent force on stage. That bond and spirit of togetherness oozes throughout this beautiful album. Consisting of five new songs intermingled with a quintet of songs from their "Life Is Life" and "England" EP's, this record is the perfect platform for Ben's heartfelt, sentimental and patriotic songs and the wide range of Joy's wonderful vocals aided by the meandering violin of Kate McWilliam.
Quill are (l-r): Tony Kelsey, Dave Bailey, Matt Davies, Joy Strachan-Brain, Tim Tandler, Kate McWilliam, Bev Bevan
There are many contributors to this impressive collection of tracks but they all fit seamlessly together in this folk tinged Celtic work of art. Fans will perhaps miss "Life Is Life" but love the familiar in "Tumbling Years""Nine Mile Camp" and the anthemic "England" whilst melting in appreciation at the new in "Quicksilver", "Poppy Fields" and "Wedding Dress". With another album [hopefully] to follow - featuring the classic "Say It Ain't So" - waiting in the wings, "Brush With The Moon", at the very least, whets the appetite for more original recorded Quill material and their fantastic live performances. I have no doubt that Ben Brain would be very proud of this final product, overseen and guided by Joy Strachan-Brain to full fruition. (9/10)

Trax: "Quicksilver" ~ "Tumbling Years" ~ "Schoolyard" ~ "Poppy Fields" ~ "Nine Mile Camp" ~ "England" ~ "Hollywood Blues" ~ "Wedding Dress" ~ "Twister" ~ "Man In White"

"Brush With The Moon" by Quill can be purchased directly from Cherry Red Records,, (and other reputable vendors) via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Brush With The Moon" by Quill 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 ... 03-June-2015