Monday, 31 December 2018

Yours Truly 2018: A Year In Review

Another trip around the sun is almost complete and 2018 has proved to be another interesting year for elobeatlesforever (elobf) as the milestone of 3 million views was reached on the very day that Yours Truly KJS was in Liverpool to see Jeff Lynne's ELO on back on October 23rd. It was also the year that an incomplete 2LP edition "Secret Messages" was released albeit without "Beatles Forever" (much to the disappointment of this writer), being one of several elobf scoops amongst those for a new Roy Orbison/RPO album, the Jeff Lynne/ELO Original Album Classics 5CD set and the first volume of ELO's UK 7" Singles boxed set.

The past twelve months also saw the tragic passing of ELO cellist Hugh McDowell in November whilst a recovering Richard Tandy joined Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan in the 70's club during March. On a personal note, it has been somewhat difficult dealing with internet trolling and a peculiar persecution by a certain social media platform against a site that only offers positive coverage to all in the ELO, Beatles and related artistes world. On the positive side, 2018 saw me finally obtain a rare solid centre copy of "Turn To Stone" (UP36313) and launch several new series of articles covering ELO's very many compilations and residences on certain record labels. Expect more of the same, some surprises and perhaps something else in 2019 ...
elobf Gig of the Year
2018 was a busy year in terms of gigs with many attended both inside and outside of the elobf universe. Jeff Lynne's ELO were busy again on both sides of the Atlantic and many were thrilled to see the ELO maestro plough through his greatest hits backed by Musical Director Mike Stevens and their now familiar touring band. I was fortunate to see EJLO in Liverpool again this year and without a doubt such a polished show was hugely memorable. It was strange not seeing Roy Wood and his Rock 'n' Roll Band perform at The Robin 2 this year for the first time in a decade but his fabulous Rockmas 2018 event more than made up for it! Yours Truly KJS also caught four ELO tribute bands live during the year and managed to go see a holographic Roy Orbison alongside a full orchestra whilst ELO co-founding drumming legend Bev Bevan was in action with both Quill and old pal Jasper Carrott. All in all a wonderful twelve months capped perfectly by the good Dr. Wood.
elobf Album of the Year
Fifteen albums were reviewed during 2018 from the familiar such as The Beach Boys and Roy Orbison to Paul McCartney's "Egypt Station" to Quill's "Grey Goose Call EP" to P.Hux's "This Is The One" to BGO's "Zentopia" and a fair few local, national and international indie artistes too. Undoubtedly, the 2LP issue of "Secret Messages" was significant but the exclusion of "Beatles Forever" (and a 2CD issue) was a major commercial gaffe by both Sony Legacy and Jeff Lynne almost certainly preventing a decent placing in the UK Top 100 Album Chart. With that in mind, after some reflection and many plays, my choice for elobf Album of the Year 2018 is the wonderful "Lucky Day" by Swedish Power Pop perfectionist David Myhr.
Review: Lucky Day (David Myhr)
Yours Truly KJS would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every visitor and contributor to elobeatlesforever (elobf) during 2018 and to also wish you a Happy, Peaceful, Prosperous if not ELOtastic New Year. There is much to look forward to in 2019 with our 10th birthday in February (and ensuing celebration in May) not too far away. See you on the other side folks!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 31-Dec-2018

Friday, 28 December 2018

elobeatlesforever (elobf) Gig Guide #34: Q1 2019

Winter into Spring (Q1) 2019 means that once again it's "Time" for the latest elobeatlesforever (elobf) Quarterly Gig Guide to be published! This is our 34th and hopefully you'll find the roster of selected dates below (with more to follow when confirmed) between Tuesday 1st January and Sunday 31st March 2019 (plus individual artist links) helpful thus:

Saturday 5th January
The ELO Encounter @ Eleven, Stoke-on-Trent
Tickets: £10 each (*plus booking fees)
www.ents24.com/stoke-on-trent-events/eleven/elo-encounter/1073910780

Friday 11th January

ELO Again @ Garrick Theatre, Lichfield
Tickets: £24 each (*plus booking fees)
www.lichfieldgarrick.com/whats-on/tribute/elo-again/2353

Sunday 13th January
ELO Beatles Beyond @ The Diamond, Sutton-in-Ashfield
Tickets: £5 each (*plus booking fees)
thediamonduk.com/gigs

Saturday 19th January
ELO Again @ Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Tickets: £27.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.usherhall.co.uk/whats-on/elo-again

Sunday 20th January
The Trevor Burton Band @ The Brasshouse on Broad Street, Birmingham
Free entry
www.thetrevorburtonband.co.uk

ELO Again @ Webster Memorial Theatre, Arbroath
Tickets: from £20.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/246043

Friday 25th January
The 286 @ The Morden Arms, London
Free entry
www.facebook.com/events/670786939989685

ELO Again @ Medina Theatre, Newport, Isle of Wight
Tickets: £23 each (*plus booking fees)
www.medinatheatre.co.uk/article/elo-again

Saturday 26th January
The ELO Show @ O2 Academy, Liverpool
Tickets: £17.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.seetickets.com/event/the-elo-show/o2-academy-liverpool/1085178

Friday 1st February
ELO Again @ The Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
Tickets: from £22.50 each (*plus booking fees)
crewelyceum.co.uk/Online/tickets-elo-again-crewe-2019

Saturday 2nd February
Sight 'n' Sound @ The Nest, Cannock
Free entry
www.facebook.com/groups/891712430855406

ELO Again @ The Exchange, Sturminster Newton, Dorset

Tickets: from £20 each (*plus booking fees)
stur-exchange.co.uk/programme/elo-again

Friday 8th February

ELO Again @ St. David's Hall, Cardiff
Tickets: £25.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk/whats-on/rock-pop/elo-again

Saturday 9th February
The ELO Experience @ The Winding Wheel, Chesterfield
Tickets: £24.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk/shows/the-elo-experience.aspx#.XCTmidL7Rkg

The 286 @ Luna, London
Free entry
www.facebook.com/events/2014980698587450

Sunday 10th February
King's Heath Walk of Fame Beatles Fest 2019 @ Birmingham
Tickets: £10 each (*plus booking fees)
www.elobeatlesforever.com/2019/01/recommended-kings-heath-walk-of-fame.html

Friday 15th February
The ELO Show @ The Picturedrome, Holmfirth
Tickets: £17.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.picturedrome.net/tickets/The%20ELO%20Show/20190215.htm

Saturday 16th February

The ELO Encounter @ The Musician, Leicester
Tickets: £10 each (*plus booking fees)
www.ticketweb.uk/event/the-elo-encounter-the-musician-tickets/8126295

ELO Again @ The Plaza, Stockport
Tickets: £24.20 each (*plus booking fees)
stockportplaza.co.uk/whats-on/elo-again

The 286 @ The Morden Arms, London
Free entry
www.facebook.com/events/348691639255680

Sunday 17th February

Record & CD Fair @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Entry: £1 per person
www.therobin.co.uk/whats_on/giginfo.asp?gigid=5413

The ELO Encounter @ The Melton Theatre, Melton Mowbray

Tickets: £10 each (*plus booking fees)
www.meltontheatre.co.uk/event/elo-encounter

Wednesday 20th February
Pete Kent @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: £7 each (advance) or £9 each (door)(*plus booking fees)
www.therobin.co.uk/whats_on/giginfo.asp?gigid=5280

Friday 22nd February

Big O & The Wilburys Tribute Show @ The Civic Hall, Brierley Hill
Tickets: £20 each (*plus booking fees)
www.bhillcivic.co.uk/whats-on/event/181/big-o-and-the-travelling-wilburys-22nd-february

Saturday 23rd February

ELO Beatles Beyond @ The Piano Room, Lutterworth
Tickets: £12.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/575702

Sunday 24th February
The Trevorless Burton Band @ The Prince of Wales, Stafford
Free entry
www.thetrevorburtonband.co.uk

Friday 1st March
The ELO Experience @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
Tickets: £25.25 each (*plus transaction fees)
www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-elo-experience/alexandra-theatre-birmingham

The Trevorless Burton Band @ The Queen's Head, Wolverley
Free entry
www.thetrevorburtonband.co.uk

Saturday 2nd March
Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: £20 each (advance) or £22.50 each (door)(*plus booking fees)
www.therobin.co.uk/whats_on/giginfo.asp?gigid=5425

Thursday 7th March

Quill @ The Garrick Theatre, Lichfield
Tickets: £23 each (*plus booking fees)
www.lichfieldgarrick.com/whats-on/music/quill/2367

Friday 8th March
Climax Blues Band @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: £15 each (advance) or £17.50 each (door)(*plus booking fees)
www.therobin.co.uk/whats_on/giginfo.asp?gigid=5510

ELO Again @ The Cresset, Peterborough
Tickets: £22.50 each (*plus booking fees)
cresset.ticketsolve.com/shows/873592194

Saturday 9th March
Explosive Light Orchestra @ The Diamond, Sutton-in-Ashfield
Tickets: £7 each (advance) or £8.50 each (door)
thediamonduk.com/gigs

Thursday 14th March

The Steve Gibbons Band @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: £13.50 each (advance) or £15 each (door)(*plus booking fees)
www.therobin.co.uk/whats_on/giginfo.asp?gigid=5293

Friday 15th March
ELO Again @ Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton
Tickets: £22 each (*plus booking fees)
www.floralpavilion.com/en-GB/shows/elo%20again/events/2

Saturday 16th March
ELO Beatles Beyond @ King's Heath Cricket Club, Birmingham
Tickets: £8 each (advance) or £10 each (door)(*plus booking fees)
www.wegottickets.com/event/463372

Jasper Carrott's Stand Up & Rock! @ The Regal, Evesham

Tickets: from £27 each (*plus booking fees)
www.theregal.ac/event/1466

Sunday 17th March
Jasper Carrott's Stand Up & Rock! @ The Regal, Evesham
Tickets: from £27 each (*plus booking fees)
www.theregal.ac/event/1466

Monday 18th March
Jasper Carrott's Stand Up & Rock! @ The Regal, Evesham
Tickets: from £27 each (*plus booking fees)
www.theregal.ac/event/1466

Tuesday 19th March
Jasper Carrott's Stand Up & Rock! @ The Regal, Evesham
Tickets: from £27 each (*plus booking fees)
www.theregal.ac/event/1466

Thursday 21st March

ELO Again @ Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple
Tickets: £24.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/Queens-Theatre/show/elo-again

Friday 22nd March

Sight 'n' Sound @ The Feathers Inn, Lichfield
Free entry
www.feathersinn.co.uk/event/sight-n-sound-2-3

Big O & The Wilburys Tribute Show @ The Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford

Tickets: £23 each (*including booking fees)
www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk/en-GB/shows/roy-orbison-the-traveling-wilburys-experience/events

The ELO Show @ Trading Boundaries LIVE, Sheffield Green, East Sussex
Tickets: from £25 each (*plus booking fees)
www.tradingboundariesmusic.com/collections/tickets/products/the-elo-show

Saturday 23rd March
The ELO Show @ De Boerderij Cultuurpodium, Zoetermeer, Holland
Tickets: from €25 each (*plus booking fees)
www.ticketmaster.nl/event/232909

Thursday 28th March
The ELO Experience @ Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
Tickets: £24.50 each (*plus booking fees)
www.theatresevern.co.uk/shows/whatson/elo-experience

Jeff Lynne's ELO After a stint with classic Birmingham bands The Idle Race and The Move, Jeff Lynne co-founded The Electric Light Orchestra in 1971, one of the most successful groups of the seventies and eighties. Multiple hit singles and best selling albums followed making Jeff's anthemic ELO songs some of the most loved and recognisable of the last four decades. Jeff went on to a successful solo career and worked with many of his musical heroes including Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, Del Shannon and The Everly Brothers. He also found time to co-found the ultimate supergroup in The Traveling Wilburys, who included pals Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Roy Orbison in their ranks. Find out more here: www.jefflynneselo.com

Roy Wood The co-founder of The Move and ELO and the founder of Wizzard, The Helicopters et al will [hopefully] be on the road again during 2019! Find out where to see Dr. Roy Wood and what he is up to with his Rock 'n' Roll Band via his official web site thus: www.roywood.co.uk

The Orchestra Former members of ELO and ELO Part II: Mik Kaminski, Louis Clark, Eric Troyer, Parthenon Huxley, Glen Burtnik and Gordon Townsend continue to tour the world extensively. Find out where to see them via their official web site thus: www.theorchestra.net

Quill Legendary Midlands Celtic tinged Americana rockers Quill, led by the incomparable Joy Strachan-Brain, have built up an impressive live reputation over a four decade span and now feature Bev Bevan, Phil Bates and Joanna Bates in their ranks. Find out more here: www.quilluk.com

The Trevor Burton Band A co-founding member of The Move, Trevor Burton can be found performing regularly at various venues in the Midlands with his fantastic band. Find out where on their web site thus: www.thetrevorburtonband.co.uk

The ELO Experience Based in Hull, The ELO Experience deservedly won the National UK Tribute Awards in 2013 and they continue to faithfully reproduce classic Electric Light Orchestra hits (and more) live. Find out more here: www.elotribute.com

ELO Again Based in South Wales, ELO Again are now spreading their wings across the UK to faithfully recreate live those ELO hits we all know and love. Find out more here: www.eloagain.co.uk

Explosive Light Orchestra Not only an ELO tribute act but an original, independent artiste in their own right, The Explosive Light Orchestra - also known as Symphonika - have reproduced the exciting works of ELO at packed theatres and live music venues all around Europe. Find out more here: www.elotributeband.com

The ELO Encounter Another ELO tribute band, this time from Essex, The ELO Encounter feature Simon Rownes and three members of his family: Jack, Max and Henry alongside Martin Donald, Jasmine Ali and Dacre Peck. Find out more here: www.elo-encounter.co.uk

The ELO Show Brian Cummins and Raymond Pitt from acclaimed Genesis tribute The Carpet Crawlers will be taking a new project The ELO Show on the road to selected UK and European venues in 2019. Find out more here: www.facebook.com/TheEloShow

ELO Beatles Beyond A new tribute led by Richard Gibson and Matt Gaffiney featuring the careers of Jeff Lynne and Paul McCartney featuring the music of  ELO, The Beatles, Wings, The Traveling Wilburys, The Move and Tom Petty. Find out more here: www.elobeatlesbeyond.com

The Trembling Wilburys One of two world class UK based Traveling Wilburys' tribute bands, The Trembling Wilburys were founded by drummer Dave Stark in 2010 and feature Dave Collison as Roy Orbison and Glen Knowler as George Harrison performing Wilburys and solo classics to rave reviews. The septet also feature top guitarist Dzal Martin, Andy McNish, Marko Laver and Howard Robin. Find out more here: www.tremblingwilburys.co.uk

The Traveling Wilburys Experience One of two world class UK based Traveling Wilburys' tribute bands, The Big O & The Traveling Wilburys Experience are a multi-talented group featuring Paul Hopkins as Roy Orbison performing Wilburys and solo classics to rave reviews. Find out more here: www.travelingwilburystribute.co.uk

The artistes and shows listed above are recommended by Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf). This listing is not exhaustive. Please contact elobf should you wish events to be considered for the above roster. It'll be nice to see you at some of the above gigs for a chat!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 28-Dec-2018

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Keeping The Dream Alive: Freiheit's Festive Fantasy Revisited

Thirty years ago, there was a song in the British Singles chart that many folks (including Yours Truly KJS) thought sounded as if Beatles maestro Paul McCartney had taken a leaf out of Jeff Lynne's book and released a track oozing ELO with its lush orchestration and layered vocals. "Keeping The Dream Alive" by German rock combo Müenchener Freiheit (shortened to Freiheit) had entered the UK Top 30 just in time for Christmas 1988 at #27 going on to peak at #14 in January 1989.

Taken from their iconic album "Fantasy" and featuring The London Symphony Orchestra with The Jackson Singers"Keeping The Dream Alive" is even now fondly regarded as a classy festive hit that sneaked in under the proverbial radar and even now retains a certain magic.

elobeatlesforever (elobf) are therefore pleased to confirm the (rather good) news that "Keeping The Dream Alive" will soon be available to buy again after being out of print for many years when an expanded 2CD edition of "Fantasy" is released via Cherry Red Records on Friday 22nd February 2019 featuring both the English and German language versions as well as the excellent extended version of "Keeping The Dream Alive". Pre-orders can presently be placed with both Cherry Red Records and amazon.co.uk via these links thus:


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommend "Keeping The Dream Alive" and "Fantasy" by Freiheit to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 23-Dec-2018

Friday, 14 December 2018

Forever Wizzard: The Success of Roy Wood's Christmas Classic

It's widely known that Slade's festive single "Merry Xmas Everyone" beat Roy Wood and Wizzard to the coveted #1 spot in the UK Singles Chart during Christmas 1973. Many folks presume that Wizzard made #2 that year but "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" actually peaked at #4 whilst Roy's solo single "Forever" (HAR5078) was holding its own at #11 at the same time, later to peak at #8 in January 1974.

Yours Truly KJS thinx that the main reason for Wizzard not challenging Slade more closely at the chart summit lies with the aborted release of IWICBCE via Warner Bros. (K16336) whereupon it was deemed in breach of their recording contract with EMI/Harvest and subsequently released weeks later on the Harvest label (HAR5079) with some copies sporting a Harvest sticker. Both issues were backed by "Rob Roy's Nightmare (A Bit More H.A.)", an instrumental track credited to Mike Burney. Perhaps the fact that there were two Roy Wood penned songs released at the same time was another factor as was the fact that the Top 12 was also occupied by such big selling artistes as Gary Glitter, The New Seekers, Marie Osmond, Alvin Stardust, Leo Sayer, David Essex, Mott The Hoople, Roxy Music and T.Rex meaning that the competition was stiff. You may be surprised to read that Elton John's "Step Into Christmas" stalled at #24 to underline just how competitive it was.
Christmas 1973 UK Top 12 Singles (Source: www.officialcharts.com)
Wizzard's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" therefore has something in common with ELO's 1983 album "Secret Messages" (JETLX527). Both peaked at #4 in their respective charts, both might be seen as underachieving in chart terms yet both ultimately performed relatively well when compared with the competition at the time. Note also that Wizzard have outperformed Slade in the Christmas chart on many occasions since 1973. Why not read these related elobeatlesforever (elobf) articles for further information on the above?

Christmas Classics: How Wizzard & Slade Compare
Secret Messages: More Successful Than You Think

This article has been developed from a suggestion by my good friend John Collins.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 14-Dec-2018

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Caught Live (9): ELO Again @ The Robin 07/12/18

A ninth opportunity for Yours Truly KJS to go see South Wales septet ELO Again perform the music of the Electric Light Orchestra - again - at The Robin 2 was not be missed on Friday night (7th December) as a healthy audience were taken on another musical journey through classic ELO all the way through from debut hit "10538 Overture" to 1986's "Calling America" and sampling every studio album from "The Electric Light Orchestra" (or "No Answer" in the US) to "Balance Of Power" in the process.

A lot has changed since elobeatlesforever (elobf) first reviewed an ELO Again gig back in November 2013 with only cellist Sion Dafydd Dawson an ever present (they're in good company as this is also the case with Jeff Lynne and ELO these days). Yet, on the basis of this performance and the reaction of those assembled, ELO Again have developed an entertaining tribute to Birmingham's best. In the 51 weeks since their last visit to Bilston, the obvious difference in the band to seasoned followers was new singer/guitarist Joel Jordan, who seemed to enjoy his West Midlands bow combining his vocals with some nice guitar work whilst working an enthusiastic crowd into several bouts of Black Country banter. The only tweak in the set from last time was the inclusion of "Strange Magic" in lieu of "When I Was A Boy" and this made for an impressive foray through those hit (UK) singles we all know and love plus "Do Ya" and "Tightrope". Fave moments for me were their renditions of the aforementioned "Calling America" and "Tightrope".

Given the growing pool of ELO tribute acts in the UK these days, I think any ensuing competition will only benefit the paying public and fans. On the other hand, I also strongly believe that each tribute has its own identity and uniqueness. Would I go see ELO Again - again? I think so.

ELO Again performed: "Tightrope" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" ~ "Confusion" ~ "Hold On Tight" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" ~ "Calling America" ~ "All Over The World" +++ "Twilight" ~ "Do Ya" ~ "Strange Magic" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "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 were: Joel Jordan (Guitar/Lead Vocals) + Mike McGibney (Bass Guitar/Vox) + Andy Smith (Musical Director/Synths/Keys/Vox) + Pete Burrows (Piano/Keys/Vocoder) + Matt Weston (Drums) + Ruth Alice Potts (Violin/Vox) + Sion Dafydd Dawson (Cello/Guitar/Vox)

Midlands based ELO based fans will have another opportunity to see ELO Again soon when they land at Lichfield's Garrick Theatre on Friday 11th January 2019. Limited tickets can be purchased via this link thus: www.lichfieldgarrick.com/whats-on/tribute/elo-again/2353

Find out more about ELO Again and their show via their official web site thus:


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends ELO Again to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodWizzardThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 09-Dec-2018

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Caught Live (14): Roy Wood's Rockmas 2018

Roy Wood, his band and his many guests literally rock and rolled back the years on Sunday night (2nd December) to orchestrate another top class evening of festive entertainment in front over 2,000 appreciative fans at Birmingham's prestigious Symphony Hall. With local swing supremos King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, returning comedian Mick Miller, Mark King, Alfie Boe, The Enigma Strings on the bill, Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) had an feeling that this would be a memorable night with such a varied if not inspired cast - and so it proved to be.

The first act on stage were King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys and they used their forty five minutes to great effect as the six piece swing and boogie outfit - including saxophonist Big John 'Boysey' Battrum on double duty - kept everyones feet tapping with a polished performance, the highlight of which being their interpretations of "Shake, Rattle & Roll" and a very smooth "Tequila". The on and off stage wanderings of double bassist Shark Van Schtoop and Mr. King Pleasure himself also brought a smile to the face as we headed towards the entrance of the good Dr. Wood!
Mick Miller then opened Act II with his amusing, deadpan comedy before The Move, ELO creator and Wizzard founder Roy Wood arrived on stage alongside his superb Rock 'n' Roll Band to rapturous applause before taking us on a journey through seven Woody penned Top 10 hits (and two chart toppers!) and reminding those assembled of his truly amazing career and his place in music folklore. This writer never tires of seeing Roy disappear off stage during "R U Red E 2 Rock" and reappear with bagpipes and the fantastic backing of the Birmingham Irish Pipes & Drums Band ... it's pure magic!
Level 42 founder and world renowned bassist Mark King bounded onto stage to join the festivities next replete with his LED enlightened guitar and led the band through two of their biggest hit singles: "Lessons In Love" and "Running In The Family". It was nice to see Roy tackle some unfamiliar verses, a sign that he was enjoying the night and working anew with Mark. Undoubtedly, this cameo lifted the atmosphere a notch or two. The Enigma Strings then graced the stage before a wonderful stringed version "Flowers In The Rain" fulfilled Roy's twin visions of a rock band with an orchestra and/or a jazz influenced brass element.
The arrival of acclaimed tenor Alfie Boe riding high on the success of his latest album "As Time Goes By" to more excited applause heralded another step change in what was becoming an inspired night as he enchanted all with "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables" before receiving a standing ovation thereafter. If that wasn't a delight, then his sharing the vocals for "Blackberry Way" very definitely was! Jumping up and down, pumped up with excitement, Alfie grabbed mike and stand in true Rod Stewart style and then rocked the proverbial joint with Roy. His energy energized the whole crowd and meant that the finale of "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" with a full stage was even more joyful and fun than usual.
Undoubtedly, this was one of the best Rockmas gigs that I've attended over the years and bodes well for the recently announced Rockmas 2019Roy's vocals and guitar sounded ace - as did the band - and the choice of special guests provided more than enough variety to cover all the bases. I've already bought my tickets for next year and recommend that you do too! Check out the links below for further details for Rockmas 2019, remaining 2018 dates and a new Roy Wood book thus:


The Roy Wood Rock 'n' Roll Band are: Roy Wood, Danny McCormack, Shell Naylor, Neil Simpson, Roy Adams, Paul Corry, Jim Corry, James Russell and John 'Boysey' Battrum

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

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 04-Dec-2018

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Recommended: Roy Wood: The Move, ELO & Wizzard (James R Turner)

Fans of Roy Wood basking in the afterglow of another successful Rock 'n' Roll Winter theatre tour can now look forward to new 160 page paperback set to be published on Thursday 31st October 2019 entitled Roy Wood: The Move, ELO & Wizzard. Subtitled every album, every song, the book at will take a look at the albums and songs written, recorded and produced by the man who gave us The Move, ELO and Wizzard.

Penned by author James R Turner and published by Tewkesbury based Sonicbond Publishing as part of their On Track series, Roy Wood: The Move, ELO & Wizzard (ISBN 978-1789520088) is a book that Yours Truly KJS is very much looking forward to reading and reviewing for elobeatlesforever (elobf) next year. Find out more in the meantime via these links thus:

www.sonicbondpublishing.co.uk
burningshed.com/sonicbond
www.facebook.com/Sonicbond-Publishing
www.amazon.co.uk/Roy-Wood-Wizzard-Track-Every/dp/1789520088

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Roy Wood: The Move, ELO & Wizzard by James R Turner to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, Wizzard, The Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 01-Dec-2018

Friday, 30 November 2018

Roy Wood: Rockmas 2019 Revealed + Tickets

The date for Roy Wood's Rockmas 2019 has been set for Saturday 14th December with tickets already on sale for Dr. Wood's annual festive spectacular which will again be held in Birmingham's iconic Symphony Hall. A weekend slot in mid-December makes Rockmas 2019 all the more attractive and likely to follow Rockmas 2018 in packing out the 2,262 capacity venue. Woody's special guests will undoubtedly be announced soon.

Tickets are priced at £32.50 each (*plus ticket commission) with a 10% discount offered for bookings before 31st December 2018 and can be bought via this link thus:


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Roy Wood's Rockmas 2019 to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodWizzardThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes. See you there?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 30-Nov-2018

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Review: The Patchwork Green (Julie Gunn)

One of the great pleasures of running elobeatlesforever (elobf) is to occasionally be able to feature indie artistes - be they local, national or international - because Yours Truly KJS can! Julie Gunn is one such musician who shares my love for all things ELO and Roy Wood and lives just down the proverbial Birmingham New Road. I finally got to meet Julie at the recent Morganisation gig in Hockley Heath and during our chat she kindly handed me a copy of her debut solo album "The Patchwork Green", released originally in late 2014.

And what a remarkable album "The Patchwork Green" is! Hugely influenced by her love of all things Pink Floyd, this is a set of songs that you instantly warm to with excursions into rock ("When Can I Play?"), prog rock ("Spread Our Wings""Deja Vu") and quirky power pop ("How Long?"; "Rocked My World") with a nod to Woody thrown in for good measure thanx to "Spirit Your Way (Saudade)", a track undoubtedly influenced by Roy's early ELO classic "Whisper In the Night"Julie's vocals at times are reminiscent of the late, great Kirsty MacColl yet the overriding theme of this album is her amazing guitar prowess and all round musicianship, examples being (but not limited to) the instrumental "Jeanne D'Arc", the epic "So Far Away" (with a phenomenal guitar solo) and the magnificent "Temple Of The Gods". The aforementioned "Spirit Your Way (Saudade)" remains a fave alongside the elevating, iconic "Can You Feel?". My only regret is that it's taken me four years to hear and subsequently review this gem. ★★

Trax: [1] "Spread Our Wings"; [2] "Deja Vu"; [3] "How Long?"; [4] "Love's Not A Competition (But I'm Winning)"; [5] "Time Is The Great Healer"; [6] "So Far Away"; [7] "Jeanne D'Arc"; [8] "Can You Feel?"; [9] "When Can I Play?"; [10] "Temple Of The Gods"; [11] "Your Girl"; [12] "Spirit Your Way (Saudade)"; [13] "Rocked My World"; (14) "Cymbaline"

"The Patchwork Green" by Julie Gunn can be obtained directly in CD format from Julie here  and/or in download format via these links thus:

juliegunn.bandcamp.com   www.facebook.com/j.gunnsinger
www.amazon.co.uk/Julie-Gunn-The-Patchwork-Green/dp/B00SYNM11G

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "The Patchwork Green" by Julie Gunn to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 28-Nov-2018

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Review: Unchained Melodies (Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)

When Yours Truly KJS broke the news in October via elobeatlesforever (elobf) that a second Roy Orbison album with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was on the cards, the only question in this writers mind was what songs would be stripped down and reassembled this time around following on from the impressive commercial success of "A Love So Beautiful" last year.

"Unchained Melodies" was finally unveiled on Friday 23rd November replete with a significant promotional fanfare across most media platforms whilst I looked forward to receiving a copy of the CD to review. A cursory glance at the fifteen tracks on offer revealed an interesting mix of covers and original Big O classics including a quartet of songs from 1989's "Mystery Girl" and Roy's unique take on the likes of "Unchained Melody", "The Great Pretender" and (surprisingly) "Danny Boy". The result is a much more sedate affair overall than its predecessor but one which manages to highlight that amazing voice all the more. The new arrangements for the familiar "She's A Mystery To Me", "Careless Heart" and Elvis Costello's "The Comedians" work well, as does the whole package. The Jeff Lynne connection is here again with the wonderful Orbison/Lynne/Petty penned "California Blue" sounding majestic with its new stringed backdrop. My fave moment has to be "Heartbreak Radio", a rockabilly rocker originally reconstructed by Jeff for the "King Of Hearts" album but revelling in its new orchestral surroundings and given a new lease of life with a real ELO feel to it. The alternate version featuring a duet with Cam also rocks!

In summary, "Unchained Melodies" is the perfect sequel to "A Love So Beautiful" in that it manages to avoid being a collection of other Orbisongs with added strings hiding in the shadow of its predecessor. Much kudos to Nick Patrick, Don Reedman and the Orbison clan for another enjoyable production. If you love Roy Orbison and/or you bought "A Love So Beautiful", you will love this! ★★

Trax: "Unchained Melody" ~ "Blue Bayou" ~ "She's A Mystery To Me" ~ "Heartbreak Radio" ~ "Falling" ~ "Walk On" ~ "The Great Pretender" ~ "The Crowd" ~ "The Comedians" ~ "Crawling Back" ~ "Danny Boy" ~ "Too Soon To Know" ~ "Careless Heart" ~ "California Blue" ~ "Heartbreak Radio" (Duet with Cam)

Find out more about Roy Orbison and "Unchained Melodies" via these links thus:

royorbison.com
www.facebook.com/royorbison   www.instagram.com/officialroyorbison
www.pinterest.com/royorbison   twitter.com/royorbison   www.youtube.com/RoyOrbison

Roy Orbison: New Album with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Soon
Review: A Love So Beautiful (Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Unchained Melodies" by Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneThe Traveling WilburysRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 24-Nov-2018

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Review: Sky Blue (Apology None)

Both The Beatles and The Move delved into the psychedelic during their Sixties journey, as did not a few other bands trying to find their feet as the decade came to an end. It should therefore come as no surprise that, of all things, there should be artistes in the here and now who are still exploring that territory. Apology None, who are no strangers to long time readers of elobeatlesforever (elobf), are a group with a difference in that they also double up as a cartoon! As if to underline that fact, the inner inlay of the CD tray states: "Hear our tunes and watch our toons!" ... and so you should.

Their latest album "Sky Blue", the third offering from Apology None maestro Tim Ross, has just been released and carries on where 2014's "Satur-delia" left off to an extent. Aided and abetted on this occasion by the drums of Sean Mack Page (Fragile X, Imaginos), this album does need a couple of plays to get into the groove. Having said that, there is lot going on here as this sometimes manic, multi-instrumental work unwinds and starts to dip its proverbial toes into progressive rock territory at its conclusion. Certainly, Yours Truly KJS found the second half of this record from "River Dragon" onward more expansive and likely to appeal to intrigued listeners with tracks such as "Journey Jeannie", "Calling Cathy Hollingsworth", "Here We Are" and title track "Sky Blue" of note. If you are still seeking an new audio trip in the digital age, this might just be it. ★★

Trax: [1] "Trust Me"; [2] "Lost In Your Sunshine"; [3] "La La Remember It"; [4] "Real"; [5] "Higher High"; [6] "River Dragon"; [7] "Anchor Me"; [8] "Journey Jeannie"; [9] "Jesus Fly Me Like A Kite"; [10] "Calling Cathy Hollingsworth"; [11] "Here We Are"; [12] "Sky Blue"

Review: Satur-delia [Apology None]
Review: High Society [Apology None]

You can read up on all things Apology None via their official web sites thus:

www.apologynone.com
www.facebook.com/ApologyNone   twitter.com/apologynone
www.youtube.com/apologynone   www.reverbnation.com/apologynone

"Sky Blue" by Apology None is available in CD and/or download formats via these links thus:

www.apologynone.com/anproducts.html
www.amazon.com/Sky-Blue-Apology-None/dp/B07HGBVPHY
www.amazon.co.uk/Sky-Blue-Apology-None/dp/B07HQMWLZR

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Sky Blue" by Apology None to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 22-Nov-2018

Monday, 19 November 2018

Review: Legs & Luggage (Vegas With Randolph)

Five years have passed since Yours Truly KJS reviewed Washington DC outfit Vegas With Randolph's third studio album "Rings Around The Sun" for elobeatlesforever (elobf) so it was rather nice to discover that a new album "Legs & Luggage" was due out in Autumn 2018.

A lot has happened in that time - including the passing of founding member and bassist Dan Aylestock - yet Vegas With Randolph have managed to produce and construct another set of attention grabbing Power Pop songs oozing with their trademark zip, commentary and effervescence during their half a decade hiatus. The nett result is a record packed with catchy guitar riffs, anthemic lyrics and electrified energy as evidenced by opener "You Could Say Yes", continued by "Jacob" and underlined by "The Girl Holding Out For Me". Punctuated by the classy keys led "I Could Be The One" and one of my fave tracks, the observational "Women In Airports", this album never lets up until you reach closing track "I Have You", a string laden ballad with a nod to both ELO and The Beatles in their prime and another fave of mine! Make no mistake about it, "Legs & Luggage" rocks. And so do Vegas With Randolph. Best you partake of your allowance soon. ★★

Trax: [1] "You Could Say Yes"; [2] "Jacob"; [3] "The Girl Holding Out For Me"; [4] "I Could Be The One"; [5] "Free Your Soul"; [6] "She's An Intellectual"; [7] "Women In Airports"; [8] "Chick Fighter"; [9] "Three Red Hooks"; [10] "The Weekend's Coming"; [11] "The Comeback Kid"; [12] "Ain't So Complicated"; [13] "I Have You"

Review: Rings Around The Sun [Vegas With Randolph]
Review: Above The Blue [Vegas With Randolph]

Vegas With Randolph are: Dan Aylestock [Bass]; Brock Harris [Lead/Rhythm Guitars]; Eric Kern [Vox/Keys/Guitar]; Andy Hamburger [Drums/Percussion]; John Ratts [Vox/Guitars]. You can read up on all things Vegas With Randolph via their official web sites thus:

www.facebook.com/VegasWithRandolph   twitter.com/vegaswrandolph
www.youtube.com/vegaswithrandolph

"Legs & Luggage" by Vegas With Randolph is available in CD and/or download formats via these links thus:

vegaswithrandolph.bandcamp.com/album/legs-luggage
www.amazon.com/Legs-Luggage-Vegas-Randolph/dp/B07JJ6HKSG
www.amazon.co.uk/Legs-Luggage-Vegas-Randolph/dp/B07JJ6HKSG

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Legs & Luggage" by Vegas With Randolph to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 19-Nov-2018