Monday, 26 February 2018

Record Shop Memories: I Wish I Was Back in 1981

#1,385: Perhaps we were spoiled. Perhaps we took them for granted. Perhaps times changed. Perhaps all three. The words "I wish I was back in 1981" from ELO's "The Way Life's Meant To Be" and even ELO Part II's "Once Upon A Time" certainly ring true when Yours Truly KJS looks back to the heady days of the seventies, eighties and some of the nineties when it comes to the decline in the number of record shops here in Wolverhampton and, I suspect, in very many towns and cities in the UK over the last couple of decades. There were a healthy number of new and second hand record shops to choose from back in the day. So much so that you could lose many an hour doing the circuit, depending on how much cash you had or what you were after. It was doubtless a scenario repeated up and down the country for many ELO fans and avid record collectors. The demise of nationwide stores such as Woolworths, Our Price and, to an extent, WH Smith alongside the gradual ebbing away of local/regional outlets such as Gould's TVSundown Records, Ruby Red Records, Mike Lloyd Music (MLM Megastore) and Max Millward's means that there is essentially a choice of just three (HMV, Oldies Unlimited and Vinyl & Vintage) in 2018, if you exclude charity shops.
Regular visitors to elobeatlesforever (elobf) will know that my first record purchase was (of course) ELO's "Turn To Stone" b/w "Mister Kingdom" (UP36313). I bought that 7" P/S (without solid centre) as a ten year old in November 1977 from a shop called Finlay's on the Stafford Road in Oxley that used to sell records and confectionery. A heady mix indeed! Later on there would also be Tom Hawkins Music Services, where I was a regular customer. Tom was also Elvis Costello's uncle and I still have the drumsticks I bought from him circa 1980! I was blessed. Second hand record shops were also a plenty. C&D Records, Time Machine Records, Oldies Unlimited etc. Even local newsagents sold ex-jukebox singles for 50p. That's where I found my copy of ELO1JB (read more here), purely by chance. I've probably missed a few but I suppose the same is true elsewhere but with different names and, I'm sure, the same warm memories. Walking miles to the town centre to buy the latest ELO single or album (so as to save money) was often the norm.

Nowadays we have the welcome resurgence of vinyl. We also have the marvels of amazon, eBay and online shopping to choose from. But I still fondly recall flicking through acres of vinyl in hope of finding a bargain or a scoop or a missing piece in my ELO collection jigsaw. Whilst I fondly remember the lost record shops here in Wolverhampton through rose tinted glasses, perhaps the same applies to you, wherever you may be. Sometimes I do wish I was back in 1981 ...

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 26-Feb-2018

Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Fame Game: The Electric Light Orchestra & ELO 2

#1,384: In the hinterland between "Time" in 1981, "Secret Messages" in 1983 and "Balance Of Power" in 1986 during which time ELO maestro Jeff Lynne was also dabbling in "Electric Dreams" and producing Dave Edmunds, there was relatively little activity in terms of other ELO vinyl releases save the long overdue official UK issue of live album "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" in 1985 via Epic (EPC32700) - which signalled the end of ELO's long association with Jet Records - and a couple of noteworthy budget reissues of their first two studio albums.

Originally Harvest releases in 1971 and 1973 respectively, "The Electric Light Orchestra" (SHVL797) - also known as "No Answer" in the US due to a misunderstood secretarial gaffe - and "ELO 2" (SHVL806) were translated from gatefold to single album sleeves under the Fame imprint, being distributed by Music For Pleasure. Oddly enough, "ELO 2" (FA3003) was released first in May 1982 with "The Electric Light Orchestra" (FA3084/FA4130841) following in November 1983, replete with early barcode. Note also the change in publishing rights from April Music Ltd. to CBS Songs Ltd. in the ensuing 18 months betwixt the duo. Both were essentially Harvest pressings with original catalogue number quoted on the labels and retained in the run-out grooves. Both were also purchased by an eager teenage version of Yours Truly KJS whilst remaining a treasured part of my Electric Light Orchestra CD/LP collection to this day.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 22-Feb-2018

Friday, 16 February 2018

Jeff Lynne: The Solo Singles

#1,383: Jeff Lynne is, of course, best known for his association with the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and also (of course) The Idle Race, The Move and The Traveling Wilburys. The ELO maestro is also lauded widely for his production work with the likes of The Beatles, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Del Shannon and not a few other music icons. Yet perhaps the most perplexing aspect of his stellar songwriting and chart career is the more modest success of his solo releases, particularly his singles. Having charted regularly with The Move, ELO and The Traveling Wilburys, the Shard Ender is yet to register a Top 40 single in the UK having issued four physical and two download singles to date.
His first solo release "Doin' That Crazy Thing" in 1977 followed the trio of Top 10 singles for ELO from their "A New World Record" album and was a major departure from his trademark orchestrated production, being essentially a disco/funk song, and promptly failed to chart. It would be another seven years until another Jeff Lynne solo single would be released. "Video!" (replete with elements of "Beatles Forever") was taken from the "Electric Dreams" soundtrack album and was a much more pacy, electronic creation that bubbled under the UK Top 75, peaking at #87.

Another six years elapsed until a duo of singles were taken from Jeff's debut solo album "Armchair Theatre" in 1990. "Lift Me Up" (surprisingly) also failed to trouble the chart with "Every Little Thing" managing #59, ironically just one place higher than the Electric Light Orchestra Part Two single "Honest Men" just a year later. It was at this time - before his mainstream resurgence with Jeff Lynne's ELO - that one could say that an ELO without Jeff Lynne and Jeff Lynne without ELO were nowhere near as commercial a proposition in terms of chart performance. Happily, that has not been the case since 2012. Which brings Yours Truly KJS to the twin digital download tracks "At Last" and "Mercy Mercy" taken from Jeff's second solo effort "Long Wave". Primarily for radio and promotional purposes, two 1-track promo CD singles were issued by Frontiers and remain highly prized collectors items to this day.

So there you have it. The man who wrote, sang and produced twenty seven Top 40 UK singles for ELO between 1971 and 1986 is yet to have a hit solo single of his own. It's an astounding fact. This writer is of the opinion that the man behind the darkened shades will always be remembered by most fans as the man behind our beloved ELO and his work with so many other groups and musicians more than as a bona fide solo artiste. The name Jeff Lynne's ELO really does say it all.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 16-Feb-2018

Sunday, 11 February 2018

In Dreams: Holographic Roy Orbison Revealed

#1,382: As the much anticipated "Roy Orbison In Dreams: The Hologram UK Tour" in April gets ever closer, it was noteworthy to see Base Hologram LLC - the company behind the forthcoming audio visual spectacular - posting photos of the show via Twitter recently.Yours Truly KJS has therefore compiled the above montage of available images for you to peruse in advance of a show that will draw largely on the success of its accompanying album "A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra", which was the ninth bestselling album of 2017 and is still in the Official UK Album Chart Top 100 after 14 weeks. Tickets for the UK leg of the tour which also features The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra are selling well evidenced by the additional date just announced at London's Eventim Apollo venue in on Thursday 19th April. Find out more about the tour and/or buy tickets here:

Sunday 8th April: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Monday 9th April: Genting Arena, Birmingham
Wednesday 11th April: O2 Apollo, Manchester
Friday 13th April: SEC Armadillo, Glasgow
Saturday 14th April: First Direct Arena, Leeds
Wednesday 18th April: Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London
Thursday 19th April: Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London
Friday 20th April: Bournemouth International Centre

Related KJS/ELOBF articles
Recommended: A Love So Beautiful (Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)
Recommended: Roy Orbison In Dreams: The Hologram UK Tour
Review: A Love So Beautiful (Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "A Love So Beautiful" by Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and "Roy Orbison In Dreams: The Hologram UK Tour" to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy OrbisonThe Traveling WilburysRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 11-Feb-2018

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Final Frontiers: Digital Return for Electric Light Orchestra Live

#1,381: ELO maestro Jeff Lynne announced via his social media platforms today (Thursday 8th February) that the "Electric Light Orchestra Live" album originally released via Frontiers/Big Trilby Records in May 2013 is now available to stream. The album, based on the 2001 live performance at CBS Television City promoting the "Zoom" album and ill fated tour, is the last of the five Frontiers releases to be made available again digitally. The other four: "Armchair Theatre", "Zoom", "Long Wave" and "Mr. Blue Sky", were actually made available to stream (according to from Friday 12th January.

Note that the 'new' releases cite the label as Columbia/Legacy for the ELO titles and Legacy for the Jeff Lynne solo records. Again there is no mention of Big Trilby Records with the ownership stated as being by "Daft As A Brush, Inc. under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment". A physical release of the above quintet is expected to follow later this year. Find out more via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Armchair Theatre", "Zoom", "Long Wave", "Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra" and "Electric Light Orchestra Live" 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-Feb-2018

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Recommended: The Ultimate Genre Guide: GLAM (Uncut)

#1,380: Somewhat belatedly, Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) would like to recommend The Ultimate Genre Guide: GLAM, subtitled The Sound, The Look, The Legacy and published by the folks who bring you Uncut. The magazine includes an eight page spread featuring Roy Wood and Wizzard with mentions, of course, for Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan. Without giving too much away, you will find an enjoyable overview by Nigel Williamson plus a reprint of two Melody Maker articles from February and August 1973 written by Andrew Means and Michael Benton respectively with plenty of photos on view too. Roy is also mentioned elsewhere. The Ultimate Genre Guide: Glam has a recommended retail price of £8.99 and is available from most newsagents or directly via

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends The Ultimate Genre Guide: GLAM (Uncut) to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood, WizzardThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 07-Feb-2018

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Review: West Of Wonderland (Cult of Wedge)

#1,379: By his own admission, Pete Hackett calls his musical vehicle Cult of Wedge a "car crash" influenced not a little by ELO and many of his other personal faves. He also says that his latest album "falls to earth somewhere in (the) late 70's, turn of the decade into the 80's" ... and he certainly ain't wrong.

New Cult of Wedge album "West Of Wonderland" is exactly that, ten songs pitched into the sonic landscape apparent when ELO were at their peak battling it out with every possible kind of music genre. What is amazing is that he has managed to produce another beauty from his bunker in deepest, darkest Rowley Regis. This is a higher tempo outing than previous offering "Loch Ness Monsters And Motherships", a little more commercial and certainly no less innovative whilst bursting with pleasing riffs, magic melodies, incisive lyrics and supremely catchy songs deserving of much wider attention. Rather than go through the tracks individually, Yours Truly KJS is going to depart from my normal review routine and recommend this quite exceptional album to you as a whole. Having said that, I simply must mention the fantastic title track, "Insomniac" - a track oozing Ric Ocasek/The Cars (also featuring the classy vocals of another fave elobf Indie artiste: Maxi Dunn) - and "Poundshop Princess", another one of those clever Cult of Wedge local social commentaries with a hint of classic Squeeze. Without doubt, Pete Hackett is an unsung purveyor of tunes from Prog To Power Pop"West Of Wonderland" proves it and is well worth your investment. ★★

Trax: "Mind Over Matter" ~ "Guitar Girl" ~ "Insomniac" ~ "West Of Wonderland" ~ "Laura Take Me Dancing" ~ "Ifs, Buts And Maybes" ~ "Laughing In The Face Of Danger" ~ "New York" ~ "Poundshop Princess" ~ "Strange Kind Of Love Song"

"West Of Wonderland" by Cult of Wedge was released on Sunday 28th January initially via Bandcamp (priced from just £4) and can currently be ordered via these links thus:

Find out more about Cult of Wedge via these official links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "West Of Wonderland" by Cult of Wedge to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 06-Feb-2018

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Down Under Discovery: Wembley Or Bust DVD Jewel Case

l-r: UK 2CD, UK 2CD/DVD, Aussie 2CD/DVD
#1,378: When it was announced that "Wembley Or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO was on the way back in early October, Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) - like many ELO fans - got rather excited. The album - and accompanying film - turned out to be a remarkable release both in terms of its visual and audio narrative of the most iconic of concerts held at the home of English football. Made available in digital, 2CD (19075800742), 3LP (88985487421), 2CD/DVD (88985492222) and 2CD/Blu-ray (88985492232) formats, the "Wembley Or Bust" Deluxe editions released in the UK, including the aforementioned film, came in an open-out soft pack somewhat larger than the standard CD jewel case making it tricky to store for collectors such as myself!
Australian edition has internal rear mounting for third disc
However, this was not the case (literally) down under in Australia where the 2CD/DVD (19075800722) and 2CD/Blu-ray (19075800732) editions were issued in a jewel case (see above photos) where all three discs are accommodated and an extra four pages added to the CD booklet meaning that it will fit nicely alongside the UK 2CD jewel case edition (19075800742) and much of my ever growing ELO and related collection.

If you are so minded, you can order the above mentioned Aussie edition of "Wembley Or Bust" in 2CD/DVD and/or 2CD/Blu-ray formats (within jewel case) from JB HI-FI via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Wembley Or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO to those enlightened folks who love ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 04-Feb-2018

Friday, 2 February 2018

elobeatlesforever: 9th Anniversary Today!

#1,377: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This is the 1,377th elobf article and today is Friday 2nd February 2018. It's also Groundhog Day and nine years since elobeatlesforever (elobf) arrived on the scene back in 2009! So much has happened in the elobf universe in the 3,287 days and 108 months since. Gig reviews, album reviews, interviews and the odd exclusive. Amazingly, the number of visitors to elobf went over the 2 million mark on Monday 6th November last year and we are now (hopefully) on the journey to 3 million views in the next twelve months ... all thanx to you! To celebrate our 9th birthday, I thought that it would be nice to list the five most popular elobeatlesforever (elobf) articles (at the time of writing) so here they are for you to peruse thus:

We've lost some great friends and musicians over the years yet we've also gained sight of many talented artistes essentially influenced by the genius of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat' and, of course, The Beatles. Yours Truly KJS would like to thank each and every visitor, reader, follower and participant of elobeatlesforever (elobf) for journeying here. Every visit really is appreciated!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 02-Feb-2018

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Caught Live: The Roy Orbison 30 Special (Barry Steele & Friends)

#1,376: A visit to see Barry Steele has been on the elobeatlesforever (elobf) radar for some time so when a date at the iconic Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton on Wednesday 31st January was announced, Yours Truly KJS was not slow in obtaining tickets. Barry Steele (and his rather excellent band) has built up a reputation over the years with both in terms of his uncanny resemblance to The Big O but also his ability to reproduce the legendary vocal range of the man also known as Lefty Wilbury.

And Halesowen based Barry did not disappoint with an inventive and thoroughly entertaining show that showcased the career of Roy Orbison in chronological order all the way from Roy's heady early Sixties success through to his Eighties renaissance, both as a solo artist and as a much loved member of The Traveling Wilburys and (posthumously) beyond. Surprises were aplenty with the inspired inclusion of songs by The Spencer Davis Group, Procul Harum, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chris Isaak too. Yet, for this writer, the thrill and appeal of this show was the top notch delivery of the Roy Orbison songbook. With the full house often breaking out with supplementary vocals, this was a wonderful evening  - an Orbifest by any other name - especially with welcome content from those Wilburys and ELO in a set list covering the less familiar and a certain Black & White Night. It was great seeing the names Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan being paraded too, particularly that of the late and much missed TP. In short, this is a show not to be missed for fans and followers of not only Roy Orbison, but also ELO/Jeff Lynne and The Traveling Wilburys!

Find out more about Barry Steele and Roy Orbison via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends The Roy Orbison 30 Special ft. Barry Steele & Friends to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff Lynne, The Traveling Wilburys, Roy OrbisonRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 01-Feb-2018