Saturday, 31 October 2020

Treasured ELO Memories

#1,543: Earlier this year you may remember that my mother Beryl Lilian Sinclair passed away in March and Yours Truly KJS wrote this elobf article in memory of her influence on me in terms of not only my early interest in records but also the first inklings of a lifelong association with the Magnificent Seven who were the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and by extension Roy Wood, The Move and Wizzard.
The Magnificent Seven: ELO's classic line-up
It was during a visit to see my parents last year that whilst having a rummage through some dusty drawers that this writer (if you'll excuse the pun) discovered an early KJS artifact that evidenced my attraction to all things ELO: a blue badge scratched with a certain trio of letters. For some reason I was reminded of that badge this week. Memories of posters from the "Out Of The Blue" and "Discovery" albums pockmarked with drawing pin holes and my treasured old red 7" record box festooned on both ends with not one but two great big ELO stickers from the "Confusion"/"Last Train To London" AA sided single (Jet/CBS #JET166) also came to mind. Which leads me to ask you this question:

What are your most treasured ELO memories?

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Live Alert: Quill @ Lichfield Garrick (Postponed)

#1,542: The effects of the current plandemic on professional musicians and entertainment venues is undoubtedly beyond measure in these uncertain days so the positive news that bands and artistes in general are planning their return is most welcome.

And elobeatlesforever wouldn't be elobf if we didn't bring it to the attention of our readers that Joy-Strachan-Brain and Quill featuring The MoveELO and Black Sabbath drumming legend Bev Bevan are just a few weeks away from their return to performing live at The Garrick Theatre in Lichfield on Saturday 21st November. Having spoken to Joy recently, Yours Truly KJS can assure you that this intimate gig (due to a much reduced seating capacity) will be poignant for both the band and those who get to see them on the night. You'd better be quick though as only 50+ tickets priced at £24.50 each remain (at the time of writing) via this link thus ...

Quill are currently: Joy Strachan-Brain (Vox) ~ Abby Brant (Vox/Keys); Kate McWilliam (Violin/Vox) ~ John Jowitt (Bass) ~ Lee Evans (Guitar) ~ Andy Edwards (Drums/Percussion) ~ Bev Bevan (Percussion/Drums)

Related elobf articles

elobeatlesforever (elobf) continues to recommend Quill featuring Bev Bevan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 28-Oct-2020 ***

Friday, 23 October 2020

ELO Classics Burning Bright

#1,541: Fans and collectors of all things Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) will tell you, if asked, that it is quite possibly impossible to come up with a definitive list of every ELO compilation released across all territories, whether it be on vinyl, tape or CD (not forgetting those in VHS, DVD and Blu-ray formats) starting with the early ELO Harvest Heritage retrospectives in the UK and the success of "Olé ELO" (United Artists/Jet #UA-LA630-G) in attaining a respectable #32 in the US Billboard 200 during the Summer of '76.

Over in the United States, the advent of the CD presented opportunities for CBS (later to be rebranded Sony Music and then Sony BMG) to release and licence budget greatest hits compilations that contained not only hits but also selected album trax. These compilations turned up both in record shops and supermarkets and produced buoyant sales for the larger labels and imprints. Naturally, ELO's extensive back catalogue was ripe for the issue of such CD (and initially cassette) collections. Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) thought that it would indeed be a good idea to put together a brief overview of those aforementioned releases for you to peruse at your leisure.
1990: "ELO Classics" (CBS Special Products #A21583) featured an odd cover merging artwork from the "ELO II" album with the familiar ELO logo from the "Out Of The Blue" spaceship. The first seven of the ten trax were US singles (including "Boy Blue") with "Bluebird", "Birmingham Blues" and "Loser Gone Wild" making up the numbers. There was also a pselling mitsake (see above).

1992: "Burning Bright" (Sony Music Special Products #A22639) comprised another selection of ten ELO songs with seven US singles (including "Stranger") plus "Standin' In The Rain", "Night In The City" and "Fire On High". The glowing ELO logo on a black background certainly made this collection stand out. One has to wonder what the rationale was for picking the album trax!
2001: "ELO Classics" (Sony Music Special Products #A52073) licensed through KRB Music Companies (#KRB7045-2) resurfaces as this reissue with a twist in that "Birmingham Blues" is swapped out with "Waterfall". The new artwork replete with "Time" era portrait again makes this attractive CD worth collecting! Perhaps they were thinking of the other Birmingham in Alabama!

2003: "ELO Classics" (Sony Music Custom Marketing Group Collectables #COL-CD-9341) makes another return but this time it's a straight reissue of the 1990 edition with rather strange cover art using Richard Avedon's famous "On The Third Day" portrait (on steroids!) on the front and the photo of ELO's Magnificent Seven taken from the "A New World Record" inner sleeve on the rear.
2007: "Electric Light Orchestra 2CD Collection" (Sony BMG Custom Marketing Group #A712251) sees both "ELO Classics" and "Burning Bright" bundled together as a bargain 2CD package with the original trax and artwork from 1990 and 1992 referenced. Of the quintet of compilations featured herein, this is perhaps the hardest to locate at the time of writing.

Related articles from the elobf archives

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Review: Made In Britain (Morganisation)

#1,540: Former Electric Light Orchestra member Dave Scott-Morgan is a man with a mission - literally! After a hectic decade in which he has released an amazingly prolific number of physical and digital albums, from the 2011 reissue of "Earthrise" through to the most recent "Seven", whether it be solo or with his Morganisation outfit, he has grasped the nuances of the modern music media business with both hands whilst writing and recording a remarkable collection of memorable songs.

As 2020 recedes, new album "Made In Britain" sees Dave and Morganisation return with an exceptional set of eleven new tunes thanx to the combined resources of wife Mandy, guitarist Alex Lowe and Rick Benton (Rebecca Downes, Magnum) whilst renewing musical acquaintances with fellow ex-ELO tourist and bassist Martin Smith (Balance of Power, 1986).

"an album just waiting to be discovered"

"Made In Britain" duly landed at elobf HQ earlier this week and Yours Truly KJS has to say that from the first play of track numero uno onward, this is a record that will most certainly appeal to not only Dave's growing band of admirers but also fans looking to explore and expand their musical horizons beyond the proverbial ELO spaceship. This is an impressive collection of songs that serves to highlight the songwriting and production skills of someone who is surely one of the most unsung of Birmingham's musical talents.

You could say this is an eclectic as you venture through the songs and you get the feeling that Morganisation had fun putting this together! Whether its the stomping rock 'n' rollers "Lovin' On You" and "Cindy's Place" or sublime ELOesque ballads "Starry Lady" and "A Day Called Today" (replete with a superb guitar solo!), the folksy almost Beatlesque "Go-Getter Lady", the pensive "Turn To Grey" or atypical Morganisation stomper "Love Is ...", you find yourself musing on how quickly "Made In Britain" seems to fly by. ELO fans will love the pacy if not funky opening title track and "In The Darkness" (which wouldn't be out of place on any of ELO's Eighties long players). Check out the expansive "Big Ocean" and the Celtic tinged "Ammer & Pickle" which has the feel of a glorious jam session too! Ultimately this is an album just waiting to be discovered and something that is sure to uplift the listener during difficult times. ★★★★★

"Time to get up and step out of the footprints of yesterdays sand" 
"Made In Britain" can be purchased in CD (£11.99) and/or digital (£9.99) formats via these links thus:

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Made In Britain" by Morganisation to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 20-Oct-2020 ***

Friday, 16 October 2020

ELO: The UK Singles Volume Two 1979-1986

#1,539: It's been a couple of years since Sony Legacy and Epic combined to release ELO: The UK Singles Volume One 1972-1978 back in September 2018. The 16 disc boxed set featured relatively faithful reproduction of all Electric Light Orchestra 7" singles and (picture) sleeves from "10538 Overture" to The ELO EP during their time on the Harvest, Warner Bros. (Burbank) and (of course) Jet labels. Fan reaction was generally positive despite its initial RRP of £100+ (currently available for £80 via amazon here).

Which leads many fans and collectors to question when a second volume covering ELO's singles from "Shine A Little Love" in 1979 to "Getting To The Point" in 1986 will see the (electric) light of day. Such a collection is expected to contain all 18 ELO UK singles from this period including their 1980 chart topping duet with Olivia Newton-John (subject to somewhat awkward licensing negotiations regarding "Xanadu" and its ONJ* only flip side "Fool Country").
Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever have compiled a list of the singles in question replete with 'B' sides and their original UK catalogue numbers for you to peruse below. Watch this proverbial elobf space for further updates ...

[1] "Shine A Little Love" b/w "Jungle" (#SJET144)
[2] "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" b/w "Down Home Town" (#JET150)
[3] "Don't Bring Me Down" b/w "Dreaming of 4000" (#JET153)
[5] "I'm Alive" b/w "Drum Dreams" (#JET179)
[6] "Xanadu" b/w "Fool Country"* (#JET185)
[7] "All Over The World" b/w "Midnight Blue" (#JET195)
[8] "Don't Walk Away" b/w "Across The Border" (#JET7004)
[9] "Hold On Tight" b/w "When Time Stood Still" (#JET7011)
[10] "Twilight" b/w "Julie Don't Live Here" (#JET7015)
[12] "The Way Life's Meant To Be" b/w "Wishing" (#JET7021)
[13] "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" b/w "After All" (#A3500/JET7034)
[15] "Four Little Diamonds" b/w "Letter From Spain" (#A3869)
[16] "Calling America" b/w "Caught In A Trap" (#A6844)
[17] "So Serious" b/w "A Matter Of Fact" (#A7090)
[18] "Getting To The Point" b/w "Secret Lives" (#A7317)
Volume One included the singles "10538 Overture" through to "The ELO EP" ...
Related articles from the elobf archives

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

ELO Beatles Together: Daytripper

#1,538: Much has been written and mused by Yours Truly KJS via ELO Beatles Forever (elobf) down the years regarding the original inclusion and latter exclusion of "Beatles Forever" from ELO's enigmatic "Secret Messages" album since we began this journey back in February 2009 here. The relationship, both direct and indirect, between ELO maestro Jeff Lynne and all four Beatles - John, Paul, George and Ringo - both individually and corporately has also been a regular topic of discussion.

Yet, aside from ELO's moving live tribute to John Lennon comprising "Imagine", "Nowhere Man", "Across The Universe" and "A Day In The Life" in the aftermath of his assassination during the 1981/82 "Time" tour, recorded versions of Beatles tunes by Birmingham's finest is limited to various live renditions of "Daytripper" (with a slight lyrical deviation) not forgetting that they followed The Fab Four in covering the Chuck Berry classic "Roll Over Beethoven" on record (Harvest HAR5063) and stage whilst clean audio cuts of the aforementioned "Beatles Forever" can also be found in certain circles, apparently.
elobf archive: The original German press release for ELO's "Daytripper" single
Returning to the subject of "Daytripper", many ELO fans and followers will no doubt be aware that this famous Lennon/McCartney track is included in their live LP "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)", a gatefold album released in 1974 in Germany (Warner Bros. WB56058), France, Holland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa before being belatedly issued in the UK (Epic EPC32700) during 1985 and in CD format thirteen (13) years later in 1998 (Epic 4911032).

Perhaps less well known is the fact that "Daytripper" was also released as an edited single in Germany (Warner Bros. WB16456) replete with picture sleeve and backed by the (edited) instrumental "Daybreaker", also taken from the same live long player and ELO's previous studio album "On The Third Day" (Burbank K56021). It's interesting to note that "Daybreaker (Live)" also ended up as the flip side of the non-charting 1975 UK single "Nightrider" (Jet/Polydor JET769).
To conclude: "Daytripper" b/w "Daybreaker" remains a rather rare 7" and is still an essential capture for collectors of Electric Light Orchestra and Beatles related vinyl. ELO Beatles Together, indeed ...

Related articles from the elobf archives

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 14-Oct-2020 ***

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Best Remaster: Balance of Power

#1,537: Whether intentionally or not, some fans of the Electric Light Orchestra look down their proverbial noses at the 1986 LP "Balance of Power" (Epic/CBS Assoc EPC26467/FZ40048). The reasons are varied. Perhaps the dramatic change in sleeve artwork and logo (as discussed in this elobf article) was too much or that ELO were down to a trio or that those trademark strings were ever more diminished or even that, in most territories, the familiar Jet Records label was missing. "Balance of Power" was a relatively successful album commercially, managing #9 in the UK coming along almost three years (a lifetime in the career of some bands) after "Secret Messages" (which peaked at #4 amidst heavyweight competition - read this elobf article explaining why) with their popularity somewhat on the wane considering that "Discovery" (1979), "Xanadu" (1980) and "Time" (1981) peaked at #1, #2 and #1 respectively.

Which brings me to the subject of the "Balance of Power" expanded remaster. Like many fans and collectors, Yours Truly KJS was quick to snap up all of the Legacy album remasters that were released between 2001 and 2007. In my opinion, the BoP reissue is the best of the bunch in terms of its presentation and the bonus material included. Be it the wonderful alternative version of "Heaven Only Knows" or the inclusion of "In For The Kill" alongside its progenitor "Caught In A Trap" and "Destination Unknown" as well as the two alternative takes of "Secret Lives" and "Sorrow About To Fall", this expanded, value for money package ticked all the boxes for me even though both versions of "A Matter of Fact" (found on the 12" flip side of "So Serious") and the infamous "ELO Megamix" (found on the 12" flip side of "Getting To The Point") were omitted.

One has to wonder how "Balance of Power" would have fared with an alternate "Heaven Only Knows" as its opening track with "In For The Kill" added for good measure. Placing "Balance of Power" ahead of an "Out of the Blue" including the sublime "Latitude 88 North" or an "On The Third Day" replete with "Everyone's Born To Die" is no easy matter yet I am content to do so. Which begs the question: What was your fave ELO remaster of the series? Answers on a postcard ...

Related KJS/elobf articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 11-Oct-2020 ***

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Telephone Line: Solid Centre Success!

#1,536: Regular visitors to elobeatlesforever (elobf) will doubtless be aware of the pursuit by this writer of certain hard to find or even mythical ELO 7" singles whether it be the second ELO EP (ELO2), the Jet/CBS reissue of "Turn To Stone" (#SJET103) and rare solid centre original issues of "Showdown" (HAR5077), "Turn To Stone" (UP36313) and "Mr. Blue Sky" (UP36342) in black vinyl.
After much patience, fortune and a little fiscal frivolity down the years, Yours Truly KJS had acquired two of the above noted solid centre rarities save for "Telephone Line" (UP36254) ... until this week when a copy was landed for just £2.60! Although it's stamped with "John's Disco Fishguard", it plays beautifully and is a welcome addition to the KJS ELO collection being as it is rarer than hen's teeth!
There are other solid centre copies of "Telephone Line" out there including the relatively easy to find 1978 Jet/CBS reissue (SJET101) and an Irish edition curiously allocated with catalogue number UP36264 as opposed to the regular UP36254 that only features "Poorboy (The Greenwood)" on its flip side with "King Of The Universe" obviously missing.

The obvious question now for this particular collector is "Where do I go next?"

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 08-Oct-2020 ***

Monday, 5 October 2020

A Matter of Sax: Christian Schneider

Christian Schneider in The Welcome Home Band (l) and live in Munich 1989 (r)
#1,535: Fans of the Electric Light Orchestra (including, naturally, Yours Truly KJS) playing their newly purchased copies of their new LP "Balance Of Power" (Epic EPC26467) back in early March 1986 were not only surprised by the bright red artwork and a new logo, they also experienced a significant change in the familiar ELO sound too from their previous outing "Secret Messages" (Jet JETLX527).

The trademark orchestral sound was nowhere to be seen but "Balance Of Power" did contain a new string to the proverbial ELO bow with several contributions from German saxophonist Christian Schneider.

Likely drafted in courtesy of legendary ELO engineer Mack alongside Tom Thiel when the album was completed at Hartmann Digital Studios in Untertrubach following initial sessions in The Bahamas at Compass Point, Christian added sublime solos to album trax "Getting To The Point" and "Sorrow About To Fall" as well as "Destination Unknown", a song that failed to make the original album release but did turn up on the 12" single 'B' sides of "Calling America" in the UK (Epic QTA6844) and "So Serious" in Holland (Epic EPC 12.7090) before also being included in the 3CD boxed set "Afterglow" (Epic Associated Z3K46090) in the States four years later.
A slight pselling mitsake in the Balance of Power sleeve notes for Christian
Christian Schneider (who is now nearly 58 years of age) has enjoyed an impressive, extensive and long career as a saxophonist, keyboardist, percussionist and producer in his native Germany having also been a member of The Jean Shy Band, Mimi, Schatzi and The Welcome Home Band. He is particularly noted for his involvement with Westernhagen Live project in 1990.

KJS: "Just wondering if you remember meeting Christian Schneider during the Balance of Power sessions?"
Bev Bevan: "Aha! ... yes ... I was at that session ... great sax player!"

Despite the unfortunate misspelling of his surname in the "Balance Of Power" credits, Christian Schneider certainly does deserve to be the subject of this ELOBF article celebrating his unique part in the Electric Light Orchestra story!

Related KJS@ELOBF articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 05-Oct-2020 ***

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Golden 45's: 10538 Overture & Roll Over Beethoven

#1,534: In the three year hinterland between the release of the ELO studio albums "Secret Messages" (1983) and "Balance Of Power" (1986), fans of the Electric Light Orchestra were left largely looking to see what Jeff Lynne was up to, whether as a solo artiste in his own right or whether he was twiddling his knobs behind the production desk. June 1984 revealed the ELO maestro's involvement in the soundtrack of the aptly named film "Electric Dreams" wherein he contributed two songs (ably assisted by long time ELO cohort Richard Tandy) in "Video!" and "Let It Run", the former being released as a single (Virgin #VS695) which peaked at a modest #87 in the Official UK Singles Chart and the latter allegedly pencilled in as a single too should "Video!" have shifted significantly more copies. His writing and production work with Dave Edmunds and The Everly Brothers was also ongoing during this period (the subject of a forthcoming elobf article!) so avid fans and collectors were pleased when two early ELO classic hits were re-released as part of EMI's Golden 45's series.
Whereas EMI and Harvest had reaped the benefit of their early career with multiple compilations and two reissues of "Roll Over Beethoven" backed by "Showdown" (see this previous elobf article on that very subject), it was noteworthy that "10538 Overture" and "Roll Over Beethoven" (#G45 22) were the tracks selected in this case, ensuring that not only was Roy Wood's crucial role in ELO's formation acknowledged but also that both of ELO's Top 10 UK hits were included (the former peaking at #9 and the latter at #6 whereas "Showdown" managed #12). Initial copies were printed on a light blue backed version of the familiar Harvest label with rarer, more collectable editions following in black/silver or as an injection moulding. This was essentially a record for ELO completists yet is still a valued part of many collections (including that of this writer) - especially if replete with a solid centre!
Related articles from the elobf archives

Reaping the Harvest: Showdown & Roll Over Beethoven

HAR5077: Solid Centre Showdown   Jeff Lynne: The Solo Singles

Singled Out: The Battle Of Marston Moor

HAR5063: The Massacre of Manhattan Rumble

The Fame Game: The Electric Light Orchestra & ELO 2

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 04-Oct-2020 ***