Sunday, 16 May 2021

Remembering Mark Regula

#1,588: The belated news received this weekend of the tragic recent passing away of Ivory Tower Project (ITP) maestro Mark Regula was both shocking and saddening for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF). Mark was not only regarded in the biz as a highly regarded singer, songwriter and musician, he was also someone whom this writer considered a friend ever since we were introduced to each other by our mutual pal Gene 'Doc' DiPierro (owner/proprietor of Hamilton Radio) just over a decade ago via my then KJS Suggests show.

Since then ITP's highly related albums "Red Hot" (in 2012) and "How Much More?" (in 2017) have been positively reviewed by Yours Truly KJS whilst we remained in regular touch via Twitter until just a few weeks ago. It was a pleasure to be associated with such a kind and talented man - perhaps the ultimate Old School Rocker - who was so professional and diligent in the promotion and marketing of his beloved Ivory Tower Project and always such an encouragement to the output of KJS/ELOBF.

Our thoughts remain with Patti and the family at this time. Thank you Mark for sharing your inspiring life and music. Rest in peace.

KJS/ELOBF/ITP articles

Please go to www.ivorytowerproject.com for more ITP info
ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will always remember and recommend Mark Regula and The Ivory Tower Project to those enlightened souls 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 ... 16-May-2021

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Wonderful Land: Jeff Lynne, Hank Marvin & Mark Knopfler

#1,587: Jeff Lynne's association with The Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre goes back much further than their nomination for the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) frontman to receive an O2 Silver Clef Award back in 2016 due to his 1993 collaboration with The Shadows legend Hank Marvin and Dire Straits' guitar maestro Mark Knopfler in aid of the aforementioned charity.

Having worked with a plethora of his personal musical heroes in the eighties and early nineties as the ELO spaceship was retired in 1986, Jeff was called into Abbey Road Studios to produce (and contribute acoustic guitar to) a new version of "Wonderful Land" (UK #1 in 1962 for eight weeks from March to May) for Hank Marvin's "Heartbeat" album which was, of course, also released as a single in 7", CD (now worth a small fortune) and cassette formats with flip side "Nivram" - also produced by Lynne. His then regular engineering cohort Richard Dodd was also on hand for the session. "Wonderful Land" sadly failed to chart second time around but it did help "Heartbeat" to a healthy #17 in the Official UK Album Chart during December 1993. Aside from his earlier work with "Armchair Theatre" (1990), Miss B Haven (1990), Del Shannon (1991), Tom Petty (1991), "The Traveling Wilburys Volume 3" (1991) and Julianna Raye (1992), the final decade of the 20th century was to be equally busy if not prolific for Jeff Lynne in advance of the return of his new look ELO with "Flashback" (2000) and "Zoom" (2001). Look out for forthcoming KJS/ELOBF articles covering those partnerships and projects soon!
Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy is the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK, dedicated to changing the lives of vulnerable and isolated people. They support thousands of people through their own centres and by working in partnership with a wide range of organisations including care homes, schools and hospitals. Music therapy is the specialist use of music that aims to facilitate physical and emotional well-being, and to promote the development and retention of key communication skills. A wide range of instruments can be used in music therapy, including the voice, and the music created is often improvised. Music therapists support people to develop their own ways of being musical in order to explore their potential and connect with the world around them. Donations can be made to the charity via this link thus: www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/donate

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Review: Angel Dreams (Bubble Gum Orchestra)

#1,586: When it comes to Michael Laine Hildebrandt and Bubble Gum Orchestra, it really is a case of "Hello My Old Friend" after two extended breaks from social media during which Yours Truly KJS unfortunately missed running the proverbial ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) rule over the four BGO releases since their eighth outing "Zentopia" in 2018. Unveiled at the end of April, new album "Angel Dreams" undoubtedly enforces the reputation that BGO have built up whilst following in the footsteps of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) for their classic semi-orchestrated rock over the decade since the ethereal "Out Of This World" first reached our ears.

The eleven trax that comprise "Angel Dreams" take the listener on an emotional journey of love, angst, devotion and release riding on the waves of the known impressive musical talents of BGO maestro Michael Laine Hildebrandt who has again written, played, arranged and produced the whole record from conception to completion. Lead single "Missing Me, Missing You" (click here to hear) is a wonderful example (with those fabtastic ELOesque layered backing vox) of what to expect of what is an upbeat and heartfelt offering.

Whereas opener "Pure Ecstasy" is atypical BGO, oozing energy and passion as the first chapter of this musical love story, it also prepares the way for wonderfully catchy foot tappers such as "Dance With Me Tonight", the anthemic declaration of "The Luckiest Man", sublime instrumental "Angel Dreams", "Sweetheart Girl" and "Die For Your Love Tonite" which are perfectly balanced by pensive ballads including "I'll Pray For You" and "Confessions In The Moonlight". As mentioned previously, listening to these songs is like visiting with an old friend and remembering all the good times whilst enjoying all the latest happenings. If you haven't already done so, you should "Go BGO!" and experience these "Angel Dreams" for yourself. KJS/ELOBF fave track: "Angel Dreams (Instrumental)" ★★★★★
"Angel Dreams" by Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) is now available in download format via this link thus:

ELOBF/BGO Album Reviews

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Angel Dreams" by Bubble Gum Orchestra 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 ... 09-May-2021

Monday, 3 May 2021

Gatefold Gallery: ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood & Beyond

#1,585: Down the years, record companies have thought of inventive ways to amplify and market the product of their artiste rosters be it coloured vinyl, picture discs and other such releases. Perhaps one one of the less obvious marketing vehicles is the gatefold album - a kind of halfway house between a single (1LP) and a double (2LP) wherein the record buying public is presented with one disc in a double album sleeve - and there have certainly been no shortage of gatefold issues when it comes to the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood whether it be original releases or the later proliferation of reissues thanx to the resurgence of vinyl over the last couple of decades.
Looking at the KJS/ELOBF tabulation below, it's interesting to see that "The Birthday Party" by The Idle Race (in 1968) preceded ELO's first three UK album released on EMI's Harvest imprint and Warner Bros. Burbank label were gatefolds as were many LP's at that time. It was the same in Germany with "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" and, surprisingly, even "Face The Music" got the gatefold treatment in France with Dutch compilation "All Over The World" (also known as "All Over The Wolrd") following in 1987.
Avid fans and collectors will all be aware that "Discovery" and "Xanadu" marked the return of ELO gatefolds at their commercial peak as did "Alone In The Universe" in 2015 although they may not be aware of the now ultra-rare white vinyl LETV reissue of "Long Wave" in early 2013. Note also that a trio of Roy Wood and Wizzard albums "Introducing Eddy & The Falcons", "Boulders" and "Mustard" (the latter two featuring Roy's unique artwork) were also gatefold editions. Q: How many ELO & related gatefold LP's do you own?
Related elobf articles

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... 03-May-2021 ***