Thursday, 16 August 2018

Secret Messages Enters UK Vinyl Chart Top 10

Quite a few interesting happenings occurred in the elobeatlesforever (elobf) whilst Yours Truly KJS was out of the country recently and one of those was the entry of ELO's 2LP "Secret Messages" reissue in the Official UK Vinyl Albums Chart at a respectable #7 on Friday 10th August after peaking at #49 in the Official Midweek Album Chart four days earlier (based on decent pre-order numbers). Whilst it's pleasing to see "Secret Messages" return to the chart as a vinyl only release, one can only wonder whether the inclusion of "Beatles Forever" and/or a CD issue would have also elevated it not only in the vinyl chart but also helped it return to the Official UK Top 100 Album Chart a little over 35 years after its original 1LP launch back on Monday 6th June 1983 ...

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Secret Messages" by Electric Light Orchestra 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 ... 16-Aug-2018

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Review: Secret Messages 2LP (ELO)

The day finally arrived on Friday 3rd August when a 2LP edition of ELO's seminal 1983 album "Secret Messages" (Epic 1907583769181) was released some 35 years and 2 months since an abridged 1LP version (JETLX527) hit the proverbial shelves in June 1983. A lot has been written by Yours Truly KJS in the nine and a half years since elobeatlesforever (elobf) was launched in February 2009 with an initial mission to campaign for the originally intended 2LP version of "Secret Messages" (JETDP402) replete with a certain septet of missing tracks including "Beatles Forever". Rather than go over old ground, I wanted to write an article which collated my thoughts on the positive and negative aspects of "Secret Messages" (one of my very fave ELO albums) in 2018.
The positives? It feels great to handle "Secret  Messages" as a double album. It really does. Playing both discs (and listening to the accompanying digital download) reveals a deep, lush texture to the whole record with nuances and detail not previously revealed. Add to that the fact that "Mandalay", "Buildings Have Eyes", "Time After Time" (on cassette first time around), "Endless Lies", "No Way Out", "Hello My Old Friend" (sounds great on vinyl!) and a shortened "After All" now have a permanent place on 33 1/3 RPM vinyl and you know that this is a significant enhancement to a classic Electric Light Orchestra album.
The negatives? You won't be surprised to read that my personal opinion is that the glaring omission of "Beatles Forever" is the most obvious shortcoming of this 2LP. That hasn't changed and will not change. A "Secret Messages" without "Beatles Forever" sandwiched between "No Way Out" and "Letter From Spain" is incomplete. It's the elephant in the room that many fans are being guided to forget by clever soundbites and quotes. If it was good enough to be included in the 1983 double album then the same applies here in 2018. My only other observation is that it's disappointing that lyric sheets are missing with the credits and some kind words from Jeff Lynne forming the inside of the gatefold and both discs supplied in plain white paper sleeves. Note also that the backward messages warning has been deleted and that "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" is now appended by its original working title "Motor City" here too. In summary, this edition is flawed but still worth the investment for the positives mentioned above. ★★

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Secret Messages" by Electric Light Orchestra 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 ... 04-Aug-2018

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Replay: ELO Forever (Bubble Gum Orchestra)

With Jeff Lynne's ELO about to embark on their first major intercontinental tour in eons in Oakland, California on Thursday 2nd August, Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) thought it would be a good idea to revisit the excellent Bubble Gum Orchestra track "ELO Forever", perhaps the ultimate in tributes to ELO/Jeff Lynne penned in 2014 by BGO maestro Michael Laine Hildebrandt. Taken from his iconic concept album "Beyond Time", it's a song that will soon be particularly poignant for MLH as he will be in the audience at the Dallas show having first seen the original ELO during the "Time" tour at Minneapolis in late October 1981. Listen between 19:17 and 27:24 during this Time Machine Radio Show interview and you'll hear the story behind "ELO Forever", the song itself and more:
Click on these links for more information on "ELO Forever", "Beyond Time", Bubble Gum Orchestra and latest album "Zentopia" via these links thus:
REVIEW: BEYOND TIME [Bubble Gum Orchestra]

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "ELO Forever" by Bubble Gum Orchestra 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 ... 31-July-2018

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Eleven Recommended Reads

Yours Truly KJS likes to recommend books, from "Time" to "Time", that regular visitors to elobeatlesforever (elobf) may find interesting. It's been almost three years since our last list of recommended reads so here is a 2018 update! This particular literary selection are written by the likes of John Van Der Kiste, Brian Paone, Randy Blazak, Bob Lawton, Mark Stanway (Magnum), Charlie Grima (Wizzard), Dave Scott-Morgan (The Uglys/Magnum/ELO) and Pam Van Allen.

The eleven publications in question include recollections, memoirs, fiction and biographies. Please click on the links below to find out more about each publication thus:

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 26-July-2018

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Recommended: ELO: The UK Singles Volume One 1972-1978

As exclusively revealed in this April elobeatlesforever (elobf) article, the folks at Jeff Lynne revealed earlier today that one of two boxed sets of Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) UK 7" singles (in replica sleeves) will be released on Friday 21st September 2018. The set will recreate all sixteen ELO 45RPM singles from "10538 Overture" b/w "First Movement (Jumping Biz)" (originally Harvest/EMI HAR5053) in 1972 all the way through to 1978 with "Sweet Talkin' Woman" b/w "Bluebird Is Dead" (originally Jet/CBS SJET121) and also includes The ELO EP (originally Jet/CBS ELO1), ensuring a bumper Summer for ELO vinyl collectors following in the wake of the almost 2LP edition of "Secret Messages" - minus "Beatles Forever" - seven weeks earlier on Friday 3rd August. Accurately reproduced sleeves and a return to their original labels also appeal.

ELO: The UK Singles Volume One 1972-1978 (Sony Legacy 88985424617) is priced at £125 and can be ordered directly from via this link thus:

A second boxed set covering the singles taken from "Discovery" (1979) to "Xanadu" (1980) to "Secret Messages" (1983) to "Balance Of Power" (1986) is expected to follow thereafter.

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends ELO: The UK Singles Volume One 1972-1978 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 ... 24-July-2018

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Review: Zentopia (Bubble Gum Orchestra)

Who'd have thought that seven years after Michael Laine Hildebrandt and his Bubble Gum Orchestra crashed into the elobeatlesforever (elobf) universe with "Out Of This World" that Yours Truly KJS would be here in Summer 2018 casting an eye over the event horizon at BGO's seventh studio album "Zentopia"? Yet here we are enthusing about a remarkable eleven song outing in more ways than one as BGO blend emotion, angst and even eroticism alongside classic sci-fi and an affirming tribute with a little help from brother Douglas and former band mate Bob Stewart in a record that will never be technically released but always available to hear.
Edith Keeler (Star Trek) and Jib Khan (Starflight) also make an appearance ...
"Zentopia" is an album of contrasts instantly taking the listener from the peaceful overtures of the opening title track to the wonderfully anthemic rocker "Hail! Hail! Hail! To The Underdogs", a tune that resonates with this particular writer much. The theme of time permeates this record, as evidenced in the catchy "Tomorrow's Overrated" before the anti-romantic foot-tapper "Just Another Girl" with its alter ego "Do It With The Lights On" on a different level with, let us say, its naked ambition underpinned by those familiar BGO production values. You get the idea listening to this record that Michael is baring his soul from either end of his life experiences. In that way, this is a very personal album. Cue the almost psychedelic "Love Me" and "Stop Chasing Flowers", an appraisal of a former friend with a bitterness and honesty not heard since ABC's iconic "The Lexicon Of Love". We then jump to the diametrically opposite up beat sentiment of thankfulness "I'm So Glad" (with its superb guitar licks and solo).
Fans who love the original series of "Star Trek" will love what comes next. "Edith Keeler" is based on the time travel tragedy of my fave episode "The City At The Edge Of Forever", where Captain James T. Kirk's romance with a young Joan Collins is lamented, replete with original dialogue. An wonderful diversion and one that is exceedingly clever. Then comes perhaps what I term classic BGO with a wonderful song lauding the songwriting ambition of none other than Starflight, the musical vehicle of the equally talented Jib Khan and his excellent tune "Dr. Radio" (to be found on the ultra impressive 2015 album "World Premiere"). This is a wonderful gesture betwixt musicians whom elobeatlesforever (elobf) continues to endorse and a song truly heartwarming to listen to before we rock out with the most perfect finale of "You've Got Nothin' On Me".  At the seventh time of asking, BGO has delivered another memorable album that twists and turns to all kinds of places before landing you safely on terra firma. Romance, rock, regret and rhythm. What a winning combination! Another BGO masterpiece indeed. ★★

In a final twist, you won't be able to buy "Zentopia" anywhere in either digital or CD formats. It's free and MLH just wants you to listen to his craft. The only way that you will be able to partake of "Zentopia" is to visit the official  Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) web site from Tuesday 31st July onwards via these links thus:

Review: Out Of This World (2011)   Review: BGO II (2012)   Review: The Discovery (2013)
Review: Beyond Time (2014)   Review: Sticky Love Songs (2016)   Review: Sixthoverture (2017)
elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Zentopia" by Bubble Gum Orchestra 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 ... 17-July-2018

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sight 'n' Sound, Jeff Lynne & Indian Queen

Sight 'n' Sound are a group who have featured often here at elobeatlesforever (elobf) over the years. Always remembered for their harmonies and originally led by Grant Kearney with an impressive list of former members including Mike Sheridan (Tyler), Rick Price, Geoff Turton, Roger 'Ollie' Spencer and Kelly Groucutt, their links with The Move, ELO and 'Brum Beat' make Sight 'n' Sound all the more noteworthy as far as Yours Truly KJS is concerned. But there is another connection between Sight 'n' Sound and ELO/Jeff Lynne to be explored.

When elobf started covering gigs by a reformed Sight 'n' Sound back in 2014, bassist Neil Craddock told me about the recording a song in the studio with Jeff Lynne circa 1974 which, sadly, never saw release. This would have been around the time that Kelly Groucutt left the band to replace Mike de Albuquerque in the Electric Light Orchestra. The song was in question was "Indian Queen", a short demo that can be found on disc three of the ELO career retrospective "Flashback" (2000) with a later, longer demo that was once famously played in full by legendary DJ Kenny Everett and attributed as ELO. The "Flashback" demo and the version aired on Radio 1 (which can be found in various bootlegs and on YouTube) are somewhat different with the Sight 'n' Sound recording closer to the latter version. All interesting stuff!

Sight 'n' Sound are a quartet these days who still include Neil in their ranks alongside long time guitarist Brian Eustace, drummer Warren Shaw and keyboard maestro Paul Trappett. They don't play "Indian Queen" but they do include a marvellous ELO Medley in their set and their famed harmonies remain. If you are at a loose end, you can catch them live at The Nest in Chadsmoor, Cannock on Saturday 14th July.
An elobf selection of Sight 'n' Sound 7" vinyl from 1968 to 1976 ...
Find out more about Sight 'n' Sound and/or their latest live dates via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) continues to recommend Sight 'n' Sound 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 ... 12-July-2018