Friday, 31 August 2018

Recommended: Not Just An Alcoholic (Steven and Clare Midgley)

Back in the days when elobeatlesforever (elobf) was in its early stages and Yours Truly KJS was new to Facebook, I struck up a friendship with a talented musician and huge fan of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) by the name of Steve Midgley (even covering "Sweet Talkin' Woman"). This continued up until his untimely passing in September 2011 and since then I've kept in touch with his mother Clare and featured some of her work in Steve's memory. Clare Midgley has written and published a book entitled "Not Just An Alcoholic" on the subject of her son and his condition and elobf would like to draw your attention to it. Here's an overview of the book:

Description: This story is true as far as memory allows and illustrates the difficulties one family contended with in a bid to live well with a mental health illness. Steven is an intelligent and unique boy who grows into an anxious teenager and a mentally distressed man. The many labels given to him - Aspergers, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar, Personality Disorder and ‘just an alcoholic’, illustrate the battle for consistent effective and holistic care. His story is written with candour and black humour. The suicide attempts, the hospital stay where he is handcuffed to the bed, the disappearances - he relates his descent into mental illness and alcoholism. He tells of his interactions with mental health professionals who couldn’t seem to engage with him or earn his trust. Twice married, he finally returns to his parents for his last chance at a life without fear or alcohol. He tells of his love for his many friends and his passion for music making. In between, he describes the difficulties of living with a wife who was determined to suck him dry, emotionally and financially. His mother has taken up his story and ‘filled in the gaps’ that his disturbed mind either forgot or deemed unimportant. Finally, it is a Mother’s story about grief, loss and wasted potential and the battle to find the best mental health care and support in an impoverished NHS. 

About the Author: My experience with mental health illness and distress is gathered from both personal and professional experience. I have spent more than 20 years working with distressed individuals as a private therapist using Bach Flower Remedies and Clinical Hypnotherapy. My breadth of experience comes from supporting my son Steven. From the age of 11, he suffered from mental distress and my knowledge was gained during the time my husband and I looked after him until his death at 31. The many labels applied to Steven provoked me into learning more about each named condition.

Find out more and/or order "Not Just An Alcoholic" via these links thus:

Previous elobf articles featuring Steve Midgley include:
elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Not Just An Alcoholic" by Steven and Clare Midgley 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 ... 31-Aug-2018

Monday, 27 August 2018

Jeff Lynne's ELO: North American Tour Thoughts

Photograph taken at Toronto, Saturday 18th May 2018 (courtesy of Allison Morris)
Without a doubt, the positive reaction of concertgoers and the media alike is that the dozen or so dates just completed by Jeff Lynne's ELO in the United States and "Across The Border" in Canada is a testimony to a series of gigs that will live long in the memory of those who were there and, indeed, looked forward to them for the best part of 35 years. Whether they be personal friends or the very many members of the various ELO/Jeff Lynne Facebook fan groups, everyone has enthused about seeing the Electric Light Orchestra maestro stroll through a portion of his songbook aided and abetted by Musical Director Mike Stevens and a now familiar, flawless band that did every song justice in the live environment.

In terms of the songs performed on the North American leg of this tour, the set list settled very quickly into a nineteen (19) song roster although Oakland were treated to twenty due to the initial inclusion of "Xanadu", which was only given one other outing at Toronto in place of "Rockaria!" due to the absence of vocalist Melanie Lewis-McDonald at that gig. The full span of ELO was covered from "10538 Overture" to "When I Was A Boy" with "Handle With Care" included again for a nice Wilburys cameo. With the next phase of the tour beckoning, it will be interesting to see if there are changes to the set list for fans on this side of the pond. On a personal level (and this is not a criticism), Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) would like to see the likes of "Hold On Tight" or "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" or even "Calling America" and/or a song from the promised new album in there if not the return of "Ma Ma Ma Belle" but in all honesty we should all just be content to see Jeff and his band touring and delivering these great songs to ardent and casual fans alike. With both Jeff Lynne and co-ELO founder Roy Wood now gigging fairly regularly in the UK, we should appreciate them and enjoy the experience. What we also know is that the current ELO formula works and what has thrilled American and Canadian audiences alike will be here soon!
Tour Montage: Twelve North American EJLO selfies ...
Next up are those nine dates in Europe during September before Jeff Lynne's ELO return to the British Isles to complete the tour in October. Tickets may still be be available via these links thus:

Wednesday 12th September: Ericsson Globe, Stockholm, Sweden
Friday 14th September: Oslo Spektrum, Norway
Sunday 16th September: Royal Arena, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tuesday 18th September: Barclaycard Arena, Hamburg, Germany
Wednesday 19th September: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin, Germany
Friday 21st September: Olympiahalle, Munich, Germany
Sunday 23rd September: Vienna Stadthalle, Austria
Tuesday 25th September: SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany
Thursday 27th September: Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sunday 30th September: Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, England
Wednesday 3rd October: The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland
Friday 5th October: Manchester Arena, England
Saturday 6th October: Manchester Arena, England
Tuesday 9th October: Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
Wednesday 10th October: Arena Birmingham (NIA), England
Friday 12th October: Arena Birmingham (NIA), England
Saturday 13th October: Arena Birmingham (NIA), England
Monday 15th October: First Direct Arena, Leeds, England
Wednesday 17th October: The O2, London, England
Thursday 18th October: The O2, London, England
Saturday 20th October: The O2, London, England
Sunday 21st October: The O2, London, England
Tuesday 23rd October: Echo Arena, Liverpool, England
Thursday 25th October: 3Arena, Dublin, Republic of Ireland


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Jeff Lynne's ELO Live 2018 to those enlightened folks who love Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe Traveling WilburysThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 27-Aug-2018

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Time After Time: Turn To Stone

Every fan of every singer and/or group and/or artiste has a pivotal track (not necessarily their fave) that is special to them and it's no different with Yours Truly KJS. And if there is one track that has kept popping up since my interest in all things Electric Light Orchestra was sparked in Autumn 1977, then it has to be "Turn To Stone".  Ever since my brother Bob played side one of his copy of  "Out Of The Blue" to me, "Turn To Stone" has been there. TTS was the first record that I ever bought (Jet/UA #UP36313) and the first ELO song that I heard performed live (by ELO Part II).

"Turn To Stone" (which peaked at #18 in the UK Singles Chart in December) has also been one of the most frequent subjects here on elobeatlesforever (elobf) too with our coverage of the seemingly cancelled reissue (Jet/CBS #SJET103), the ultra-rare solid centre original issue and even Fragile X's 2011 cover, not forgetting that TTS was also the first track from "Wembley Or Bust" to be released too. I even came across an intact jukebox last year with "Turn To Stone" still listed alongside "Mister Kingdom"! It's still a track that I love to hear live, be it by Jeff Lynne's ELO or by the growing number of excellent ELO tribute bands. "Turn To Stone" has indeed been the subject of many elobf articles down the years (as has, of course, "Beatles Forever") hence the above montage and this roster of articles for you to peruse thus:


Is there an ELO song that follows you around too as "Turn To Stone" does this writer? It may not be your fave but it just keeps showing up "Time After Time" ...

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 25-Aug-2018

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Recommended: elobf 10th Birthday Bash with Explosive Light Orchestra

Regular readers of and visitors to elobeatlesforever (elobf) might be aware that elobf will be ten (10) years old on Saturday 2nd February (Groundhog Day!) next year. Yours Truly KJS has been thinking on ways to celebrate our 10th birthday and, thanx to Mike Hamblett at The Robin 2 and Robin Myles of Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO), we will be celebrating (somewhat belatedly) the occasion on Saturday 25th May 2019 when ExpLO arrive at the Bilston venue.

What better way to hear the music of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) performed live, fill the venue to capacity on a Bank Holiday weekend and also (hopefully) give this writer the opportunity to thank folks personally for their support over the last decade. There may be the odd surprise on the night! Tickets are priced at £15 each in advance or £16 each on the door (*plus booking fee) and can be purchased via this link thus:


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO) and The Robin 2 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 ... 22-Aug-2018

Saturday, 18 August 2018

All Change for Brum Rocks Live 2019

Regular visitors to elobeatlesforever (elobf) may recall that earlier this year in March, Yours Truly KJS revealed that the acclaimed Brum Rocks Live show was to return to local theatres in Autumn 2018. Ashley Yeates over at Yeates Entertainment has confirmed several changes to the production both in terms of timing and personnel with a new series of dates starting to appear in Spring 2019 with this noteworthy show now featuring Ricky Cool & The In Crowd and The 3 Sixties alongside The Move co-founder Trevor Burton and Brummie legend Danny King. Four gigs are confirmed at the time of writing with additional shows likely. In the meantime, here are those dates for you to peruse and/or buy tickets thus:

Saturday 30th March 2019
Core Theatre, Solihull
Tickets: £24 each (*plus booking fee)

Wednesday 24th April 2019
Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
Tickets: from £19.50 each (*plus booking fee)
www.grandtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/concerts/brum-rocks-live/bgGenre1

Thursday 25th April 2019
Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock
Tickets: £24 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 26th April 2019
The Artrix, Bromsgrove
Tickets: £24 each (*plus booking fee)

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Brum Rocks Live 2019 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 ... 18-Aug-2018

Friday, 17 August 2018

Recommended: Original Album Classics: Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne

As suggested by Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) previously in this February 2018 article, ELO maestro Jeff Lynne has cemented his return to the Sony Legacy fold from Frontiers with a new 5CD release in the Original Album Classics series next month featuring "Armchair Theatre", "Zoom", "Long Wave", "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Electric Light Orchestra Live", following on from their digital debut earlier this year.

Release date (according to amazon.co.uk) is Friday 14th September (just a week before their first 7" singles boxed setand pre-orders can be placed via these links thus:

An elobf selection of previous ELO multi-CD releases betwixt 1990-2016 ...
Fans and collectors now await the release of a boxed CD set covering ELO's studio albums from 1980-1986 to partner the 2016 edition covering the years 1973-1977 (above left) ...

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne: Original Album Classics 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-Aug-2018

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