Wednesday, 27 May 2015

IT'S MACCA DAY!


Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Today is a big day for Yours Truly KJS and, indeed, ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] because - after missing Jeff Lynne's Broad Street Walk Of Stars presentation in Birmingham last March and the epic Hyde Park gig by Jeff Lynne's ELO in September due to ill health [with some misfortune thrown in] - I shall be finally seeing and hearing Beatles legend Paul McCartney with my own eyes for the very first time at the NIA [Barclaycard Arena] in Birmingham tonight [Wednesday 27th May 2015], just twenty six [26] rows away from the main man.

Attending this gig will fulfill a major goal on my bucket list. I just hope that I am able to write a gig review for ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] later this week that will do justice to this momentous event ...

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 27-May-2015

Sunday, 24 May 2015

CAUGHT LIVE: REBECCA DOWNES & THE TREVOR BURTON BAND

Yet another classy live performance by The Trevor Burton Band [Photo: Christian Evans]
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The double header featuring The Move co-founder Trevor Burton, his band, Rebecca Downes and her band just down the road from ELOBF HQ at The Jubilee Hall in Brewood last night [Saturday 23rd May] has long been on the radar for Yours Truly KJS since it was announced by Brewood Music Festival. That anticipation was more than satisfied as both artistes delivered sets of stunning rhythm and blues fit for a much larger stage and audience.


First up was Rebecca Downes and her supremely gifted band, who proceeded to enchanted and charm those assembled with her ninety [90] minute set of original songs, primarily from her acclaimed debut album "Back To The Start", but also interwoven with new tracks from her forthcoming follow-up release and some simply stunning covers of classics by the likes of Etta James, Led Zeppelin, Joe Cocker and, by extension, The Beatles. This girl can sing the Blues and sing them well! Her performance of "With A Little Help From My Friends" was [again] absolutely brilliant. Without a doubt, the whole set oozed class with "Laughter From Her Room" another highlight. ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] are pleased and proud to feature and endorse such a talented songstress and her band of top notch musicians. 

Rebecca Downes: This lady, her superb band and their soaring blues are ones to watch ...
Next up for their hour and a half masterclass of Blues came The Trevor Burton Band who again, as the familiar trio of Trevor, bassist Pez Connor and drummer Bill Jefferson, did not fail to impress as the latter looked to the former for inspiration in the tightest of live bands. This was a set perfectly balanced with Trev's own songs such as "Down Down Down" [recorded by Dave Edmunds back in the day] intermingled with his unique take on "Dear Mr. Fantasy", "Little Rachel" and [of course] his very own awesome "Hey Joe" as well as the welcome inclusions of "Shakin' All Over", "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" [a TBB first for me] and "I Saw Her Standing There" [another TBB first!]. I have to say also that I have not seen Trevor so relaxed on stage for a very long time. A marvellous night indeed!

Many thanx to the folks at Brewood Music Festival for organizing this wonderful evening and a special  'shout-out' to my not-so-old pal Rob Perkins at RP Lighting for a job well done!

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Trevor Burton Band and Rebecca Downes 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 ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 24-May-2015

Saturday, 23 May 2015

CAUGHT LIVE [4]: EXPLOSIVE LIGHT ORCHESTRA [ExpLO]

ExpLO are [L-R]: Jason Ball, Robin Myles, Dave Purkiss and Aidan Thorne ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Nearly ten [10] months has passed since Yours Truly KJS nipped down to to see the Explosive Light Orchestra or 'ExpLO' perform in the heartland of ELO, so a return visit to The Roadhouse Birmingham last night [Friday 22nd May 2015] to see this up and coming ELO tribute band was easily justified.

My last ExpLO gig back in early August 2014 saw the band sporting a new guitarist and drummer whilst impressing a packed house. Based on the evidence of last night, the band have not only knitted together since into a tight musical unit as a quartet, they also displayed the huge benefits of their expanded theatre shows with added keyboards and a string section. I watched and listened last night as ExpLO delivered an impressive and entertaining show with a rearranged set that saw the debut of two [2] new covers, an unrehearsed but marvellous "Steppin' Out" and a raucous "Rockaria" [highlighting the operatic talents of a certain Jason Ball!] replacing "Standin' In The Rain" and "Calling America". I spent the evening aside manager Mark Elliott, whose look of satisfaction and pride with ExpLO was more than justified with his charges. The lead vocals of Robin Myles were good, the vocal harmonies were superb, the attention to detail of bassist Aidan Thorne was eye catching, the percussion of Dave Purkiss was of the highest calibre and the performance of guitarist Jason Ball was outstanding - particularly his note perfect work on "Strange Magic" and "Sweet Talkin' Woman". It is difficult - as many bands and musicians will attest - to reproduce the intricate song craft and production of Jeff Lynne in a live environment, but ExpLO, as a four [4] piece, do a really great job.

And, if I had to choose a fave song from last nights show, it would have to be "Steppin' Out" simply because it was that good and that impressive for a song never performed by the band before. ELOBF sincerely looks forward to seeing ExpLO perform again soon, complete with strings et al.

ExpLO set list: "Prologue" ~ "Twilight" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" ~ "Steppin' Out" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Hold On Tight" ~ "Last Train To London" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Ma Ma Ma Belle" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Confusion" ~ "Xanadu" ~ "Strange Magic" ~ "All Over The World" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "Rockaria" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven"

Explosive Light Orchestra [ExpLO] are: Robin Myles [Guitar/Lead vocals], Aidan Thorne [Bass/vocals], Jason Ball [Guitars/vocals] and Dave Purkiss [Drums/programming]. Check out the band via their official web site thus:


ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends Explosive Light Orchestra [ExpLO] 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 ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 23-May-2015

Friday, 22 May 2015

REVIEW: YESTERDAY'S TOMORROW [Fragile X]


Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It's been a lengthy thirty [30] months since Yours Truly KJS reviewed Fragile X's impressive 2012 album "Return To Paradise" for ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] and, if nothing else, the wait has whetted my appetite in anticipation to what this Colorado based combo would deliver next for their third studio album after such a long hiatus and the odd change in personnel. Hence, I was pleased to see an advance copy of their new recording land on my doormat the other day. And "Yesterday's Tomorrow" was well worth the wait with over sixty five minutes of thoughtful, melodic rock - with a dash of violin and a touch of sax in certain places - that takes the listener on an enjoyable sonic journey.

More Rush than ELO, nevertheless this an album of progressive progression for Fragile X as they combine their new material with a trio of reworked versions. "Colorado Way Of Feeling""Social Butterfly" and "Going Back Home" are joined by nine [9] new tracks including the rousing riff laden opener "Inspiration", an instant attention grabber, followed by the varying tempo of "Denial" and the raw power of "Ten Feet Tall". The superb combination of guitar, precise percussion and vocal harmonies of "Open Mind" are a joy. The soulful longing and regret of "Belonging" hit the spot as does title track "Yesterday's Tomorrow" which, the more you listen to it, takes on an anthemic persona which would grace any live stage with "Under The Radar" another magnificent triumph. Closing track "Epic Of Caldarone" rivals the song durations of ELO's second studio album and the best words that I can find to describe it is to say that it's a prog rock response to "The Battle Of Marston Moor [July 2nd 1644]", replete with battle sounds but maybe slightly more accessible to the casual listener!

This is a polished and well produced album with some sublime guitar work and drum work evidenced by the three [3] successful reinterpretations on show, as mentioned previously. Whilst added saxophone and strings mean that "Going Back Home" now has an ELOesque feel to it and the re-recorded "Colorado Way Of Feeling" has a fresh, warm glow to it, but for me, the jewel in the crown of "Yesterday's Tomorrow" has to be "Social Butterfly" - a song with production values that deserves airplay and full FM radio coverage, it cries out to be a promo single not only for the album but also to nudge the door open of ambitious record companies. It's that good. This album will grow on you as it did on me. [9/10]

Fragile X: Lead vox: Lance Allred ~  Drum/Percussion: Sean Mack Page ~ Guitars: Jeremiah Riggen, Lance Allred, Mark Fisher, Mark Obermeyer, Chris Aderhold, Matt Jacobs ~ Bass: Gail Sutton, George Chisholm, Ivan Way, Martin B. Shroeder, Mark Fisher ~ Keyboards: Carl Houston, Lance Allred; Violin: Billy Ward ~ Saxophone: Lenny Pickett ~ Backing vox: Lance Allred, Sean Mack Page, Jami Rader Asselin, George Chisholm, Jeremiah Riggen, Chris Aderhold, Carl Houston

"Yesterday's Tomorrow" by Fragile X was or will be: [1] "Inspiration" [5:57] ~ [2]"Denial" [5:44] ~ [3] "Ten Feet Tall" [3:31] ~ [4] "Open Mind" [4:25] ~ [5] "To Live Forever" [7:46] ~ [6] "Colorado Way Of Feeling" [2:50] ~ [7] "Belonging" [4:01] ~ [8] "Social Butterfly" [3:56] ~ [9] "Going Back Home" [5:57] ~ [10] "Yesterday's Tomorrow" [4:50] ~ [11] "Under The Radar" [5:10] ~ [12] "Epic Of Caldarone" [11:17]

"Yesterday's Tomorrow" by Fragile X is now available to order in download format [with a CD release to follow shortly] from CD Baby via this link thus:

www.cdbaby.com/cd/fragilex14

You can find out what Fragile X are up at their brand new official web site and/or their Facebook page via these links thus:

Fragile X Official
www.facebook.com/Fragilexband

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Yesterday's Tomorrow" by Fragile X 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 ... ??-???-2015

Thursday, 21 May 2015

REVIEW: A RAINY DAY [Original Rain]


Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Back in 1979, when ELO were at their commercial peak, a group named Rain entered the studio to record an album of original compositions. Rain had been around since 1975, a band who played a mixture of original songs and Beatles covers in and around Los Angeles with not an insignificant fan following. Their reputation was such that producer Dick Clark hired Rain to record the entire soundtrack for his film "The Birth of The Beatles" that very year. Thereafter, Rain underwent major personnel changes with nearly all founding members departing before they morphed into Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles, a successful touring Beatles tribute band.

Fast forwarding to 2015, co-founders Ed Lineberry and Chuck Coffey have been inspired to finally unveil that very original Rain album, recorded some thirty six [36] years ago and never formally released, firstly via reverbnation.com and then in CD and [hopefully] vinyl format too. "A Rainy Day" by Original Rain features nine [9] original songs that not only ooze the influence of The Beatles, but also the "son of Beatles" - namely ELO.
The record opens with familiar ELO themes of rain, the sound of a radio searching for a friendly station and the sublime strings of "A Rainy Day" - a real fusion of ELO and Beatles if ever there were one. "Inside Your Love" is another Beatlesque song [as they all are] and clearly shows why this band performed the aforementioned OST so effectively. But there is more to this record than a band trying to copy The Fab Four, with "I'm Sorry" and "More Than A Friend" ably demonstrating the originality of Original Rain with added Lennonesque vocals - a common theme throughout. Having said that, "She/Crazy Horse" has a McCartney and Wings feel to balance things out with the nine [9] song opus underpinned by production values that Jeff Lynne would have approved of back in those heady days of '79.

I like the vocal harmonies, the strings, the loving extension of The Beatles influence and the clear nods to ELO that are to be found within this record. In many ways, "A Rainy Day" is not unlike a time capsule presentation of a band who should have been successful in their own right but for the undoubted shortsightedness of record labels at the time who could not see past their Beatles footprint.

Fans of both ELO and The Beatles [collectively and individually] will love this long overdue release. For me, the album opener and finale are highlights but the tracks in between are so inventive and so fresh that choosing a favourite is difficult if not impossible. So, when "A Rainy Day" does come along, I suggest you get soaked and drink it in. [9.5/10]

Original Rain are: Bill Connearney [Lead guitar/vocals]; Ed Lineberry [Guitar/vocals]; Grant Belotti [Drums/Vocals], Chuck Coffey [Bass/Vocals] and Steve Wight [Keyboards]

Track listing: [1] "A Rainy Day" [4:58] ~ [2] "Inside Your Love" [3:02] ~ [3] "Feel The Same Way Too" [3:11] ~ [4] "Best Of All" [3:04] ~ [5] "I'm Sorry" [4:00] ~ [6] "Dreams" [3:38] ~ [7] "It's My Life" [3:05] ~ [8] "More Than A Friend" [3:11] ~ [9] "She/Crazy Horse" [7:39]

"A Rainy Day" by Original Rain will be available to order in CD and/or vinyl format soon but in the meantime you can listen to this excellent album at reverbnation.com or purchase it from iTunes, amazon.com or amazon.co.uk via these links thus:


ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "A Rainy Day" by Original Rain to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... ??-May-2015

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

ANOTHER CHART BREAKS: EARLY ELO IN THE UK & US

"The Night The Light Went On": Re-sleeved in '85 ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO's first official live album finally arrived in the UK in 1985. Re-issued by Epic Records [#EPC32700] with a completely new sleeve design, "The Night The Light Went On [In Long Beach]" had previously only been available as a Warner Bros. import from Germany and South Africa [#WB56058] in a dramatic gatefold sleeve.

The record, originally released in 1974, consisted of seven [7] tracks: "Daybreaker"; "Showdown"; "Daytripper"; "10538 Overture";  "Mik's Solo/Orange Blossom Special"; "Medley: In The Hall Of The Mountain King/Great Balls Of Fire" and "Roll Over Beethoven".

Original artwork for "The Night The Light Went On" in '74 ...
The eleven [11] year wait for the official release harked back to ELO's various label changes from Harvest to Warner Bros. to Jet/Polydor to Jet/UA and, by extension, their inconsistent charting performance in the UK during their first five [5] years. The fact that "The Night The Light Went On" was recorded in LA in front of a noisy and seemingly well attended audience suggest that their extensive touring in the US was bearing significantly more fruit than in their home country.

Back home, ELO enjoyed three successful UK singles on Harvest as they emerged from The Move between 1971-73 with their first two LP's performing modestly in the album charts. In contrast, their switch to Warner Bros. was not a successful one as "Ma Ma Ma Belle" failed to reach the Top 20 and the wonderful "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" was a flop whereas both "On The Third Day" and "Eldorado" never troubled the album chart at all.

It was likely that those relatively poor sales led to their switch to Don Arden's Jet Records, distributed first by Island [1974], then Polydor [1975], United Artists [1976] and finally CBS [1978]. Their arrival at Jet for the "Face The Music" LP failed initially to improve their lethargic album chart performance but it did yield hit charting singles "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic" with the band taking off commercially thereafter "Down Home Town" - so to speak.

"Ole ELO" was a US chart success in '76 ...
Meanwhile, after a slow commercial start in the States, extensive touring and radio play saw ELO garner their first gold certified album with "Eldorado" and a first Top 10 US single with "Can't Get It Of My Head" as their popularity soared in advance of their further successes with "Face The Music" et al.
The abject marketing failure of WB during ELO's tenure meant that UK fans never got to see the release of "The Night The Light Went On" following the failure of "On The Third Day" and "Eldorado" to crack the UK album chart. Unless you were lucky enough to grab one of those imports.

In contrast, although the live album was not released there and then, ELO were successful enough an act for "Ole ELO", a American compilation of singles from their first five [5] albums, to chart at a respectable #32. Back in the UK, "Ole ELO" [#JETLP19] was pencilled in for release by Jet/Polydor in '76 but withdrawn - possibly as a result of the poor chart performance of "Face The Music" or their impending switch to Jet/UA.



The Epic edition of "The Night The Light Went On [In Long Beach]" [later released on CD in 1998] finally gave ELO fans the opportunity to officially handle and hear the complete recording for themselves although Jet/Polydor did back all three "Face The Music" singles with "10538 Overture", "Daybreaker" and "Showdown" from the album [as pictured above].

If nothing else, the contrasting chart fortunes of ELO on either side of the Atlantic during the first half of their career is ably demonstrated by the story of the non-release and release of both "The Night The Light Went On [In Long Beach]" - and, of course, "Ole ELO".

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 19-May-2015

Monday, 18 May 2015

ELOBF GIG GUIDE [20]: Q3 2015

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Summer into Autumn 2015 sees the latest ELOBF Quarterly Gig Guide again filled with some great gigs! Here are some selected dates and general links [with more to follow when confirmed] for you to consider checking out during between Wednesday 1st July and Wednesday 30th September [Q3] thus:

Friday 10th July 2015
The Trevor Burton Band @ The Queen's Head, Wolverley
Free entry
www.queensheadwolverley.com/pages/music.html

Saturday 11th July 2015
The Explosive Light Orchestra @ Yardbirds Club, Grimsby
Tickets: £8.00 each [advance] or £10.00 each [door]
www.yardbirdsrocks.co.uk/gigs

Friday 17th July 2015
The Explosive Light Orchestra @ The Borugh Theatre, Abergavenny
Tickets: £18.00 each [*plus booking fee]
borough.ticketsolve.com/shows/873530823/events?show_id=873530823

Friday 24th July 2015
The Trembling Wilburys @ The Roadhouse, Birmingham
Tickets: £7.00 each [advance] or £8.00 each [door]
www.theroadhousebirmingham.com/?q=node/977

Saturday 25th July 2015
Desperado @ The Artrix, Bromsgrove
Tickets: £17.50 each [*plus booking fee]
www.artrix.co.uk/Music/Desperado--The-Singles-Tour-2015/2700

Saturday 1st August 2015
Quill @ The Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton
Tickets: £12.50 each [advance] or £15.00 each [door][*plus booking fee]
www.therobin.co.uk/whats_on/giginfo.asp?gigid=3925

Saturday 15th August 2015
Quill @ The Artrix, Bromsgrove
Tickets: £17.00 each [*plus booking fee]
www.artrix.co.uk/Music/Quill/2655

Saturday 5th September 2015
Wings Over Abbey Road @ The Academy Theatre, Barnsley
Tickets: £12.00 each [*plus booking fee]
www.take2centre.co.uk/academytheatre/showdetails.php?id=740

The Trevor Burton Band @ Katie Fitzgerald's, Stourbridge
Free entry
www.katiefitzgeralds.co.uk/whatson.asp

Thursday 17th September 2015
The Steve Gibbons Band @ The Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton
Tickets: £12.50 each [advance] or £15.00 each [door]
www.therobin.co.uk/whats_on/giginfo.asp?gigid=4122

Thursday 24th September 2015
The 5th Annual Trevor Burton Charity Show @ Hall Green Stadium, Birimingham
~ The Steve Gibbons Band, The Trevor Burton Band, Danny King, Geoff Turton ~
Tickets: £TBA each [*plus booking fee]
www.erndor50.co.uk/Gigs.html

Saturday 26th September 2015
Quill @ The Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton
Tickets: £18.00 each [*plus booking fee]
www.abbeytheatre.co.uk/?id=show&s=133

Stand Up & Rock 2015!
Jasper Carrott and Bev Bevan will again be joined on stage by Geoff TurtonJoy Strachan-Brain and The Bev Bevan Band featuring Tony KelseyPhil Tree and Abby Brant between Friday 1st May and Saturday 28th November for "Stand Up & Rock!", their acclaimed theatre show featuring superb music and hilarious comedy. Find out where to see the show via the official tour web site:
After a stint with classic Birmingham bands The Idle Race and The MoveJeff Lynne co-found The Electric Light Orchestra in 1971, one of the most successful groups of the seventies and eighties. Multiple hit singles and best selling albums followed making Jeff's anthemic ELO songs some of the most loved and recognisable of the last four decades. Jeff went on to a successful solo career and worked with many of his musical heroes including Brian WilsonPaul McCartneyDel Shannon and The Everly Brothers. He also found time to co-found the ultimate 'supergroup' in The Traveling Wilburys, who included pals Tom PettyBob DylanGeorge Harrison and Roy Orbison in their ranks. Find out what the driving force and creative mind behind ELO is currently up to via his official web site thus:
www.elo.biz

Roy Wood
The co-founder of The Move and ELO and the founder of WizzardThe Helicopters et al will [hopefully] be on the road again during 2015! Find out where to see Roy via his official web site thus:
www.roywood.co.uk

The Orchestra
Former members of ELO and ELO Part IIMik KaminskiLouis ClarkEric TroyerParthenon HuxleyGlen Burtnik and Gordon Townsend continue to tour the world extensively. Find out where to see them via their official web site thus:

Quill
Legendary Midlands Celtic-tinged rockers Quill, led by the incomparable Joy Strachan-Brain, have built up an impressive live reputation over a four [4] decade span and now feature Bev Bevan and Tony Kelsey in their ranks. Find out where to see them via their official web site thus:
quilluk.com

The Trevor Burton Band
Trevor Burton will be performing regularly at various venues in the Midlands with Pez ConnorBill Jefferson and [occasionally] Tony Kelsey and Abby Brant. Find out where on their web site thus:

The ELO Experience
This fantastic Hull based ELO tribute band deservedly won the National UK Tribute Awards in 2013 and they continue to faithfully reproduce classic Electric Light Orchestra hits [and more] live. Find out where to see them via their official web site thus:
 www.elotribute.com/giglist

ELO Again
This South Wales based ELO tribute act are now spreading their wings across the UK to faithfully recreate live those ELO hits we all know and love. Find out where to see them via their official web site thus:

Explosive Light Orchestra [ExpLO]
Not only an ELO tribute act but an original, independent artiste in their own right - Symphonika [a.k.a. The Explosive Light Orchestra] - have reproduced the exciting works of ELO at packed theatres and live music venues all around Europe. Find out where to see them via their official web site thus:

All of the above artistes and shows are endorsed and recommended by: ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF]. The above gig listing may be amended periodically, as applicable. Interviews with some of the above artistes are also planned for ELOBFSee you at one or three of the above gigs for a chat?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... ??-May-2015