Wednesday, 31 October 2012

INTERVIEW: DAVE COLLISON [The Trembling Wilburys]


Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Dave Collison, co-founder of The Trembling Wilburys for ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] who are - as far as we are aware at the time of writing, the only Traveling Wilburys tribute band in the UK - and possibly the world! 

KJS: My first question has to be who chose the band name?
DC: Everyone except me! I've wanted to put a Wilburys or Roy Orbison tribute band together for years and wanted them to be called the Flying Mulberries. Fortunately, and pretty much unanimously, the rest of the band preferred The Trembling Wilburys. It was only afterwards that I found out Trembling Wilburys was what George Harrison originally wanted to call the Traveling Wilburys.
KJS: Obviously, my initial interest in the Wilburys was based around the involvement of Jeff Lynne, but I soon came to rediscover the legend that is Roy Orbison too. What was it about The Traveling Wilburys that inspired the formation the band? How and when did you guys meet up?
DC: Pure luck and fantastic timing! Most of the band already existed in the form of The Dave Stark Five featuring everyone apart from myself and Glen Knowler, who plays the part of George. In October and November three years ago [2009], I went to The Castle Rocks [a great music venue in North London] for what I thought was an open mic night. When I arrived, I was told by the owner, Denis Cook, that there was no 'open mic' that week and he introduced me to David Stark who had just finished a Sunday night jam there. He told David that I did Roy Orbison songs and David pulled a Roy Orbison baseball cap from his bag, informing me that he was a member of the fan club and a personal friend of Barbara Orbison, Roy's Widow. David also met Glen Knowler at around the same time. We started to perform together at The Castle and it grew from there.
KJS: Which Wilbury is your personal favourite and why?
DC: It's hard to pick a favourite. Each member seems to be so pivotal to the band. My fave artist away from the Wilburys is Roy. I just love his incredible song writing and his amazing vocals. However, each and every Wilbury, to my mind, is an exceptional artist in his own right.
KJS: Please tell me about the band members, their roles and personalities?
DC: Well, first we have our drummer, David Stark. He's pretty much the most important part of the band [in my opinion] in that he got the band together, he knows everyone and he keeps it all organised. He's very laid back, always busy and has been photographed which pretty much anyone you care to mention. Then we have Dzal Martin, an incredible lead guitarist. Guitar playing and guitars in general are his life. I like to call him George Harrison's hands but, really, he is just a great musician. I have no idea how he's not as famous a Gary Moore, Mark Knopfler and the like. Andy McNish is our rhythm guitarist and Tom Petty/Bob Dylan vocal part. His playing and singing are kind of like the glue that brings the rest of the parts together and he likes to make sure everyone else is getting their part spot on. Marko Laver is our bass player and Jeff Lynne on the vocals. He's also a big Roy fan, like myself. This man knows his stuff.
Howard Robin, who sadly is hardly ever seen, is our keyboard player. We wanted to call him 'Liberace' Wilbury but he much prefers being known as: 'Fingers'. He has every part of every song meticulously noted down to prevent any arguments when we rehearse. Then there's our Glen. Glen Knowler is probably the most authentic looking George-a-like in the world, second only to Dhani Harrison [George's son]. And, as a bonus, his voice is very similar to George's too. He's always up for a laugh with that proper British Comedy type humour. Finally, there's myself, as Roy Orbison. And I'm just great! Say no more! As for personalities, just the nicest bunch of people ever. A total pleasure to be involved with.
KJS: What has the reaction and interest been like to your act?
DC: The reaction has been amazing right from the start. Everyone who has been to our gigs has been shocked by the likeness Glen has to George, the sound of my own voice in comparison to Roy's [which is a huge compliment] and the overall chemistry of the band. Every moment has been enjoyable. We've had interest from venues across the seas and up and down the country. It would seem that what we have in The Trembling Wilburys is quite unique.
KJS: Are The Trembling Wilburys a live gigging band? If so, what plans do you have for touring in the future?
DC: We are a live gigging band and our plans are pretty simple. We want to get more gigs in more venues in whatever places we're welcome. We're definitely going to be gigging more in 2013 and spreading our wings, so watch this space!
KJS: I’ve seen some footage of the band over on YouTube, but have you recorded any of your material, Dave, what can you tell us about your future plans?
DC: We have recorded a few songs which are in the final mixing stage of production and we hope to record a lot more, including some original tracks. Anything that we do get done will be available at gigs and on the web site but, for the moment, I'm unable to divulge exactly what that will be.
KJS: Will you be travelling up to the Midlands or Merseyside any time soon so that the main ELO and Beatles fan bases can see and hear you play themselves?
DC: We plan on getting to The Beatles festival this year in Liverpool and anywhere else we're welcome so, yes, Midlands and Merseyside are distinct possibilities. We're just slightly worried that when we go to Liverpool, someone will try to kidnap Glen!
KJS: How can folks find out what The Trembling Wilburys are up to and where they are performing live?
DC: You can visit our web site: tremblingwilburys.co.uk, or like our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TremblingWilburys, to be kept informed of everything we're getting up to. I run the website and three of us keep the Facebook page up to date so there's little danger of anything being missed. Also, people can contact the band directly from the web site's Contact page and they can subscribe to our newsletter too.
KJS: Now finally, here is the question that I always ask next when interviewing for ELOBF: What are your personal fave tracks by The Traveling Wilburys, ELO, The Beatles - and why?
DC: My personal fave Wilburys track, at the moment, is "Last Night". Something about that song always lifts my mood and has me bouncing along to the music. ELO? So many to choose from but I'm afraid I'll have to plump for "Mr. Blue Sky" for the same reason a: "Last Night". You can't help but smile where that tune is concerned! And, last but not least, The Beatles. Gosh, that's a tough one. I honestly can't pick a fave but I'm a big fan of their earlier stuff. I do particularly like "Drive My Car". Proper optimism and ambition!

Yours Truly KJS would like to thank Dave Collison for his taking part in this entertaining and informative interview. ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Trembling Wilburys to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes. Go see 'em!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 31-Oct-2012

THE RED HOT ITP-SHIRT!

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! One of the artistes that ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] has been most pleased to promote this year has been Mark Regula and his outfit Ivory Tower Project thus:


Mark posted the above superb "ITP-Shirt" [as I call it!] over the Atlantic to me last weekend [and so beat 'Superstorm Sandy' in the process!] as part of their promotion for the current Ivory Tower Project album "Red Hot". So why not check out this great band and album via their fantastic web site and/or Facebook page thus:

www.ivorytowerproject.com
facebook.com/IvoryTowerProject

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends Ivory Tower Project to those enlightened folks who also like ELO, Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 31-Oct-2012

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

INTERVIEW: SPENCER HANNABUSS [The 286]


Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! You may recall that earlier this month, I posted this article RECOMMENDED: THE 286. Yours Truly KJS recently touched base with founder Spencer Hannabuss for the following interview with ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF]. It's an interview I thoroughly enjoyed and I'm sure you will enjoy reading it too! 

KJS: The first question has to be why the name of the band is The 286?
SH: Well, it's always a real nightmare coming up for a name for a band. You always get one person saying "How about this?" and another saying "No, that's rubbish, but what about this?" and it all goes around and around. Then we discovered that half the band took the same bus to get to rehearsal - so we decided to name it after the bus route. It's a bit weird really, the number 286 bus has followed me about ever since I've been in bands. I even used to play in another band with a lad who used to drive the 286 bus! We used to joke about all these coincidences. So that's how the band got it's name, basically an in-joke that caught on!
KJS: How did The 286 come into being?
SH: When my last band, The Fore, was on the verge of breaking up, the rhythm guitarist [Nathan] and I started talking about forming this new band with cellos and violins. It was all a bit of a pipe dream until one day I got out my old cello that I used to play when I was 10 and started adding cello parts to a new demo. That song was "Hello". When Nathan heard it for the first he was blown away and convinced me we had to form this band! I put an advert out onto the local internet sites and amazingly we got a lot of interest. Nathan eventually moved on from the band, but I carried it on, and here we are!
KJS: Please tell me about the band members, their roles and personalities?
SH: On drums is Tom. Tom joined when Nathan left and we were really lucky to find him. Not only is he a great player but he also can sing as well. Then there's Raf on keyboards. Raf is from Brazil and is one of the most positive people you'll ever meet. Definitely the life and soul of the band. Andrew plays bass and does quite a bit on the recording side as well. He's an avid Burnley FC fan - but we don't talk too much about that at the moment! We have two violinists - Josh and Manuel. Both Josh and Manuel go to Trinity College in London, which is one of the top musical colleges in London. Josh helps me with scoring the string parts, so he has the patience of a saint! I can't read music anymore, so he has to put up with pretend violin or cello noises I make during arranging sessions! Finally, on cellos we have Noelle and Lynn. We also have a number of other 'deputies' that join us from time to time on violin or cello. That's the great thing about our band - if we want to we can always expand the string section and make one massive Rock 'n' Roll orchestra! They are the gigs that I really enjoy!
KJS: What has the reaction and interest been like to your new EP?
SH: It's been great! There aren't too many current bands doing what we are doing. We're really pleased with the end result. It was great mixing it all together, seeing the multi-tracked string parts take shape and sound like a full on orchestra. We're close to finalizing a new EP now, so inevitably our attention is turning to that.
KJS: The whole EP, to me, sounds like it is more influenced by early ELO and The Move rather than The Beatles. But what was the main inspiration behind this recording?
SH: I'm glad you said that! In reality, everyone likes to label bands and compare them to other acts that they know. ELO and The Move have faded in the public memory to a certain degree and so it makes more sense that we reference a band that is more familiar to everyone. But that's cool with us, people will make their own comparisons anyway. We've got a lot of followers on Twitter that have never heard of ELO or The Move but really love our sound. When I come up with a song I never really have a particular band or artist in mind. It's really a whole mixture of influences merging into one. And then, when the others in the band add their parts to the song it can go in another completely different direction.
KJS: There are five [5] tracks on the EP with: "Suite: Beyond The World: two versions of "Sophie Sands"; "Hello and "Battalion 286 [Monmouth Minuet]. They are all laden with beautiful string arrangements and ooze the original ELO ethos. Please tell me about the songs, their source and their message?
SH: We're really proud of the EP. "Beyond The World" is a suite of different musical ideas. I put all my ideas on a cassette player and that one came to me bit by bit. The orchestral intro and 'outro' was the first bit that came to me. The whole concept for the band in the first place was to approach a 'pop' record differently, perhaps in a way that you don't normally get these days, and I was pretty pleased with our attempt there! At seven minutes long, it's definitely more on the 'progressive' side and not so radio friendly, but it's got that: "Ocean Breakup" feel to it, which I love. "Hello" was the first 286 song. It's also one of the first songs that I wrote [I wrote it when I was 14 or 15 years old]. I've got a recording of me playing it when I was younger and it hasn't really changed - apart for the lack of cellos! It's a feel good upbeat song, and goes down well at our live gigs. "Battalion 286" was written at the time when Nathan and I were trying to come up with all different songs all around the '286' theme for a laugh. Our next EP will probably include an instrumental called: "Miracle On 286th Street" which also goes along that theme! I had this idea of writing about writing about a battle. I 'googled' the 28th June [28/6] for famous battles and this battle from the American War of Independence appeared at the top of the listings. I looked more into it and there were all these characters involved with the story [Molly Pitcher, General Lee] - it was perfect! It took me a while to finish the song, but it was worth it. Our former keyboard player Becky Ellard plays the clarinet solo in the song. That's my favourite part. "Sophie Sands" is a great track, written by our old drummer Nathan. Now that he has left the band, we don't play the song any more, which is a shame 'cos it's such a great song. I seem to remember that it was one of the first songs that he wrote as well. My favourite part of the track is the Rock 'n' Roll end part. For some reason it reminds me of mid-seventies Elton John. It's a really good song.
KJS: You are currently participating in the MTV music competition Brand New UK. How did The 286 come to take part in it and how do folks vote for you?
SH: That was a stroke of luck! I happened to come across someone else's tweet about the competition and thought I'd look more into it. The first stage of the competition is a public vote, either via Facebook or Twitter, and then the Top 20 acts go through to a judging panel. The panel then decide on who will win a year's worth of promotion on MTV and get a showcase at The HMV Forum in London. It's the kind of opportunity that really could launch a new band! If all ELO, Beatles and Move fans voted for us, that would make a huge difference! How great would it be to have an ELOesque band back in the limelight, especially after the fantastic Jeff Lynne documentaries recently shown on BBC TV in the UK. Voting has been going really well and our Facebook 'likes' have been going through the roof in the last few weeks, so we're really hopeful of making that final 20. Hopefully readers of this interview [and blog] can make a difference! The vote closes on Tuesday 6th November.
KJS: Are The 286 a live gigging band? If so, what plans do you have for touring in the future?
SH: Yes we are. Recreating our studio sound is always difficult, but we love performing live and try to do so as much as possible. This year's highlights have been performing at The Cavern Club in Liverpool and taking part in Greenwich's Olympic celebrations, performing for the Torch Parade and in front of several thousand people for 'Super Saturday' on Blackheath Common, Greenwich [south-east London] when Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah won their medals. It really was a great summer. We hope to do an EP launch later in the year when we release our next EP. We'll announce more information on that on our Facebook and Twitter pages as and when we have it.
KJS: Inevitably, folks will now start asking you about whether there is a full album in the works. What can you tell us, Spencer, about your future plans?
SH: Hopefully big things! Next up will be our new EP release. We have enough material to release an album in the spring time, so once Christmas is over we'll be back in the studio to work on new songs and get an album out early next year.
KJS: Now finally, here is the question that I always ask next when interviewing for ELOBF: Which are your personal fave tracks by ELO, The Move, Roy Wood and The Beatles, and why?
SH: That is such a hard question! My favourite ELO album changes from day to day, let alone my favourite song! I was lucky enough to have parents with really good musical taste and they had introduced me to The Beatles and ELO by the age of 10, so I got to know all the songs from quite an early age. From there I got into Woody and The Move. It's probably easy to name my favourite song per album, so here goes: "The Battle Of Marston Moor" ["No Answer"/"The Electric Light Orchestra"] - just how do you write such a complicated song?; "From The Sun To The World" ["ELO2"]; "Bluebird Is Dead" ["On The Third Day"]; "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" ["Eldorado"]; "Waterfall" ["Face The Music"]; "Livin' Thing" ["A New World Record"]; "Wild West Hero" ["Out Of The Blue"]; "Last Train To London" ["Discovery"]; "I'm Alive" ["Xanadu"]; "Yours Truly 2095" ["Time"]; "Secret Messages" ["Secret Messages"]; "Getting To The Point" ["Balance Of Power"]; "Moment In Paradise" ["Zoom"]. As for The Beatles, that's equally as tough, but I'd probably go for "We Can Work It Out", just for the way John and Paul's parts play off of each other. For The Move I'd probably go for "Omnibus" for pre-Jeff Move, and "The Words Of Aaron" for the later Move line-up. My favourite Roy Wood solo songs are probably "Dear Elaine" and some of the more unusual songs like "Jolly Cup Of Tea", but I also like other tracks like "The Rain Came Down On Everything". And no Christmas is the same without THE BEST CHRISTMAS track!

www.the286.co.uk
Follow The 286 on Twitter here: twitter.com/The286
Follow The 286 on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/the286
Vote for The 286 in MTV's Brand New UK here: brandnewunsigned.mtv.co.uk/act/the286
Buy "A Victory For Battalion 286" by The 286 here: the286.bandcamp.com

Yours Truly KJS would like to thank Spencer Hannabuss for his taking part in this interview. ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The 286 to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and related artistes. Go see 'em - and don't forget to vote for The 286 too!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 30-Oct-2012

Sunday, 28 October 2012

UK ALBUM CHART UPDATE [2]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The latest Official UK Top 100 Album Chart this week sees Jeff Lynne's "Long Wave" dropping to #56 [from #31], "Mr. Blue Sky" now at #85 [down from #42] with "All Over The World" falling from #17 to #38.


The softening in sales of all three albums has continued with the Sony compilation fairing better than both Frontiers releases this last week. This evidently is due to the limited independent distribution network of Frontiers Records versus SonyBMG.

Also of note, both "Long Wave" and "Mr. Blue Sky" appear to have dropped out of the US Billboard Top 200 Album Chart after just the one week.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 28-Oct-2012

Saturday, 27 October 2012

SLEEVE SURVEY: SECRET MESSAGES POLL

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Being as the subject of re-releasing the originally intended eighteen track double album version of that enigmatic 1983 ELO album "Secret Messages" could be back on the agenda, Yours Truly KJS thought it only right that ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] should ask this somewhat loaded question:

Which of the two "Secret Messages" sleeves do you prefer? The familiar official 1983 1LP sleeve for JETLX527 (above left) or perhaps the alternate 2LP sleeve for JETDP402 (above right)?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 27-Oct-2012

Thursday, 25 October 2012

CAUGHT LIVE [2]: THE ABBEY ROAD EXPERIENCE

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! When The Beatles released their last studio album "Abbey Road" on Friday 26th September 1969, they left us not only with, in my opinion, their best album but also their most eclectic, tight and musically varied effort too. The whole LP was a tour de force of all the qualities that The Beatles espoused in their career. These tracks were the soundtrack to many and an inspiration to a generation of budding musicians:


[1] "Come Together"; [2] "Something"; [3] "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"; [4] "Oh! Darling"; [5] "Octopus's Garden"; [6] "I Want You [She's So Heavy]"; [7] "Here Comes the Sun"; [8] "Because"; [Medley: [9] "You Never Give Me Your Money"; [10] "Sun King"; [11] "Mean Mr. Mustard"; [12] "Polythene Pam"; [13] "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window"; [14] "Golden Slumbers"; [15] "Carry That Weight"; [16] "The End"]; [17] "Her Majesty"

A little over forty three years later at The Robin2 in Bilston near Wolverhampton, The Abbey Road Experience thrilled a sizeable and enthusiastic audience with a note perfect live rendition of the whole "Abbey Road" set, which was not only a pleasure to witness but - on certain songs in certain places - brought tears to this writers eyes because it was so good a performance, true to that legendary recording from the Fab Four.
The great thing about this band is that on paper they are as musically diverse a group of musicians as you can find. But it has to be said that: Chris Brighton [Desperado] on Guitar/Vocals; Phil Bates [Trickster; The Move; ELO Part II; The Orchestra] on Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals; Derek Holt [Climax Blues Band] on Bass/Keyboards/Vocals; Steve James on Drums/Vocals with Colin Noon deputizing for Pete Hughes on Keyboards, owned not only the stage last night, they completely captivated the audience with two sets of Beatles classics, the first being "Abbey Road" and the second being their live interpretation of those classic compositions such as: "Get Back" to "Across The Universe" to "In My Life" to "If I Needed Someone" to "The Long And Winding Road" to "If I Needed Someone" to "Taxman" to "Paperback Writer" to "Nowhere Man" to "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude".

The Abbey Road Experience are made for venues such as The Robin 2 and they have matured as a quintet significantly since I first 'experienced' them at Lichfield earlier this year in March. I really was and continue to be impressed by this band. Why not visit their web site to catch up on latest news; gig listings and also have a listen to the five [5] audio and video clips from their marvellous "Abbey Road" set thus:


ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The Abbey Road Experience to those enlightened folks who also like ELO, Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe MoveThe Beatles [of course!] and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 25-Oct-2012

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

JETDP402: THE SECRETS OF SECRET MESSAGES

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! You may recall that I posted this article last week about the fact that: Sony Legacy Recordings have an active Music Reissue web page up and running for the growing campaign to have that enigmatic 1983 ELO album "Secret Messages" released in its eighteen [18] track entirety, complete with "Beatles Forever":


One of the voters on the above web page - Alan Kelly - has posted this excellent and expansive overview of the "Secret Messages" story with interesting new information, at least to this writer:

"A while back, ELO's official archivist Rob Caiger revealed on the band's own Face The Music website that Jeff Lynne had finally given his support for the release of: "Secret Messages" in its original double album configuration after years of resisting such an idea [he supposedly had issues with the mythical "Beatles Forever" in particular, but it seems he may have been persuaded in the end]. If my understanding is correct, Caiger even pitched a proposal to Sony for a 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' on the Legacy imprint, with the first disc to contain all 18 songs in their unaltered April 1983 acetate form. The second disc would have featured the reduced 11-track version that eventually saw the light of day in June the same year, plus a selection of out-takes, early mixes and alternate takes from the period.

According to Lynne's own liner notes in the: "Flashback" compilation from 2000, "Helpless" and "Tears In Your Life" also dated from these sessions, the latter once based around a vocoder part rather than multi-part harmonised vocals as heard in the released version. Ideally, I'd love to hear these demos as well. Also, it is known that Grieg's "Piano Concerto In A Minor" and "Who's That?" started off as '82 era studio sound checks. Again, the incomplete recordings of these would be fascinating to have.

Along with all of these potential bonus tracks, I'd be interested to see if we can have at least a few highlights from: "The Garden Rehearsals" - a tape reported to still exist in the vault of the touring group running through many of Jeff's latest compositions, which was probably captured during the previous: "Time" tour before sessions for the next album started properly at Wisseloord Studios. In addition to all of this, I hope for a 30th Anniversary release to have a recreation of: "Motor Factory". For those who don't already know the history behind this one, it was an early lyric idea wiped in favour of what later became: "Rock 'n' Roll Is King". A song about the Austin car factory at Longbridge, you can still hear a distinctive metallic sound designed to emulate an industrial lathe in the final version's percussion.

Unfortunately, due to the way Jeff reworked this track, he would either have to recreate the vocals or source a safety copy, assuming he made any in the first place! On that subject, if possible it would be great if he was given the opportunity to reconstruct the whole album using its digital masters. Since he didn't have the time to familiarise himself with this relatively new technology back in the day, the '83 release was assembled from analogue backups instead.

Perhaps the most important detail of all regarding this project would be ensuring the end result is faithful to Jeff's original vision. Engineer Bill Bottrell has confirmed in the past that he continues to own a tape dub of the full album, and a set of acetates was sold a few years ago. Perhaps these could be sourced to ensure authenticity? "After All" should be the 41-second version, and "Hello My Old Friend" desperately needs its cacophonic ending restoring.

Additionally, the cover artwork for this package would need to be accurate as well. Unlike the final version, "Secret Messages" in its rejected [double album] form was to use a completely different design that only surfaced in the form of a rare promotional poster [Ed: See above]. In fact, the "Balance Of Power" out take: "In For The Kill" even references this unused sleeve with the lyric "... someone holds a document and smiles as they shake hands ..."

Finally, there should be a wealth of text detailing the lengthy background of this album's creation and subsequent status in the ELO canon. I may be jumping the gun here, but I suspect Rob Caiger has been waiting a long time to write the liner notes for this one. Actually, I reckon he's already done most of the necessary research and could provide some great pictures. Apart from being the band's intended swansong, there should also be a mention of the planned serial number for this record: #JETDP402.

To summarise, with the 40th Anniversary currently being celebrated through several hugely successful albums and Lynne preparing multiple further titles for next year, the time is right for all of: "Secret Messages" to be revealed. Would it be too much to ask for a guide documenting every backwards sample hidden away on this album at long last as well, plus exactly where each can be found?"

As I read and re-read Alan's summary, Yours Truly KJS has to say that my enthusiasm to continue with the original goal of ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] and help, in some small way, towards it being released - officially - as it was intended nearly three decades ago, has been reinforced!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 24-Oct-2012

Sunday, 21 October 2012

UK ALBUM CHART UPDATE [1]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The latest UK Top 100 Album Chart this week sees Jeff Lynne's "Long Wave" dropping to #31 [from #7], "Mr. Blue Sky" now at #42 [down from #8] with "All Over The World" falling from #10 to #17.

Evidently there is a softening in sales of all three albums with the Sony compilation fairing better than both Frontiers releases this last week. One of the reasons may well be the poor availability and distribution of "Long Wave" versus "Mr. Blue Sky". Could it be that Frontiers banked on "Mr. Blue Sky" being the better seller than "Long Wave"? Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] have received not a few reports of major UK record stores, such as hmv.com and amazon.co.uk, not having any stock of "Long Wave" but plenty of "Mr. Blue Sky". It will certainly be interesting to see the album chart again next week, presuming that the shelves are adequately stocked of "Long Wave" again.

Also of interest is the news that "Mr. Blue Sky" entered the US Billboard Top 200 Album Chart at #118 last week with "Long Wave" also a new entry at #133.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 21-Oct-2012

Friday, 19 October 2012

INTERVIEW: JEFF LYNNE [The Sun]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! This interesting and incisive interview, transcripted below from the above cutting, was first published today in The Sun newspaper [page #60] on Friday 19th October and was written by Simon Copeland:

"It’s been a while since Jeff Lynne made such a big impression on the charts. But the Electric Light Orchestra legend is back with a vengeance with not one but THREE albums in the Top 10 this week. Two are new – the first a compilation of classic ELO songs, the second a homage to the pop standards he grew up with. The third, and it gets complicated here, is an old collection of his old band’s greatest hits. So what exactly is the difference between the new one, “Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra” [No. 8] and  the old one, “All Over The World – The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra” [No. 10]? Well, strictly speaking, “Mr. Blue Sky” isn’t ELO at all but a collection of their hits re-recorded by Lynne to “... get them right”.

The singer explains: “I love the old records ... just as long as I don’t have to hear them. Whenever they come on the radio or whatever, I think, “Aaagh!”. All I can hear is my inexperience as a producer. Everything sounds cloudy and woolly, there’s no punch, no oomph. I knew what I wanted back then but didn’t have the experience to grasp it.”

Lynne even had mixed feelings when the original “Mr. Blue Sky” track was played at the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. He was thrilled that ELO, long derided as purveyors of overblown pomp rock, were finally getting their due as a great British pop band but he was still niggled by the way it sounded.

Being a perfectionist, Lynne decided to do something about it. But whereas most artists would have settled for remixing and re-mastering the old tapes, Lynne decided to record the songs again from scratch, playing ALL the instruments himself apart from the strings. Isn’t that a bit drastic?

“Not at all,” says Lynne, “I love playing drums and bass and guitar. It’s the best fun I can have. What I love doing is layering the sounds and the instruments on top of each other then sorting out the correct EQ [sound levels].”

The resulting “Mr. Blue Sky” album features revamped versions of ELO classics “Evil Woman”, “Turn To Stone”, “Showdown” and “Telephone Line”. Lynne is pleased with the result and rightly so – although the differences may be a bit lost on those without a producer’s ear. Still, there’s no denying the new versions are clean, shiny and with plenty of welly.
Lynne adds: “I think I’ve given them a kick up the bum and I hope everyone else likes what I’ve done. I’m certainly not doing them again!”

Along with “Mr. Blue Sky” comes “Long Wave” [No. 7], Lynne’s tribute to the show tunes and beat classics of his youth. He explains: “My dad was a radio nutter, always listening to this big old thing with plywood speakers. There was only one place to go in our house and that was the room with the radio – you couldn’t escape it. So in a way these are the songs I was trapped into listening.”

And on the album Lynne has had a crack at some songs he didn’t much care for.
He says: “I do “If I Loved You” from [the musical] “Carousel”. I just didn’t understand it, couldn’t get into it at all. I must have spent two and a half weeks trying to learn how to play it on the guitar because I don’t read music. And I found I loved the tune. I realised what was putting me off was all the big arrangement, all these flutes and clarinets.”

The result is a warm, unpretentious album that just about side steps the sentimentality you might have expected with songs like Charles Aznavour’s “She” and Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”. As always with Lynne, it’s very Beatley. He jokes: “Yes, I’ve brought these songs right up to date ... to the 1960’s!”

All this nostalgia feels a bit like a wave goodbye but Lynne, 64, insists he is not retiring. He even has plans for a solo album of new material, 22 years after his last one, “Armchair Theatre”. Lynne – his Midlands accent untouched by 30 years in LA – says: “I have eight new songs finished. I just need another three and I’ll have an album.”

And will he ever tour again? “I’d like to, if there was enough interest. But the thing with ELO was it was very difficult to get the sound of the records. A seven-piece band was trying to sound like a 30-piece orchestra and choir.”

Between 1976 and 1981, ELO were massive thanks to Lynne’s knack for melody and arrangements. John Lennon was a big fan, describing them as “... son of Beatles”. When the band inevitably ran out of steam, in the early Eighties, Lynne moved into production and has stayed there pretty much ever since. He has been the go-to man for a host of stars including Tom Petty, Brian Wilson, Roy Orbison and the Fab Four. He’d already worked with George Harrison but was drafted in when the surviving members decided to reunite and dust off an old Lennon demo for their 1995 “Anthology” retrospective.

Lynne recalls: “It was just voice and a piano and not particularly good quality – you couldn’t separate the two elements. There was no depth to the track either so Paul sang a guiding vocal just underneath John’s to give it body.”

The result was a hit and a nose-thumbing to all those critics who thought the surviving Beatles should “Let It Be”. There were plaudits, too, for Lynne’s work but he was just thrilled to have worked with his heroes.

“It was wonderful but scary because you were aware of the enormity of the job.” he recalls. “But the thrill of just being able to hang around them was just ... unbelievable. It was the first time they had been in the same room for many years and I was privileged to hear the anecdotes and reminiscences about Hamburg and Beatlemania straight from the horse’s mouth.”

One of Lynne’s biggest career moves was forming Eighties supergroup [The] Traveling Wilburys with Harrison, Petty, Orbison and, crikey, Bob Dylan! How did Lynne’s perfectionism go down with the notoriously cranky Dylan, famous for his bash-it-out approach to recording?

“That one-take attitude is part of his artistic statement but he was fine to work with,” says Lynne. “Although there was one moment when Bob finished singing and George said, “I thought that was great, Bob – but Tom and Jeff thought it was really sh*t. Tom and I just cringed in embarrassment. Bob was ... Hmmm ... OK about it.”

Still, you can tell that nothing makes Lynne prouder than being dropped in it by a Beatle.”

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 19-Oct-2012

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

RECOMMENDED: THE 286

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! First things first ... Yours Truly KJS have to thank Peter Hackett from Cult of Wedge for introducing me to this great ELO influenced band The 286. This is what this seven piece band say about themselves:

"The 286 are the UK's only rock orchestra. Their irresistible fusion of Rock 'n' Roll with classical music make them THE band to see. Become a friend and find out the latest news on the band, chat with other 286 fans and spread the word! ... The 286A seven piece band from London, The 286 dare to cross the genres of indie rock and classical music. By clashing Rock 'n' Roll riffs with cellos and violins, The 286 create a unique sound that you expect from a musical collaboration between The Beatles and Beethoven!"
Upon downloading and listening to their new EP entitled "A Victory For Battalion 286", I was struck as to they sound more like the classic string laden ELO [a la "On The Third Day"] to me than The Beatles, particularly with "Suite: Beyond The World" and in places they remind me of: The Move ["Hello"] or even Pink Floyd ["Sophie Sands"].

Trax: [1] "Suite: Beyond The World"; [2] "Sophie Sands [Mr. Radio Mix]"; [3] "Hello"; [4] "Battalion 286 [Monmouth Minuet]; [5] "Sophie Sands [Radio Mix]"

This five track EP is well worth the ear of any genuine ELO fan. The 286 list their influences as including The Beatles and ELO and it is not too hard to decipher that upon listening to the EP's first few chords. The whole recording is laden with some very familiar cello and violin arrangements and is instantly likeable.

Spencer Hannabuss, guitarist and vocalist in the band, told me last week that they "... LOVE ELO and The Beatles, so much so that I think it's fair to say the band would not exist without them!" whilst Spencer also told me that they have just been short-listed for an MTV music competition called Brand New UK - which seeks to promote the very best of unsigned talent. He felt that it would be great if their ELOesque band could garner more exposure as a result of the competition and also if ELO fans heard and supported their music through ELOBF.

You can vote for The 286 in Brand New UK here: brandnewunsigned.mtv.co.uk/act/the286
You can also download the EP via this link thus: the286.bandcamp.com
You can also check out The 286 via Facebook and Twitter thus:

THE 286 are: Spencer Hannabuss [Vocals/Guitars]; Tom Goddard [Drums/Vocals]; Bea Alcalde [Violin]; Josh Von Bohlen [Violin]; Rafael Piamoini [Keyboards/Synthesisers]; Noelle Casella [Cello] and Andrew Thornley [Bass]

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The 286 to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 17-Oct-2012

LEGACY VOTE FOR SECRET MESSAGES DELUXE EDITION

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Hopefully, you are now aware that ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] was born in February 2009 with the original intent of campaigning for the release of the original, full 18-track version of ELO's seminal 1983 album "Secret Messages" including that long-lost gem, the enigmatic "Beatles Forever".

It now appears that Sony Legacy Recordings now have an active Music Reissue web page dedicated to also campaigning for the full re-issue of "Secret Messages" - complete with all original eighteen [18] tracks including, of course, "Beatles Forever".

This is a golden opportunity to help make a 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of "Secret Messages" a reality in 2013! Please consider visiting the above web page and casting a vote for this exciting possibility by clicking on the above link. Good luck and West Bishes!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 17-Oct-2012

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

PRESS RELEASE [2]: FRONTIERS RECORDS

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] have just received another Press Release [see below] from Frontiers Records regarding the unparalleled album chart success of ELO and Jeff Lynne this week thus:

JEFF LYNNE SCORES A HAT-TRICK!
THREE LP's IN UK TOP TEN

"Man of the moment, Jeff Lynne, celebrates his return with three LP's in the UK Top Ten! 

"Long Wave" - Jeff’s first solo record in over 20 years - has entered the UK Top Ten album chart at No. #7 [and the Independent chart at Number #1], ELO’s "Mr. Blue Sky", has landed in at No. #8 [and the Independent chart at Number #2]. Both new albums have been released last week on Frontiers Records while "All Over The World - The Very Best of ELO" holds the No. #10 spot for the second week running.

Jeff has been all over the small screen with the UK TV debut of: "Mr. Blue Sky: The Story Of Jeff Lynne and ELO" documentary airing as part of BBC Four's 'Jeff Lynne Night' and other appearances including BBC Breakfast.

Jeff will appear on Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show: The Tracks Of My Years, Monday 22nd October. 

Jeff Lynne and ELO's albums have [also] entered in Europe in the national album charts in the Sweden, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark."

See also: PRESS RELEASE [1]: FRONTIERS RECORDS

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 16-Oct-2012

Sunday, 14 October 2012

CAUGHT LIVE [3]: PAUL PARKER & ALL THE RIGHT FRIENDS

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Any band that can perform a song entitled "Cliff Richard Ruined My Marriage" is OK with me - and so it was with Paul Parker and All the Right Friends at Katie Fitzgerald's over in Stourbridge last night [Saturday 13th October].

This Shropshire based quintet managed to produce yet another rousing live performance that really did rock the house - literally. What I like about this band is that they not only perform their own excellent material but they also often interpret [rather than cover] other songs in such an original and fun way. And if their performances of "Babylon""Harvest Moon""Fisherman's Blues" and "This Is The Life" were superb, then their slowed-down version of "That's Entertainment!" and countryesque run through "Ace Of Spades" and "Walk This Way" were both incredible and to be applauded. Pick of the night for me was their Tom Petty tribute "Last Dance For Mary Jane" - and every bit as good as the original classic in my humble opinion.


Paul Parker and All the Right Friends are:
Paul Parker, Adelle Parker, Phil Rose, Matt Parton and  Roger Preston

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends Paul Parker and All the Right Friends to those enlightened folks who also like ELO, Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 14-Oct-2012

ELO & JEFF LYNNE DOMINATE UK TOP 10 ALBUM CHART

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! With a slight change in the positions, as you can see above, Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] can indeed confirm the amazing statistic that for the first time ELO and Jeff Lynne occupy 30% or three positions in the UK Official Top 10 Album Chart this weekend!

"Long Wave" slipped two places to #7 and "Mr. Blue Sky" jumped one place up to #8 from their midweek positions with "All Over The World" holding firm at #10. These are truly great days indeed for fans of ELO and Jeff Lynne aren't they?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 14-Oct-2012

Saturday, 13 October 2012

EXPANDED MR. BLUE SKY NOW AVAILABLE

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It seems as if a nice surprise has been sprung on the ELO fan base and beyond by iTunes [US]

You can now download the Deluxe Edition of "Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra" which includes four additional tracks to the CD release including two acoustic tracks featuring just Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy: "Steppin' Out" and "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" as well as Jeff's new versions of: "Ma Ma Ma Belle" and "Rockaria!" thus:
Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 13-Oct-2012

CHARITY RELEASE FOR RARE STEVE MIDGLEY ALBUMS

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It's now over a year since my friend and ambidextrous musician Steve Midgley passed away but the music and songs that he left behind still live on. His parents Ian and Clare Midgley have now re-released a limited quantity of two of Steve's albums whose profits will go towards a new Community Interest Company to support folks with emotional distress and mental ill health issues. The first album, originally released in 2004 and entitled "In Cold Blood" was produced and performed with Tim Corbridge under the name of The Lounge LiZZards, and contains these 10 tracks:

[1] "I Really Don't Want To Dance" ~ [2] "Broken Scar" ~  [3] "Devil's Carnival" ~ [4] "Rat In A Maze" ~ [5] "Wait And See" ~ [6] "Leave Me Alone" ~ [7] "Summer Breeze" ~ [8] "It All Makes Sense" ~ [9] "Universe In My Pocket" ~ [10] "Inhale, Exhale"

The second album, originally released in 2007, was titled "Deeper Than Dark", and also features contributions from my good fiend Andy Wood, and contains these 13 tracks:

[1] "Deeper Than Dark" ~ [2] "Just Waiting For You" ~ [3] "Shifting Streets" ~ [4] "Silly Girl" ~ [5] "Don't Mess Around With Me" ~ [6] "It's Alright" ~ [7] "The Other Side Of Nowhere" ~ [8] "Across The Night" ~ [9] "Oxymoron" ~ [10] "Lullaby" ~ [11] "Snake" ~ [12] "She Lied" ~ [13] "Ode to Nathaniel West"
You can listen to two of the above tracks over on YouTube by clicking on these links thus:


You can order either or both albums by emailing Clare directly at: balanceholistic@yahoo.co.uk

Both albums can also be purchased on eBay for just £9 each [inc. P+P][UK only]. Please click on these links to view and/or buy these strictly LIMITED EDITION albums in memory of Steve and for a very good cause:


Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 13-Oct-2012

Friday, 12 October 2012

REVIEW: BGO II [Bubble Gum Orchestra]

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Question: How do you follow a successful debut album with one that remains original but builds on the style and themes of its predecessor? The answer to that question has not always been forthcoming to many artistes and bands down in the last half a century. Whereas "Out Of This World" played on the imagery and layout of that seminal ELO classic double album "Out Of The Blue"; the new October 2012 release from Michael Laine Hildebrandt [MLH] - not unsurprisingly entitled "BGO II" - cuts loose with another collection of orchestrated rock songs from this multi-talented Texas based songwriter, musician and producer behind Bubble Gum Orchestra [BGO]. And it works for me.
This time around, the artwork for "BGO II" is reminiscent of those early ELO gatefold sleeves for "ELO II" and "On The Third Day" with the track layout this time not unlike that for "Time" with a "Prologue" and "Epilogue". But the visual imagery and layout of the album is merely a precursor to a set of well constructed, positive compositions of love, peace, hope and fond remembrance of past times. What is amazing about this album is that MLH has produced a recording that not only appeals to the ELO fan base, but also to all lovers of the orchestrated rock AND 'Bubble Gum' pop genre. With his booming 'Warwick' bass guitar the heartbeat of the album, MLH plays almost every instrument conceivable on "BGO II", including keyboards, percussion, guitars, cello and violin - as well as vocals and sound effects, not unlike a certain other musician currently releasing new albums after a two decade hiatus.

My only complaint is that this effort is too short in duration at just 38 minutes in a "Long Wave" kinda fashion! All the tracks compliment each other and because they are so good, I'm struggling to nominate my personal favourite ... which [at a push] is the beautiful: "Carrie In My Dreams". There is also one song on here that MLH is totally enthused about [more than he is usually!] and that is "Blowin' Away" because it also features Steve Howard from Paul McCartney's legendary seventies outfit Wings!
So, rather than provide a listing of the album tracks and a brief overview [as per usual], ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] contacted Michael Laine Hildebrandt and asked him for his take on the new album, track by track, and here it is folks:

PROLOGUE: 'Star Trek' inspired sounds with the female voice of ['Siri'] from my iPhone. Computers talking to and communicating with the orchestra building up to the big show ... technology versus violins and cellos!
TODAY IS BEAUTIFUL: A very upbeat and uplifting song about staying positive when the world tries to bring you down.
LOVING ONE ANOTHER: I am tired of people and countries not getting along so I wrote this little beauty. If everyone on the planet could just listen to this song and apply it to their everyday lives, I believe the world would be a much nicer place to live!
DISTANT SONG: I wanted to write a song that could be used universally by people in love."
BLOWIN' AWAY: You know the story behind this one, Keith! Former Paul McCartney and Wings trumpet and flugelhorn player [1975-80] Steve Howard joined BGO in the studio and performed on this one. This was so very exciting for us! He recorded using the actual horn he used all throughout the "Wings Over America" and "Wings Over Europe" tours back in the Seventies. Also, Steve played the horn used in Abbey Road Studios for the actual album recordings of "Silly Love Songs", "Let 'Em In" and "Coming Up".
CLOUD 9 [WHEN WE WERE YOUNG]: I wanted a stripped down BGO song with just a 12 string acoustic guitar and a little bit of orchestration. A nice 'floating' song reminiscing about youth and young love and wishing you could go back and visit that place for just one more day. Sort of a "Strange Magic" sounding flange on the guitars in the solo areas.
TO YOU FROM ME: Cellos going crazy through out with a simple lovely melody. Tonnes of backing vocals on this one ... Well, more than usual I should say! Two people trying to figure out if everything is going to work out between them with love and violins desperately trying to keep them together.
CARRIE IN MY DREAMS: Upbeat and ever so yearning to keep love alive anyway you can. Written and dedicated for our two favourite Carrie's ... Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush.
MOVEMENTS IN A MAJOR: Dramatic orchestrated intro to ...
OH CAN WE SAVE IT: The title says it all ... A deep song that dares to tackle a relationship between two lovers that are basically ready to flip a coin to see if they continue on together.
SYMPHONY OF SORROW: Beatlesque for sure ... Lead vocals sung through a distorted Fender guitar amp taking the mood down a bit for those who like the sad songs. It's like the beginning of "Uncle Albert" gone bad ... with a big, booming chorus.
A TRILLION TO ONE: Needed one more song for the album so I sat down late one night and this came out really fast. Couldn't write the words down quick enough! A very direct song telling someone that they are going to miss you when you are gone if they keep pushing you away with their meanness!
EPILOGUE: A huge wall of sound spinning around reversed with "Secret Messages"!

This album has been well worth the anticipation [9/10]. "BGO II" is now available to purchase via the Official BGO web site thus:

ELOBF has featured Michael Laine Hildebrandt and his Bubble Gum Orchestra extensively over the last year or so. Why not check out these articles from the ELOBF archives:


I am pleased to announce that Steve Howard will feature in an exclusive ELOBF interview in the near future where we will cover his career with Paul McCartney and Wings and beyond, that BGO connection as well as his current and yet future projects.

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "BGO II" 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 ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 12-Oct-2012

Thursday, 11 October 2012

FRONTIERS PROMO: MR. BLUE SKY & LONG WAVE

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! As you can see below, Frontiers Records have posted a 31 second promotional advert for both "Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra" and "Long Wave" over on their YouTube channel. Enjoy!
ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra" and "Long Wave" by Jeff Lynne 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 ... 11-Oct-2012

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

MIDWEEK ALBUM CHART DOMINATED BY ELO & JEFF LYNNE

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Isn't it great to see ELO and Jeff Lynne owning 30% of the UK Top 10 Albums Chart at the halfway stage this week? The chart - just published by BBC Radio 1 - puts "Long Wave" at #5 and "Mr. Blue Sky" at #9 with "All Over The World" compilation sticking at #10.


Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] is very much looking forward to 7:00PM on Sunday 15th October to find out whether those astonishing chart positions will be maintained ... or even bettered!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 10-Oct-2012