Saturday, 26 May 2018

Review: Grey Goose Call EP (Quill)

In the three years since their last studio album "Brush With The Moon" (review) was released, Quill have been on quite a journey. Whether it be their renowned concerts in and around their Midlands roots, their debut at Fairport Convention's Cropredy festival and their two EP's ("Ghosts Of Christmas" and "Cropredy") as well as the odd change in personnel, Quill have continued to build a portfolio adding folk and Americana traits to their established repertoire.

Cue their new EP "Grey Goose Call", recorded live in downtown Kidderminster and produced by drummer Andy Edwards with four songs co-written by Bev Bevan, (his first since ELO Part II's "Moment Of Truth" in 1994)Tony Kelsey and Joy Strachan-Brain and the other - "Little Affection" - a full team effort. Yet despite the recent departures and arrivals, this quintet (including one a bonus track) of new songs remains quintessentially Quill but with an atmospheric, moody feel sure to widen their appeal across the shires. Opener "Grey Goose Call", "Elephant In The Room" and "Pretty Ribbons" have been in their live set for a while and translate excellently into the studio. The attraction of this record is that we get to hear the sultry "Skin On Skin" and "Little Affection" too, offering a tantalizing glimpse as to what their forthcoming new album holds and a revealing a new dimension to Joy's vocal talents.

To some, the "Grey Goose Call" EP will be a stepping stone in a new direction and others, an impressive introduction to one of the regions musical stalwarts. ★★★★★

"Grey Goose Call" trax are: (1) "Grey Goose Call"; (2) "Elephant In The Room"; (3) "Skin On Skin"; (4) "Little Affection"; (5) "Pretty Ribbons" (Bonus)

"Grey Goose Call" by Quill was released digitally via Bandcamp on Tuesday 22nd May and is available to hear and/or buy via these links thus:

quillbanduk.bandcamp.com
www.quilluk.com   www.facebook.com/quilluk

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Grey Goose Call" by Quill 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 ... 26-May-2018

Friday, 25 May 2018

Review: Lucky Day (David Myhr)

It's been a long six years since former Merrymakers man David Myhr put out his excellent debut album "Soundshine" back in 2012. And the wait through those half a dozen trips or so around the "Jealous Sun" have been well worth it judging by his magnificent second offering "Lucky Day" (LoJinx LJX115), released last week.

Recorded in Stockholm and Nashville and co-produced by Brad Jones and Andreas Dahlb├Ąck, "Lucky Day" is a wondrous marriage between Power Pop and Country with hints of Americana. Add to the mix the fab vocals (lead and backing) on hand coupled with such strong melodies and you have - make no mistake about it - an early candidate for elobf Record of the Year. It's THAT good, beginning as it does with the stunning guitar driven opener "Jealous Sun" and journeying through the infectious "Room To Grow", "The Perfect Place" (a pop masterpiece if ever there were one replete with a classy ELOesque string arrangement) and the pensive "Every Day It Rains".

Title track "Lucky Day" has a Lynnesque "Shangri-La" feel to it (lyrically speaking) and the purest of vocals. The record alternates in tempo giving an overall balance enhanced by the acoustic "If You Really Think It's Over" before the the laid back, almost jazzy "Wait Until The Moment" has you dreaming of Summer with its Lite Rock vibe and urge for patience. The obvious influence of David's musical heroes Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney and (of course) The Beatles overhangs a collection of songs clearly proving that David Myhr is up there with the very best of singer/songwriters to come out of Sweden.

"Lucky Day" really is the ideal follow up to "Soundshine" ... and it doesn't stop there if you are in possession of the CD edition with four unannounced bonus tracks including inspired covers of "Military Madness" (Graham Nash), "My Messed Up Friend" (Brad Jones) and "Somewhere In My Heart" (Roddy Frame's Aztec Camera). The icing on the proverbial cake is the inclusion of the 2016 single "Spellbound", perhaps the ultimate bow to the sound and production values of all that is classic ELO and sure to bring a smile to fans of the man from Shard End. In summary, Yours Truly KJS cannot recommend "Lucky Day" enough. Bravo David Myhr (again)★★

"Lucky Day" trax are: (1) "Jealous Sun"; (2) "My Negative Friend"; (3) "Room To Grow"; (4) "The Perfect Place"; (5) "Every Day It Rains";  (6) "Lucky Day"; (7) "If You Really Think It's Over"; (8) "Wait Until The Moment"; (9) "Lovebug"; (10) "The Only Thing I Really Need Is You"; (11) "Military Madness" (Bonus*); (12) "My Messed Up Friend" (Bonus*); (13) "Somewhere In My Heart" (Bonus*); (14) "Spellbound" (Bonus*) ~ *CD only

"Lucky Day" by David Myhr was released on Friday 18th May and is available to hear and/or buy via these links thus:
elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Lucky Day" by David Myhr 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 ... 25-May-2018

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Caught Live (3): Rebecca Downes @ The Slade Rooms 18/05/18

It's been a while since Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) checked out local Blues starlet Rebecca Downes so a date in our mutual hometown at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on Friday 18th May was not to be missed, especially when there was also the opportunity to see elobf recommended artiste Abi K perform again too.

Fresh from a successful stint supporting legendary Midlands rockers Magnum, Bekah and her highly rated band were joined by Tara Simms on the night. From first note to last chord, the sextet delivered an impressive if not storming set of seventeen songs including new tunes "If I Go To Sleep" and "Take Me Higher" alongside the more familiar "1,000 Years", "Night Train", "Sailing On A Pool Of Tears" and "Believe" not forgetting another amazing rendition of "With A Little Help From My Friends"Rebecca, her lieutenant Steve Birkett and her superb band go from strength to strength so it was perhaps not a surprise to find out within 24 hours that she had been voted Female Vocalist of the Year in the UK Blues Awards 2018. A well deserved accolade indeed!

Find out what Bekah is up to via her official web site thus: www.rebeccadownes.com

Steve Birkett (Guitar/Vox); Rick Benton (Keyboards); Dan Clark (Bass); Lloyd Daker (Drums); Tara Simms (Guitar/Vox) performed with Rebecca Downes
A mention beckons too for Abi K, the multi-talented daughter of renowned guitarist Tony Kelsey, who delighted this writer and her audience with a majestic nine song set of bluesy jazz numbers including "Bitterweet", "Grandma's Hands" and "Proverbial Gutter" alongside pianist Paul Simon Nkosilathi Riley, whose velvety, lush vocals - so reminiscent of Etta James - are indeed worthy of a much larger stage.

Find out what Abi K is currently up to via her official web site thus: abi-k-music.com

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Rebecca Downes and Abi K 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 ... 24-May-2018

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Review: Highland EP (Morganisation)

Regular visitors to elobeatlesforever (elobf) will (hopefully) remember that the Morganisation album "Bubbles" (see my elobf review here) was our Album of the Year back in 2016. Aside from 2017's "Wall To Wall", former ELO member Dave Scott-Morgan has been relatively quiet since, musically speaking. Hence, it was pleasant surprise for Yours Truly KJS to be handed a copy of a new four track Morganisation EP entitled "Highland" recently.

Inspired by his recent mission stay in Scotland, "Highland" is a timely release that perfectly bridges the gap betwixt the now and not yet with two songs pulled from "Bubbles" (a remixed "Gibraltar Farm" and "Big Brown Sky") and two brand new tracks in "Still" and "The Eyes Of Lochaber". Whereas "The Eyes Of Lochaber" has a lovely Celtic feel to it with its unique storytelling of secret goings on in remote places some seven decades ago, it's new ballad "Still" - a wonderful acoustic love song which reminds this particular writer a little of Jeff Lynne's 1990 solo jewel "Save Me Now" - that crowns this disc.

Therefore, based on the evidence presented within "Highland", we can confidently look forward to their forthcoming new album "7with much anticipation and easily justify grabbing hold of this limited edition showcase of DSM's musical musings in the meantime.  ★★

"Highland" trax are: (1) "Gibraltar Farm (Remix)" [3:14]; (2) "Big Brown Sky" [4:23]; (3) "Still" [2:41]; (4) "The Eyes Of Lochaber" [3:47]

"Highland" by Morganisation is released on Tuesday 26th June 2018 and will be available to hear and/or buy via these links thus:
elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Highland" by Morganisation 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 ... 22-May-2018

Monday, 21 May 2018

Caught Live (7): Explosive Light Orchestra @ The Robin 19/05/18

Robin Myles and his Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO) have come a long way since Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) first saw them perform live in Birmingham almost four years ago. Hence, judging by their powerful and inspired showing at The Robin 2 in nearby Bilston on Saturday 19th May and the audience reaction, the South Wales based outfit are going from strength to strength whilst building a reputation for accurately delivering the Jeff Lynne (*and Chuck Berry) penned Electric Light Orchestra songs we all know and love.

This incendiary (mostly) Welsh octet do a wonderful job in tackling the wide range of ELO tunes from disco to orchestral rock and back. Whether it's the diving strings of "10538 Overture", the operatic highs of "Rockaria!", the sheer beauty of "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" or the magnificence of "Mr. Blue Sky", the band that I've affectionately dubbed the name ExpLO do the ELO genre great justice. This time around, the slower paced Lynne gems of "Strange Magic", "Steppin' Out", the aforementioned "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" and "Telephone Line" caught my attention a little more. Having said that, "Turn To Stone" and "10538 Overture" always manage to bring a smile to my face too!
ExpLO meets elobf: Robin Myles with KJS ...
We are promised some surprises in a revised ExpLO set list soon but while we await some new ELO tunes, elobf continues to heartily endorse the Explosive Light Orchestra and (if you are so able) suggests that you go see 'em!

ExpLO performed: "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" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "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: Jimmy OttleyXenia PorteousMel SadieJason BallRobin MylesAidan ThorneSarah Fowler and Dave Purkiss
Find out more about ExpLO and their 2018 tour dates via their official sites thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO) 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 ... 21-May-2018

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Review: Fantasy Island EP (Starflight)

It's been almost a year since Yours Truly KJS bumped into Starflight chief pilot Jib Khan and spent an evening propping up a bar in Hammersmith on the eve of a certain much anticipated gig at Wembley Stadium. We talked on many subjects that night, one of which was how Jib was going to follow up his impressive 2015 album "World Premiere" (see my elobf review here). Fast forwarding to the present day and the answer to my question is a new five track EP entitled "Fantasy Island" with Starflight now a duo again with Sarmad Ghafoor aboard.

"Fantasy Island" is a smooth affair with a sweet vibe throughout, dabbling in ELOesque themes, Power Pop, rock and romance. The opening title track oozes class and the ever increasing musical talent of this Aussie artisan with a feel not unlike ONJ's "Magic" as found, of course, on the "Xanadu" OST. "Leave It" is perhaps the most catchy song on offer with its optimistic enticement to drop everything and enjoy life to the full. Typical Jib, typically Starflight! Fourth track "Is It Real?" is another up tempo tune, delving into rock territory whilst reminding this writer a little of Jeff Lynne's "Let It Run" in places and definitely a nod to ELO's classic stompers.

Either side of  "Is It Real?" sees things slow down a little with atmospheric soulful ballad "Open Your Eyes" and the dreamy EP closer "Sail Me Away". These add a balance to this five song, five star mini-album, ensuring a fulfilling and enjoyable release sure to appeal to many."Fantasy Island" by Starflight is released on Sunday 20th May 2018★★

"Fantasy Island" trax are: (1) "Fantasy Island" [3:52]; (2) "Leave It" [3:52]; (3) "Open Your Eyes" [3:18]; (4) "Is It Real?" [2:53]; (5) "Sail Me Away" [2:53]

"Fantasy Island" by Starflight will be available to hear and/or buy via these links thus:
elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Fantasy Island" by Starflight 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 ... 20-May-2018

Monday, 30 April 2018

When Jeff Lynne Was Doin' That Crazy Thing

 Sandwiched between the successful chart runs of ELO's "Telephone Line" (UP36254) and "Turn To Stone" (UP36313) is Jeff Lynne's 1977 debut solo single "Doin' That Crazy Thing" b'w "Goin' Down To Rio" (UP36281). Undoubtedly, it was a departure, musically speaking, from the sweeping orchestral rock of "A New World Record" (UAG30017/JETLP200) and "Out Of The Blue" (UAR100/JETDP400) so much associated with the ELO maestro (ably assisted, of course, by Louis Clark and Richard Tandy) at that time whilst pointing to the change in ELO style and tempo just two years later with their first UK #1 album "Discovery" (JETLX500)
There was confidence in "Doin' That Crazy Thing" from Jet Records, as evidenced in the above Press Release, but it followed drummer Bev Bevan's earlier solo effort "Let There Be Drums" (JET777) in failing to chart on either side of the Atlantic (JT-XW1072), despite it also seeing issue as a "SPECIAL DISCO RECORD" (JT-DW1072) in the States with an alternative sleeve replete with dance steps (not unlike the artwork for the much later "Wilbury Twist"). Perhaps it was ill timed with the explosion of punk and a certain reaction to disco or it just did not appeal to fans of the Electric Light Orchestra or the general record buying public. "Doin' That Crazy Thing" was, however, deemed worthy of reissue in May 1978 (SJET102) when Jet ditched United Artists for CBS and also found it included as a 33 1/3 RPM one sided bonus disc (AE7 1220) in "A Box Of Their Best" (Z4X 36966), the 1980 US version of UK boxed set "Four Light Years" (JETBX2).
For Yours Truly KJS, "Doin' That Crazy Thing" signposted the reality that the name Jeff Lynne would be more readily recognized behind his sunglasses in ELO than as a solo artiste. You may wish to also read my elobeatlesforever (elobf) article: Jeff Lynne: The Solo Singles, which chronicles Jeff's solo career in a little more detail.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 30-Apr-2018