Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Face the Music – ELO [#450]

ELO_Face_The_Music_album_coverOut of the Blue aside, having only ever really having listened to best of compilations of ELO I was reluctant to listen to an ELO album for fear I would become tired of the band and look away. However, what I wasn’t expecting was to actually enjoy the album.

Face the Music is ELO’s fifth studio album and features a new line up for the band. There are a fair number of tracks on the album I was unfamiliar with, tracks 3, 4 and 7 being the ones I had heard before. I would be inclined to put the album in to the “country and western” phase pigeon hole but the first and last tracks on the album spin in a different direction entirely.

ELO have been an integral part of my growing up from having the single Diary of a Horace Wimp since I was old enough to turn on a turntable. Following that I developed a rather hefty collection of “Best of” compilations of the band on cassette which kept my Walkman happy when I delivered the Liverpool Echo. In recent years though, the band has taken a back seat in my listening capacity with only popular songs occasionally popping up on random MP3 playlists.

Recently, as is most curious with the music project, ELO had a bit of a revival with Jeff Lynne relaunching the band as Jeff Lynne’s ELO, taking it on tour and appearing on chat shows to promote the new album. Of course, I’m a teeny bit uneasy about revivals and reformations having been stung by bands like Nightwish and Yes in the past. Really good bands, reform under different line-ups or names and then their music becomes a bit shit or unremarkable, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe for example.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (OST) – Various Artists [#434]

Eternal_sunshine_CD_coverThis will be the last week of Music Project entries before a two week hiatus unless someone comes forth offering to write for two weeks while I’m on the other side of the planet.

While not a great lover of  Michel Gondry’s 2004 rom-com starring Jim Carey and Kate Winslet, the soundtrack does have some nice songs on.

Which is, in part, why I keep the album in my collection. Happy Twee-rock and pop abound, with the likes of Polyphonic Spree, ELO and Lata Mangeshkar interwoven with Jon Brion’s equally twee romantic soundtrack.

Great for feeling twee.

 

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Discovery – ELO [#373]

DIRTY+DANCINGDiscovery – ELO

Me again. Here I am with the second of my guest posts, in this seven day run.

ELO. I have an odd relationship with ELO. <Anecdote> In the early eighties, when I was on the cusp of being a teenager, my Mum was an Assistant Librarian. This meant I visited the library a lot, and along with reading a lot of books, it also meant I got to borrow cassettes (and later CDs) for free! In turn this meant I got the chance to experiment with a lot of music without paying a bean – if I liked the cover of an album I’d borrow it. I suppose it was a bit like the music subscription services of more recent times. Anyway, one of these experimental albums was by ELO. Not the titular album I’m afraid, another album called Secret Messages. I was smitten by it, with its weird blend of multitrack vocal, orchestra, and original sound. It’s one of those albums that will forever be burned in my memory. For good or for bad it’s also forever associated in my mind with the Moomin books, which I was reading a lot of at the time. Anyway, getting back to the odd relationship bit. You would have thought that my love of the album would have lead me to listen to more ELO, but oddly it didn’t. The exact reason why is lost in the mists of my faltering memory, perhaps there weren’t any more ELO albums at the library, I wasn’t open-minded enough, or just didn’t think of it. </Anecdote>

Anyway, to present day, and it’s quite an odd thing breaking my second-ELO-album virginity. Discovery goes through all the right motions. It sounds a lot like Secret Messages and does a good job of treading that fine line between not being a copy, yet not being too different to confuse the listener. Yet it does nothing for me. Perhaps it’s too similar. Or I need to listen to it again. Music is a fickle beast. *shrugs*

For fact fans, it transpires that Discovery actually pre-dates Secret Messages by 4 years, with the former released in 1979, and the latter in 1983. Discovery was ELO’s first number one album in the UK. Oddly Wikipedia doesn’t give much if any information about how the album came together.

Here’s the opening track. Make your own mind up, if you’ve not heard it before.

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Classic rock: 1985 – 1989 – Various Artists [#277]

Classic rock: 1985 – 1989 – Various Artists

Oh dear. It seems yesterday’s album featured some memorable songs. Today’s contains a similar selection of non-hits by bands you’ve heard of occasionally. Again, during the period 1985-1989 there were some really good songs and yet, once again, the compiler has managed to forage completely dull, non-entity tracks from their record collection. It kind of makes me think that the compiler worked in an all night garage.

With Talk Radio on.

CD1

01. Georgia Satellites – Open All Night
02. Gregg Allman – I’m No Angel
03. David Lee Roth – Tobacco Road
04. Jethro Tull – Farm On The Freeway
05. Robert Cray – Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
06. Status Quo – Burning Bridges
07. Bad Company – No Smoke Without Fire
08. Little Feat – Hate To Lose Your Lovin’
09. George Thorogood – You Talk Too Much
10. Doobie Brothers – Need A Little Taste Of Love
11. Hooters – Johnny B.
12. Steve Winwood – Split Decision
13. Fabulous Thunderbirds – Wrap It Up
14. ZZ Top – Sleeping Bag
15. Great White – Rock Me

CD2

01. Poison – Nothing But A Good Time
02. Billy Idol – Don’t Need A Gun
03. Pat Benatar – Sex As A Weapon
04. Foreigner – Say You Will
05. White Lion – When The Children Cry
06. Marillion – Incommunicado
07. Electric Light Orchestra – Calling America
08. The Stranglers – Always The Sun
09. Big Country – The Teacher
10. Europe – Superstitious
11. Pretenders – My Baby12. Lou Gramm – Just Between You And Me
13. Huey Lewis & The News – Hip To Be Square
14. Deacon Blue – Fergus Sings The Blues
15. Cinderella – Don’t Know What You’ve Got (’til It’s Gone)

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Classic Rock: Symphonic Rock – Various Artists [#276]

Classic Rock: Symphonic RockClassic Rock: Symphonic Rock – Various Artists

This is another compilation where the core idea works but the choices of tracks don’t.

Curiously, it appears that 70% of the artists featured on the album have previously featured on this project, so if you’ve missed those entries you’ll find that the links take you to those articles.

Anyway, Classic Rock: Symphonic Rock has a relatively good mix of tunes really but not ones I’d have chosen to highlight how rock can be symphonic. It’s a little too…. “twee”…for my liking. There are far better bands that could have featured on this compilation. There’s no Queensryche. No Meatloaf. The Yes option is pretty much mundane and the inclusion of Clannad, of all bands, confuses me no end. Clannad are not what I’d call rock for a start.

Tracklist

1-01 Vangelis Pulsar
1-02 Sky Toccata
1-03 Hawkwind Urban Guerilla
1-04 Focus P’s March
1-05 Electra Scheidungstag
1-06 Gentle Giant The Advent Of Panurge
1-07 Triumvirat A Day In The Life
1-08 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Brother Of Mine
1-09 Roger Waters The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range
1-10 Procol Harum A Salty Dog
1-11 Mike Batt Losing Your Way In The Rain
1-12 Clannad Sirius
1-13 Jon Lord Aria
1-14 Barclay James Harvest Child Of The Universe
1-15 Jon & Vangelis So Long Ago, So Clear
2-01 Mike Oldfield Sentinel
2-02 Moody Blues* The Story In Your Eyes
2-03 Rick Wakeman Catherine Howard
2-04 Electric Light Orchestra Standin’ In The Rain
2-05 Alan Parsons Project, The Damned If I Do
2-06 Herd From The Underworld
2-07 Jethro Tull Aqualung
2-08 Gong Ard Na Greine
2-09 Vanilla Fudge You Keep Me Hanging On
2-10 Ekseption 5th Of Beethoven
2-11 Aphrodite’s Child It’s Five O’Clock
2-12 Strawbs Autumn
2-13 Camel Tell Me
2-14 Genesis The Silent Sun
2-15 Yes Heart Of The Sunrise

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The Best Prog Rock Album in the World…Ever – Various Artists (#176)

The Best Prog Rock Album in the World...Ever - Various Artists (#176)The Best Prog Rock Album in the World…Ever – Various Artists 

This is one of the last CDs I bought. A wicked compilation showcasing a massive range of prog bands covering Canterbury scene, Zappa and even the first sprouts of New Romanticism.

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#164 – The Best of Electric Light Orchestra

R-1595939-1342163964-6251 The Best of Electric Light Orchestra

Jeff Lynne and his beard again and yet another “Best of” compilation for the band. It seems to me that all ELO did was release regular “Best of” albums.

Of course I know that’s not entirely accurate.

This “Best of” as compared to the other “Best of” is clearly a best of best ofs. Some of best of tunes from ELO’s best of albums feature here including:

Livin’ Thing (from many of the best of compilations)
Mr Blue Sky (from all of the best of compilations)
and
Standin’ in The Rain (a first on their Best of compilations)

Perhaps that’s what they’re best at? Making Best ofs. Meh.

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Album #63 – All Over the World – Electric Light Orchestra

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 11.52.16 All Over the World – Electric Light Orchestra

The Very Best of, apparently.

I really liked ELO when I was a kid. I suppose the tweeness and the optimism of their tunes lent some colour to my otherwise plodding teens. I can recall listening to them (on cassette of course) while doing my evening newspaper delivery round, whistling and singing away.

The selection of tunes here are what I’d probably pick if someone said: “Do us a compilation of ELO like”. But there are a few tracks I would have added that aren’t on this mix. I often wonder what goes through the head of people who make compilation albums like this. What makes them decide “Oh this is a banging choon, lets ‘ave that one on like” and yet neglect to put a song that is far superior in quality? I will no doubt explore this further when writing the reviews for the numerous Best Of compilation albums that will feature in this project.

Curiously, it wasn’t until recently that I actually found out what lead singer Jeff Lynne looked like.

Beards.

Says it all really.

 

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Music Project – Album #35 – A New World Record – ELO

A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

 

If you have been around since the seventies, chances are you’ve heard ELO. Chances are you’ve even heard of their music. Chances are you even probably know more than Mr Blue Sky. 

 

I’ve liked ELO since childhood and even to this day, I find their music easy to listen to and never offensive. Indeed, I would probably go as far to say, listening to ELO frequently involves me saying “Oh! They did this did they?!”

A New World Record is the sixth ELO album and was released in 1976. It has a number of their hits such as: Telephone Line and Livin’ Thing. According to my records I’ve only ever listened to this album twice before (in MP3 format since 2001). Still enjoyable but surprisingly short at just over 36 minutes in length…..

 

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