Thursday, September 29, 2005


Using the same standard to judge the First Light edition of Electric Light Orchestra (No Answer) and ELO II, look at the new remaster of Message From The Country as probably the most definitive we'll ever get.  That said, I don't think they'll be much disappointment to go around.

The best we've had of these tracks before this remaster was the similar Great Move collection from 1995.  You'll hear the sound improvement on the new remaster right from the opening notes of the disc.  That will be this set's biggest attribute, the clarity of the sound.  If you load it into an iPod (with better headphones than they give you) you'll hear what I mean.

After adding the Move's A & B sides from around this time, there wasn't a huge amount of room for bonus material, but the selections are pretty cool.  Don't Mess Me Up is a nice variation.  Of course, I always thought putting the Move's take 1 version of 10538 Overture (no vocals or cello) would make a nice final track for this remaster as a proper segue to Electric Light Orchestra (No Answer), but that's a wish more than it is a complaint.

Somehow, someway, I had the impression the FTM 20 page booklet was suppsoed to be full color, but besides the front cover and centerfold, it is not.  I don't know about you, but what's strange about my pressing is that all of the songs start two seconds in.  In other words, there's 2 seconds of silence at the beginning of each track.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


To nobody's surprise probably, ELO isn't on the list of Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame inductees this year.  And while I don't put a great deal of stock into this, I have to wonder about the mentality when it comes to making up the list.  ELO put 19 songs into the American Top 40, several of them in the Top 10.  This feat is not nearly achieved by several of the artists in the Hall... much less on this year's short list.  Unless the music is about sex or making a political statement, they may never get the recognition they deserve as musicians.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I swear I usually know what I'm talking about, but when I heard the short clip of Tom Petty's Square One on the Elizabethtown website, I swore it sounded more like something that would have fit on Petty's Wildflowers album.  But indeed, Square One was recorded in Petty's new sessions with Jeff Lynne and it's now released on the new Elizabethtown soundtrack.

Square One: written by Tom Petty. Produced by Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Michael Campbell.

Hearing the entire song now, the only hallmark of a Jeff Lynne production is maybe the upfront slide guitar solo and the subtle string or keyboard part.  But it's a nice little tune by Tom.  It's one of those songs that grows on you quickly, having all the sensibility you'd expect from these guys.

Is this a preview of Highway Companion?  Sure, Square One will be one less song to enjoy when the CD comes out, but it's too good to leave off.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005


When you stand back and see this Harvest compilation is geared towards a larger audience, you'll appreciate it a little more.  While I long for releases that cater to us fans, Harvest Showdown is the next best thing.  It's a rather nice cross-section of tracks from the late-Move, Early-ELO era.

While I don't particularly do back-flips over edited versions, I can appreciate Do Ya and Tonight especially for the sound it's delivering on this set.  But, my intital impression of the USA radio mono mix of 10538 Overture was different.  In reality, it's the LP version in mono and after hearing it, I fail to see why this was fit for inclusion.

Showdown, just like the Early Years CD from ELO, is hard to listen to.  Much more so here just because it is so overwrought with the ADT effect.

"King Henry VIII's Bollocks" was fine, and again like the Early Years CD from ELO, the hidden track is by far the winner as far as fan content is concerned.

It's nice to hear all these tracks in such grand sound quality sans Showdown, although I think the previously unreleased tag is used way too freely.