Category: 1977

ELO Part II – Live With The Moscow Symphony Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra Part Two - Greatest Hits Live with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra“Well,” I thought, “that’s nice, it’s in the bargain bin.” Then I did a slight double-take. “What? This is new, and it’s already in the bargain bin.” This meant trouble. The fading remnants of my favorite band were fading really fast if their new release, even though it is a live album, was entering the music store shelves at rock-bottom. And I found out why (that’s the great thing about bargains, eh?). This is, at best, an excessively mediocre live album. Years later, in 1996, I saw ELO Part II perform live when they made a stop in my home town of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and I discovered that ELO Part II does a kick-ass live show, just not on this album. Perhaps the improvement in their live repertoire is that they’ve expanded their selection of post-ELO originals, which are better suited to their live performance needs because they know what they’re capable of on stage. This album is comprised entirely – with the singular exception of “Thousand Eyes” – of classic ELO songs which people have come to know with a full string section. The Moscow Symphony can deliver the goods most of the time, but even they have their off nights, as can be heard when somebody hits an outrageously, painfully flat note in the Rating: 1 out of 4Beethoven intro to “Roll Over Beethoven”. I think as ELO Part II expands their repertoire of original tunes, their live show will only get better and better, as the new songs are tailored to the new group’s strengths. In fact, I keep hearing about a new live album called One Night which has yet to make it to the States, and I’d love to hear it, because, even though this album fell seriously flat, ELO Part II really brings the house down live.

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  1. Overture (2:26)
  2. Turn To Stone (3:51)
  3. Evil Woman (4:20)
  4. Showdown (5:08)
  5. Livin’ Thing (4:04)
  6. Hold On Tight (2:58)
  7. Thousand Eyes (4:28)
  8. Can’t Get It Out Of My Head (6:46)
  9. Telephone Line (5:04)
  10. Roll Over Beethoven (6:05)

Released by: Scotti Bros.
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 45:10

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

Fleetwood Mac - RumoursIf you’re going to vomit from hearing about the Fleetwood Mac album with “Don’t Stop” on it, maybe you’d better move along to the review of Mirage. Actually, I’ve always thought “Don’t Stop” and “Go Your Own Way” are both overplayed and overrated. Of much more interest to me is the classic early Lindsey Buckingham material (specifically “Second Hand News” and “Never Going Back Again”) and the fact that I actually liked Stevie Nicks’ songs on this album. I can’t tell you how much I do not like 4 out of 4her later stuff, especially once she got into the whole “Gypsy” image a little too deep. In fact, aside from those overexposed singles I mentioned above, there are few things about this album that I don’t like. The best song is easily Christine McVie’s beautiful “Songbird”.

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  1. Second Hand News (2:43)
  2. Dreams (4:14)
  3. Never Going Back Again (2:02)
  4. Don’t Stop (3:11)
  5. Go Your Own Way (3:38)
  6. Songbird (3:20)
  7. The Chain (4:28)
  8. You Make Loving Fun (3:31)
  9. I Don’t Want To Know (3:11)
  10. Oh Daddy (3:54)
  11. Gold Dust Woman (4:51)

Released by: Warner Bros.
Release date: 1977
Total running time: 39:03

Alan Parsons Project – I, Robot

Alan Parsons Project - I, RobotThis album set the pace for the Alan Parsons Project for the remainder of the 1970s, though in a way it pales in comparison to most of the rest of the Project’s output. A theme album about a grim, technology-dominated future, I, Robot suffers a fate uncommon to most other Parsons albums – it suffers from being a product of its time. The result is a disco leaning that is hard to swallow – most of the attempts at disco on this album aren’t even necessarily skillful! At the same time, you probably remember the single “Breakdown” from this album, as well as a song that Pat Benatar later covered, “Don’t Let It Show”. This latter song begins a fine tradition on Parsons’ albums, what I call the Parsons Heartbreaker – very somber, poignant songs that have a tendency to deposit a lump in the throat of the listener. “Don’t Let It Show” features the recently deceased trying to deliver one last message back to the world of the living, and even with a hint of hopefulness, it’s a depressing song – even the cathedralesque organ in the tune’s opening seconds seems to transport you to a chapel full of people dressed in black. If you can 3 out of 4survive this song, the rest of the album is listenable, if somewhat average. At the time, it must’ve been an amazing sound – 1977 was a good year for orchestrated rock between this album and ELO’s Out Of The Blue. This album also features the first lead vocal by Project cofounder Eric Woolfson, whose Orbisonesque vocals you’ll probably remember from later hits “Eye In The Sky” and “Time”.

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  1. I, Robot (6:01)
  2. I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You (3:23)
  3. Some Other Time (4:05)
  4. Breakdown (3:53)
  5. Don’t Let It Show (4:25)
  6. The Voice (5:24)
  7. Nucleus (3:22)
  8. Day After Day (The Show Must Go On) (3:57)
  9. Total Eclipse (3:13)
  10. Genesis Ch. I v. 32 (3:24)

Released by: Arista
Release date: 1977
Total running time: 41:07