A Message From The Country - The Jeff Lynne Years, 1968-1973This is a handy collection of some of the earliest recorded works by my favorite performer/songwriter in all of rock ‘n’ roll, Jeff Lynne of ELO fame. Even in the late 60’s tunes he wrote for his band Idle Race, it’s easy to hear the Lennon/McCartney influences – actually not so much easy to hear them, but impossible to miss them. In some cases, the quirky melodies and harmonies almost hit one over the head with their Beatle-ish-ness – at this early stage in his career, Lynne probably had yet to incorporate musical influences other than his beloved Fab Four into his work. Still, while much of the Move and ELO music on this album can be heard elsewhere (and, indeed, are reviewed elsewhere here), the 4 out of 4Idle Race songs are truly well-crafted for their time, and considering that Lynne was just venturing into songwriting. “Follow Me Follow”, “Girl At The Window” and especially “Come With Me” – the latter with more than a little George Harrison flavor – are exceptional, and “The Birthday Party”, which was Lynne’s first outing as a producer and also his first experience with a string section, is particularly interesting.

Order this CD

  1. Do Ya (4:05 – The Move, 1972)
  2. The Minister (4:30 – The Move, 1971)
  3. Girl at the Window (3:46 – Idle Race, 1969)
  4. Roll Over Beethoven (4:35 – ELO, 1972)
  5. Words of Aaron (5:28 – The Move, 1971)
  6. Mr. Radio (5:05 – ELO, 1971)
  7. The Skeleton and the Roundabout (2:21 – Idle Race, 1968)
  8. Message From the Country (4:48 – The Move, 1971)
  9. Come With Me (2:45 – Idle Race, 1969)
  10. Morning Sunshine (1:49 – Idle Race, 1968)
  11. 10538 Overture (5:42 – ELO, 1971)
  12. Happy Birthday/The Birthday (3:24 – Idle Race, 1968)
  13. No Time (3:42 – The Move, 1971)
  14. Showdown (4:11 – ELO, 1973)
  15. In Old England Town (6:53 – ELO, 1972)
  16. Big Chief Wooly Bosher (5:17 – Idle Race, 1969)
  17. Queen of the Hours (3:24 – ELO, 1971)
  18. Follow Me Follow (2:46 – Idle Race, 1968)

Released by: EMI
Release date: 1989
Total running time: 74:31