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Old 01-01-2014, 05:35 AM   #41 (permalink)
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El Dorado --- Electric Light Orchestra --- 1974

ELO were the very first band I ever got fully into. My very first album ever was "Discovery" and I loved it, but for my birthday (don't ask what age I was, maybe 15) I got a three-box set of albums, and of those this was the one that impressed me most. Kind of my first ever concept album too, this was the first ELO album on which Jeff Lynne actually shelled out for a proper orchestra rather than try to do overdubs, and wow does it show! The glory and majesty of sweeping soundscapes like "Laredo tornado", "Poor boy" and "Mister kingdom", to say nothing of the title track and the overture and finale, the music just stirs your soul and makes you sit up.

Previous albums had been okay but kind of more based in a a rocky, blues-style manner and there was little of the "orchestra" part of their name, other than in the odd track. This felt like a symphony, and would of course lead on to one of their most successful album, 1978's double "Out of the blue". There are rocky moments on it too though: "Illusions in G Major" has Lynne really rock out on the guitar, while "Boy Blue" has a real country/rock feel to it. And then of course there's "Can't get it out of my head", one of their first big hit singles.

But like so many concept albums, "El Dorado" is best listened to in one piece. The music doesn't completely flow from one track to another but it very nearly does, and if you ignore the odd gap you can listen to it as one big symphony. Which is I think the best way to appreciate ELO. This album certainly made me a lifelong fan of the band.

TRACKLISTING

1. El Dorado overture
2. Can't get it out of my head
3. Boy Blue
4. Laredo tornado
5. Poor boy (The Greenwood)
6. Mister kingdom
7. Nobody's child
8. Illusions in G Major
9. El Dorado
10. El Dorado finale
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Old 01-01-2014, 06:57 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Nice review (or whatever). Nice to see you dig ELO. Eldorado is pretty great album, though I prefer Face The Music.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:05 AM   #43 (permalink)
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El Dorado and Out of the Blue are their two best, but Time is my personal favourite.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:12 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Time is average. I don't like that synth-pop sound that much. Though Time has it's moments too. But some of their eighties albums are not pretty good, I dare say.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:35 AM   #45 (permalink)
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Like that karma chameleon, ELO came and went. The first three albums were ok (I reviewed FTM in my journal) but I felt they really only hit their stride with El Dorado, then came a slew of really good albums: Discovery (say what you like about it, I think it's a great album and it gave them the most hit singles on any one album), A new world record, Out of the blue. Sadly then they teamed up with ONJ for the embarrassing Xanadu, but then came back with two great albums in Time and Secret Messages. Balance of power I could take or leave and despite it being basically Jeff Lynne calling himself ELO, Zoom was a damn fine album to end their career on.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:52 AM   #46 (permalink)
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The first one is great and I respect it cos it is the reason I found The Move. Especially Move's debut is great. Plus Blackberry Way is one of the greatest singles EVER. period.

On the third day is great too. Discovery is good, so is Out Of The Blue. A New World Record is so over flown it becomes hilarious.
But Xanadu is awful. Time is decent and after that, I'm really not interested. But those albums by ELO part 2 suck completely. ELO without Jeff? What the ****, I say.
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Old 09-11-2022, 05:16 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Came across this last week when I was looking for something else, and last night/this morning I needed something to read to keep me awake while I waited for the doctor to call - called at 0430, finally arrived 0730 - and to my surprise this did not do the opposite. Reading through it, I like the idea (I like the way Trollheart thinks) and so am resurrecting the thread, eight years after I last posted in it.

What I like about this is that I don't have to do reviews, just refer knowledgeably to the albums, as most have already been reviewed by me and all are favourites of mine, so I kind of know them inside out, which gives me a lot more freedom to ramble on, as I so like to do. It also means I don't have to re-listen to the albums before talking about them, as, like I say, I'm very familiar with them.

So what else do I like?
Hmm let's see.
Oh yeah: this.


Love over Gold - Dire Straits - 1982

There are a lot of people who call Dire Straits boring, and I can see why. Mark Knopfler seldom raises his voice above a mumble or a drawl, and half the time seems not to be all that interested in what he's singing. And let's be honest, if he's not interested, why should we be? He's certainly not among my favourite singers, but man, when his fingers work their magic on those frets, it's more than worth the price of purchase. And hey, the others in the band do their bit, too. But with Dire Straits I think it's all or nothing. You either like/love them or hate them: there's no real in-between. No prizes for guessing which side of the fence I sit on.

I always thought the way the band's career ended with a whimper rather than a bang was sad. After wowing the world with that penultimate album, nobody seemed to know or care that they had another one. On Every Street, Dire Straits' swan song, was roundly ignored by everyone. I think I reviewed it some years back, and I had to agree that it was nothing special. Coming on the heels of this and the album that followed, that always seemed strange to me. As if the guys had just given up, and churned one more album out, maybe for contractual purposes, though probably not. The fact remains though that On Every Street was like the comedown after the high, or that moment after sex when you realise you're out of cigarettes and have to be content just to turn over and go to sleep. I suppose it was going to be hard to top their last two albums, and so it proved. They didn't even try.

Well, as far as I'm concerned, you can say what you like about your Brothers in Arms, and it's a damn fine album, no question, but I feel it suffers from some poor tracks. I mean, "Walk of Life" is cool and all, but it's a little, how can I say it, basic? With this album, as the title suggests, it's gold all the way. How many other bands would attempt, at this stage of their career, when they were popular yes, but hardly the darlings of the charts they became after the next album, to a) release an album with only five tracks on it, b) have none of those five tracks coming in at less than six minutes (well, one, but just barely) c) have one run for fourteen minutes and d) have that one opening the album? And yet Love over Gold shot to number one in the UK charts (19 in the US), went double platinum in most countries and spent a staggering 200 weeks (that's almost four years, kids!) in the UK charts. Not, as they say, bad.

From the humming opener on the epic "Telegraph Road" to the manic guitar outro of "It Never Rains", this album does not let up. You get moody, atmospheric, ambient musical film noir in the Sam Spade-like "Private Investigations" which, despite its almost seven-minute length, gave Dire Straits a number 2 single, bubbly, uptempo organ-led madness in "Industrial Disease", with a serious message packaged in an airplay-friendly pop song, a bitter ballad and the chronicling of the building of America juxtaposed with the collapse and decline of Britain. All in just over forty minutes.

Love over Gold lifted Dire Straits from the ranks of a band who would be forever remembered for "Sultans of Swing" and maybe "Tunnel of Love" into a hit-making phenomenon that would take the world by the throat and shake it till it gave them what they wanted. And they wanted their MTV, as Sting will tell you!

The contrasts on this album are staggering. After the epic "Telegraph Road" you get the laconic, acoustic-guitar led tale of a private eye (hard boiled, of course) as Knopfler mutters the lyric, growling into his whisky before heartbeat bass is the herald of a savage guitar machine-gun attack backed up by powerful percussion and manic piano that beat you over the head and take your wallet, leaving you for dead as slow, deliberate footsteps echo off in the distance. Then the bouncy pop rock of the sardonically grinning "Industrial Disease", with a heartfelt but ultimately cold ballad in the title track, and the closer ends with a woman being raped as Knopfler shrugs, turns his eyes away, noodles away at his guitar: nothing to do with me, lady, he seems to say. You made your bed, now you gotta lie in it.

Symbolised perhaps by the cover, and despite the title, there's not a lot of love here, and it's really quite a dark album. The songs speak of loss, betrayal, shattered dreams, violence and murder and rape. They sing of a fragmenting society, an uncaring one, and the utter hopelessness and futility of it all. It's perhaps best summed up in the lyric to the title track when Knopfler sings "The things that you hold can fall and be shattered, or run through your fingers like dust." On that basis, it's really not an album you would have expected to sell, never mind get to the top, but this is a very special album.

The very structure of this album makes me feel that Knopfler was not too bothered about chart success. "Buy it, don't buy it," he seems to be saying, his fifteenth cigarette of the day hanging from his scowling lips. "Makes no difference to me."

But we did. And it made a difference to us.

Solid 24-carat gold from start to finish, that's what you get with this album.
Every. Single. Note.

TRACK LISTING

Telegraph Road
Private Investigations
Industrial Disease
Love over Gold
It Never Rains

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Old 09-13-2022, 07:30 PM   #48 (permalink)
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My list would look different, but it's nice to hear of releases I don't know anything about. I'll put them in my suggestion pile. My favourite from your list would be Maiden.
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