Electric Light Orchestra - Secret Messages as originally intended

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by peterpyser, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

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  2. Gordon Lynne

    Gordon Lynne Well-Known Member

    United Kingdom
    Probably the most disappointing thing I've read today:
  3. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    I hope he is referring to the original Secret Messages album, plus maybe a Time Tour recording if it exists. Or the Garden Rehearsals. Anything but another greatest hits package.
  4. Rob Caiger's earlier description of his proposed Secret Messages set leaves room for Jeff to veto several elements and still leave a desirable archival package, providing the original 18-track double album remains along with at least some interesting alternate mixes or outtakes (such as even a selection from The Garden Rehearsals). As for the Time Tour, we can't yet be sure anything remains from this period beyond several audience recordings and a short news report featuring some of the band members during a practice session, though at least we know where the powers that be should look for any surviving professionally captured live material. I'm genuinely more interested to see if anything comes of the rumoured fan efforts to acquire the 2LP acetates for Time and Secret Messages ahead of these being digitally preserved then made available in the absence of anything official...
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  5. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    Absolutely, ShardEnder. I'll repeat myself here: I WANT SOME NEW ELO MATERIAL! There. I feel better. :) If the fans have to do it, so be it.
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  6. mkriegsman

    mkriegsman Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Interesting info about Kelly’s hair, which leads me to ask about Jeff’s hair these days. Looks far better than any 69-year-old I’ve seen... EVER!

    Anybody in the know?


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  7. HiFi Guy 008

    HiFi Guy 008 Forum Resident

    I don't know about the hair, but if I grew a beard and looked as cool as Jeff I'd do it.
    Or Steve here.
    Unpretentious. The definition of cool.
    My uncle looks like him. Except for the haircut. Even the glasses are similar.
    Which makes sense. It was my uncle that had a huge 7" collection in the 70's, when I was restricted from good music.
    But while staying with him on a vacation made my parents more normal, of course, and I was allowed to play every one of those 7" singles again and again.
    He allowed me to take as many home as I liked.
    I had this big stack of records going into the car as we left.
    But no. Parents wouldn't allow it.
    It was back to the salt mines. :crazy:
    Heart didn't sink. It imploded.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  8. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    Looks like this thread has been very quiet for 3 weeks. Is there anything worth noting in the land of ELO besides the Nov. 17 release of the Wembley show? What about your book, ShardEnder?
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  9. Well, it seems as if Jeff's about to confirm several US live dates for next year, and I wouldn't be surprised if the new studio material he'd supposedly been planning to release this November has been delayed to coincide with these shows. As for the book, I'd hoped to write a proper update in a few days, but since you asked, it's looking very likely that I'll also see my project slip into early 2018. The main reason for this delay is that I managed to find out quite a lot during what should have been a simple last minute fact checking stage, including the kind of information you just don't leave out - especially not when it potentially helps shed light on a period in ELO's history that isn't well documented (in one place, to my knowledge).

    P.S. Whatever happened to Rob Caiger's promise of imminent archival packages that would please the fans who don't just want casual-baiting titles such as Wembley Or Bust, which is clearly a stop-gap to serve as a stocking filler until Jeff makes his next proper move? Unless the powers that be want to risk the market possibly soon being flooded with digital transfers of the Secret Messages double LP acetates in the continued absence of an official alternative, there's still a chance to announce something for this album's upcoming 35th anniversary... Oh, and maybe we'll finally get to hear at least samples of those two previously undocumented tracks from the early test pressing for Time, even though no outtakes from those sessions beyond the three b-sides we've already heard supposedly existed?
  10. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA

    I know this isn't ELO without Jeff Lynne (or maybe it IS ELO without Jeff Lynne), but this is pretty sweet...As someone else mentioned, it's a shame Lynne can't see clear to present his music in this fashion. This is FAR more interesting than what Lynne is offering live, which is canned versions that sound pretty much identical to the albums.
  11. From a legal perspective, ELO couldn't exist at that point without Jeff or Bev present, since they were the legal co-owners of the band name back then. However, in terms of what "OrKestra" (to use their actual name) were doing with the material, I'd have to agree that at least this performance offered something different, if not more interesting than what Jeff's mostly done outside perhaps that one-off acoustic special recorded at Bungalow Palace.
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  12. mil0001

    mil0001 Well-Known Member

    Jeff performing the other night in case anyone wanted to have a look. Courtesy of tony713elo.
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  13. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    Thanks, ShardEnder. Very interesting material all around. I've pre ordered the Wembley concert and looking forward to seeing the whole thing. Hopefully SM comes to us in its original sequence in 2018.
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  14. pdenny

    pdenny Blow up your TV

    That horizon stretches out 15 years now. I have zilcho faith in anything Rob says at this juncture, and even if it does come true I suspect it won't be or sound like what we'd hope for. But, to paraphrase Bogey as Rick Blaine, "We'll always have Eldorado" :winkgrin:
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  15. Rickhawk22

    Rickhawk22 Well-Known Member

    Mason City, IA
  16. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    All I'd want to know is whether the horizon is the Earth's moon or is it Neptune? :)
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  17. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    Sounds exactly like every other "live" performance of Mr Blue Sky over the past few years. The only thing for sure is that Jeff's lead vocal is live and can vary a bit from venue to venue.
  18. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    I just listened to the interview, and the most interesting part for me was at about 1:23:00 where Jeff is talking about rehearsals for the shows - with Mike Stevens as the musical director, it was Mike that worked with the other 12 musicians to learn the parts. After that was done Jeff would come in and they would run through the songs together. This is certainly different than the rehearsals for the original ELO, though we never have had much insight into those.
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  19. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    Don't see Richard in this video.....
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  20. As I've mentioned before, Rob Caiger once spoke of his surprise at finding a previously undocumented tape from the Time Tour era called "The Garden Rehearsals" in the ELO vaults, and while there's little chance of this potentially fascinating piece of the band's history ever getting out, I've managed to uncover a few details (including a loose guide to its contents and even information about the unusual recording location for these practice sessions) that I'll hopefully be able to share with you all very soon. Also, there are a few quotes from Mack about how the core band would rehearse prior to capturing new material in the studio.

    If we take Jeff's recent comments at face value, Richard will supposedly be returning for next year's live dates. Although he's never been the most vocal of band members, I find it odd that we've yet to hear anything from the man himself or anyone else who knows him beyond a handful of as-yet-unverified rumours. Depending on who you ask, he either walked away - just before ELO was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - after one too many disagreements with Jeff or had surgery for arthritis that had visibly been leading to a reduction in his on-stage playing for years. Either way, the drama that is ELO's history continues on...
  21. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    Too bad The Garden Rehearsals can't be released in its entirety. That would be a true treasure for the die hard ELO Fan!
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  22. RangerXT

    RangerXT Forum Resident

    United States
    Personally I would love to hear a good recording (even just a decent soundboard recording) from the Time tour, which supposedly exist but were never released. That tour had a brilliant setlist and was one of the last hurrahs for ELO (before Hyde Park, that is).
  23. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    Time Setlist:

    Yours Truly, 2095
    Evil Woman
    Livin' Thing
    Telephone Line
    From the End of the World
    Here Is the News
    Violin Solo
    John Lennon Tribute (Medley)
    Ma-Ma-Ma Belle
    Can't Get It Out of My Head
    Strange Magic
    Fire on High
    Turn to Stone
    Standin' in the Rain
    Mr. Blue Sky
    Sweet Talkin' Woman
    Shine a Little Love
    Last Train to London
    Hold on Tight
    Do Ya

    Don't Bring Me Down
    Roll Over Beethoven
  24. Although the Time Tour setlist was mostly static, there were some minor variations... For example, several fans recall the earliest US shows featuring a stripped back version of Ticket To The Moon that appeared in its album placement directly after Prologue, Twilight and Yours Truly, 2095 (though sadly no recordings exist to confirm the precise arrangement - some recall Jeff performing this alone at a piano, while others insist he was accompanied by Richard). In addition to being an opportunity to try out several new songs they'd go on to record during their initial "flying visit" to Wisseloord Studios in February 1982, the so-called Garden Rehearsals allowed practicing of The Way Life's Meant To Be prior to this taking the place of Here Is The News in one final revision of the overall setlist.

    Under the advice of tour manager and later personal manager Craig Fruin, Jeff had made great efforts to include only exclusive b-sides on all the initially planned singles from Time as a way of ensuring these offered better value for money to fans than earlier releases, but the financially struggling Jet Records chose to issue The Way Life's Meant To Be as a quick cash grab designed to coincide with the band's ongoing live shows. Apart from having the Discovery track Wishing on its flipside, this last minute single also recycled the artwork previously used for the Ticket To The Moon/Here Is The News double a-side 12" picture disc. Furthermore, there was no music video shot for this song or even promotional appearances made, partly due to a lack of available room in the busy group's schedule and Bev's continued absence when it was released, which coincided with the end of the Time Tour.

    I'm sure few will be surprised to learn this calculated move failed miserably, reaching just 30 in Germany and failing to register pretty much anywhere else, breaking a flawless run of chart successes that began with Livin' Thing in late '76. However, it seems as if Kelly was able to make space to appear on a handful of television programmes in support of his own solo album. The clip he filmed for Am I A Dreamer must have especially irritated Jeff, since it contained several of their colleagues and made it into regular rotation on MTV at a period when ELO's far more elaborate visual productions weren't being played on the relatively new channel that was already an important marketing tool. Curiously, in the weeks leading up to the delayed arrival of Secret Messages, Jeff's production work on Slipping Away and Information for Dave Edmunds saw him getting plenty of airplay in early-to-mid '83, yet Rock 'N' Roll Is King quickly disappeared from MTV's playlist.
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  25. I don't think it's a case that the Garden Rehearsals can't be released in full, but wouldn't be up to Jeff's usually high standard. By carrying out a little detective work, I've been able to piece together what I'm certain is a rather accurate list of this tape's contents, though it's probably best if we got just edited highlights. For years, it was claimed that some portions of what ended up being used on Secret Messages were lifted directly from this compilation of the group's practice sessions from the middle of the Time Tour (such as the "live" chatter heard at the start of Four Little Diamonds, which turned out to be Jeff multitracking himself with some help from Dave Morgan that was edited out of the final mix), yet I've since been reliably informed this wasn't the case. However, considering that Bluebird and Letter From Spain are almost entirely Jeff solo tracks, it's still possible these come from the same period, especially as it has been confirmed to me that several tracks already existed before the main batch of sessions for Secret Messages took place between August 1982 and February '83. Richard once remarked that he felt Jeff's home demos of Danger Ahead and Hello My Old Friend were vastly superior to the later studio remakes, so we know these existed in preliminary forms that were more elaborate than his usual approach, suggesting that both of the aforementioned songs were also fully completed to similar levels. Also, based on just four songs including Kelly, we can safely conclude that No Way Out, Train Of Gold, Beatles Forever and Rock 'N' Roll Is King - then still known as Motor Factory - all date from the band's two-day February '82 visit to Wisseloord Studios. Assuming even a fraction of these can be found on the cassette Rob Caiger once wrote about, I'm confident two or three would be of good enough quality to appear as bonus material on an expanded reissue of Secret Messages. Since most fans have enjoyed unofficial access to all 18 of the intended main album's tracks for years, the real incentive for such a package now comes from getting to hear a lower generation copy of Beatles Forever and any further outtakes. With the exception of some potentially interesting alternate takes or mixes, the real draw would be anything from the Garden Rehearsals, unless there's even more in the vault like the fragments that Jeff only finished to put on Flashback. Of those, I'd be most interested to hear Tears In Your Life from before Jeff reshuffled the backing track in Pro Tools to create the final version and replaced the original vocoder lead with three-part harmonies.

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