Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Electric Light Orchestra-THE LIGHT SHINES ON cassette (Harvest England)

Not really that much diff between this 'un and the MASTERS OF ROCK/SHOWDOWN compilation I reviewed in these blog-pages four years back. I believe there might be a few minor track changes (perhaps---too lazy to dig my copy of SHOWDOWN outta the pile), and the cover showing the Move unto ELO in eighteenth-century wardrobe does look classier than the television studio snap on the earlier Harvest cash-in. Still it is kinda neat having the cassette version of this release featured prominently in my collection...y'see, when I was a teenager I used to marvel at the differences between record and tape releases in the United States and elsewhere and found it totally amazing that an act which appeared on one label here would actually pop up on another overseas! You know...inna US of Whoa both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath were on Warner Brothers, but over there the Purps were on Harvest while the Sabs ended up on Vertigo! The international complications were staggering as well...for example, Columbia records here was CBS there, and although there was a Columbia there it wasn't the same Columbia as here and in fact was run by Capitol, or actually EMI! Whew! I kinda felt like Barbarino taking all this in...y'know, "I'm so confused!"

Like sex education or living bra commercials, the workings of international record labels was a mind-boggling experience for a lad such as myself, and such an anal retentive was I that I also wondered whether or not cassette release artwork amidst the various nations were also universal or not. Island releases were pretty much the same ('cept that the song titles on the rear "flap" were vertical rather than horizontal sans any indication of which side said tracks were on), but the rest had their own interesting diversions that really piqued my attention in a way algebra never could! And yeah, such self-absorbed prattle's bound to turn off 99.999...% of you readers tuning in for a writeup on some long-gone bargain-bin find, but if I can reach just one savant out there who shared the same manic devotion to small details that I did, then I'll know I wasn't the only goof who paid attention to such weirdities as part and parcel to a hefty rockism upbringing!

Surprisingly good sound (for a cassette) on this "Harvest Heritage" release that became a used-bin filler back in the eighties, and although a load of you readers might think these early ELO tracks pure progressive twaddle (and who can blame ya!) I still find them pretty good early-seventies UK pop applications of classic late-sixties style, at least until Roy Wood drifted off to dabble in Wizzardry leaving Jeff Lynne to indulge in his own Paul McCartney preening. Nothing to get whacked up over, but loads better'n the Lynne-helmed band of mega-hits and surpringly effete playing that most people remember with fondness. And the rehashing of 1967 psych with and without hefty "Eleanor Rigby" refs sure must've sounded refreshing in the wonder the likes of Greg Shaw and Alan Betrock seemed to find hope in the various Wood/Lynne moves (sic) back then!

One caveat...primo megahit "Roll Over Beethoven" is hacked up and edited (perhaps due to time constraints) to the point where I kinda thought that some editor in the throes of Burroughsian cut-up mania decided to take scissors to the master tape in order to create something a lot more feral than originally intended (he failed, natch)! I certainly don't remember this junior-high romper sounding so jagged onna radio, and if it had I don't think "Roll Over Beethoven" would've charted as high as it did!

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