Wednesday, June 18, 2003

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What a cool picture...this is none other than Marc Bolan of T.Rex fame playing with the 1973 version of the Electric Light Orchestra. Bolan contributed uncredited guitar to a couple of ELO tracks, including Ma-Ma-Ma Belle (on their 1973 LP On The Third Day) and apparently played some live dates with the group as well. I had read somewhere that Marc played on "Belle", but I didn't know he was involved to the extent he was. Of course, this is all completely irrelevant 30 years on, but as a fan I'm interested anyway.

I found all this out thanks to a link on the Move website which pointed me to a site devoted to the re-release of ELO's second album, imaginatively titled II. That was the first ELO album I ever heard, and I've always had a soft spot for it. II was the first record after Roy Wood split with Jeff Lynne to form Wizzard, and featured the hit US single, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven". Though Wood was no longer a member of the group, this album still had the familiar late-Move-ish Wood sound, all scraping cellos and ponderous tempos...but Lynne, even then, was beginning to write more polished songs so it remains, 30 years on, an interesting transitional album, often excellent in places. I listened to it today, so chances are I'll write more about it in the next Vinyl-O. Anyway, apparently Wood stayed around long enough to play bass and cello on a couple of cuts, and I can tell now, but I had no idea until today. This re-issue features more Wood, along with several unreleased cuts including several representing demos for Woody's original idea for II, as a concept album named The Lost Planet.

Click on the photo above to go to the site, which has a ton of articles, interviews, sound clips, and photos and occupied a good chunk of my morning. Needless to say, I'd love to get this CD set, but it's only available as a 30 dollar import. Ces't la vie.