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EJ N. (FXANM8R) from CAMPBELL, MO
Reviewed on 10/5/2006...
I am a HUGE ELO fan, but this early stuff by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood's first band just isn't the same to me.
Roy Wood & Jeff Lynne's MASTERPIECE
Henry R. Kujawa | "The Forbidden Zone" (Camden, NJ) | 11/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Wood & Lynne joined forces, they wanted to create something new-- but for the first 2 albums they did, the record label refused to let them use the name "Electric Light Orchestra"! Nevertheless, I view this in many ways as being the 2nd ELO album. While the 1st, LOOKING ON, was a raw, wild, experimental stage, I feel they really got it together on MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY, which is presented here in its entirety (and, unlike the US repackage, with the songs in the correct running order!)."Message From The Country" is sweeping and majestic, very much a precursor to the later "10538 Overture". "Ella James" shows the rough side of Wood while "No Time" is the surreal side of Lynne. The fun kicks in with "Don't Mess Me Up", a tribute to Elvis. "Until Your Mama's Gone" is both powerful and goofy at once. "It Wasn't My Idea To Dance" is hard to describe-- how many rock bands would have an oboe as a lead instrument? "The Minister" seems a tribute to The Beatles' "Paperback Writer" in sound & style. "Ben Crawley Steel Comapny" is another fave of mine, a Johnny Cash tribute. "The Words Of Aaron" is one of the high points of the entire album-- like "Message", only more so-- absolutely STUNNING! Finally, how many are even old enough to recognize "My Marge" as a RUDY VALLEE tribute?What sets this CD apart from the multitude is the fact that it's the FIRST time all 5 of the follow-up "A" & "B" sides have appeared together in once place-- and in sequence! "Tonight", "Chinatown" (this turned up in a porno movie once-- WOULD YOU BELIEVE it?), "Down On The Bay" (possibly my FAVORITE Jeff Lynne rock & roll songs!!--with Jeff paying tribute to The Big Bopper--hard to believe it was "only" a "B" side!), "California Man" (Roy's tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis-- covered to GREAT effect by Cheap Trick) and finally "Do Ya" (in the US this became the "A" side-- in effect, that made their last single a double-sided 45!). After years, I've come to like The Move's version of "Do Ya" even more than E.L.O.'s. POWERFUL!!In addition (not that they needed anything else) somebody tacked on the goofy rock & roll diddy from the end of LOOKING ON (it's at the end, you can skip over it easy) and a radio promo for the album. The package also contains reproductions of the various LP covers over the years (can't anyone just reissue an album with its original art?) and a THOROUGH list of the band's LP and 45 releases. YOWZA! Finally, just to get "technical" about it, you should program this WITH the 1st ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA album (that's NO ANSWER in the US) as the "California Man" / "Do Ya" single really came out 6 months LATER, making it the "grand finale" of the Wood-Lynne collaboration."
A misnomer, but not bad ...
Henry R. Kujawa | 03/26/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Great Move" is a bad move if you're looking for the definite collection of the Brit pop group. None of their early singles are here -- actually, nothing before 1970 is here."Great Move!" should have instead been subtitled "The Jeff Lynne Years," as it covers the last album the band did with Lynne (Message from the Country) and three strong singles -- "Tonight," "Chinatown," and the original version of the classic "Do Ya." ELO fans should hunt this out as a primer to Lynne/Wood's later orchestral stuff (which they were working on simultaneously to all of this); Move fans should seek this out for the great singles (and bonus tracks) at the end to round out the band's history. Throw this in with the "Movements" box set by Westside Records, and you've got the Move from start to finish."