The B.C. Collection - Face The Music UK Fanzine Newsletter-Special
The full story of how this became available (release is perhaps not the right word) will be available in the next issue. Suffice to say though, that on a musical level it fills a large gap in any ELO fan’s collection by painting in another part of the picture. At the same time it demonstrates and extension of the artistry of one man who was one of the group’s mainstays for fourteen years, combined with the work of a fellow colleague, from the delightfully named Balls circa 1970 who also penned two early Move B-sides. And we haven’t even mentioned the bassist from Jeff Lynne’s final live dates with ELO.
All 17 songs on the BC Collection were written by Dave Morgan, apart from Enola Sad by Richard Tandy. In reviewing them it must be born in mind that they were recorded more or less as home demos, so if they lack a certain ‘roundness of sound’, it’s only to be expected. Yet if this was still the less overly-profit-motivated 70’s they would surely have found commercial release, probably after having been handed over to team of a American producers and re-mixers, no expense spared, and ended up sounding nothing like the creators intended!
On to the tracks themselves: KARI is a pleading yet gently humorous song with picturesque lyrical touches of a lonely summer, when there are ‘gonna be some beer cans in the yard as empty as the feeling in my heart’ (recommended for keeping the slugs off your lettuces too!). WESTERN LIFE is gently rocky with slide guitar by Bob Wilson. ANNA has a neat change of tempo from ballad pace to bluesy rock n roll – compare ELO’s WILD WEST HERO – with its stops and starts. EYE OF A HURRICANE is the most immediately catchy with its strong chorus and despite the title DREAMAWAY is the most forceful rocker in evidence. By and large the most plaintive songs dominate, like the beautiful CITY GIRL with its dreamy intro, appealing vocals and harmonies (some breathtaking high notes along the way) plus touches of George Harrison influenced guitar; while BY GONES and DESERT ISLAND BLUES have overtones of Paul McCartney’s more classically-styled ballads. And maybe you wouldn’t expect to find a disco number here, but give RUN LITTLE GIRL a spin, and with its insistent rhythm it would have given Erasure or Pet Shop Boys a run for their money.
So overall how does it compare with the work of Roy Wood or Jeff Lynne? Is it fair to make such comparisons any way? Maybe not but the slower songs definitely bring some of Roy’s loveliest evocations (notably THE GIRL OUTSIDE and DEAR ELAINE come to mind as well as touches of late Beatles and Idle Race. One can only regret that none of the songs ever made it onto an ELO album. In conclusion a big thank you to Richard, Dave and Martin for allowing us to hear it. Any more where this came from?
By John Van der Kiste for Face The Music - Issue 14 - June 1993
Copyright Andrew Whiteside, Rob Caiger and FTM UK staff presented by Patrik Guttenbacher, FTM Germany, March 2021