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Jeff Lynne's new album Long Wave is a winner

Updated on May 20, 2013
Cover of Jeff Lynne's Long Wave album
Cover of Jeff Lynne's Long Wave album | Source

Until recently, it had been over a decade since ex-ELO leader and Traveling Wilbury Jeff Lynne released a new album. That’s now changed with the simultaneous issue of two new Lynne CD’s. One is a remake of ELO hits titled “Mr. Blue Sky”. The other, “Long Wave”, is a charming collection of songs focusing for the most part on tunes he heard growing up in Birmingham, England.

Surprisingly, Lynne was not always a fan of the original versions of the “Long Wave” songs. “Some of them I actually hated when I used to hear them when I was a kid.” Lynne said on the October 5, 2012 BBC Breakfast TV show. “I only learned to love them when I learned to play them in the last couple of years."

Lynne plays all the instruments heard on the album. His singing voice is still strong at nearly 65 years old. This is most notable on one "Long Wave" track, a cover of fellow WIlbury Roy Orbison’s “Running Scared.” The song's arrangement doesn’t differ much from The Big O’s original. But, Lynne's vocal is solid, and he especially deserves kudos for hitting the final high G sharp note perfectly.

“Long Wave” opens with Lynne’s cover of Charles Aznavour’s “She”, which actually was a hit for the French singer in 1974. Elvis Costello recorded his version of the song for the 1999 soundtrack to the film, “Notting Hill”. Lynne’s rendition is more harmony laden, with multitrack vocals, than Costello’s. This is followed by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “If I Loved You” from the musical “Carousel”, which sounds like it could have been recorded for ELO’s “A New World Record” or “Out of the Blue” albums. Next comes a nice version of The Everly Brothers “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)”, with a double tracked Lynne vocal in which he sings both Phil and Don Everly’s parts.

The album really kicks in with the catchy “Mercy Mercy”, a 1964 hit for Don Covay and the Goodtimers, also covered by The Rolling Stones and Wilson Pickett. Lynne’s version features some nice percussion bits, including hand claps and a great snare drum sound.The song’s music video shows four different images of Lynne onscreen at the same time, playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, and drums It’s like an updated version of Paul McCartney’s 1980 “Coming Up” video.

“Long Wave” also finds Lynne taking on Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” and giving it a shuffle beat. Lynne even has the confidence to tackle Etta James’ “At Last" on "Long Wave", and it works. He provides a nice, slide guitar-like solo, too, in “Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing” that sounds like it was influenced by his fellow Wilbury, George Harrison. The song includes some “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” Elton John type vocals at the end of the track. Following a faithful rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Let It Rock”, the album finishes with a jaunty, bouncy “Beyond the Sea."

The album clocks in at only 27 minutes . The very short running time leaves you wanting to hear more. At least it could have been say 40 minutes long, like a two sided vinyl album . The Japanese CD edition of “Long Wave” adds a cover of Del Shannon’s song, “Jody”.

Lynne is planning another album for possible release next year. If it’s anything like “Long Wave”, music fans are in for a treat.

4 stars for Jeff Lynne's Long Wave album


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