TITLE: Back to the Story
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: No
SINGLES: Imposters of Life’s Magazine, Here We Go ‘Round the Lemon Tree, The End of the Road, The Skeleton and the Roundabout, Come with Me, Days of Broken Arrow, Neanderthal Man, In the Summertime
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only UK pop-psychedelic and ELO zealots, and I mean zealots.
LINEUP: Jeff Lynne, Greg Masters, Dave Pritchard, Roger Spencer. Mike Hopkins and Dave Walker later replaced Lynne.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jeff Lynne’s band before the Move, and then ELO, shows him mining the exact same ground, but without a production budget.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The production’s not the best (bands that don’t sell singles have to make do with what they got then), and there’s a bit too much music hall (their first album, especially), but when you listen, you can hear Jeff Lynne through and through. The baroque touches, the evocation of the Beatles’ psychedelic era, the melodic sense – it’s Jeff Lynne all the way through.
This collection is a true compendium of the Idle Race. It’s everything they recorded for them, even the album that they put together after Lynne decamped for the Move in 1970. Now for non-zealots, you may want to skip around, and hit the part of the collection with their singles before diving in (the start of CD2), but for those curious in the development of ELO (and to marvel how long Lynne has been doing this – A LONG TIME!) this is good to pick up.
What’s sketchy is that third album, the one after Lynne left. The record company wanted them to release contemporary covers as singles, and they complied, and then gave them another album, but it’s far away from Lynne’s material.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The Idle Race developed from the Nightriders, a popular Birmingham (UK) club band that Lynne joined and soon took over and moved them toward the pop-psychedelic side.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: At first, two Nightriders tracks were on the compilation, but they disappeared when it was reissued.
GRADE B: It’s got some charms, but you can easily compress it down to a collection of your liking.