IT'S SO often the way that great records get dusted down and despatched into the market place in order to cash in on the success of mediocre ones. The above is, in fact, the final Move album, 'Message From The Country', tarted up by the inclusion of four seminal 45s from the same era in the frail hope that the hordes for whom contemporary ELO are cultural giants will shell out for a background course.
Still, as well as being a minor masterpiece in its own right, 'Message' passes muster as prototype ELO. In 1972 Lynne took half the compositional strain and was feeling his way into the area his ELO were about to occupy and so the title track and 'The Words Of Aaron' should satisfy all those seekers after Paul McCartney tunes that go on too long. The fact that he couldn't afford a string section at the time is a definite plus.
But Roy Wood still played up front, having come out the other side of his psychedelic infatuations and resorted to digging into his duck-tailed past in order to surface with Elvis spoofs of the order of 'Don't Mess Me Up', playful thievery that was developed into becoming Swingtime on 'Until Your Mama's Gone' and was soon to find commercial favour through the auspices of Wizzard.
'Message' had its 'Sergeant Pepper' aspirations however; witness the flotsam like 'My Marge' and Bev Bevan's Johnny Cash pastiche on 'Ben Crawley Steel Company'. But you can forgive the author of singles as exotic as 'Chinatown', 'Tonight' and 'California Man' much. It's just a pity that 'Brontosaurus' couldn't make the trip.
But lest we denigrate Jeff Lynne too much let it be said that his 'Do Ya', present in a remixed form is one of the four or five honest things ever to go out under the name of this wonderful band. It's been more or less downhill ever since though. I'm sure Rick Neilsen would buy this record if he didn't have it already.