Armchair Theatre [Bonus Tracks]

Armchair Theatre [Bonus Tracks]

by Jeff Lynne
     
 

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Jeff Lynne could do no wrong in 1990...until he released a solo album, that is. Prior to Armchair Theatre, everything Lynne touched turned to gold and platinum. He coaxed a comeback out of George Harrison for Cloud Nine, helped Tom Petty go solo in 1989 with

Overview

Jeff Lynne could do no wrong in 1990...until he released a solo album, that is. Prior to Armchair Theatre, everything Lynne touched turned to gold and platinum. He coaxed a comeback out of George Harrison for Cloud Nine, helped Tom Petty go solo in 1989 with Full Moon Fever, then those two joined forces with Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison for the Traveling Wilburys, perhaps the only supergroup to ever live up to its billing (he also polished Orbison's swan song Mystery Girl). On each album, Lynne's production stamp was indelible: gigantic, shimmering tapestries of harmonized vocals and acoustic guitars underpinned by a bit of old-time rock & roll and dressed in a bunch of Beatlesque pop. This sound was his signature so it's no surprise that it's all over Armchair Theatre, but the record doesn't come close to matching the success of any of the aforementioned albums. That could be due to the shocking lack of pure pop here. Apart from the punchy "Every Little Thing" -- its title nods to the Beatles, its pre-chorus to Smokey Robinson but it sounds like neither of them -- and maybe the cheerful midtempo "Lift Me Up," there are no pop singles here; it's a surprisingly reflective record from a musician currently sitting on the top of the world. If anything, the album Armchair Theatre most resembles is its long-delayed sequel Long Wave, a sepia-toned collection of standards Lynne released in 2012. Lynne also dips into the past here, crooning versions of "September Song" and "Stormy Weather" that would have seamlessly fit onto Long Wave, then creates a joyful rockabilly pastiche on "Don't Let Go," easily the liveliest bit of rock & roll on the album. Elsewhere, a sense of nostalgia permeates the proceedings, not so much giving this a sense of sadness but rather a bit of comfortable, familiar warmth. Ultimately, that coziness didn't gain a large audience but it has aged well, as Armchair Theatre now doesn't seem part of Lynne's 1990 golden era but rather the unheralded start of his final act as pop maverick in repose, dabbling with the sounds he's loved from the past. [The 2013 reissue of Armchair Theatre adds two nice unreleased cuts: the faux folkie "Borderline" and the lightly Baroque "Forecast."]

Product Details

Release Date:
04/23/2013
Label:
Frontiers Records
UPC:
8024391059722
catalogNumber:
105972

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jeff Lynne   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Autoharp,Drums,Bass Drums,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Tambourine,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Footsteps,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance
George Harrison   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Slide Guitar,Guest Appearance
Ordinaires   Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Del Shannon   Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
Michael Kamen   Strings,Guest Appearance
Jim Horn   Saxophone,Guest Appearance
Richard Tandy   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Suresh Lalwani   Percussion,Guest Appearance
Vikram Patil   Percussion,Guest Appearance
Mette Mathiesen   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Fateh Singh Gangani   Percussion,Guest Appearance
Hema Desai   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Dave Morgan   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Jake Commander   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Warwickshire Wobblers   Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Olton Orioles   Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Sheila Tandy   Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Rita   Saw,Guest Appearance
Phil Hatton   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Guest Appearance
Nellai D. Kanan   Percussion,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

Jeff Lynne   Composer,Lyricist,Producer
Tom Petty   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Richard Dodd   Engineer
Eric Idle   Liner Notes
Jesse Stone   Composer
Ryan Ulyate   Engineer
David Wild   Liner Notes
Maxwell Anderson   Composer
Ted Koehler   Composer
Martyn Atkins   Art Direction
Kurt S. Weil   Composer
Ryan Corey   Reissue Package Design
Steve Jay   Engineer

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