Guide to British Music of the 1960s

November 2019

CD Review: Jeff Lynne & the Idle Race - The Lost Radio Sessions

There was a bustling scene in the Midlands in the mid-1960s with both the Idle Race and the Move including former members of the Nightriders as well as the Moody Blues, Spencer Davis Group, Band of Joy and more. The Idle Race was one of those 1960s groups who did not trouble the hit parade but, nowadays, are viewed with a great deal of admiration and not just because they included Jeff Lynne.

Lynne contributes the majority of the songs with a further four from guitarist Dave Pritchard. There are a number of interesting cover versions. The Move's (Here We Go Round) the Lemon Tree was written by former Nightrider bandmate and future Move and ELO partner Roy Wood as the b-side of Flowers in the Rain. The Idle Race version had been intended as the debut single but it was only issued in the US once the Move's version started to receive airplay in the UK.

There is a nod to the San Francisco sound with a cover of Moby Grape's Hey Grandma. Clearly popular in the Midlands, the song was also covered by the Move and the Band of Joy (with Robert Plant and John Bonham). Frantic Desolation is a Sopwith Camel song while Marc Bolan makes an appearance as a writer with a version of Tyrannosaurus Rex's Debora. The latter includes "samples" of other songs including Get Back, Peter Gunne and probably several more.

Most of the tracks are from BBC's Top of the Pops (not the TV show) or from John Peel's late '60s show with the DJs introducing the tracks. Peel, in particular, notes his surprise at the band's lack of commercial success despite the quality of Jeff Lynne's songs. The singles included in this selection are especially good with the superb Days of Broken Arrows featured twice.

This is a quality compilation and show just how good a band the Idle Race were. Although they did not have major commercial success they have left behind a good body of work that is well worth a listen.

CD Release: 3 May 2019

Leftfield Media

Essential Tracks

  • Imposters of Life's Magazine
  • The Skeleton and the Roundabout
  • Days of Broken Arrows

Track Listing: 

  1. (Here We Go Round) the Lemon Tree
  2. Imposters of Life's Magazine
  3. Hey Grandma
  4. The Lady Who Said She Could Fly
  5. Skeleton & the Roundabout
  6. Blueberry Blue
  7. End of the Road
  8. Days of Broken Arrows
  9. Follow Me Follow
  10. Worn Red Carpet
  11. Frantic Desolation
  12. Days of Broken Arrows
  13. Please No More Sad Songs
  14. Someone Knocking
  15. Sea of Dreams
  16. Reminds Me Of You
  17. Someone's Knocking
  18. Please No More Sad Songs
  19. Debora

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