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Steve Ellis - Best of Days

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 23 / 8 / 2008



Steve Ellis - Best of Days
Label: Demon Records
Format: CD

intro

Fantastic new album from Steve Ellis, the front man with bestselling 60's group the Love Affair, which includes a guest appearance from Paul Weller


I really didn’t want to review this album in a way. What is it they say ? “You should never meet your heroes ?” Okay, so I haven’t met Ellis but back when I was so much younger and a different person Ellis fronted a band called the Love Affair who hit the number one spot with their version of ‘Everlasting Love’ and then went on to release a good number of classic 60's pop singles. But, for me, their first album, ‘The Everlasting Love Affair’ was one of the best albums of the late 60's. The mixture of covers and self-penned songs worked so well because of one thing, the vocals of lead singer Steve Ellis. So when I saw this new album from Ellis some 40 years later I was concerned that the man who was at least the equal of any of the blue-eyed soul singers from that era (Marriott, Winwood, Chris Farlowe) was going to blow this image I had in my mind of him; the one where I rated him as one of the best but underrated British singers of the last 40 years. My worries were unfounded, Ellis, who looks in better shape than a man his age has any right to on the sleeve of this CD, has released an album of 14 songs that stand up to anything he did with the Love Affair or any of his subsequent bands like Widowmaker or Ellis. While Ellis has had an interesting career we won’t dwell on that any further here but concentrate on what the man is doing right now. And, if this album is any indication, what he is doing is still making soulful pop / rock music, and if that voice has lost any of its power it is hardly noticeable. The album is topped and tailed by new versions of ‘Everlasting Love’. Again maybe it is not a wise thing to do; revisit past glories, but Ellis has on this song, like most of the songs on this album, taken a more acoustic route than we remember him for. The version that opens the album is simply stunning. I grew up to this song and have heard it massacred by many through the years ( Jamie Cullum, you are so guilty!) and the Love Affair version even knocked Robert Knight’s original for six. But here Ellis reclaims the song for his own. Slowed down and powered by acoustic guitars it shows his voice is still in fine shape but whoever suggested this arrangement for the song deserves a medal, as it is injected with new life. The closing version again takes the same arrangement but this time Ellis is joined by a certain Paul Weller and Ocean Colour Scene's Steve Cradock and Weller injects some excellent vocals of his own. The Weller connection follows into the next song where Ellis tackles ‘Brand New Start’ one of its composer's best songs from (can it really be?) 10 years ago. Again Ellis treats the song to a more acoustic setting than the original and, again, it works so well. Not only has Ellis managed to retain his distinctive soulful vocals through the years but it seems he has acquired a talent for reinterpreting songs from the past in a new and exciting way. ‘El Doomo’ from his Ellis band days is also reworked here to great effect. I had visions of this being a hasty re-hash of former hits delivered with pub-rock leanings, how wrong I was. It seems that Ellis, apart from choosing the right material, can still take on any song and inject it with those passionate vocals and make it his own. He still holds a melody well, his vocals never drift off and on songs like ‘Requiem For A Tyrant’ we can only be thankful that he finally got round to releasing a new album so we could hear one of our countries best singers in a contemporary setting. ‘Little One’ is particularly affecting, with stunning guitar from an unnamed player it’s a touching song from a parent to a child and whoever it is backing Ellis on these songs ( no information is given on our copy) they do a sterling job. But saving the best (almost) to last, the title song, ‘Best Of Days’ has to be among the top 5 songs Ellis has ever committed to tape. String-laden and piano-led Ellis sings of the joys of being alive to a melody which is simply heavenly. This album is much better than we had any right to hope for. Welcome back, Steve. Just don’t leave it so long next time.



Track Listing:-
1 Everlasting Love
2 Brand New Start
3 As The Crow Flies
4 Step Inside
5 Requiem For A Tyrant
6 Nu Clear Blues
7 Little One
8 Modesty
9 Yellow Rose Of Texas
10 Turn To Stone
11 Heaven's Word
12 El Doomo
13 Best Of Days
14 Everlasting Love (Live)


Band Links:-
http://www.steveellis.co.uk/
https://en-gb.facebook.com/steveellisloveaffair/


Label Links:-
http://www.demonmusicgroup.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DemonMusicGroup
https://twitter.com/DemonMusicGroup
https://www.youtube.com/user/DemonMusicGroup
https://instagram.com/demonmusicgroup/


Visitor Comments:-
780 Posted By: Julie Blenkinsopp, Southwick, England on 10 Sep 2015
All Steve's Stuff is Brilliant, and can't wait until next Month for the Show x



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interviews


Interview (2008)
Steve Ellis - Interview
Malcolm Carter talks to Steve Ellis, the front man with chart topping 60's group the Love Affair, about his career as a 60's icon and his new solo album, 'The Best of Days'


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Boom! Bang! Twang! (2018)
Former Love Affair singer Steve Ellis is helped out by Paul Weller, Mike D’Abo and members of the Stone Foundation and the Moons to deliver his best solo album to date


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