New Article in The Strange Brew:

http://thestrangebrew.co.uk/articles/steve-ellis-time-hasnt-changed-us




- Fireworks Magazine


New review of Time Hasn't Changed Us, from theartsdesk.com:

http://www.theartsdesk.com/new-music/reissue-cds-weekly-love-affair


- Fireworks Magazine



- Fireworks Magazine


I have a long lasting passion for Steve Ellis’ voice. He was the lead man with Love Affair back in the sixties, running his own band Ellis in the seventies and in rock outfit Widowmaker.
This is a man with a great White-soul voice but we haven’t heard much from him for years and since his is about the last of the great Mod voices (he was always up there with Stevie Marriot, Roger Daltrey and Chris Farlowe IMHO) we need more from him..

This came about because he was invited down to try out a new studio and liked it so much he recorded an album there – a fine album it is too.

He sings with a full, throaty bellow and the band behind him, the Big City Allstars, are professional, anonymous and provide a superb backdrop for Ellis voice.
The album consists on a few new songs - including one by the writers of ‘Everlasting Love Affair’, Cayson & Gaydon – and some covers including a Beatles song, ‘Please Please Me’, done as a soul song and all the better for it and Neil Young’s ‘On The Way Home’. My favourite song is probably his version of ‘Hit The Spot’, a full-on ballsy and brassy mod blast and the closing ‘We


I have a long lasting passion for Steve Ellis’ voice. He was the lead man with Love Affair back in the sixties, running his own band Ellis in the seventies and in rock outfit Widowmaker.
This is a man with a great White-soul voice but we haven’t heard much from him for years and since his is about the last of the great Mod voices (he was always up there with Stevie Marriot, Roger Daltrey and Chris Farlowe IMHO) we need more from him..

This came about because he was invited down to try out a new studio and liked it so much he recorded an album there – a fine album it is too.

He sings with a full, throaty bellow and the band behind him, the Big City Allstars, are professional, anonymous and provide a superb backdrop for Ellis voice.
The album consists on a few new songs - including one by the writers of ‘Everlasting Love Affair’, Cayson & Gaydon – and some covers including a Beatles song, ‘Please Please Me’, done as a soul song and all the better for it and Neil Young’s ‘On The Way Home’. My favourite song is probably his version of ‘Hit The Spot’, a full-on ballsy and brassy mod blast and the closing ‘We Got It’, an Eddie Hinton song from way back.

The ultimate praise I can give this is that as soon as it finished I went right back and ran through it again

- Music-News.com


New Releases coming soon...






Translation:

That marvellous „Everlasting-Love“-voice is intact, touring again, and presenting another new album three years after BEST OF DAYS isn´t a bad turnout for a „Classic 60s“ man by any standard, is it?. Ellis seems happy enough with his band: Like those Traveling Wilburys, they call themselves Curly, Potsy, Frog, Smiler, Charisma, Mumbles & Jacko. You can actually hear the fun, too: The „Everlasting“ team Cason/Gaydon contributes the Motown-esque „Healing Touch“, „Don´t Let Me Be The Only One“ and Neil Young´s „On The Way Home“ both let those Mods dance away in a „Keep-On-Running“-rhythm. Even the Stones would be proud of this particular version of Nine Below Zero´s „Hit The Spot“, and with Small Face Ian McLagan´s melancholic „Never Say Never“ another inspired cover version, well, hits the spot. Plus, Ellis still manages to present his own hookline hot spot in the reggae-fied „War Train“, featuring Leroy „Smiler“ Small´s Rasta wah-wah. „Mod“ also means Soul: Who would have thought that the Beatles´ initial pole position „Please Please Me“ could work so well as aso gut Memphis Stax-Sax-Soul number? 10 out of 10! (Proper Records/ Angel Air, 11/37:13)

 


The everlasting talent delivers a new album in many years to show his affair with music is still hot.

It almost didn`t happen, as Steve Ellis seemed to not have planned to record anything fresh at all, but when an invitation came to try out a new studio the veteran and his band rose to the occasion without relying on his road-tested evergreens. And if half of this CD rolls on covers, the soul slant the singer imposes on such classics as the Fabs` "Please Please Me" (with a video making it onto the same disc) or BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD`s sprightly "On The Way Home" brings on a delight of non-immediate recognition. More so, Ellis connects his past with a present day with the smoothly funkified, in the `70s way, "Healing Touch" from the same team who composed his perennial "Everlasting Love", even though its boisterous successors here are two new songs: the bubbly, brass-washed opener "Don`t Let Me Be The Only One" and "Perfect Sunday" with its memorable chorus.

When it comes to showing a hard edge, Steve demonstrates the sharpness of his vocal blade in a swaying take on NINE BELOW ZERO`s recent boogie of "Hit The Spot", which AC/DC would be proud of, while reaching for the soft spot in Ian McLagan`s "Never Say Never" takes Ellis too close to Rod Stewart`s kind of banal sentimentality. Still, the pure upbeat soul of "Thank You Baby For Loving Me" and the infectious, anxious reggae of "War Train" with its Marley quote, and the mellifluous, uplifting "We Got It" see him reign on his own terrain, his voice as young as in the times of LOVE AFFAIR. Ten dedicated cuts have this fine artist in the spotlight. Good this album happened to be - and to stay.

***2/3

- DMME.NET


Great Britain`s Steve Ellis has had a long and varied career. Over the years he has fronted the bands Love Affair, Ellis, Widowmaker, and Scarlet...but these days he`s mainly focused on his own solo career. If there`s one thing this album makes perfectly clear it is that Steve is a vocalist with presence. Instead of just singing songs this guy feels and believes what he`s singing. As a result, his songs have a sincere urgency that is instantly gripping and appealing. Ten Commitments spins like a strong of oughta-be hits. The songs are slick and melodic and feature nice thick arrangements that fit the songs to a T. Ellis and his band have a classic sound that could easily appeal to a wide range of listeners. Killer tracks include "Don`t Let Me Be The Only One," "Never Say Never," "Perfect Sunday," and "We Got It."

- Babysue.com


Sunday Express, October 2nd


 



Steve Ellis - Loot (CD, Angel Air, Pop)
Steve Ellis was originally in the band Love Affair. After leaving the band, he was approached to record some tunes that would appear in the film Loot. Little did Ellis and his associates know at the time that the songs they were recording for the film would take on a life of their own...ultimately becoming very sought after by many music fans over the years. The film is apparently kinda dated now...but the songs live on. And now, thanks to the folks at Great Britain`s Angel Air label, they are now once again being made available to the public. These orchestrated pop compositions have that ultra stylish sound that was very popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Steve`s voice lends itself incredibly well to this style of music...which is probably why these recordings have had such staying power. In addition to Steve, the album also features the talents of Clem Cattini, Herbie Flowers, Big Jim Sullivan, Madelline Bell, and Doris Troy. If you like the sound and vibe of music from the Austin Powers films you owe it to yourself to check this one out. This is not an imitation or a rehash...it`s the real thing...

- babysue.com


A soundtrack to the cult movie classic dips the "Everlasting Love" singer into a jazzy brew to come out as a winner.

Today, there might be a limited appeal in the British comedy starring Richard Attenborough, which can`t be said of the film`s OST with Steve Ellis as a star. The LOVE AFFAIR vocalist, already solo, was drafted into the focus by the arranger Keith Mansfield who stood behind the coating of Steve Ellis` former band`s hits and now had to score the movie. The result, that clocks off in a little more than half an hour, passed the test of time.

Slightly repetitious with two versions each of the infectious "More, More, More" and the swinging "Loot`s The Root", plus the overriding money and melodic theme, it casts Ellis` soulful voice, contrasted by elite female force - Doris Troy, Madeline Bell and Sue & Sunny - into the sleazy brass. Clem Cattini`s drum rolls and Big Jim Sullivan`s guitar interjections keep it all sharp, while the dialogue snippets anchor the drift to its era, where some of the music, such as the vaudeville ballad "We Nearly Were Lovers", also belongs. But "Mother`s Waltz" is more tongue-in-cheek singalong than straight operetta stylization, and there`s many a nice moment to this short curio ripe for rediscovery.

- dmme.net



Steve Ellis: Best of Days

 

 




Reviewed By: Malcolm Carter
Label: Demon Records
Format: CD

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.

- PennyBlackMusic.com

 


 


Click here to read the review

 


- BluesMatters.com

 


 


 


What Steve Ellis is mostly being remembered for, is the orchestrated blue-eyed soul confectionery of his late’60 days spent fronting The Love Affair. However, given a proper chance, his lungs can provide whatever Steve Marriott, Steve Winwood or Rod Stewart were capable of at their best.
I still haven’t managed to track down the name of the producer, but whoever twiddle’s the knobs here, seems to be aiming for The Style Council-like ‘80s soul vibe, while ending up more like Paul Young or the like. Hearing stripped down acoustic arrangements of ‘Everlasting Love’, and Weller’s ‘Brand New Start’, suggest an idea of what-might-ve-been, along with a couple of other exceptions such as the moody ‘El Doomo’ from his ‘70s Ellis-era, or the post-Small Faces Ronnie Lane-like good-time vibe of the title tune.
A major talent, mostly being lost to an inappropriate production, with just an occasioonal harmonica, blowing some life into the overall artificial surrounding.

- Goran Obradovic





Steve Ellis: The Musical Love Affair Is Back On For City-Based Soul Man 29 July 2008

Steve Ellis, one of this city’s best kept secrets, has had a ‘Love Affair’ with popular music that dates back some forty years.

Steve Ellis Joins Up With Weller, Daltrey & Co

The golden tonsiled young man, who now resides in Hove, sang such classics as ‘Everlasting Love’ and ‘Rainbow Valley’.

Now he`s back with the fourteen tracks that make up ‘Best Of Days’.

The music may be calmer and more acoustic based, but that only helps to bring to the forefront the still rich and passionate tones of the now fifty-something, Steve Ellis.

He first fronted a band, Soul Survivors, at the age of fifteen.

After plying their trade at weddings, youth clubs and barmitzvas, they were proficient enough to tap into the current ‘scene’ and play Mod clubs in London, Brighton, Manchester .. in fact all over this musically rich isle.

It was a name change to Love Affair that brought Ellis a string of hit records.

He walked away from the band in 1969, with seemingly the world at his feet. But he was never to taste major chart success again.

Following a bad accident in the early 80s, the following decade saw him return with Steve Ellis’ Love Affair.

The band, via old hits and new material, appealed to both nostalgists and converts.

He recorded with the likes of Paul Weller (‘Step Inside My Love’), and contributed to the soundtrack of ‘Loot’, the screen adaptation of a play by Joe Orton.

But it’s with the all new ‘Best Of Days’ that Ellis might find his star rightfully on the rise once more.

Appearing on the album are such industry heavyweights of Roger Daltrey, Paul Weller and Steve Cradock.

Kicking off with an up-to-date reinterpretation of Everlasting Love, Ellis proves that age need not wilt hunger nor talent.

Also in among strong original material comes an emotive version of Weller’s, ‘Brand New Start’.

Best of Days is an excellent restatement of Steve Ellis`’ remarkable vocal and compositional talents.

- The Brighton Magazine


In 1966, 16 year old Steve Ellis took the first step towards stardom and joined The Soul Survivors. Rechristened Love Affair, between 1968 and `69, the band slammed five singles into the British Top Twenty. Ellis launched his solo career in the next decade, formed Ellis in 1972, and a few years later joined hardrock heroes Widowmaker, before returning to his solo career in 1977. And it`s here that the two disc set The Love Affair Is Over picks up, as Ellis, backed by a group of top-notch musicians and singer Roger Chapman, began work on his solo album The Last Angry Man. Unfortunately the set sat on the shelves due to a dispute between its producers Dave Courtney and Tony Meehan. A pity because this was an adventurous album, one that took Ellis from his Motown roots down the path to hardrock, a kind of stylistic autobiography. The set`s highlights include an exuberant take on Love Affair`s chart topping "Everlasting Love", the hard rocking "Blackmail", and the fabulously Stax flavored cover of "Soothe Me". Of equal interest is "Why Do the Good Guy`s Die", an emotive down-tempo number with a soft-pop edge, but washed in a gentle Pink Floyd-ish spacy mist. "Rag and Bone" is a fine arena ballad, the lilting "Wind and a Lady" boasts superb fiddle solos and strong acoustic guitars, while "Hear Your Woman" struts straight into bluesy rock`n`roll. The original album is appended by a bumper crop of demos that Ellis recorded in 1983 for a solo project that never quite got off the ground. The exhilarating slide guitar riven "Shark Shoes", the rumbling "War Train", and the fiery "Warm Love" are the stand-outs amongst a strong group of songs. Fast forwarding a decade, the singer returned with Steve Ellis` Love Affair to fans delight. The accompanying DVD captures the group live in Bradford in 2003, running through a stellar set of old hits and well-chosen covers. Still going strong after all these years, Ellis sounds as great as ever.

- Allmusic.com


STEVE ELLIS
The Love Affair is Over

Previously unheard emotions from the man who brought us "Everlasting Love", which is here as well.

His has been an illustrious career - from the LOVE AFFAIR pop in the `60s to the WIDOWMAKER hard rock in the `70s - but when punk swept the UK, he felt like a fish out of water. More so, his first solo album, 1977`s "The Last Angry Man", recorded with the aid of friends such as Rogers Daltrey and Chapman, got entangled in the producers` disagreement and shelved. As a result, Steve Ellis quit music for the docker`s job that almost cost him both legs, but now the singer`s been standing his own ground for some time, and the time came to dust off the tapes... and be amazed. Not releasing these songs was a crime.

An arc to a new cut of "Everlasting Love", elegantly rocking "Life User" is a blistering tone-setter, its weary optimism lighting Steve`s vocal swagger, offset with Roger Chapman`s vibrato, and Albert Lee`s guitar lines. The album`s line-up features such talents as Brian Robertson, then in THIN LIZZY, Henry McCullough, Henry Spinetti, Tim Hinkley and Brian Oadgers - exactly what this voice needs to shine through with flying colors be it on folksy, acoustic reel that is"Wind And A Lady" or soul-shattering, wisely orchestrated ballad "Rag And Bone". Most of the songs like the Lennonesque "Hang On Joey" and honky-tonk ballsy "Blackmail" are joyfully anthemic and brimful with life-affirming nervousness, so it`s a highlight through and through.

The mood of "The Last Angry Man" is carried on with Ellis` own basement tapes, or the results of 1983`s "Basement Days" with the reformed LOVE AFFAIR guitarist Mel Taylor, which weren`t meant to produce an album but to have fun... if only dramatic "El Doomo" in all its heartbreak was funny. But while the "War Train" heavy reggae chugs on even more seriously, "I Lost My Feelings" comes rockin` an` reelin` and "Warm Love", if released, would have followed the hit way of its everlasting predecessor. With a live bonus DVD, it`s an essential collection to have a love affair with.

*****




STEVE ELLIS ‘The Love Affair Is Over’ Angel Air

Yet another superlative release by the dedicated team at Angel Air offers plenty of gems for fans of Steve Ellis.

The CD consists of 10 tracks plus a further seven bonus tracks. There’s plenty to enjoy here and what’s more apparent is that Ellis is perhaps one of the most experienced singers this country has produced. Born in London, he has been in bands since he was 13 years old and has continued to sing for 40 years. The sleeve notes put his whole career into context and offer some illuminating thoughts on his music. The first 10 tracks were recorded in ’77 while the bonus tracks were recorded six years later. His voice swings from wonderful Paul Rodgers style blues to softer pop and soul harmonies.

The accompanying DVD was recorded in Bradford in 2002 and comes complete with an interview with Mr. Ellis. The 10 handpicked songs on the DVD offers deep insight into his illustrious recording career.

He is most certainly genuine talent and this thoughtful collection is proof of that…

****

Review by Neil Daniels
www.neildaniels.com


STEVE ELLIS`S LOVE AFFAIR
Last Tango in Bradford
Angel Air 2008

Intelligent, and thus irreverent, version of Joe South`s "Hush" speaks volumes of the singer whose emotions, written all over his face, are hidden so deep that Steve Ellis` take on "Handbags And Gladrags" emerges as one of the coolest covers of this great ballad. Much better fare another Chris Farlowe`s hit, "Out Of Time", the Northern soul gem "If I Could Only Be Sure", and the original LOVE AFFAIR smashes "Everlasting Love" and "Bringing On Back the Good Times", carried out by the catchy melody and the less nonchalant delivery yet still with the deadpan looks. This contrast makes Steve somewhat special, as he`s a very convincing performer, especially when his jacket comes off, the smile lights up his face and "Gimme Some Lovin`" is unleashed on the dancing audience.

****


STEVE ELLIS
Loot (OST)

As an ardent fan of 60`s/70`s film soundtracks, `Loot` must rank as one of my all-time favourites. In 1970, `Hancock`s Half Hour` writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapted Joe Orton`s witty and satirical stage play for the big screen, roping in the likes of Hywel Bennett, Roy Holder, Richard Attenborough, Lee Remick and Dick Emery to play the parts of the main characters.

The soundtrack brought together two well-known names from the world of late-60`s Pop; Keith Mansfield and Steve Ellis. Mansfield had spent the majority of the 60`s producing and arranging tracks with artists such as Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Marmalade, The Tremeloes, Georgie Fame and Steve Ellis` very own Love Affair. Towards the end of the 60`s Mansfield became heavily involved with the KPM sound library, providing many a groovy instrumental that would be later used on films, TV shows or adverts. As for Ellis, he cut his teeth as lead-singer for The Love Affair, famous for their 1968 #1 hit `Everlasting Love` (incidentally, produced by Keith Mansfield!). However, having just left Love Affair to start a solo career, Ellis was still grappling with a musical direction just as the offer to sing on the `Loot` soundtrack was made to him.

With the help of Dave Clark Five`s Mike Smith, Caleb Quaye, Clem Cattini, Herbie Flowers, Sue & Sunny, Madeline Bell, Doris Troy and Big Jim Sullivan, Mansfield and Ellis served up just over 30 minutes of brilliant brassy and up-beat Pop, something I`m sure Orton himself would have loved. Opening track `More, More, More` sets the tone - tight playing, swirling brass, Ellis` soulful-yet-greedy delivery, strong backing vocals and a fantastic arrangement add up to make a compelling track made up of various different parts (check out the smart use of film dialogue within the track). Loot`s `The Root` is a total belter, defiantly one that wouldn`t sound out of place played in a club. Built around a killer bass-line, powerful horns and Mansfield`s groovy Hammond playing, Ellis weaves in-and-out of the vocal line and belts the tune out superbly well. A fantastic tune to dance to, I reckon, and probably the outstanding tune amongst in this set.

As `Loot` was meant as a satirical piece based on society`s greed, the soundtrack provides many humorous moments in keeping with this theme. The lyrics to "Hey, Hey, Hey` are particulary biting (`Money is the root of all evil, you must have heard them say. The people who have said it are normally the people who`ve got it, anyway` - top stuff!), `Where It`s At` is an excellent `the story so far` tune incase you`ve lost your way, `Oh Fay!` isn`t a million miles away from The Who`s `Cobwebs & Strange`, whilst `We Were Nearly Lovers` and `Mothers Waltz` see`s Ellis singing in different (yet no less compelling) vocal styles to his usual passionate and soulful delivery.

The last two tracks on the album are reprises of the opening two tracks, `And More, More, More` and `Loot`s The Root`, and are a perfect way to round things up; Ellis sounds as if he`s on his knees in delivering the words: `More, more, I want more!`, whilst Mansfield wraps everything up with a huge blast of brass, drum and Hammond organ. Fantastic stuff. For fans of Steve Ellis/Love Affair, Keith Mansfield, late-60`s Pop, Hammond, Joe Orton or just film soundtracks in general, this is an essential purchase. As usual with RPM, the packaging is spot-on and liner-notes are on hand to inform you more about the film and the soundtrack itself.

If Loot really is the root of all evil, put it to some good and shell out for this little beauty.

Reviewed by David Steel, modculture.com (review posted on 14th September 2002)


LOVE AFFAIR
Single`s A`s and B`s

Often cruelly dismissed as another late-60`s manufactured band for teeny-boppers, this 25-track collection of all of Love Affair`s singles from 1966 to 1969 (and Steve Ellis`s early solo outings, too) will serve as a timely reminder to those cynics and doubters what an excellent group Love Affair actually were, what a fantastic voice Steve Ellis had/has and hopefully introduce a new generation of music listeners to them.

Ellis was gifted with a voice just as powerful and soulful as the likes of Steve Marriott, Steve Winwood, Eric Burdon, Chris Farlowe and other white UK blue-eyed Soul singers of that time. The power and rawness of his voice is no more evident than on Love Affair`s earliest records - "Back In Your Life Again", "Woman Woman", the superb Mod-Pop of "Sweetness And Tenderness" and The Rolling Stones cover "She Smiled Sweetly" all show Love Affair (or The Soul Survivors as they were known in those days) to be a tight group with an exceptionally young and talented singer. Many Modculture readers will recognise the quirky 1967 single "Satisfaction Guaranteed" from "Empire Made: The In Crowd Volume 2", but that tunes appeal is stifled by the huge number 1 from the same year, "Everlasting Love", that follows it. Of course, little needs to be said about this song due to it`s huge popularity, but spin it and be reminded of what an incredible tune it is - it`s classic late-60`s Pop; a huge intro, horns, big backing vocals, a clever yet simple arrangement and of course Ellis putting in a superbly passionate and gutsy vocal performance.

The singles that followed "Everlasting Love" were similar in feel and formula (to get a second number 1, no doubt), yet great songs nonetheless. "Rainbow Valley" is probably technically better than "Everlasting Love" (check out the Italian version of this track at the end of the CD, too!), and "A Day Without Love", "One Road" and "Bringing On Back The Good Times" aren`t too far behind either. However, it`s the b-sides to these tunes that are of most interest here. "Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday", the flip-side to "Everlasting Love", is a tender and reflective piece of music, whilst "Someone Like Me" isn`t a million miles away from The Small Faces emotional take on Brenda Holloway`s "Every Little Bit Hurts". "Let Me Know" and "Accept Me For What I Am", two b-sides from 1969, are both fantastic slabs of soulful late-60`s Rock, with some ballsy guitar solos, driving drumming and Ellis letting rip with some great vocal performances.

Following Love Affair`s last single "Baby I Know" (which firmly broke the "Everlasting Love" formula, and unfortunately suffered chart-wise as a consequence) and having grown tired of pop stardom, Ellis quit the band to pursue a solo career. He quickly hooked up with Keith Mansfield and released a single, the beautifully arranged "Evie". As well as working on the soundtrack to "Loot" with Mansfield (see `Film Soundtracks` section for that review), Ellis also hooked up with the likes of Zoot Money, Jimmy McCulloch, Johnny Steele and Caleb Quaye to record two more singles - "Take Your Love" and "Have You Seen My Baby", which are included here with their b-sides ("Jingle Jangle Jasmine" is a particular favourite of this reviewer - Ellis very nearly takes the paint off the walls when the chorus kicks in), before forming The Steve Ellis Band with Zoot Money in 1972.

Steve himself provides the excellent liner-notes to this set, and it`s interesting to read his memories of being a Mod, buying clothes/records and playing gigs with The Soul Survivors at venues such as The Marquee, The Flamingo and various Northern Soul clubs in the mid-60`s. If you can`t get enough of The Small Faces, Spencer Davies Group, Amen Corner, The Herd, Marmalade, or late-60`s soulful Pop in general then this is definitely for you. It`d be nice to see Steve Ellis and Love Affair get a little more attention and recognition beyond "Everlasting Love", such was their ability and the songs they recorded aside from their number 1 single.

Reviewed by David Steel - modculture.com (review posted on 8th December 2002)


ELLIS
Riding on the crest of a slump

Steve Ellis, who was the front man in Love Affair, formed Ellis in the early seventies when Love Affair called it a day. Still young (he was only eighteen years old when Love Affair scored a hit with "Everlasting Love" in `68), but with a really mature voice, he still wanted to go on singing and formed Ellis to get a proper vehicle to do that.
Steve Ellis got this classy rock voice based on soul and rhythm & blues singing technique. His vocal chords handles easily the power from his lungs and belly. His voice is strong, moving and very flexible. The expression is distinct and his phrasing is just great. What Steve Ellis stands for vocally, we get an example on in the album opener "Good To Be Alive". A jolly singalong tune which makes me think of those old vaudeville days. Zoot Money, Steve`s long-time friend and co-founder of Ellis, and keyboardist extraordinaire who has played with everybody, plays a kind of crispy bar-piano behind hired hand Gary Farr`s juicy harmonica. And Steve sings with full power like his life was depending on it. Great album opener! The follower "El Doomo" is every bit as good, a soulful ballad where Steve shows us the other side of his vocal expression. More relaxed, yet powerful. Guitarist Andy Gee (real name Andreas Gröber, friend of Steve from Germany and headhunted for the band) plays some intense, slow-burning electric guitar here, reminding me of the tone of the late great Leslie Harvey from Stone The Crows. This albums winner! Zoot Money plays straight piano in the beautiful "You`re The Only Reason" with Maggie Bell from the earlier mentioned Stone The Crows contributing on backing vocals. "Your Game" is nearly heavy at times and done with howling guitar and some percussion that sounds some kind of electronically treated! The sound of Maggie Bell`s voice opens "Three Times Corner" before Steve comes in using the whole register of his magnificent voice. Jim Leverton`s bass rolls heavy together with Dave Lutton`s excellent drum work here and with Andy`s guitar screaming and howling over Zoot`s piano. Good one! Colin Allen, he too from Stone The Crows, contributes with some percussion on "Wish I Was Back Home" where Zoot plays electric piano on this easy singalong track. Guest Mick Weaver plays the organ together with Zoot`s piano on the funky "Angela" which gets a more jam-feeling to it towards the end. Not bad of course, but not that exciting either.
Roger Daltrey (from The Who) has been in charge of the producing here and he has done an okay job, but then again it could have been better.


ELLIS
Why Not?

Just a year after the debut, Ellis hit the streets with another album. It`s called "Why Not ?" and the band`s line-up is almost the same which recorded the debut. But bass-player Jim Leverton was out of the band here and Nick South took his place. Sitting in the producer`s chair this time was none other than Mike Vernon, famous for his great blues productions. And the sound here are better than the debut-album. The bass and drums are more upfront in the mix and the overall sound is better.
"Why Not?" is a rock album with roots in the blues and soul music, but this time also some influences from progressive music are at present.
"Goodbye Boredom" rocks away fine with Nick South`s steady bass behind Andy Gee`s noisy guitar. He plays an infectious riff and delivers a solo with a bite. Heavy use of wah-wah here. Tough! Some progressive elements like tempo-changes and counterpoints comes towards the end of the track. Those elements are more at present in "Opus 17 ¾", this album`s most progressive track. Excellent arrangement here with a great rocking interlude. And Steve sings like only he can do, from screams to a whisper with the greatest ease. A killer! An acoustic slide-guitar over a more distant electric guitar sets the tone on "Future Passed", giving it an acoustic feel. Not much vocals from Steve here, but the backing vocals are really upfront making a choir effect. Good one. On "Lazy Love Songs" we get more guitars both acoustic and electric ones, with the latter most upfront. The refrain rocks real good here with steady guitar and Zoot`s rolling piano. Wonderful guitar-solo here by the way! The rocking continues on "Open Road" before a slow steady blues comes in, in "All Before". Zoot`s piano sounds lonely, yet steady, and makes the backbone for Andy`s guitar excursions and Steve`s powerhouse vocals. Goodie! "Leaving In The Morning" is heavy on the guitars but rocks behind Steve`s great singing. And you`ll easily detect Roger Chapman`s (Family) distinct voice in the backing vocals here! Among the other voices here are Julie Tippett and Mike Patto, they also sings on the last track "We Need Money Too", but they are not as audible as Roger Chapman though.
To my knowledge there are no plans of releasing these Ellis albums on cd, and that`s a shame because they really deserves a wider recognition. But we can always hope that somebody out there get a hold of the master tapes, and does something about it. Maybe that Angel Air (which has released Steve Ellis` "The Last Angry Man") are capable of the job.


STEVE ELLIS
The Last Angry Man

After nearly two years with Widowmaker, it was time for Steve Ellis to go solo. Ariola picked him up and gave him a deal. This was in `77 and the recording of "The Last Angry Man" started. But things didn`t work out that smoothly. Two singles from the album were released in `78, but a dispute between producers Tony Meehan and Dave Courtney led to the fact that the album never released at the time. Not completely true, in fact a few copies of it hit the streets in the music-cassette format. And I was lucky enough to pick one up on one of my first trips to London. So I`ve been living with this great album for awhile now.
"Life User" starts up with Brian Robertson`s (Thin Lizzy) intense guitar over Brian Odgers` pounding deep bass. Tim Hinkley joins with organ before Steve starts to sing. Great solo and guitar-playing all the way from Brian Robertson here. Henry McCulloch also plays guitar on the album, but judging by the sound I guess that Brian does most of the solo`s. And Roger Chapman (Family) sings backing vocals here, nearly stealing the show from Steve with his colossal voice! He does a great job on "Hear Your Woman" too, together with Steve. Both acoustic and electric guitars makes the melody on the slow burning "Hang On Joey". A good one! Tim Hinkley starts up alone with piano on the beautiful "Rag And Bone". Steve sings really great on this mighty soul-ballad with strings and horns. I can`t compare the version of "Everlasting Love" here to the original Love Affair version because I`ve never heard it. But I do like this version here, that`s for sure. Great wah-wah guitar from Brian Robertson we get on the rocking "Blackmail", before the lovely "Wind And A Lady" starts up with acoustic guitar behind Steve`s voice. Roger Chapman joins Steve and a great solo on fiddle spices it up. I would have guessed on Dave Arbus (East Of Eden) being responsible for that one, but it was a guy aged sixty-eight (!) years old from London Symphony Orchestra who did that magnificent solo! Great track! A powerful version of Sam & Dave`s "Soothe Me" (together with "Rag And Bone", one of the two singles released from this album) follows with good saxophones, but it should have been longer! "Why Do The Good Guys Die" is a ballad with a powerful interlude and a nice saxophone solo. The title-track "The Last Angry Man" ends the original album in a good funky way. Just to have it mentioned, it`s Henry Spinetti and Barry Morgan who plays the drums on the album.
But the fun isn`t over yet. Seven tracks recorded in `83 is the bonus here, with over thirty-five more minutes of Steve`s voice to make you happy. The musicians here are Mel Taylor on bass, Eric Wright and Gerry Pinner on guitars and Ozzie Garvey on drums. A version of the great "El Doomo" from the days of Ellis is ok, but nowhere near the original. The rest of the tracks are written by Steve and Eric Wright for the most. It`s very powerful with tracks like "Shark Shoes", "She`s Leaving" and "War Train" standing out. So do yourself a favor and buy the album, it clocks in for more than seventy-five minutes with Steve Ellis great vocals and is really very good value for the money!
(A big thanx goes to Sven Gusevik here, who has written the excellent liner notes for this cd. Some of the information used in the review here and on Ellis and Widowmaker, comes from this source. Visit Sven`s great site about Love Affair, Mott The Hoople, Ian Hunter and Medicine Head. It`s called "The Mott Archive" and contains loads of great information there!)


Shindig! Magazine: October 2002

THE LOVE AFFAIR / ELLIS
Singles A`s & B`s (Ascadia/Evangeline; CD)

Although somewhat younger than Marriott and with a much shorter fringe, Steve Ellis was truly one of the finest British voices to emerge from the late `60s. In short, the story follows the rags to riches story of a bunch of teenage mods who honed their skills, played the clubs, impressed people in high places, recorded an acetate (included as the first four tracks) that Tony Blackburn played it on Radio 1, an okay version of the Stones `She Smile`s Sweetly` was released and next the band were re-shaped (meaning Ellis sang with Keith Mansfield`s Orchestra backing him) and `Everlasting Love` stormed the charts! Love Affair were now a sensation! The teeny-bopper classification insulted the band, but on album tracks and b-sides they wrote and played their own stripped down material, which was an indication of how they sounded live. `I`m Happy` is a fab freakbeat stomper, not unlike Wimple Winch or even The Creation, whilst the tremendous `Let Me Know` is so much like high-octane late `60s US garage rock that it was included on a volume of the Boulders series, Ellis` final 45 b-side `Accept Me For What I Am` rocks big time; strewn with searing guitars, Hammond and a powered Ellis vocal it runs the LOUD competition into the ground! The a` sides shouldn`t be knocked though as they represent the zenith of blue eyed soul bubblegum. How can one not appreciate Ellis` vocals on `Everlasting Love` or melt from the good time movie-theme-like `Bringing On Back The Good Times`? After Ellis quit the band in `69 he recorded an impressive version of Jimmy Webb`s `Evie` backed once again by Keith Mansfield. The result is a hybrid soul/loungecore/country-tinged slice of groovy balladry soaked in Euro pop strings and fuzzy guitar. The remaining 45s Ellis recorded until the formation of the Ellis Band are like a more honed version of The Faces with pop rather than rock aspirations. The a-sides, such as `Take Your Love` were commercial fare, whilst b-sides like `Fat Crow` and `Jingle Jangle Jasmine` were rootsy, bluesy rock. `Goody Goody Dancing Shoes`, (Ellis` final self-written b-side of his solo career) is a tumultuous portion of power pop/rock that has an edge not unlike his pal Roger`s Who!
If you thought that Ellis and cohorts were a one-trick pony you need this, now. An essential item for those who wish to be surprised by some impeccable late `60s pop!
Jon `Mojo` Mills


Shindig! Magazine: June 2006

ELLIS
Riding On The Crest Of A Slump / Why Not? (Evangeline; CD)

Steve Ellis had more than five minutes of fame with the extremely popular post-mod blue-eyed soul/rock band The Love Affair, but as the `60s ended and he dabbled with new bands and a solo career the hits dried up. Of course a lack of later success doesn`t mean his talent had faded; quite the contrary, Ellis`s voice had a new depth and his own compositions, `El Doomo` and `Tune For Brownie` in particular, aired a far deeper sensibility than the marketed pop that had made him. Backing the singer under the Ellis name was old mod era mate Zoot Money (bearded and beered up) and a selection of other musical city boys moved out to the country. The two Ellis albumsRiding On The Crest Of A Slump (1972) andWhy Not? (1973) both explore a mixture of Band-esque rural rock, post-psych acoustic pieces, bluesy singer songwriter styles and a hefty dose of funky, soulful rock. The overall effect was not dissimilar to The Faces or Humble Pie; and what with Roger Daltrey`s production work and some impressive songs the neglected Who associate Billy Nicholls also springs to mind.
Both albums are nothing short of exceptional and British rock`s most overlooked voice is in fine form throughout. Essential.
Jon `Mojo` Mills


Shindig! Magazine: June 2004

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Le Beat Bespoke: Voume 1 (Discotheque; CD/LP)

It’s such a shame that the cover shot of five London Mod club regulars posed leaning on a vintage car in vintage gear (with one guy holding a cocked rifle!) gives the glossy Le Beat Bespoke packaging the cheesy appearance of Austin Powers-doing-Get Carter! Is this the most appropriate way to sell such a splendid compilation of real dance music?! I think not. Yes, the music stems from the 1960s! Yes, the club goers who dance to these 45s are obsessed by the decade … but… something a little less obvious would have been a far better option. Nevertheless, aesthetic grumbles aside, this is an absolutely superb album --far, far, better than the iconography suggests.
On his first foray into the saturated ‘60s compilation market Rob Bailey (leading DJ, promoter and the flame that burns behind the thriving contemporary mod scene) avoids known acts like the Small Faces, or anything too obvious. Focusing on truly obscure 45s from the late ‘60s he concocts something very different from what can be heard on the plethora of mod/freakbeat comps that fill the stands, and impresses throughout!
This really is dance music!
In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s even the squarest performer (usually European) cut at least one killer fuzz guitar, Hammond and percussion inflected raver -- and this area of music, lets call it Euro-freakpop, is something Bailey uses to great effect: hear France’s Danyel Gerrard’s ‘Sexologie’ and Germany’s Howard Carpendale’s/ Daisy Clan’s ‘Du Host Mich’/ ‘Glory Be’ (Mix). Perhaps UK bands Marmalade and Plastic Penny may be known, Steve Ellis too, and his incredible ‘Loot’ -- but this compilation (mixed live in the studio for that authentic deejay set vibe) is about the sound of the music rather than artist or genre. Spain’s Los Gatos Negros superlative version of John Fred & the Playboys’ ‘Hey Bunny’ is the perfect example of the raging energy of the nation’s garagey blue-eyed soul; American “who-are-theys?” Flash & the Dynamics’ ‘Electric Latin Soul’ is an OTT exploitation soundtrack styled freakout, whilst Swede faves Ola & The Janglers’ ‘No No No’ throw in some Kinks’ beats with popish harmonies and Bonny St Claire (backed by nederbiet heroes The Nicols) do pop-soul Dutch style. Finally, with one of the many nightlights on this faultless collection, Phil Wainman typifies that wonderful late ‘60s big production with the winning ‘Going, Going, Gone’.
These singles are worth thousands, and the superb sequencing (and mixing) give legendary DJ names like David Holmes a good run for his money.
Jon `Mojo` Mills


Maverick Magazine

August 2006







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