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Music review: Electric Light Orchestra 'Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra'

BY GEORGE LANG Published: October 12, 2012

Lynne is better at this than most and, frankly, more qualified: While Styx and Foreigner are operating without original vocalists (Foreigner uses Lou Gramm-ish Kelly Hansen on last year's “Feels Like the First Time”; Styx has Lawrence Gowan doing a competent Dennis DeYoung on 2011's “Regeneration” volumes), Lynne is the only guy for this particular job. The problem for longtime fans is that subtleties in the originals have spent 30 to 40 years marinating in their minds, and the differences that are so evident on “The Very Best” — the brighter opening keyboard on “Telephone Line,” the less forceful delivery of “Strange Magic” — will only work with casual or forgiving listeners. The cover of “Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra” is a near facsimile of the art on 2005's “All Over the World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra,” so point-of-purchase decision making could be clouded by the similarity, but only one of these releases really deserves to be the “The Very Best.”

George Lang