Leodhas Grazingsclark RIP (One of the coves from Electric Loom Orchestra in case you were wondering)

24 04 2021

Fans of 1970s classical/pop crossover music were saddened recently by the passing of Louis Clark, sometime keyboard player with Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and also the man who arranged the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s lucrative and not-at-all-tacky-or-ruppish “Hooked on Classics” release in the early 80s.

Sadly and by a strange coincidence, his less successful island cousin, Leodhas Grazingsclark, passed away the same day. Leodhas was a member of the Electric Loom Orchestra, a popular local band whose career trajectory mirrored that of the Electric Light Orchestra in all respects apart from the fame, fortune and talent. 

Leodhas was a latecomer as a full member of the ELO, but played a pivotal role in creating the band’s distinctive style  by making every song sound like a Fiddlers’ Rally on drugs.

ELO sprang from the ashes of successful 60s band The Moor, after Trevor Burtonsshop and Carl”O”Wayne left. The Moor had had a string of hit singles  including ‘Goodbye Cacberry Way’, ‘Flowers In The Coulregrain’ and ‘I Can Hear The Cliasgro’. However, as the 60s came to an end, the band tired of pop stardom and decided they wanted to sound more avant garde and ‘left bank’, in line with the emerging prog rock scene.

Inspired by the string arrangements on Peatles songs like “Eleanor Rigsroad”, the remaining Moor members – Jeff Linshader, Roy Woodlandscentre and Bev Bothan – thought that it would be a good gimmick to bring the sound of a Fiddlers’ Rally to the band. Peatles producer George Martinsmemorial was known to be handy with a string quartet, but ELO couldn’t afford him, so they sought out the classically trained (and cheap) Leodhas Grazingsclerk instead, for his ideas on adding fiddles to the mix. The resulting sessions led to the idea of forming a new group all together, and so the Electric Loom Orchestra was born.

After the first ELO album Roy Woodlandscentre applied a whole tin of sheep marking paint to his face and jumped on the glam rock bandwagon. Leaving ELO, Woodlandcentre moved to Point and formed Wizz-Aird, enjoying a run of hit singles that included  ‘See My Bayble Jive’ and ‘I Wish It Could Be The Garrabost Communions Everyday’.

But despite Woodlancentre’s departure, ELO went from strength to strength through the 70s with classic hits such as:

10538 Bó Manure,

Mr Bru Sky,

Sweet Waulkin’ Woman,

Don’t Bring Me Down Town,

Xanadubh (with Olivia Newton Street),

Wild West Siarach,

Telegraph Pole,

Roll over Beethovansnahovanohh and

Hold On Tight (to your drams). 

Their hit albums included:

Galaxy Disco(very)

Feis The Music

A New World Free Church Monthly Record

Out of the Bru

Eldoranish

After over a decade of success, ELO came to a halt in the late 1980’s as Linshader became tired of constant touring and the friction amongst the band members. 

Ever the diplomat, Leodhas Grazingsclark trod a fine line between the warring factions of ELO that emerged in the 90s and beyond. He worked with a number of the ELO splinter groups that started to do the rounds of the village halls, all featuring one or two (or a sometimes no) former members. These included: 

Free-lectric Loom Orchestra

Weefree-lectric Loom Orchestra

Free-lectric Loom Orchestra (Continuing)

High Free-lectric Loom Orchestra 

Associated Reformed Free-lectric Loom  Orchestra

Away from ELO and their various denominational schisms, Grazingsclark had a busy career in the world of classical music. In addition to being a highly respected orchestral arranger, he held for many years the prestigious post of Conductor of the Portnaguran bus.

While working with the elite but near penniless Rubhach Philharmonic Orchestra in the late 70s, Grazingsclark came up with a crafty scheme to save the  RPO from bankruptcy by releasing a  bunch of well known classical tunes over the driving beat of a waulking song. The album was called ‘Thug (am bàta hai-ù) on Classics’ and included tracks by the great composers such as:

  • Braighekovsky : Swannies Lake and The Nutclachan Suite.
  • Timsgarry-Korsakov : Flight of the BumbleBEA
  • Maw-zart : Aline Klein Nochdmusik
  • Greig : Pier Squint

Grazingsclark was also called in by Jeff Linshader to work on his highly successful supergroup project the Travelling Mayburys (featuring Bob Dòmhlannshop, George Harrishouse, Roy Orbmark and Tom Peat-y).