The Moody Blues

A lot better than everybody thinks they were.
* special introductory paragraph!
* 16 Unforgettable Hits
* Go Now
* Days Of Future Passed
* In Search Of The Lost Chord
* On The Threshold Of A Dream
* To Our Children's Children's Children
* Caught Live + 5
* A Question Of Balance
* Live At The Isle of Wight 1970
* Live At The BBC 1967-1970
* Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
* Seventh Sojourn
* This Is The Moody Blues
* Octave
* Long Distance Voyager
* The Present
* Voices In The Sky: Best Of The Moody Blues
* The Other Side Of Life
* Sur La Mer
* Keys Of The Kingdom
* The Story Of The Moody Blues: Legend Of A Band
* A Night At Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony Orchestra
* (John McFerrin reviews) Time Traveller
* (Amanda Kenyon reviews) The Singles+
* Strange Times
* Hall Of Fame
* Answer To The Mystery Of Life
* December
* Lovely To See You LIVE
Up mine, I dig 'em! They were my favorite band when I was in the seventh grade, and you can't just throw away a memory like that. But I don't even have to try; the stuff STILL makes me happy as a little fishy just a - swimmin', swimmin', swimmin' down the river. I'm serious! These guys had more talent for writing memorable sissyish melodies with great vocal harmonies on top than, heck! A lot of people! All those New Zealand pop bands, for example - the Moody Blues were tons better than those bands. And they did it for YEARS! And they had a Mellotron organ, so it always sounded like they were playing with an orchestra, even though they only did that on one album! I think it's terrific. There's some classical music thrown in there, some hippie druggy crap, tons of sappy love poetry, one splendid singer (and four others who weren't so splendid, quite frankly), and occasionally, some "kickbutt" rock and roll! They kinda cheesed out after their original keyboardist quit, but they still had the melody thing goin' for a while until.... Well, just read the reviews.


16 Unforgettable Hits - Soundwings.
Rating = 5

Before Justin Hayward and John Lodge joined the band and made it good, it was led by Denny Laine (later of Wings!!!! WOW!!!) and it just played generic '60sish blues covers and stuff. History has given this early version of the band a good reputation, but, listening to this compilation, it's difficult to understand why. It's not as tough as the Animals, as rollicking as early Stones or as ridiculously bad as everybody tells me the early Kinks stuff is. It's just... okay. Aside from the classic pop anthem "Go Now," nearly every one of these tunes is just another decent blues cover - of the sort that basically EVERY garage band was doing during that period in rock and roll's history. Denny Laine had kind of an annoying untrained voice too, which doesn't make things any smoother. Some of Mike Pinder's originals show a nice hint of creativity, but not really enough to warrant listening to them over and over again. Who cares? This isn't really the Moody Blues anyway. In these, William Clinton's 1990s, this original line-up of the band is nothing more than a historical footnote in a book nobody gives a crap about anyway. Bring on the Hayward/Lodge juggernaut!

Add your thoughts?

Go Now - London 1966.
Rating = 6

Most of these songs are on that compilation I just reviewed, so read that review again and try to imagine the album I'm describing as being exactly the same, but shorter. That's not to say that only the BEST songs from the compilation are on here - there's lots of nonsense like "It's Easy Child" too. One can only thank the grape-chewin' Lord above that Graeme Edge and his pedophile buddy Mike Pinder found Justin Hayward and John Lodge in the yard playing with each other's peepees (and by "peepees," I of course mean "guitars"... heck, for that matter, by "pedophile," I of course mean, "guy who enjoys having sex with little kids, like Mike Pinder does), because this early incarnation of the band is bland. They just ain't as bluesy and interesting as the Stolling Rones or Animals (whose moniker would also feature a hilarious switching of letters here if the band name consisted of more than one word), so they sound like a third-rate Bad Religion. Without the know-it-all singer dick.

Also, as far as I know Mike Pinder isn't actually a pedophile, but if he were, that would be the right term to use for him.

Reader Comments

KevinMartinell@aol.com
There were many versions of albums released that featured the songs from the "Early Moody Blues"/"Go Now" period, and I own 3 formats. First, I have a copy of the 1992 version of "The Magnificent Moodies" on CD, released on the "Repertoire Records" label. This release contains 19 songs, so "Everyday," "You Don't (All The Time)," "This Is My House," "Life's Not Life," "He Can Win," and "Boulevard De La Madelaine" are missing...

Next, I have a used copy of "Moody Blues: Early Blues," from "Compleat Records," on vinyl. It was released in 1985 and also features all 19 songs from "The Magnificent Moodies," except they are arranged in a different order on all four sides of the two LP's ... The cover looks psychedelic, with a purple background, blue lettering used for the words, "Moody Blues," and rainbow-colored bubble lettering used for "Early Blues."

There is also another double LP, on record, I was fortunate enough to come across, and it is titled, "A Dream," released in 1976 on "NOVA Records" ... This release is missing "Time Is On My Side," but includes all of the other early tracks featuring Denny Laine, plus the early singles from when Justin Hayward and John Lodge joined the band: "Fly Me High," "Really Haven't Got The Time," "Leave This Man Alone," "Love and Beauty," and "Cities" ... An interesting thing to note on this release is that this mix of "Cities" sounds a little different from the stereo mix heard on the "Prelude," "Time Traveller," and "The Singles +" CD's ... This version features the harpsichord heavily echoed and heard way in the background, plus some of the percussion is heard more up front on the mix.

"The Singles +" contains some material from the 1992 release of "The Magnificent Moodies," plus a few more tracks that were left off of that CD ... The only two tracks missing between those two releases, that are featured on the 1987 version of "The Magnificent Moodies" CD include: "You Don't (All The Time)" and "He Can Win."

Whatever the format of the album, this is an enjoyable album filled with catchy tunes ... "I'll Go Crazy," which opens up the CD version, makes for a great rockin' intro, and I love the piano track on it. "Something You Got" and "Life's Not Life" have excellent flute solos, and the mouth organ solos on both "Bye Bye Bird" and "Lose Your Money" really rock. "I've Got a Dream," "Thank You Baby," and "Everyday" are some nice upbeat, cheerful tunes and "Steel Your Heart Away," "From The Bottom of My Heart," and "Boulevard De La Madelaine" are rather eerie, but still good ... I especially love the instrumentation on "Boulevard." Mike Pinder sings lead on "I Don't Mind" and Ray Thomas sings lead on "Ain't Necessarily So," which are two favorites of mine ... These are just some of the standout tracks for me on the album(s), and of course, the hit, "Go Now," is a great track, too ... Another excellent piano track in the middle of that song, as well! :)

It's a shame that the later release of "The Magnificent Moodies" leaves out the few songs I mentioned earlier ... I don't know why. It would be a great thing if all of the songs on each of these albums were re-released on an updated version of these releases, along with the three rare "Coca Cola" commercials performed by the band (One with Denny Laine and two featuring Justin and John). This would be ideal for the "Moody Blue" collector without having to purchase additional albums that have rare songs mixed in with songs already featured on other albums. I'd automatically give this album 10 dots if one of the record companies can put together and release a CD or CD set that features every one of these early tracks, along with "A Simple Game" and the single version of "Nights in White Satin," which I forgot to mention ... Still a great album. :)

Add your thoughts?

Days Of Future Passed (with The London Festival Orchestra) - Deram 1967.
Rating = 8

While the Beatles were putting out Sgt. Pepper's, these five haughty Brits were writing a pop/classical concept album! Sound fruity? Wait until you hear it!

There's just so much to enjoy within this magical sleeve of cardboard! The orchestral segues, the unintentionally hilarious poetry at the start and close of the record, the fantastic R 'n' B leftover "Peak Hour" (which truthfully doesn't fit on the album AT ALL, but man am I glad it's there! It's a dang goody!), flute virtuoso Ray Thomas's first of many hokey childlike ditties, "Another Morning," organist Mike Pinder's first of many depression anthems, "Twilight Time" (if you're ever wondering where the "moody" in their name came from, look no further!), not to mention two of the greatest overblown pop songs of all time, "Nights In White Satin" and "Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)" (which actually has TWO equally well-written parts, but they never play the second one on the radio because radio programmers are nothing but money-grubbing art pimps).

Dopey, yes, but it works - and it's gobs more memorable than that generic Smashing Pumpkins thing that ripped off the concept thirty years later. And, just for the record, it's the last Moody Blues album that any major critic ever praised.

Until now.

Reader Comments

105002.1254@compuserve.com (Trevor A. Kotowich)
I am happy to finally find someone who thinks "Peak Hour" is bloody good tune!

105156.640@compuserve.com
Obviously, Sgt. Pepper is a major influence on the record. But it still was incredibly innovative, especially considering it was recorded in 5 days! For me. "Sunset" is the dull one on the album. That's the one tune on Caught Live that improves over the original studio version.

rlk0003@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Mike Pinder didn't write "Twilight Time." It was a Ray Thomas tune. Mike wrote "Dawn Is A Feeling," and "The Sunset." John wrote "Evening A Time To Get Away."

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
This is an excellent album that effectively pulls off the conceptual feel by effectively tying all the songs together, while still making them sound unique and all around great. I enjoy the entire album. When I got Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, I found that the fact that the songs tied together made me want to listen to the entire album, but some songs I hated. Still, I listened to the entire album, and the mood did not change. It wasn't like an adventure like a Yes album (early), or a grand musical story, like this. I found it often tedious to listen to the entire DSOTM album, but this album, I love the entire thing. It's great. The moods are placed perfectly. Too many bands (Floyd) try to almost force the mood upon you, but this band did it with great music that brings you into a new world and a new feeling with each song. It's just amazing. No one, no bands have done this before or successfully copied it since. This is the best concept album of all time, and it isn't that the songs are the best, and they are great, but it's because they are all tied together to tell a sort of story, and all invoke different moods, subtly instead of forcefully. It's genius.

MikeRobWil@aol.com
This was the first music I ever made love to. I'm still not sure if it was just the right time to finally get out of the gate, or if it was the music! I do know that after all these years I still like to crank it up loud, find a special woman and hope I get lucky. If this isn't a classic, nothing is!

tpeterson@fsi-intl.com (Tim Peterson)
Great album, and all the songs fit, even "Peak Hour." It's the adolescence, the youth of the album. Think of the album as a story of life. THE DAY BEGINS, birth. DAWN and THE MORNING, childhood. The world is an awesome place. LUNCH BREAK: Peak Hour, adolescence, late teens, early twenties. We can do anything, energy to spare. THE AFTERNOON, falling in love, starting a family, working. EVENING, old age, the twilight years. Tuesday afternoon theme returns, still in love. THE NIGHT, death, mourning. Listen to "Nights in White Satin" and think of an old man, sitting by the coffin saying goodbye for the last time. Thinking of all the things he thought but never said. Wondering how anyone else can know how he feels. It'll bring tears to your eyes. The Moody blues, one of several bands I encourage my children to listen to, and play for them whenever I can. (The others being The Beatles, Van Morrison, Jethro Tull, and Yes).

AVUZ70A@prodigy.com (Thomas Morgan)
I was 17 in 1967, when I first heard DOFP. It may have been a bit hokey and superficial, but so was I. What may be lost in retrospect is that up to that time there had been nothing quite like the moodies sound. And I still listen. I enjoyed your views.

ELLASO@puceuio.puce.edu.ec (LASO ORTIZ ESTEBAN LEONA)
For me, the most meaningful thing of all the album is the "Late Lament" poem by Graeme Edge, and especially the verse "Cold hearted orb that rules the night / removes the colour from our sight. Red is gray and yellow white / but we decide which is right / and which is an illusion?" That's it: you decide what is right and what is an illusion in your own life. Isn't it amazing?

cellerd@dreamscape.com (Chris Ellerd)
Born in 1961 i was. I was 7 when Days of future passed came out. I remember hearing "Nights in white satin" around 1970. Being a musician myself, I must say that there is an innate sensual, even sexual quality to the Moody Blues. Deeply emotional, the music itself explores the male/female dichotomy quite skillfully, but also retaining a raw, guitar oriented edge as well. Subtle.Sensitive.Sexual.

Lansman@iceland-c.it.earthlink.net
I have 3 versions of this work on vinyl and another 2 on compact disk. It is an emotional journey for me each time I hear it, and particularly brings back the feeling and emotions I had while listening to it over 20 years ago while driving though the Utah and Arizona deserts. "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Twilight Time" stand up emotionally to anything that can be produced today!

William.L.Porter@boeing.com
If memory serves me the only change in line up from the Magnificent Moodies to Days of Future Past was Denny Laine leaving and Justin Hayward arriving. The change in sound I attribute to Justin's arrival and Mike Pinder relinquishing the leadership direction, thusly the loss of the R&B sound, which I regret. Even Pinder's solo works suffer from the lack of R&B.

Mats.Brostrom@srk.se (Linda Brostrom)
8 out of 10, you must be joking! This is Moody Blues best album ever! And what is this constant picking on Mike Pinder??? I have read your comments about the other records, and I do not agree with you concerning Pinder. I think he is the best songwriter in Moody Blues, and his finest song is on this album, one you don't even mention: "Dawn is a feeling".

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
I'd say this has to be their best album. They describe the day of mankind. And "The Morning" is beautiful. "Peak Hour" is a rocker. "Time to Get Away" is also beautiful (I didn't know John could sing Falsetto.) But the two best songs are "Tuesday Afternoon", and "Nights in white Satin". Not bad for 20 year old Justin to make two great songs.

gclavio@indiana.edu (Galen Clavio)
Actually, there were two lineup changes between the Magnificient Moodies album and this one. Laine checked out and they tagged Justin Heyward (they got him after he responded to a newspaper ad asking for a guitarist for a "mystery" band, which in fact was The Animals). Former bassist Clint Warwick also exited stage left, replaced by the inestimable John Lodge.

javajim@csinet.net
I HATE "Peak Hour". It totally doesn't fit with the rest of the album, which is awesome. I love "Twilight Time" and "Nights in White Satin". This is the album I listen to when I'm going to sleep at night.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
Well I'm not exactly a Moody Blues fan yet but i got this album. It is terrific in my style of music. I like "Tuesday Afternoon", "nights Of White Satin", and "Twilight Time". I think this is there second album and it did come out the same time Pink Floyd's Piper At the Gates Of Dawn in 1967. I never heard the Moody Blues in there "Go Now" Period with that Denny guy. Do they sound good. And i also heard a few other songs see my review for Legend of the band. I give this album an 8.

fyodor@mixcom.com (Zimmer)
Days is simply an amazing album as were most of the Moodies' albums were of this era.(67-72) Kudos to you for mentioning that there is another song after Hayward's "Forever Afternoon(Tuesday?)" on the same track which is Lodge's "Evening:Time to get away" and I believe it is better than the former. Also, Pinder's contributions are excellent(by the way, he's my favorite member of the band because he is the most original.) "Dawn is a feeling" and "The sunset" are simply brilliant. I think that this album is severely underated in the wake of SGt Pepper, even though it is much better than it.

marylait@sover.net
A masterpiece.Sure it's naive in places,but remember it was created in 66/67 and they were very young.I like all the "songs" with the exception maybe of a few parts of "Evening". Arguably the first "artrock" album.Very influential on groups such as King Crimson and Genesis.

dstreb@mail.ssnet.com (Daniel Streb)
For the love of God and a note to all you in Internetland that can read this: DO NOT get this album on CD!!!!!! It sounds absolutely terrible! The original masters were deteriorated so the record company put out a terrible version of one of the greatest albums ever made. The harmonies sound strained (especially on evening time to get away) because only one guy is singing. The intro and end to "dawn is a feeling" is forceful and unsegue-like. AND the entire rhythm track to dawn is a feeling, another morning, forever afternoon and nights in white satin is too interrupting of the mood. Please buy this album on vinyl with the original deram record label. That version is a masterpiece and the greatest album of 1967. The CD version is a lame unsuccessful conversion. a lame four

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Did I just read "a lame four" while talking about DOFP? I have the version in question, and I don't care if the segues are off here and there or if John is singing by himself on Evening (which doesn't sound too bad, in my opinion). It is still Days of Future Passed, and even a muddled up Days deserves at least an 8.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Hmmm. Well, if this is a masterpiece, I'm totally baffled. You mean you SERIOUSLY dig the orchestration? Sure, it's nice and there's nothing nasty about it, but you can hear tons of equal and better stuff on any MGM soundtrack produced for over fourty or fifty years! It's just your basic pop symphonic music, and the only thing that somehow redeems it (only as a groove factor, not as a serious work of art) is that this is indeed the first major experiment in combining rock with classics.

The songs themselves are rather good, of course. Not outstanding, but pleasant. 'Nights In White Satin' are pretty cool, and in general I far prefer Side B - somehow it manages to rock out a little harder. The only thing I utterly HATE about the record is the opening and closing lyrical bit. 'Hilarious', you call it? 'Atrocious' would be a better word here. We're not listening to An American Prayer, by any chance? Also, I doubt whether this album is 'dopey'. I think you call too many things 'dopey'. Syd Barrett's music is 'dopey'. That's why a lot of it stinks. A couple Beatles songs are 'dopey'. That's why they are so beautiful. But this ain't dopey. It's just... OK. I give it a 7, with chances of improving over repeated listening.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I seem to be in the minority of people who actually enjoy the mix on the remastered CD. For starters, I like the lack of segue in Dawn is a Feeling. I mean, the CD is about an archetypical day, right? Well, I don't know about you, but I snap out of dreamland, which I think of as the orchestration, very abruptly, and my day begins right away, whether I'm ready or not. I guess that could be phrased better, but hey. I also actually like the lack of harmonies in most of Time to Get Away. The song conveys a wonderfully accurate feeling of exhaustion, which speaks to me quite clearly through Lodge's strain to hit the upper notes.

The orchestration is a nice touch, but that is not what makes it a classic. What makes it a classic is that the songs are so, well, _correct_. They depict the emotions that one feels at each point in the day absolutely to a tee. THAT is why this album deserves a nine. And the poetry is great. Dopey, but great. They day ends with a poem as night comes in, and begins as night exits. Just like real life.

BowerGreg@aol.com
I have loved this album ever since I bought it on vinyl in 1968 (as a sophomore in college), and 31 years later I still love it! To listen to it from beginning to end is a deeply spiritual experience, a view of our lives as seen from a viewpoint beyond the "self", revealing the underlying full- ness of both the ups and the downs of the human experience. Sure, it sounds a bit more naive to me now than it did then, but its constant undercurrent of burning compassion for all humanity transcends that, and the beguiling melodies, expansive harmonies and bold chord progressions all work together to create an unforgettable experience. Although the Moody Blues' first 7 albums (not counting Go Now) all occupy the same exalted plane, DOFP occupies it more consistently than the others. There is just one thing that bothers me, though: As one or two previous e-mailers have pointed out, when the album was first transferred to CD, the vocal harmonies in the "bridge" to (Evening) Time to Get Away ("Live all you people...") were dropped, leaving poor John singing falsetto all by himself. Although his singing is awesome, this "melody" doesn't make musical sense by itself. It only sounds right with the original vocal harmonies. I can't understand why they were dropped and I'm sorry to hear this was not corrected on the newly remastered CD release. Does anyone know how I could get in touch with Polydor, or even the Moodies themselves, about this?

rcbmarcomm@nwinfo.net (Richard Burger)
On the review of Days of Future Passed, you say:
Mike Pinder's first of many depression anthems, "Twilight Time" (if you're ever wondering where the "moody" in their name came from, look no further!) Um, that sounds like a pretty good reason, but the "moody" in their name was chosen because the original band members liked the song "Mood Indigo". You probably already know this, and I hate to insult your intelligence, but just in case you didn't, I thought I'd say something. Incidentally, how can it be that you have pages on Yes and ELP but nothing about Genesis? They've always been my favorite band, so I was pleased that I didn't have to watch you rip them to shreds, but still...

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
Not a masterpiece - they came out with plenty of albums that were loads better than this one. Anyone who says that this is a great album probably has never heard Children's Children or Threshold Of A Dream. A seven, for me.

I LOVE "Peak Hour." And your right about Pinder, most of his songs are completely pointless.

brooke.demartini@asu.edu
I remember my sister discovering them. Tuesday Afternoon was the song of my childhood. I fell instantly in love with their sound and down to this day have yet to discover a band that sounds like them. Days was their true premier album. I would never be without it.

squamous@interaccess.com (Terie R. Hopper)
Being a recently converted Moody Blues fan (Born in 1975 I was--I mainly remember their 80's music from my childhood), I have to say that Days of Future Passed is one of the most BEAUTIFUL albums EVER! And "Peak Hour" ROCKS, no matter if it doesn't fit with the rest of the album. I am obsessed with the song "The Sunset" as well as "Dawn is a Feeling," both Mike Pinder songs. He is an excellent songwriter--just as good as Justin, only in a different style. I think it is a masterpiece, and the orchestration behind it truly makes the album. I can't go to bed at night until I have listened to this album!

alanspringer@webtv.net (Alan Springer)
I remember well the first time I heard it. After the initial intro when hearing the first chord Michael Pinder played on "Dawn is a Feeling" using an instrument I had never heard before (The Mellotron),chills ran up my spine. I was hooked and have been a fan ever since.As with a long term love affair,there are ups and downs and mixed feelings at times,but the love you have carries you through. No amount of superficial criticism can effect the way this individual feels about the Moody Blues,and this wonderful album. They have become such an influence on my life that the above analogy is the only way I can describe it. I am now 57 years old and can only say that during those times,no one,not even the Beatles,had the chemistry that spawned those albums that were created after Justin and John came aboard. Graeme,Ray, and Mike set the stage and provided the solid base needed for the new members to take the band into unexplored territory.As a result, Days of Future Passed has easily stood the test of time, and even in the distant future, will be fully appreciated for the milestone album it truly is.Each band member played an equally important part in it's creation. Like a jigsaw puzzle,the picture can't be complete without each piece being there. Thanks for the opportunity to let me have my say for what it is worth.

KevinMartinell@aol.com
Days of Future Passed is a classic Moody Blues album! I love it! I have both the original vinyl version and remastered Cd version of this album, and I actually like a little bit of both versions! What I like about the Cd version is that the 'stereo' quality is so much better, (except for "Nights in White Satin") with stereophonic vocals on "Another Morning," "Peak Hour," "Tuesday Afternoon" (middle of song), "Time to Get Away," and "Twilight Time." I also like the little additional pieces to the end of "Another Morning" and the orchestral intro to "Peak Hour!" I also like the Cd version of "Tuesday Afternoon" because the sound quality appears more clear (Love those mellotrons!). I wish the Cd version, if it were possible, kept the backup vocals for "Time to Get Away," the piano, that accompanies the strings, in "The Sun Set," and the original version of "Nights!" ...I like the vinyl version of "Nights in White Satin" better, because you can really hear the lows of the bass! It also has more echo in it, compared to the Cd, especially during Ray Thomas's flute solo, and also on the mellotrons... Sounds kind of "dreamy-like" to me! I'm glad that Time Traveller and Moody Blues Anthology keeps the original version of "Nights!" It would have been interesting if the Cd contained bonus tracks of the rare early singles with Justin and John, "Fly Me High"/"Really Haven't Got the Time," "Love and Beauty"/"Leave This Man Alone," "Cities"/"Nights In White Satin" (short version) at the end! I think that would have made a great song line-up for the remastered Cd.Days will always be a favorite of mine! :)

richbunnell@home.com
An eight is a little low for an album that nears musical perfection. This is definitely the most coherent album the Moodies ever released, even though this coherency was mechanically engineered by a bunch of record label suits. The corny orchestration and crummy poetry aren't problems - they'd suck on their own, but on here they really pull the album together into an organic whole. The songs are great too; every single member contributes some of the best material of his own respective songwriting career, particularly Hayward - yowee!! "Tuesday Afternoon" simply has one of the greatest vocal buildups ever crafted by mortal man. I'd have to side with Evan Streb that by no means should you buy the original CD pressing of this album, though - choppy is the word of the day, so if you hear it, SCREAM REAL LOUD! Isn't that right, Conky? Err -- I'd give the album a nine.

Jmundiejr@aol.com
Seems everybody thinks (Peak Hour) doesn't fit .To understand the music you have to understand the times .There is more than one meaning to peak hour not just lunch break.I don,t think the album would be complete without it .

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
I'll admit the whole symphonic outlet thing really works well here, and this is one of my favorites, "Nights in White Satin" notwithstanding. But ELO did the same thing better with Eldorado roughly six years later, and the latter work is both more engaging and more well-done, not to mention far less fruity.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
This album is incredible! And it was just '67! "Dawn Is A Feeling" is sadly, very underrated. It's my favourite, along with "Another Morning" and "Nights In White Satin". I think "Peak Hour" isn't that good, but it's okay. The bumping solo is great though! I like better "Twilight Time" which is in the same style. Hayward's voice was unique for that time! Anyone who has an interest in good pop music (and classical) should buy it. A high 9 out of 10.

If anyone knows what the hell does the cover mean, please tell me. I'd appreciate it.

mwest@crsoftwareinc.com (Michael J. West)
Was, is, and ever shall remain, my favorite ever album in the whole wide history of the universe, ever. Totally. Ever. I won't throw in my "first time I heard it" story, cuz it's one of those personal things that would bore the Hell outta ya, but I will say that I can't imagine anything in my life would be the same if'n I hadn't had this here slab of plastic, which I have on a piece of vinyl that I have so thoroughly memorized that when I hum the songs off this album to myself, I hum the skips and the scratches. So I give this album 48 out of 10, and anyone who ever says a negative word about it or any note of music contained therein will be stricken by the Gods with a plague of dysentery.

This means you, Prindle! And, to a lesser extent, George Starostin! However the Gods will grant amnesty to Rich Bunnell, because, dammit, he's just so adorable.

mossinator@hotmail.com (Ian Moss)
I'm sorry, but I just can't take this album seriously. The orchestration (as Starostin correctly points out) is straight out of the '40s cheesy-movie fakebook (although the orchestral writing itself is not bad); the pop songs inexplicably rely on mellotron when they have a full, real string section available to them; when one of your hardest rockers is "Afternoon (Forever Tuesday)" you've got a problem. Overall, I simply cannot find anything extraordinary about this album other than the rock/classical connection itself, one of the first of its kind. It's not such a big stretch, though, when your "rock" is so, well, emasculated.

Even my parents think this album is dated.

jrnorman51@yahoo.com (Randy Norman)
I bought this album in 1968. I loved it but don't think it holds a candle to "Threshold" or "Children's Children." And what is all this stuff about Mike Pinder being a pedophile? Is that really true? Never, ever heard that.

YahBooSux@msn.com
Tuesday Afternoon and Nights are great songs....but...the rest of the album, all 15 minutes of actual songs, is a mish mash of puerile crap....thank God the Moodies learned they don't need an orchestra to sound great....the ability they possessed themselves and still possess is testament to that....

Days of Future Passed...it wouldn't worry me if I never hear this album again....as long as I have all the others to listen to....I am happy

steve.robey@mindspring.com
"Brave Helios, wake up your steeds -
Bring the warmth that comes with sardines."

I swear I grew up believing that to be the lyric. But then, I was only 7. I also thought the "See Me Feel Me" line from Tommy was:

"Following you, I climb the mountains -
I get sideburns at your feet."

Hey, at least I liked cool music.

Add your thoughts?

In Search Of The Lost Chord - Deram 1968.
Rating =  8

I originally only gave this album a 7, but I was mistaken. At one point in my childhood, somewhere between Pac-Man Fever and the first D.R.I. record, this was my favorite album. Now, in my jaded post-Ramones years (okay, I still love the Ramones - but they really should have called it a day when Dee Dee quit; but you can read about that in the Ramones section if you want to), these songs just seem to drag a bit too much. I mean, yeah, ALL Moody Blues stuff drags a little bit; that's what makes it Moody Blues stuff - but this one, I don't know - too hippie! What do I mean by "too hippie," you're probably questioning your computer screen?

Well, there's a song called "Om," for one thing; that alone can turn a guy off pretty quickly. There's also a bunch of hold-up-two-fingers-and-smoke-reefer songs, like "Voices In The Sky," (which is about, of all things, birds tweeting), "Legend Of A Mind" (which you probably know as "Timothy Leary's Dead," because radio DJs don't bother telling you the real title cuz they're just after the green), and "Visions Of Paradise," which I think has a sitar, in addition to the omnipresent flute; one thing about the flute I'd like to mention while I have the chance - it sounds very very good in this setting. I know you probably don't like the idea of a rock band with a flutist because of what those assholes Jethro Tull (no offense, Cliff) did with the concept (i.e. made the flute an absolutely unlistenable instrument, second only to Ian Anderson's voice), but Ray Thomas does a great job of just adding touches of class (or gleeful flooty -too) to the murky melodies emanating from the amplifiers. Like a child urinating maple syrup all over the freshly-fallen winter snow. Yes. That is precisely what it is like. Let us speak no more of it.

So what other joys await you if you shell out the George Washington for this particular time-worn psychedelic relic from yesteryear? More bad poetry, courtesy of drummer / poet / artist / visionary / dreamer Graeme Edge, some weird and cool stylistic experimentation in bassist John Lodge's "House Of Four Doors," a couple of terrific jumpy rockers ("Ride My Seesaw" and "The Best Way To Travel"), and another flaky Ray Thomas number ("Dr. Livingstone, I Presume") - there's honestly a bunch of really infectious tunes here, but man all that hippie crap just hasn't aged well at all. As if all the "la-di-da" songs weren't blatant enough, they were kind enough to include notes on meditation and a huge "yantra" on the inner sleeve . How long did they think people would be able to take them seriously? Just till the drugs wore off? (Or, in my case, till I realized that Jim Morrison was, in fact, a lousy poet; I know it seems unrelated, but there's this whole big memory of tie-dyes and potheads and.... ugh, I'm glad puberty's over.).

Reader Comments

105002.1254@compuserve.com (Trevor A. Kotowich)
Lighten up on Graeme; after all I think he is the only one in the group with a sense of humour!

105156.640@compuserve.com
I don't think there's a dull moment on the record. It's, of course, a product of its time. It's cool to listen through phones at all the sounds they were trying to get.

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
HEY! Once again we disagree! I love Jethro Tull Music, but usually the stuff that makes the band blow at times is the horrible use of the other istruments and the flute in those stupid poorly written jam session, Yes-Relayer-type crap, like in the middle of "Songs from the Wood", that turns a beautiful tune, with the same type of classy flute (classy means boring to me, but...) that is in Moody Blues stuff. Ian Anderson's voice is nice - not the most melodic of things, but I enjoy it. You have to give Tull a chance, past stuff like Aqualung. I respect what he can do with a flute, wich is make it sound like anything he wants. Sure, sometimes it can be bad, but I enjoy it. You have to be able to look past the fact that....."Oh, my God! What is he doing with that beautiful melodic piece of equipment, a flute is NOT supposed to sound like that."......and, like I've said before, just sit back and listen to the music, and try to enjoy it, and if you've honestly given it a chance, then you can trash it over the internet, or throw it from a twelve story building like I did to my Tragically Hip CD.

vidcon@buffnet.net (Ed Sewastynowicz)
Are you out of your mind? In Search Of The Lost Chord is one of the best rock albums ever. A full 10 out of 10! Using The Ramones and The Moody Blues in the same sentence is blasphemy! That's like narrowing your car choices down to a Geo or a Mercedes!

lewallen@Oceana.net
Hey now, give Greame a break!! I really loved the discription of "House of Four Doors." This is one of my favorite records!!!

Azeal777@aol.com
I think this album is great. Graeme poetry is really great and I love all of the songs that are too "hippie".

AVUZ70A@prodigy.com (Thomas Morgan)
"Voices In The Sky" is my favourite.

davids@dpscreative.com (David Schlaifer)
PLEASEEEEEE... do not miss the point; the music was a product of the times and that is exactly why it is so "hipppie" as you say. The times they were a-changin and the Moodies helped to articulate that in a very unique musical way. Sure, it can be considered "hightimes" music, but that was what was happening at the time. Let me add, the guys still rock today inspite of all the ragging they take for towing the line and staying true to their sounds. The bottom line is..the Moodies are cool, end of conversation!

Olias@webtv.net (Justin Strohm)
I think "Om" is awesome! It's especially good if you like the sitar and know a little about Eastern religion/philosophy. Also, "The Best Way To Travel" is great. I love "hippie" music.

"type your username"@teleport.com (Tom in Portland)
Enjoyed your page, but HEY! Enough Ray-bashing! Haven't you ever heard of whimsy? I'm a post-boomer and came across ISOtLC 15 years after the fact, and it's a perfect time capsule for the period. Why can't you dino-boomer types embrace your past? You were blessed to have experienced this music in the 60s!

fuzzybunny@usa.com (Marko Spasojevic)
I think In search of the lost chord is probably the weakest, and most disappointing album Moody Blues ever made. (i am only talking about the pre seventh sojourn recordings of theirs; all the stuff they did in the 80s is just hard to compare to anything they did before) In fact, I think there isn't a single worthy song on that album. Even the best song on that album ("ride my seesaw") is rather weak, and occasionally annoying. I find this album to be rather odd especially since it was crammed in between the two best albums they ever made - Days and Threshold.

Mr.Scott@worldnet.att.net (Pete)
In Search Of The Lost Chord is still my favorite album. Lots of feeling here. Hey I didn't particularly like "OM", but it's there. And lighten up on the hippies, it was fun.

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
Another great one, Ray's songs are the best in this album. Graeme's poetry may seem a little weird.

tanx@gte.net
For crying out loud! Of course its a "hippy" album! It was written in 1968. They were playing to the audience of 1968, not, 1997. You don't hear them doing music like that now do you? And, btw, I still enjoy the album a lot more than a lot of the foo foo rah that comes over the radio now.

javajim@csinet.net
Hey, I love "Visions of Paradise". That's probably my absolute favorite Moody Blues song. The flute just grabs you and takes you right out of the galaxy. Well, that's what it does to ME, anyway. But I think it's a great album, and "Om" is actually a pretty listenable song, despite the hippieness. "Voices In the Sky" just gets on my nerves. "House of Four Doors" is actually pretty disturbing if you listen to it right.

fyodor@mixcom.com (Zimmer)
A superb follow-up to Days. It may be hippified, but the music is nonetheless excellent. "Departure" is the best use of Greame's poetry because of how it leads into "Ride My See-Saw". The final chorus to Ray's "Legend of a Mind", is possibly the best Moody Blues music ever recorded. "The Best Way to Travel" is another Mike Pinder gem; I simply love its lyrics. "Voices In the Sky" is the the only weak song on the album. I think that Hayward is a bit overrated, I mean his song are good but sometimes he get a little cheesy. But "The Actor" is a very good song.

Bigrynz@aol.com
I am only 20 years old, wasn't even born when the LP was made, and I've thought it's the best album of all time since I was about 2 years old! I've heard millions of records since that time, and I still rank it as one of the most creative pieces of music I've heard. I can see how one would dismiss songs like "Dr. Livingstone" as cheesy, "Om" as hippy crap or whatever you want to call it, but I happen to love the sounds of sitars and Mellotons and strange electronic effects. For once I'd like to see a good review of this often trashed masterpiece!!

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Well, I guess you are right about all that hippie dippie-do. But, jeez, accusing the Moodys of being hippies is like handing out tickets at the Indy 500. I mean, they are kinda like the definition of the term. And this is one is my fave, because it IS so over the top. Its so lush and rich and gorgeous, and you can't take any of it seriously. OM always makes me laugh, but its so beautiful, too. This one is a ten, the only Moody Blues record that is a ten, except maybe for Our Children's. The poetry is completely stoopid, of course, and that voice of god on the mount delivery only makes it worse... but the trick is to accept it as part of the times, to laugh, because we have moved psychically so far from the space/place where this kind of music was possible. Except maybe for Sky Cries Mary. And speaking of Sky Cries Mary, where are your reviews for that band? The ultimate in 90s psychedelia, and from Seattle no less, and nowhere to be found on your page, and then you give the Moody's greatest album an 8 when it should be a 10, and sigh, what is the world coming to!? I ask of thee.

Tecmofiend@aol.com (Jason Penick)
Overall I don't care for this album as much as some of the others. The psychedelic mellotron-based sound explorations are pretty breathtaking, but you're right-- the hippy-dippy stuff has aged pretty poorly. "Legend of a Mind" is still an awesome song to me, even though most fans don't seem to like it. I really like the way the melody twists and turns in unexpected directions, building up to that glorious refrain at the end. Still, my favorite song on the album (maybe on any of their albums for that matter) is "The Actor". As for Greame's poetry I'd have to agree with the consencious... "face miles of trials with smiles" makes me guffaw everytime I hear it!

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Ooh. Better. No friggin' orchestration. Still, not THAT good. The usual lyrical bit in the beginning and in the end pretty much defines the word combination 'ferociously banal'. And some of the songs mighty suck. Suck mighty. I like 'Dr. Livingstone I Presume', a nice childish ditty, and 'House Of Four Doors' has a charming refrain and an original concept, and 'Ride My See Saw' is OK. The rest are forgettable pop tunes. Oh no, 'Voices In The Sky' has some cool singing. But that's it. These guys were good, but pretty much imitated The Hollies - only with a lot more bombast and a little less talent. And quit bashing Jethro Tull. Speak for yourself. :)

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I'd like to give it an 8, but I can't. Whereas on the last album I felt the poetry was extremely effective, here it's just ... dumb. And Om is decent, but not great. And I hate Dr. Livingston I Presume. And Ride My See Saw is just good, not great. But Voices in the Sky is beautiful, The Best Way To Travel, is terrific, and The Actor is _awesome_. All in all, a good album, but quite uneven. Worth a 7.

DTMTIGER@aol.com
I giive it a 7.Legend of a Mind gets on my nerves because I'm not "hippie" enough to like a song that glorifies drugged out wacos like Timothy Leary.

msmith48@snet.net (Monica Smith)
This album was a real jewel in its time, in 1968 when they played GOOD music with a meaning instead of all this rap garbage. Yes, it's "hippie", but personally speaking, I'd rather be a hippie than a product of the 90's. Thsi is a great album, one of the Moody's best. It has "The best way to Travel," which is the only Mike Pinder song worth listening to. And of course, there are the 2 great songs by John lodge, "Ride my see saw" and "House of four doors". This is undoubtedly an awesome album!

squamous@interaccess.com (Terie R. Hopper)
The testosterone that accompanies this review is overwhelming--lighten up on the band here. Yes, it is a very hippy-druggie-esque album, but look at the time period it comes out of! There are some very beautiful tunes on this record, if only you'd see past your obvious distaste of poetry and actually happy songs.

GRIJ@chevron.com (Jennifer Griggs)
Yes, definitely a hippie album but that's what makes it so great! Everytime I listen to it, I feel inclined to get Indian food and burn incense. I have owned the CD for quite some time but just recently truly listened to the lyrics of "House of Four Doors" and understood fully what John Lodge was trying to say. "Legend of a Mind" reflects Ray's talents on the flute (especially when done live). OK, you say "Voices in the Sky" is about nothing but birdies chirping, well, could you take something as simple as the subject of birds chirping and make it into a song as gorgeous as that? This CD is a perfect example of the Moodies unique gift of presenting depth, true emotion and symbolism in each of their songs. I give it a 10!

Sally633503009@aol.com
10,10,10, that's TEN, for sure. Ah, huh! The Moodies were some of the best and first world beat bands/musicians on this album. Their use of sitar, tablas, etc. is the most, if not only, really respectable effort among other bands trying to do the same thing around the time. "Visions of Paradise" uses a very basic western 5, leading tone to tonic sort of gesture, and totally ingeniously makes it sound not only exotically East Indian, but downright otherworldly (which it should). I have been translated by that melody ever since I heard it. There is a paradise, and that song came from there. This album is obviously influenced by the late 60s interest in meditation/yoga trend, but is actually, by virtue of having been exceedingly well-done, TIMELESS. Meditation and yoga, issues about life and death, regeneration, transformation, transcendence, etc., are basically ongoing in any genuine human experience; and I can relate to this album as not only a good musician, but as someone who is inspired by transcendence and heavenly beauty. For poetry and music, I am grateful that it has been a part of my experience. Sounds to me like they found that Lost Chord, a lot of times. -

bpurdy43@aol.com (Brian Purdy)
I am surprised that there are not more comments about The Actor which I consider to be one of the most haunting Justin Hayward tunes of all time. It still raises the hair on my arms today as it did back in 1968. Lyrics and melody that evoke feelings of uncertainty, longing, love (either lost, present or future) and a hope for the future. Appropriate then as it is now.

richbunnell@home.com
The concept is dumb (the Lost Chord is "Ommmmm"? Whatever), but this is a really well-written album. It doesn't sound a bit dated to these ears compared to the band's other stuff, and it's definitely a lot more interesting than some of the later albums in their "Big Seven." My favorites are Ray's tunes along with "House Of Four Doors," "Ride My See-Saw," and "The Best Way To Travel." The only minor stinker to me is "Visions Of Paradise," a floaty filler tune which doesn't need to be there. I'd give this one a nine!

And to Scott Moore, the Tragically Hip freakin' rule. Unless you're a Canadian, I guess, in which case they're probably horribly overplayed. But I'm an American! Nyeeeeah!

kenyon@csinet.net (Amanda Kenyan)
Hey now, Mr. Bunnel - you have dissed on my favorite MB song and have therefore left me no option but to purposely misspell your name in order to wreak revenge on you in a childish and juvenile manner. Visions of Paradise is gorgeous! Not hokey at all! And it certainly DOES need to be there! Okay, I'm done defending my beautiful little song now.

As for the rest of the album, it's great too! Probably my second-favorite, behind TOCCC. I don't really like Ride My See-Saw, though....it seems kinda silly to me. (And yes, you have my permission to purposely misspell my name in order to wreak revenge on me in a childish and juvenile manner for dissing on a song you like.) I really love The Actor and Om (even though it's also kinda silly), and Legend of a Mind has always been a favorite. Not that my opinion really matters, though - everybody go buy this album and listen to it right now, so you can form your own opinion and yell at other people for dissing on songs you like. Wouldn't that be FUN?

Redmon48@aol.com
I was introduced to LSD and In Search of the Lost Chord at the same time in 1968. What a great introduction to both of the greatest highs one could have experienced at the time. It goes without saying that the combination of both the music and the lyrics of the Moodies and the eurphoric effects of the drug made for a life long commitment to the band that has never left me. In Search of the Lost Chord has a special place in my heart that I will never forget.

jason_a@earthlink.net (Jason Adams)
One of my dad's favorites. Except for "Ride My Seesaw" and "The Best Way To Travel", which are both pretty hokey, this album is really quite the sunny piece of chewed sidewalk gum. "Om"? There's a song on here called "Om"? And that house of four doors, which is probably in the bad part of town, where every room you enter reveals another tepid instrumental. Except the bathroom, which contains an ode to Timothy Leary. Makes me long for the brutal hard rock of the Beach Boys or Donovan.

horseshoe7@yahoo.com
I'm glad to see that there are others who have the same opinion regarding "The Actor" as I do. Once known as the defining MB "acid" album, ISOTLC will become known as the album that contained "The Actor". This song has surfaced as a real gem for the ages... the boys really bring their skills together on this one... Ray's Flute, Pinder's Mellotron, Justin's Lead, Lodge's spooky backup... it DOES raise the hair on your neck.

bird1@jps.net
Wow! You are really tripping! You have no clue what the Moodies are all about if you can trash this album. Honestly, you must be very superficial to not understand their message. What's wrong with talking about transcendance or drugs or timothy leary? or using poetic symbolism? What's wrong with writing a song about a bird? It's alot better than all the whining complaint rock you hear today. They wrote about soul stuff, universal truths, heart stuff, human stuff in a wonderfully rich, colorful whimsical way - their songs cut through all bullshit and get right to the truth. Obviously you don't get it at all. Think of the talent needed and the creativity to orchestrate their incredibly complex and layered tunes. And what's with all of this "hippie dippie" criticism? You prefer money grubbing yuppie attitudes of superiority to tolerance, judgement to love, static role-playing to free thought? Get out my universe!

Mkj6672@cs.com
Just listened to this 34 year old record in my car cd changer. 34 years... and it still has a kick to it. "Seesaw" has a great rhythm section on it- acoustic guitar, propulsive bass, ditto the drums, repeating electric guitar riff, and tambourine. And the guitar solo- a mix of raga and surf. And the vocals- Tony Clarke mixed all four singers together in some kind of cosmic blender and it sounds Great.. I mean really, all it takes his a good ear to hear and recognize good music-ant this lp passes the test in flying colors. Also this group was one of the first to feature the flute. The other group at that time was Traffic. (Jethro Tull didn't break until late 68-early 69). This group also featured four songwriters who equally contributed to the groups success and sound. Great record.

NeutronJK53@aol.com
are some of you nitwits out of your mind ? this is one of the great albums produced during the late 60's .absolutly STUNNING music and great lyrics. not one bad song. LISTEN to the music stupid,. wheather you were stoned or not this is great stuff. 35 years later this is still a wonderful , inspiring, listening experienge, especially with headphones. in closing , let me say bravo to "tom in portland" who wisely notes, as i have commented many times, the best rock music ever made was between 1964 andand 1972. we were truly blessed to grow up with this music. and by the way i'll be seeing the rest of you true moody blues fans in conn. at their oct. 7 concert.

baculus_amroth@yahoo.com
Judging from the review, and some of the responses to the review, I don't think some people "get" The Moody Blues. After all, they were a PSYCHEDELIC (as in, ahem, psychedelic drugs) band, and a 60's band none the less. And, personally, I don't think you can truly grasp their music, especially an album such as In Search of the Lost Chord, until you have heard it under the influence of psychedelics, especially LSD. (Sorry for you stiffies and straight-edges who haver never imbibed...) I think this album is an absolute 10--great playing, whimsical (which I think goes RIGHT over the head of many that listen to this album), lush, beauty, lyrics, electronics...I think this album holds up great over the years. Yeah, over the years, I have listened to every genre of music, including lots of hardcore and heavy music, but I can still come back to the Moody Blues. Thank God, and thank you guys...

KevinMartinell@aol.com
An excellent follow-up album to "Days of Future Passed!" I like this mix of "Ride My See-Saw" the best, because it has better bass quality than the mixes that appeared on the "best of" compilation CD's ... Also, Graeme Edge's opening track, "Departure" provides the perfect intro that leads into this song. Fortunately, "Time Traveller" features this version of the song, too. I like how, in the middle of "Ride My See-Saw" when the band is chanting, you can hear cellos sawing away in the background, in perfect rhythm ... Listen carefully! :) That was awesome, and the same goes for Justin Hayward's guitar solo!

"Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" is catchy, and I love the sound of the guitars and mellotrons, especially during the instrumental break. While Ray Thomas sings lead vocal on that track, you can hear that John Lodge's voice is dominant on the choruses.

The "House of Four Doors"/"Legend of a Mind" medley is magnificent, and I love the way the tracks flow into one another ... "House of Four Doors, Part 1," sounds like an earlier version of "Procession," from "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour," during the parts of the song where the different musical styles are heard. It was also amusing to hear cellos creating the sounds of squeaky doors opening!

"Legend of a Mind" is just brilliant, and "The Moodies" do a magnificent job on the vocals and instrumentation all the way through ... This song includes one of the most outstanding flute solos I have ever heard from Ray Thomas, and I love the "Doppler effect" on the mellotrons throughout the song! On this track, I've noticed that there is a brief crackling sound heard along the lines of, "He'll plant your feet back firmly on the ground" on most mixes of the song, but on the re-mastered version of the "In Search of the Lost Chord" CD (As well as the remix from "This Is The Moody Blues," about 2:16 into the song, I would say), it was eliminated ... This is a fine example of an excellent re-mastering job in the sound quality. The mixes heard on "Time Traveller" and "The Moody Blues Anthology" keep the crackling sound, though.

"Voices in the Sky" and "The Actor" are two fine Justin Hayward compositions, and remind me of "Nights in White Satin," at a few points ... Once again, Ray Thomas contributes some nice flute pieces to both tracks. BTW, I love all versions of "Voices in the Sky," including the one on the "Live at Red Rocks" set and the classical version on the "Classic Moody Blues Hits with the Frankfurt Rock Orchestra" album ... Magnificent! Both "Visions of Paradise" and "OM" have a pleasant sound to them, as well, and it is nice to relax to both tracks ... Justin Hayward's sitar solo on "OM" sounds great, and you can also hear a bit of the sitar near the end of "Visions of Paradise." The barely audible mellotrons, heard way in the background to "The Word," added a nice touch to the poetry. Oh yeah ... My favorite line in "The Actor" is: "Put out your problems with the cat." I love it! :)

Don't want to forget "The Best Way To Travel" ... The reverb on the vocals was a cool effect, and so were those "fluttering" and beeping sound effects during the latter half of the song.

In addition to the "Magical Mystery Tour" album, by The Beatles, "In Search of the Lost Chord" features some of the best stereo effects I have ever heard on an entire album, most notably on "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume," "House of Four Doors," "Legend of a Mind," "The Best Way To Travel," "The Actor," and "OM." If you have a "balance" dial on your stereo, you can check out what's missing when eliminating the output from each speaker ... It's quite interesting, when you hear the results! :)

It's a shame that "A Simple Game" wasn't included as a bonus track, when the re-mastered version of this CD was released (A re-mastered version of the stereo mix that appeared on the "Prelude" CD would have been nice). Still, "In Search of the Lost Chord" is a terrific album and I enjoy each track a lot ... 10 dots for me on this one! :)

SoulQuest7@aol.com (Nick)
I'd like to take exception to your comment that hippie music/lyrics hasn't aged well. First of all, although I caught on to hippie vibes 8-10 years after its breakthrough in the late 60s, there were people at the time that didn't like it. If you are cynical, pessimistic, or decadent by nature, I'd suggest you get your music listening recommendations from Lester Bangs.
The hippie movement was a liberal movement with a distinctly spiritual bent. Like liberals of any age, they wanted a more open, gentle, and tolerant culture. The conservatives wanted people to march in step and believe whatever the culture told them about politics, religion, and culture. The hippies agreed in part with political left and dissented on issues about the war, voting rights, free speech, drug policies, identity politics, etc. In terms of religion, they looked at the exclusivist heaven/hell dichotomy of Christian theology and dissented from this theological terrorism as well as the far left's anti-spirituality. From India came a stream of gurus that mostly had a more liberal, universalistic, and mystical philosophy that believed that people from all faiths could make spiritual progress-- or not make progress-- and that just being a Christian wasn't a free pass into heaven. This was heresy to the religious mainstream in the West, especially in America. In terms of culture, hippies questioned everything from the cruelty of the slaughterhouse to the superiority of Western music and medicine to the boundaries drawn by academic study. Boundary shattering-- that's what the late 60s was about. And they did all this while singing about rainbows, flowers, love and spirituality. Bravo, is all I can say.
On the contrary, I think the juvenile rage attacks of punk was something that would burn out fast and would be impossible to mature into. It didn't surprise me when punk darlings like the Clash looked to a more spiritual tradition, reggae, for inspiration. Punk carried a similar type of critique in terms of politics, but delivered it with so much venom and hate that it burned out and dissolved into New Wave almost immediately. The hippies had a much longer lasting influence, at least from my perspective as a fan of ambient, new age, progressive rock, Asian underground, chanti,and other traditions that were defined by more spiritual perspectives.
As the decades have rolled on, I find that while there's always juveniles ready for a rowdy musical soundtrack to their own personal puberty ritual, the hippie idealism remains a time to look back on for more long-term values like spiritual inspiration. The very things you make fun of-- songs that intermingle themes about nature and spirituality-- are things so integral to most peoples lives that they certainly deserve a song as much as the trivial bullsh*t that makes up most pop music. To love nature is to seek the benefit of all. To look to Spirit is to see what interconnects us all, and what is the continuity of life after death. These are quests that are certainly deeper and as valid of topics for songs as romantic love and politics.
The gentleness of much of the music-- Voices In The Sky, Visions of Paradise-- mirrors the gentleness of many of the hippies concerns-- mystical spirituality, vegetarianism, ecology, environmentalism, nonviolence, etc. These were all part of the same counterculture, and although not all the experiments worked for all people, they remain touchstones for those seeking a new way of life. Even the interest in drugs ("Legend of a Mind") was not about romanticizing addictive drugs like heroin. It was mostly about using specific drugs, in limited ways, in a spiritual context.
There are now bookstores all over the country that deal specifically with all these issues. That to me proves a lasting impact to this genre of philosophy, and the music that helped to spread it. ---==-=-=- om=-==-=-

Add your thoughts?

On The Threshold Of A Dream - Deram 1969.
Rating = 9

Much better! No yantras, no Timothy Leary - just the soothing tones of the Mellotron, Moody-flavored classical/pop, and... what's this? Some R 'n' B? Hmm.... A little out of place, si, but Lodge's two contributions to the record, "Send Me No Wine" and especially "To Share Our Love," are clearly a blast from the past! Trying to put the "blues" back in the "moody blues," perchance? Whatever the reason for their existence (existences?), they're mega-unpretentious and a dang hoot to boot, as are most of these songs.

There's the rockin' follow-up to "Ride My Seesaw" ("Lovely To See You"), Ray Thomas's two surprisingly dark flaky songs, "Dear Diary" and "Lazy Day" (well, okay, a song featuring the lines "Lazy day / Sunday afternoon / Like to put your feet up / Watch TV" can't really be called dark, per se, but that "ahhh-ahhhh-ahhhh" chorus bit is a little creepy), a couple more stupid Graeme Edge poems (by the by, my friend Scott Haggard and I used to tape a picture of the band to the wall and try to throw darts at Graeme Edge; I guess I've never been much of a poetry fan), and two majestic Hayward ballads - "Never Comes The Day" and "Are You Sitting Comfortably" (which was co-written by Thomas, which explains the stupid lyrics about Merlin casting a spell).

I've said this afore and I'm sure I'll say it again before they throw my lifeless body into a sacred burial plot and light an eternal flame in my memory: these guys were all pretty great songwriters for the most part, but why in God's name did they ever let anyone but Hayward sing? He has the voice of an angel! And the other fellas just sound.... well, Ray sounds fruity and the other ones just sound boring - like a British minister or an elderly schoolteacher or Lou Reed - bleah casserole! The most miserable vocalist is, as you might expect, Pinder, who chimes in with two more suicide anthems, the extremely well-written "Have You Heard / The Voyage" suite that ends side two, and the crappy macho love rocker "So Deep Within You" (which appears to be about screwin') that closes side one. Yes, an absolutely miserable song, but the only one on an otherwise splendid record, even though the Rolling Stone Record Guide only gave it one and a half stars out of five. In fact, they pretty much gave every Moody Blues record one and a half stars out of five. Except, of course, Sur La Mer, which completely blows so they gave it two and a half stars. Whatever. I doubt they even listened to the records in the first place.

Reader Comments

105156.640@compuserve.com
Yes, I have to agree that this one plods a bit compared to the previous two. And I have to agree that it's Ray's fault - his 2.5 contributions are really boring. "The Voyage" is really innovative - the mellotron provides amazing orchestral textures. I like "So Deep" better than you - it sounds like the only time they attempted something a liitle jazz-influenced.

Limbeck@sprynet.com (Cody)
I'm not even going to read your reviews on these albums, after seeing these first reviews! Ask Anybody who's ever heard Moody Blues, music professionals or not, Days Of Future Passed is Legandary and brilliant. Anything less then a ten, on any kind of scale, is ludicrous. I'm a Moody Blues fan, in MY opinion, the ones you rated higher, I would rate lower! And the ones you rated Lower, I would rate Higher! We don't agree Musically!

MikeRobWil@aol.com
I agree with you about Rolling Stone's ratings being entirely off base. If anyone representing the magazine had really listened to any of the Moody Blues, their scores would have had to be much higher. Then again, they trashed The Doors too. Who ever gave Rolling Stone the credentials to judge musical taste anyway? I won't buy the rag and only look at the 3-4 year old copies I find at my dentists office.

Threshold is pure classic from start to finish and I include G. Edge's poetry in that comment.

lewallen@Oceana.net
Rolling Stone needs to get a grip. They are so biased, it's pathetic!! I'm glad you love Justin's voice, but please give the others a chance! John's, though not superb, is very touching. And Ray's is incredibly powerful!!

Azeal777@aol.com
What do you mean that they shouldn't let anyone but Justin sing? I agree that he has the voice of an angel, but what about John!!!!! I love John and I think his voice is really great. He can't do as much with it as Justin can, but the Moodies wouldn't be the same without John's voice. If you didn't like a lot of the songs on the album, how come it was on the charts for over 100 weeks?

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
This album has to be their weirdest. There is a warning. After "To Share Your Love" Mike scared the heck out of me when "So Deep Within You" started. He came up out of nowhere and said "TALK TO ME BABY..." this is a warning to all of you who are planning to buy this album.

javajim@csinet.net
HEY! I LIKE the lines about Merlin casting a spell! You have no sense of art. But I agree with you about the rest. "Send Me No Wine" was pretty good too. Rolling Stone blows.

fyodor@mixcom.com (Zimmer)
This is yet abother worthy effort from the moodies. "Lovely to see You" is perhaps Justin Hayward's best song. I can't help but to laugh at "So deep within you" although it is not a bad song. I like the mellowness and darkness of this album.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Ray does sound fruity!! But Mike Pinder sounds worse... like a child molester! My question is why they let him write songs; almost everything he wrote, except for the anamoly of Children's, is substandard and off.

krister74@hotmail.com
Adding some thoughts 'bout moody; I recenlty bought my 2:d MB:s album; In search, and it was somewhat better than Days of Future which was my first. In search is quite perfect, Lodge does some of his best songs, my favourite songs are by Ray Thomas, "Dr Livingstone" and "Legend of a mind". I am a bit disappointed by Haywards songs. They seem to 'nice' for me, "Voices in the sky" doesnt somewhat fit on such a psychedelic album.

And about the 3:d record, On the threshold..., it really disappointed me and still is, I just couldnt believe what I heard when the first chords of "Lovely to see you" hit me. What the hell was this? Really boooring melodies, not a hit, Haywards boring, stiff melodies, Lodge's even more dull songs, unbelivable, what had happened with them?

I really think this is a boring album, best songs: Have you heard 1-2, So deep within you. Otherwise Im really disappointed. I havent bought To our childrens... yet but i will do it, give MB one last chance. By the way, I am really into the more psycehdelic music, like Jefferson Airplane, Love, Doors, etc. so perhaps In search of the lost chord is the only MB record that fit" me...

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Wow. Even better. I mean, I can actually FEEL the progress they made with each new album. Hard to believe it, but there is at least a quirky little hook in practically EVERY song here, and some are downright lovely - 'Dear Diary' and 'Lazy Day', for one. The ending is a little murky, with orchestration coming in on 'The Voyage', and there's the usual banality by Graeme Edge ('I think therefore I am'. Thanks for reminding), but apart from these inconveniences, you really won't find anything annoying here. Not that all of these songs are great, but, like I said, there are at least some moments in virtually every song that can hold your attention (which I certainly wouldn't say about the earlier stuff). I definitely will not agree with the 9, because I still think the Moodies are nothing but a grandiose version of the Hollies, but a 7 is OK. Maybe even an 8 - if you're in the mood.

Which actually reminds me: all of you guys who fall all over Justin Hayward, go listen to The Hollies. It is absolutely unjust to love the Moodies and ignore the Hollies, who were by far England's BEST pure pop group throughout the Sixties. You can directly feel the influence of stuff from albums like 'Butterfly' or 'For Certain Because' on the Moodies' creativity. No offense - just a statement. And moreover, The Hollies never displayed even a millionth part of the Moodies' pretentiousness and pomp.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Mr. Starostin's comments all over this website have, for a good while, puzzled me. I've tried hard to understand where he is coming from, and what would cause him to say such negative things about Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and to not like the orchestral stylings of the Moody Blues and Yes. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Mr. Starsotin likes to harp over and over again about how he loves "pure rock music" and "pure pop music" and laments about sterile and highly derivative riffs in Floyd and Zep and how he hates orchestration and "pretentiousness and pomp."

"pure rock music"

"pure pop music"

That's a very bland concoction you've created for yourself, Mr. Starsotin. It seems that all the music you like has to have a "killer riff" and "structure" or you don't like it. You claim that "aura and atmosphere are not the only thing that characterizes a good band" in your review of LZ I, and you start bashing their riffs as completely stolen. You rip Dark Side of the Moon, giving it a _6_, for crying out loud, just cos the solos aren't tip-top and the riffs aren't great. While I would agree that aura and atmosphere aren't all that make a good band, riffs aren't all that are necessary either. When I listen to Zep, I don't really give a damn whether Page stole all of his material. There's a saying that good artists borrow, great artists steal. And these guys were _great_ artists. I don't care that there's no structure in Song Remains the Same (which is not boring at all, thank you very much) or that Achilles' Last Stand is 10:32. And I sure as hell don't lament that Led Zeppelin III is a fantastic mix of rock and folk (I read your review of Songs From The Wood, and I know that you hate pure folk music, which I kinda disagree with, but hey). When I listen to Floyd, I don't think to myself "man, these guys are only so-so instrumentalists." I think, "wow, no band has ever done more with less." The people in Pink Floyd were pure genius. They knew what their weaknesess were, and they compensated in spectacular fashion. And finally, when I listen to the Moody Blues, I sit in awe and wonder. For the Moodies didn't write great "pop". They didn't write great "rock". They wrote great "MUSIC." If that meant pooring in some folk, some r&b, and even some classical, they did so, because they recognized that music can take many, many forms.

If you limit yourself to pure rock and roll and pop and spend all your energies looking for "hooks" in each song and ignore such fundmental elements such as "harmony" and "melody", you will be missing out on a lot.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Response to Mr John McFerrin

First of all, that's STAROSTIN, not STARSOTIN, mr McFerrin. Second, I don't know why it hit you like a ton of bricks, but you're not quite right about my preferences. I have nothing against orchestration as such. Orchestration on Quadrophenia, for instance (well, the elements of orchestration, to be more correct), works for me. So does orchestration on, say, Procol Harum records. Moody Blues orchestration is typical Hollywood movie soundtrack orchestration and nothing more. They could have easily done without it. It might have sounded original in 1967 but it sounds dated now. I don't mind complexity in rock music. And I don't think I've ever mentioned the word combinations "pure rock music" or "pure pop music" anywhere on this site. Well, I might have, in a couple of cases, but I don't worship these notions as much as you think I do. Yes, I said the Hollies were a 'pure pop group', but that's not a compliment or anything - it's just a statement. And even the Hollies were not always 'pure'. As for 'pure rock music', in my comments on Layla I doubted the possible existence of a pure rock tune. So you see - you're really going in the wrong direction. I also don't hate pure folk music. Songs From The Wood is NOT pure folk music, whatever you may say, it is Ian Anderson's representation of folk music and it doesn't work for me. The only pure folk song on that one, by the way, is 'The Whistler', and that's exactly the song I like on this album. So there.

What I put forth as the main criteria for good/bad rock music are a) originality and b) diversity (diversity!!! hear that, mr McFerrin?). This immediately leaves Led Zep out, for it is hard to imagine a less diverse group (although AC/DC comes close). This doesn't leave out Pink Floyd, but that's a third criterium: the musical skeleton. You are right about saying 'they know what their weaknesses were'. Their main weakness was that they couldn't write a great melody, with a few exceptions, and they compensated with special effects and intriguing production and stuff. That's all very well, but it's just like eating sugar without tea.

Next: I'm sorry, but I will always keep looking for a 'hook' in any song. Nah, let me correct that: I won't be looking for them, I'll just wait for them to come and get me. But 'get me', not just 'please me'. I cannot just relax, sit back and 'let the airwaves flow'. The song might be 'pure rock' or 'pure folk', and they might be this and they might be that, but they should be memorable and tasty, and not just display a 'technique' or a 'style' or a 'mood'. So you got me all wrong.

And forgive me my love for riffs. Please!

Also, you seem to think that I'm a great hater of the MB or Pink Floyd or anything. Nope, you just can't see my real position. I see how all of you hardcore fans swoon all over everything these guys put their fingers to and cry: 'This is the best album! No, this one is the best! On second thought, their third one was the best! It's fantastic!' I hate this attitude. You might have noticed I'm a huge Who fan, but you might also have noticed I don't leave no album without any critique. Of course, prog-rock and art-rock are much easier to criticize - that is because they often mask a lack of creative ideas behind a wall of sound and impeccable instrumental technique. Like Yes, yes. And like the Moody Blues. And like Jethro Tull. Not always, but often. They had a lot of great songs, but they also had a lot of pointless wanking. One has to wade through the dreck and fish out the pearls. That's how it goes with such things. You speak of the Moodies as being diverse? Don't make me laugh! They have a STYLE, by Jesus! I can immediately recognize a Moody Blues, but I could NEVER immediately recognize, say, a Beatles song - because they didn't have a style. They had everything.

Finally, since you're so keen on deciphering my musical tastes, here's one more puzzle for you. These are my two (current) favourite prog rock tunes: '21st Century Schizoid Man' by King Crimson and 'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' by Genesis. Any idea why, mr McFerrin?

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Very well, I stand corrected. I guess I can understand your desire for diversity over style. While I may not agree with your ideas of "sugar without tea", at least I can understand them. I personally enjoy sitting back and "letting the airways flow" myself, but I can see where thtat could get old to some people.

Also, don't think that I am the type of hardcore fan who doesn't notice weaknesess in albums. Goodness no. For people who were as talented at melody writing as the Moodies were, they've managed to write a lot of crap. If I cared enough to, I could respond to every single Moody Blues album review and every single Pink Floyd review and give criticism and praise, but unfortunately I only have so much time as a college student. I think your Who reviews are truly excellent, btw.

Wrt to the style of the Moodies, yes, I agree that they had a definite style, but throwing in random influences into the songs was a part of that style. Order through structured chaos, I guess. I dunno, it's the best analogy I can come up with.

Finally, my best guess why you like 21'st century Schizoid Man is that you have much better taste than I realized. (I don't particularly care for King Crimson, tho my brother is a huge fan, but I think that song rules)

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Unlike some others, I love the final part of the album, the Are You Sitting Comfortably/The Dream/Have You Heard/Voyage suite more than any other part. I mean, Lovely To See You is good, but kinda dull. And while Dear Diary and Lazy Day are quite good, Send Me No Wine and Share Your Love are just ... ok. And Never Comes The Day is very very good, but not quite great. Anyways, the overall quality, for me at least, is not high enough to warrant a 9, but any lower than an 8 would be just wrong, so an 8 it is.

msmith48@snet.net (Monica Smith)
What is the matter with you? Lay off Ray and Graeme, they make up the backbone of the whole band. Ray's songs are NOT flaky, and his voice is a near match for Justin's. And half the songs would be so 2 dimensional without John's high soprano and Ray's baratone. Who's rating these albums, anyway?

richbunnell@home.com
Hmmph....I need to get the remastered copies of these Moodies albums. The only CD copies I have easy access to at the moment are a couple of the crummy '80s remasters which make the mix sound all choppy. Especially "Lovely To See You" on this album-- on the version I have it sounds all broken up, but I've heard a shiny, polished mix which was perfect! That's why I can't review Days Of Future Passed yet-- I don't care for that one too much but apparently the mix on the old CD is horrible so I could easily change that opinion later. This here album I like even with the crappy mix, however, and can tell that this stuff would rule in any given situation. Pinder's closing suite is a masterpiece. A few dull songs (like the Pinder/Hayward one before the suite) but it's mostly very, very good. A really high 8/10 with chances of improving.

jmoyer@sgi.net (Jason Moyer)
It really boggles my mind that while so much of their music was a rare combination of innovative and beautiful, the only songs that gain any recognition are the top-40 AOR crap that Heyward/Lodge did. Heyward always sounds like he's going to cry at any given moment with his over dramatic quasi-operatic vocal style (the deeper he pulls from his diaphragm, the more I cringe). The John Lodge pieces are generally totally laughable, with the cheesy vocal harmonies that make me want to listen to Pet Sounds again and the generally pointless lyrics and unimaginative instrumentation (Send Me no Wine could be a top-40 country song if you took the wannabe Beach Boys harmonies out of the chorus).

As with any other Moodies record, buy the CD, program the Pinder/Thomas/Edge tracks, and put it on repeat. Mix with a heavy dose of Pet Sounds and Syd Barrett for a fun afternoon.

kenyon@csinet.net (Amanda Kenyon)
Good album. Nothing on it really stands out to me, except for Are You Sitting Comfortably (I first heard this song at the beginning of my fascination with the Arthurian legends, and it stuck with me), but it gets the award for all-around proficiency.

And Mr. Jason Moyer.....with all due respect, what kind of hallucinogenic drugs are YOU on?? You really and truly don't like Hayward's voice? Wow....you're the first person I've ever come across who thinks that. Not that it isn't a valid opinion, mind you, just a new and different one. Well, if God had intended for everybody to love Justin Hayward, He wouldn't have let anybody else sing at all. But still...wow.

richbunnell@home.com
I said "a high 8/10 with chances of improving" in my comment three posts up. It's now about a year later, and I've purchased the remastered edition -- geeze. This album is perfect. I can't see why this isn't the Moodies' undisputed masterpiece, what with it littered with amazing, gorgeous songs and no real boring ones. "Lovely To See You," in a perfect world, would be in heavy classic rock rotation along with "Ride My See-Saw" and "Question," and Thomas' songs are really creepy and cool. Don't knock "So Deep Within You" - it's embarassingly macho, but it still has an awesome melody. A ten!!

MaxOmaggot@aol.com
Mr. Starostin,

You say that you wait for the hook of the song to come along, and that's reasonable enough, considering that that part of the song usually is the most... exciting. Or catchy. Or whatever. But either you fail to notice that the _other_ parts of the songs are important, too, or you realize this and simply ignore it anyway.

I find a lot more to like besides the hook, moreso in Moody Blues songs than any others I hear. For instance, if you were to ask me to sing the chorus of The Voice, I wouldn't be able to help you. I have no idea if it even has one. I guess it logically should, but I don't even care to figure out--it doesn't matter, because every part of The Voice is pretty much just as good as any other. Whenever I sing the song to myself, I don't prefer one part over another.

And what about the songs that have obvious, but weak (or perhaps 'less likeable' is a better descriptor), choruses? Like Nervous. I like the slower parts of that song a great deal; definitely more than the chorus.

(If you think Long Distance Voyager is the only album I've heard or something, don't be deceived; this is simply the most recent purchase of mine, and I've just gotten familiar with it so it is fresh in my mind.)

These examples probably aren't even the best ones I could give... but that doesn't matter. I find pleasure in sitting back and letting the airwaves flow. I think that's part of being a Moody Blues fan. I find myself putting on a Moody Blues album, and I sing and hum along as necessary, and then I turn my attention somewhere else for a moment and I've missed my favorite line, or my favorite song, or the whole album! But all the while I'll have been singing along, not even noticing. One reason why I sometimes go to sleep to their music--so I can concentrate and really hear the great details, most of which are NOT the intended hooks at all.

And then you talk about the Moodies lacking diversity. What is this? You honestly think the Beatles, out of all the bands you could have picked, best represent diversity? I have two very big qualms with the Beatles: their humor is dopey, in a very juvenile (original, but still juvenile) way, and all their songs sound the same. Either that, or everyone (except, perhaps, you) is born with the innate ability to recognize Beatles songs. These two factors equate to a fairly annoying band. I have to admit that I've never heard a Moodies song without knowing it was them, but this is because I only hear their songs when I expressly decide to put on one of their CDs (what, am I going to hear them on the radio...?) But you'd be lying through your teeth if you said they weren't diverse. These are the people who put My World and Veteran Cosmic Rocker on the same album. They have light songs (Nice to Be Here, Dawn Is a Feeling, Floating). dark songs (Twilight Time, When You're a Free Man Again, 20,000 Days, Reflective Smile), love songs (I Know You're Out There Somewhere, The Story in Your Eyes, It's Up to You, Dawning Is the Day), exhilarating rockers (Gypsy, After You Came, Veteran Cosmic Rocker), mysterious songs (You Can Never Go Home, One More Time to Live, Thinking Is the Best Way to Travel, House of Four Doors, Sun Is Still Shining, bookends of Question), and even innocent, children's songs (Emily's Song, My Little Lovely). Yes, they have a style. Everyone does. The Beatles most certainly did, and I thought it was a really awful one. Everything creative the Moodies ever did was great--their concept albums with poetry and orchestration, the flute, the mellotron!--and everything creative that the Beatles did annoyed the hell out of me.

I like the Moodies because I like their style. Their first 9 albums, as well as Strange Times, are each like a greatest hits album. I can't comment on the others becasue I haven't listened to them yet. And although J&J may represent the core of the band, it was Graeme, Ray, and Mike that truly set them apart from everyone else. Everyone rags on Graeme's poetry, but I love it. I've never thought of it as corny, always as powerful (I didn't start reading MB reviews until this year, and I've listened to them for well over 10 years--I had no idea people really thought this way about the poetry). The fact is that everyone brings (or brought) something great to the band, and they mesh perfectly. I love all of their songs--and I mean love--with the possibly exception of Words You Say. I just like that one... for now.

Add your thoughts?

* To Our Children's Children's Children - Threshold 1969. *
Rating = 10

Not too many bands put out two truly magnificent albums in 1969. Even the Stones only managed one. The Who did two, but they were both Tommy. But those Moodies, awww, man! Same formula as the last one, except no R 'n' B for miles around. This stuff is straight-up classical pop rock in all the grandiose beauty they could muster. I'm cereal! This is the album that got me so heavily into the band in the first place!

These songs are slow, moving, uplifting, depressing, beautiful - everything that hymns are supposed to be. And EVERYONE contributes winners! Pinder's "Sun Is Still Shining" (was he on Zoloft during this period or something?), Hayward's gorgeous "I Never Thought I'd Live To Be A Hundred / Million" and "Watching And Waiting," Thomas's impressively serious "Eternity Road" and playful but superb "Floating" (there are, as of this writing, no words to describe the feeling of bliss that overcomes my entire psyche every time I hear that ascending "Fooooo!" noise), Lodge's mournful but lovely "Candle Of Life" and "Eyes Of A Child Part One" ("Part Two" is a rocker, and not as good), and finally, even ol' poem boy pulls a couple of topnotch rockers out of his goofy mustache; enough praise it is impossible to lavish upon the electric-guitar-driven, shadowy, mean space rock that is (are?) "Higher And Higher" and (or?) "Beyond." Buy this album tomorrow. It's dark and slow, but so is life.

Oh yeah, a few parts sound hokey. Deal with it. You'd sound hokey too if you smoked as much reefer as they did.

Reader Comments

scotiatb@e-z.net (Lisa McKenzie)
I completely agree --terrific album, every song right on!

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
It's a tossup between this and the last album, but Children's Children's Children is the most balanced album in their glorious '67-'72 run. "Out And In" seems somewhat like a paean to impotence ("I've been lying here for hours, you've gotta make the journey Out and In"...hmm), but hey, it's a Pinder song. Who knew what problems he was having at the time? (He was already bald at this point) Even Ray stays away from the Sesame Street poetry. (Surprisingly, the band has brought back "Eternity Road" for their current ('96) tour).

105002.1254@compuserve.com (Trevor A. Kotowich)
Quite simply... their best. "Eyes Of A Child Part 2," "Eternity Road" and "Candle Of Life" really turned me on to the band. Are we sure Justin didn't write "Eternity Road"?

bclaritc@selkirk.csrv.nidc.edu (Blaine Laritchie)
Thank you for agreeing with me. "Candle Of Life" has always been my favorite song on this album. John Lodge is a very talented, sensitive, expressive songwriter. He also knows how to rock'n'roll.

105002.1254@compuserve.com (Trevor A. Kotowich)
Yes, I like this one a lot, too. My least favorites, though, are Pinder's stuff. Kind of slow. I like "Gypsy", "Eternity Road" and "Candle Of Life" - that sequence of songs is really cool. "Gypsy" is far from boring - it sounds pretty amazing to me. Ray's two songs are among his best. "Watching and Waiting" was the single, by the way, not "Gypsy". It's unremarkable for a Justin song - he's got many that are better.

Doggman211@aol.com (Albert Sadler, Jr.)
You really hit it with this one! My favorite album by this band - no question! From the rocket blast opening of "Higher And Higher" onwards, the "space-rock" imagery is an easy concept to grasp (the fact that I first heard this album in the same year as the first manned moon landing only reinforces this for me). Of course, the music stands on its own as a timeless classic that gets a lot of play in my music room today! A real gem.

lewallen@Oceana.net
Wow! Somebody who actually isn't bashing this album! A lot of fans don't like it. But, I totally agree with you. I didn't really listen to it until last year (I'm 15. They were my favorite band in seventh grade, too. That was when I saw my first concert and got hooked), when I won the sheet music to "Eyes of a Child" and had to actually hear the song. Then I fell in love with the rest, especially "Candle of Life". John is such a thoughtful, energetic person! He can write deep and powerful, or the most driving rock! Plus, he's magic on stage!

Tangame@aol.com
I love Ray Thomas's lyrics. "Are You Sitting Comfortably" i love- THOMAS-HAYWARD COMPOSITIONS HAVE BEEN SOME OF MY FAVORITES- "VISIONS OF PARADISE" - "ARE YOU SITTING," "WATCHING AND WAITING" - SOME OF THE MOODY'S BEST STUFF. THOMAS'S LYRICS ALWAYS MAKE ME SMILE.

"type your username"@teleport.com (Tom in Portland)
Okay, I'm giving you a break on your previously loony opinions, because you are recognizing a genuinely cool album. Your song reviews for TOCCC are right on the money, especially the word "gorgeous" for "Watching and Waiting". Not many recordings can touch this particular track, and I never get sick of listening to it. As an aside, the version of "Gypsy" during the '95 tour was clearly a high point for the band... Justin's amplified acoustic guitar hooks blew the crowd away at a couple of outdoor venues that I attended, and I was left wishing that "Gypsy" had been picked over "Gemini Dream" for the Red Rocks set. The more recent revival of "Eternity Road" in the '96 tour was another nice tribute to the album, but I'd sure like to hear "Watching" live!

fuzzybunny@usa.net (Marko Spasojevic)
yeah, yeah, its a great album we all love it. but there is one thing that buggs me about it. It's the cheesy "Watching and waiting" single. A definitively worst song Moodies have ever done. I read somewhere that Justin expected from the song to be as big as "nights". And i can see deep inside how they tried to make it sound as "Nights" but 0nly succeeded in making a very lame song. The words make things even worse. There is not a single line in that song that I understood. And i really like other Moodies stuff. I do. Is there anyone else out there that hates this song too?

rgorsch@stmarys-ca.edu (Bob Gorsch)
Somehow, for me, there has always been something magical about this album. It's beautiful and majestic and moving as "space rock" and it has the feel of a coherent "concept album." "Gypsy" has always been my favorite, but "Watching and Waiting" and "I Never Thought I'd Live to Be a Hundred/Million" have an irreplaceable loveliness to them.

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
They're probably going to give this album to their great grandsons. It is a great album like you say. "Floating" and "Gypsy" are my favorites on this album. "I never thought I'd live to be a million" makes me think Justin is a lucky man.

i2lapawa@unibw_muenchen.de
an excellent album..one of the my best albums...i am not the fan of the conzept album...but children is one of the two conzept albums i like...(the other is the turn of the friendly card from APP)..i am absolutely agree with you that this album deserve 10.

javajim@csinet.net
I LOVE JUSTIN HAYWARD!! By the way, one of our marching band instructors looks just like him. They wrote "Watching and Waiting" for all the people who were stupid enough to ask "Why don't you write another 'Nights in White Satin'?" It wasn't nearly as big a hit as they thought it would be, but I still love it. :)

tabasco@worldnet.att.com
LISTEN UP!!!! I have 46 cds in my bedroom and I just got this on Saturday May 30, 1998 in New York. I bought it at the Virgin Record Store, largest record store I have ever been to and this is my favorite cd out of all the cd's I got. "Higher and Higher" starts out with a earthquake rumbiling and in the backround there's a choir in the backround. Then it comes to some kind of radio broadcast presented by the Moody Blues. I love "Eyes Of Child Parts 1 and 2", "Gyspsy" Fucking rock and well put. I love "Candle Of Life", in the middle it has a beautiful Piano symphony. I also love "I Never Thought I'd Live to be a Hundred" and "A Million". I wish i could. "Floating" kind of sounds like "Twilight Time". In "Sun is Still Shining" Justin disguises his voice deeper than ever. I love all the other tracks to. Very beautiful album. I'm sure their great grandchildren will love this cd. Really. I had a choice of getting this or Keys to the Kingdom. I bought this and I freakin love it. By the way I'm going to see them in concert on June 12th and I'm very excited. I love my favorite 3 bands. You know them. Oh yeah enclosing this review i give this album a 10, 10 10, 10 ,10 ,19 ,10 , 100,000,000,000,000,000 the last number is my good great terrific review number.

TwoPax@aol.com
This album is amazing. That's all. And while I don't agree with most of your ratings so far, this one is dead on. One suggestion: quit slamming Graeme's poetry. It is wonderful. Take it from a poet. Could you write anything like it? I couldn't. Try to be more objective.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Yep, a ten all right. Just a perfect album, and less hokey per second than on any other Moody Blues album! Gypsy is simply indescribably delicious.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I agree with you that it's pretty pissy that TOCCC is pretty much ignored on recent compilations. But if there's any consolation, on Time Traveller, they include 10 tracks of it, though why Out and In made it in place of Eternity Road baffles me. I mean, yeah, Beyond and Out and In flow into each other, but they could have tailed Beyond off without doing Out and In quite easily

Oh well. Great job on the reviews overall. I don't think you give EGBDF enough credit - I feel that it is far greater as a whole than the sum of its parts, and even though I'm not sure why, I'd give it at least an 8-, but otherwise I can comply with most of your ideas. I do, however, think that the Red Rocks version of The Voice completely kicks ass, even with too many keyboards.

And thank you for agreeing with me that Dave Floyd blows

WAYVED@aol.com
To Our Childrens Childrens Children is such a great record! The Moody Blues had the coolest record label of all time, as well! Threshold! Those blue label reissues-you know the comet looking thing-please! Let me know if you agree on this!

I love alot of punk stuff, alot of metal, tons of what you call "alternative" (guided by voices #1!!!) but i still have to go back to my old favorites. Even though all their good stuff was recorded way before i was born-their music gets better with age! Fave song on here: "Out and In" and "Gypsy"

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
To steal your description of The White Album - rules. The album rules. Higher and Higher and Beyond are _easily_ Edge's best contributions to the band. The Eyes of a Child/Floating suite rules, tho unlike you I prefer part 2 of Eyes. The I Never Thought ... tracks are short but gorgeous. Pinder takes a break from whining and just gives the listener two terrific spacey tracks in Out and In and Sun Is Still Shining. And of course, the opening tracks of side 2, Gypsy/Eternity Road/Candle of Life are the best 3 song sequence the Moodies ever put out, period.

I love this album. I love it more than Dark Side of the Moon, more than Fragile, more than Live at Leeds.

kenyon@csinet.net
I'm 17 years old, and my best friend is the only other person my age I know who has even heard of the Moody Blues. They're my second-favorite band, right behind and probably tied with Dave Matthews Band, and TOCCC is most definitely my favorite album of theirs. This and A Question of Balance were the hardest to find in my quest to own all of the core 7, and when I finally found this one, it stayed in my CD player for 3 weeks straight. (AQOB only managed 4 days.) This is absolutely magnificent. "Eyes of a Child I," "Gypsy," "Eternity Road," "Candle of Life," they all just blow me away. "Candle of Life" probably has the stupidest chorus of any song I've ever heard ("So love everybody and make them your friend," or something like that) but the rest of the song definitely makes up for it. This CD is definitely one I will never get tired of.

msmith48@snet.net (Monica Smith)
For once, I agree with you. A genuine Moody classic! The real hits are Higher and higher, Eyes of a Child, Floating, well, okay, all of them!!!!!

Sally633503009@aol.com
To Our Children's Children's Children is their masterpiece. Beyond words!

richbunnell@home.com
This is yet another in a series of great Moodies albums (a series annoyingly broken by Every Good Boy), but I wouldn't give it a ten like most diehard fans would. A high eight seems more like it. I have no quibbles with any of the individual songs, to tell you the truth, but none of them are really knockouts - it's just a whole album of "very good" songs. That said, if I had to pick the highlights of these very good songs, they'd be, of course, "Gypsy," along with the almost hopelessly dire (and wonderful!) "Candle Of Life." "Higher And Higher" is an awesome way to kick off any listening experience, but it doesn't sound like it was mixed properly, at least on the remastered CD. It sounds more like you're watching the blastoff from five miles away with binoculars instead of being scorched in the middle of the flames. Which, with regard to your own safebeing, is probably a better thing, but from a listening standpoint comes off as a little disappointing.

Paulrobinbonfig@aol.com
This is I think the strongest, most collaborative effort the group ever made. From the album cover showing the primitive and elegant sides of man drawing paradoxical images (has everyone noticed the two hands on the album cover are exactly where one places their hands when they open the cover) to the super joint efforts of ray and justin and john and mike --the album shows the group hitting on all cylinders. Both songs open with perfect songs--both sides close with appropriate anthems--and with the possible exception of sun is still shining there's not a clinker in the batch. I think this album forever colors the season I first heard it.; summer will always remind me this album.

John.Griffiths9@btinternet.com
I recently went to a record fair and purchased three Moody Blues album's for £5.00 the lot. Which are On the Threshold of a Dream, Seventh Sojourn & the majestic To Our Children's Children's Children. I can not believe that T.O.C.C.C this beautiful album is 32 years old has existed without my having not heard or known of its timeless magic. I have heard other stuff by the Moody Blues but this is like a revelation. Its like pure poetry that in a dream you fleetingly glimpse and then awaken from. These guys give that dream form and sound and are in a class all of their own because of that. Only Brian/Roger Eno, Biosphere and Harold Budd can do that for me. I love Yes, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream and other's of this ilk, but the Moody Blues make sweet music of the human soul. Justin Haywards voice alone manages to cast a spell over me. Your music will endure forever. God bless you all.

wurlyburd@hotmail.com (MooT BooXLe)
Hey Mr. Pringles.

Just wanted to say that I bought To Our Children's Children's Children on your suggestion. I've been a distant fan of the Moodies for a long time, but the only record I ever actually owned was In Search Of The Lost Choad, which, and I'm sure you'd agree, is not their best work. Not bad, but not THE MASTERPIECE that is T.O.C.C.C. Wow...I can't believe I've been without this record for all these years.

kevinmartinell@aol.com (KevyGuy)
Another 10 dot rating for me, on this "Classic 7" Moody Blues release!

One thing I'd like to know is how The Moody Blues produced the sound effect of the rocket blasting off, at the beginning of Graeme Edge's "Higher And Higher?!" It was a treat, however, to find out, from the interview within the CD booklet, that The Moodies conjured up the sound effect themselves! Nice job on the "radio-to-live-in-person" effects on Mike Pinder's narration, as well as Justin Hayward's stereophonic guitar solos, near the end of the song (Best experienced through headphones). Graeme really hits home with both his poetry and drumming on this energetic album opener!

The harp like effects that introduce John Lodge's "Eyes Of A Child - Part One" are lovely, and the song does an excellent job of progressing from a peaceful tone to a more lively one, most notably through the group's combined vocals. Spooky but well executed mellotrons on this track, too!

Ray Thomas' pleasant-sounding composition, "Floating," gives me a natural high, whenever I listen to it, and Ray's heavily echoed vocals make him sound as though he is delivering the tune from The Heavens! On a rare occasion, Ray would sing in falsetto, near the end of this track!

John's "Eyes Of A Child - Part Two" sounds like an earlier version of "Question," from "A Question Of Balance," and it really rocks, too! Listen for John's brief falsetto chant, echoing the word "Light," in the middle of the song. :) Both parts of "Eyes Of A Child" are equally enjoyable, to my ears. :)

Justin Hayward's "I Never Thought I'd Live To Be A Hundred/Million" create excellent links between the surrounding songs ... The guitars are well played on both pieces and each tune sounds amazing through headphones. I get a mental image of Justin playing his acoustic guitar in a dark room lit by a single candle only, when I listen to both of these tracks. :)

"Beyond" features more amazing sound effects, in between the "rock and roll" parts of this mysterious instrumental (The second set of sound effects sounds a little like the intro to "Strawberry Fields Forever," by The Beatles!). I always thought of the rock and roll part of the song representing a space shuttle traveling to other planets, and the parts that featured the sound effects representing the different planets where the spaceship would land. :) The stereo trickery on the "rockin'" parts of this tune blew me away, featuring all instrumental activity being pushed towards one end of the stereo field and then, a little later on, being pushed towards the other end ... Another standout headphone experience!

The Heavenly intro to Mike Pinder and John Lodge's "Out And In" sounds like a continuation of "Beyond" ... The mellotrons really stand out on this track, including the beautifully soaring intro (Makes me think of sunlight beating down on my face, as I close my eyes). Mike delivers some nice vocals with his double-tracked "Out And In" harmonies, at the tail end of the song.

Justin's rockin' outer space number, "Gypsy," features excellent double-tracked Justin Hayward vocals and a wickedly cool lead guitar scattered throughout the song. Lots of instrumental activity going on here, just like on the previous two offerings, and everything blends together just right ... I love the way the mellotrons come right at you during the "Left without a hope of coming home" parts of the song! Nice arrangement. :)

Ray's "Eternity Road" includes a pretty neat "Beatle-esque" double-tracked lead guitar solo from Justin, mid song, as well as powerful vocals and a fantastic flute solo near the end of the song, courtesy of Ray ... The flute solo is just as well executed as the flute solos heard on "Legend Of A Mind," from "In Search Of The Lost Chord," and "Don't You Feel Small," from "A Question Of Balance." The ascending mellotron parts, between the verses, and especially near the end of this song, are well delivered and make for another natural high on the album. :)

Sounds like both Justin and John collaborate on vocals for John's "Candle Of Life," something they would do many years later throughout the late 1980's albums "The Other Side Of Life" and "Sur La Mer." To hear something amusing on this track, move the "balance" dial (or switch) all the way to the right channel (speaker) on your stereo system and you can hear a delayed echo from the mellotron beginning at 2:33 in the song! :)

"Sun Is Still Shining" is a nice, relaxing song by Mike, and I like how the intro to the track features a guitar feedback effect, like the one that is heard at the beginning of "To Share Our Love," from "On The Threshold Of A Dream" ... By the way, this particular sound freaked out my cat Pickles, when I played this album, recently! :) Anyway, I love the mellotron and sitar combo, and the strong percussion, featured near the closing of the song, is brilliantly executed!

"Watching And Waiting," to me, is just as lovely and enjoyable as "Nights In White Satin," from "Days Of Future Passed." My father once told me that, from what he got out of the lyrics, he interpreted that the Earth was trying to express itself, if the planet could talk ("But don't be alarmed by my fields and my forests"). It's a beautiful, tranquil, and relaxing Justin/Ray ballad, featuring marvelous mellotrons all around. The piano and acoustic guitars blend in well, and the bass guitar licks sound brilliant after the parts of the song that go, "There's no one here to stop you trying." To top it all off, Justin also delivers another "ten dot" vocal performance. :)

Children of all ages will really appreciate "To Our Children's Children's Children!" Thanks for reading! God Bless... :)

nenemalotodojunto@yahoo.com.ar (Miguel)
Hi Mark!

Why didn't you mention "Out And In"??? It is definitely my favorite song on this record. It makes me feel nostalgia for something I have never lived (because I never heard this song in my childhood or adolescence). It's funny...

Later!

Add your thoughts?

Caught Live + 5 - Threshold 1977.
Rating = 8

A really good live album with a fish on the cover! Aside from the fish on the cover, another fish-esque enjoyable thingamajig that you will undoubtedly enjoy involves the repositioning of early Moodies standards into a slightly different era aura, or see rather they couldn't quite get the EXACT sound they got in the studio, so they tried something a little different and it ruled! Sure, when you list, you kinda think, "Wow... That's not how it sounded on the album!" but then you also, if you're the sort to continue thought processes of this nature once they begin, must acknowledge that what they've done here is taken a bunch of songs you've hopefully heard a million times and given them the old switcheroo not enough to harm the songs, but enough to make them come across as fresh and new - see? Different guitar parts are accentuated, the moog is playing a slightly altered part, Justin punctuates different words in the lyrics - you know - it's cool!

Plus they give you five previously unavailable 60's outtakes! A couple of 'em in my opinion might as well have been left in the can, but two or three of them are damn, damn good songs. The sing-songy "Gimme A Little Somethin'," for example. Or the somber, eerie "What Am I Doing Here?" for another example. These songs should have been on actual studio albums, so somebody would actually have gotten the chance to hear them!

So yeah dude, maybe not all the live song choices were the best possible (I'm particularly pointing my finger at "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume," you understand), but all in all, it's definitely one of those rare live albums that has something NEW to offer. Of course, you might HATE it, but really that's an issue for you to deal with on your own time.

Reader Comments

rlk0003@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Well . . . the +5 part is good. Five songs recorded during the Childrens Childrens Children sessions that didn't make it to that album. HOWEVER, the concert . . . well it has its moments, but for the most part, well, they've done better. "Legend Of A Mind" is ok, so is "Never Comes The Day", and they re-wrote "Dr. Livingston" so that it rocked on this record. (Hard to believe, I know, but its true) And "Gypsy" is alright, but the rest of the concert (Especially "Nights" and "See Saw") make me ill. The album is worth buying just for the +5, but don't expect a great concert. The band refused to allow Polygram to put it on cd in the 80s, but it will be re-released (officially) this summer on cd. I'd wait and get it then. If you want a good concert, Red Rocks is it. Every song sounds good on that disc exept for "I'm Just A Singer", where the symphony and the band just dont gell, but everything else is great on that one.

NPpdmtr@aol.com
Regarding Caught Live + 5: The out takes are not from TOCCC. George Starotson makes the same claim. My vinyl copy lists the dates of recording. These are given in UK format where the day comes first and the month second ( this is appropriate as Te Moodies were a very English band and Decca were a very English label):

Gimme a little something - 17/3/68. This is way too early for TOCCC. More likely from around ISOTLC. I think this track is way better than Voices in the Sky and would've sounded good in its place.

Please Think About It - 25/6/67 - around DOFP maybe? Sounds unbelievably "square" for the time. But thats the Moodies!

Long Summer Days - 19/5/67 - A lot of Justin from this time sounds slightly psychedelic as if he's consumed a third of a tab of acid. OK this. Not great but could've been slipped onto DOFP. Maybe where that Ray Thomas track about the kids playing with kites and things is. Ray Thomas's songs sound like they were made for kids programmes from this time. Dr Livinstone was used on one once. I find his stuff from this time far creepier than Mike Pinder.

Kings and Queens - 13/2/68. This could've replaced Visions of Paradise or Dr Livingstone. Again lightly acid dusted. Maybe he wore a neckerchief with a swirly pattern at this time. Very stockbroker belt pantheist this.

What Am I Doing Here - 17/11/68 - I consider this to be an absolute masterpiece. Miles better than Nights In White Satin. Oh they should've put this at the beggining of side 2 of OTTOAD, right after So Deep Within You and knocked of that Ray Thomas song about eating beef. The power and majesty of this, and the superb production. I see night descending over Hampshire as the grass murmers on the downs. In the far distance the lights of a town glisten and long threads of traffic lights waver across the otherise pitch black landscape. She is carried over vast distances away from me and I miss her. Miss her.

KevinMartinell@aol.com
I'm so glad that this album was finally released on CD, back in 1996! When I had a copy of the album on cassette, and compared it to the vinyl release, I was shocked at how much material was edited out of the cassette ... I guess it was a matter of fitting the entire album on the cassette, but thank goodness the CD features the unedited full versions of the live songs, as heard on the vinyl release. The re-mastering job by Steven Fallone, who re-mastered the tracks for all of the "Classic 7" CD reissues, is top notch ... Excellent sound quality, all the way through! I was also impressed that al l of the material between the two original records fit on a single CD! :)

I'd like to review the "+ 5" tracks first, which I first heard off of the "Prelude" CD ... I think that all five of these selections are just as good as any of the tracks off of the earlier "Moody Blues" albums, with excellent vocals and harmonies on each track. When "Time Traveller" was released, I was disappointed that the set didn't include the "+5" studio tracks, but I'm glad that the release of this album on CD made up for it. :)

Both "Please Think About It" and "Long Summer Days" feature wonderful harmonies and piano tracks. :)

"Gimmie a Little Somethin'" sounds like it was recorded during the same recording sessions as "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" or "House of Four Doors." There are some nice flute tracks in-between the verses, and I like the ascending notes on the piano and mellotron during the chorus ... Great stereo mix with excellent separation of the different instruments and vocals, too.

"King and Queen" has a similar rhythm track to "Legend of a Mind," when the chorus kicks in. I enjoy this Justin Hayward track as much as "Voices in The Sky" and "The Actor" ... The acoustic guitars and mellotrons sound really good on this track, as well as Graeme Edge's drumming on the chorus and during the fadeout at the end!

"What Am I Doing Here?" sounds like it could have fit on either "Lost Chord," or "On The Threshold of a Dream," plus the song features a lot of layered mellotron tracks, making it sound like a selection from "To Our Children's Children's Children." I like the piano and additional mellotron pieces during the fadeout, and Graeme Edge's thunderous drumming, especially near the end of the track, is outstanding.

For the live portion of the album, "Gypsy" was a great performance, and it really rocked, plus I agree with the comments that "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" rocked more on this live version, too. "The Sunset" sounds awesome on this release, and since the mellotron is really powerful, this time around, I call this the "To Our Children's Children's Children" rendition of the song! :) Notice that, on this track, Mike Pinder's voice is more audible on the left stereo channel, especially when listening to the stereo quality of this song (and also on "The Dream") with headphones on ... This reminded me of the stereo trick used on the early recordings of The Beatles' ("Please Please Me"/"With The Beatles"), on vinyl, where the voices were offset to one of the stereo channels. "Never Comes The Day" and "The Voyage" have magnificent mellotron pieces near the end of both tracks. The harmonies of John Lodge and Ray Thomas are nice, as they sing the bridge to "Peak Hour" twice, with another outstanding mellotron solo from Mike Pinder, in-between. "Are You Sitting Comfortably" was another one of my favorites with some well-done flute and mellotron solos, and I liked the sequence of "Nights In White Satin," "Legend of a Mind," and "Ride My See-Saw," which closed out the live set on this release. I enjoyed this album just as much as the "Classic 7" albums ... Ten dots for me on this one. :)

Add your thoughts?

A Question Of Balance - Threshold 1970.
Rating = 7

They changed. There's still some handsome melodies contained within (the hit "Question," recorded here without all those stupid horns, "And The Tide Rushes In," and "Minstrel's Song" are first-class indeed - and "Dawning Is The Day" comes close), but the weird 60's moody vibe is gone. They've entered the 70's and adopted a cleaner, easier-to-understand, less-Mellotron-doused sound. Crap! I liked that Mellotron-doused crap! Still, this is good stuff. "How Is It (We Are Here)" and "Tortoise And The Hare" are superweird, bass-driven thingamajigs, and Hayward's country-rocker "It's Up To You" is awfully infectious - much like a horrible quick-acting skin-devouring virus. The other three songs kinda reek, though. Graeme Edge's would-be beautiful poem/ballad "The Balance" is a clunker and a fourth, and his would-be weird rocker is just a tad grating; whose idea was it to have that loud whispered vocal in the background? Bleah.

Oh yeah, and Mike Pinder. Although it was an AOR standard and I have good friends who enjoy it, I consider "Melancholy Man" to be his absolute nadir; a long long long boring gloomy long pretentious long never-ending soul-crushingly somber diatribe that is, quite frankly, rather lengthy. Still, there's three beautiful songs - and "Dawning Is The Day" comes close.

Reader Comments

105002.1254@compuserve.com (Trevor A. Kotowich)
This album is worth getting just for "Question", although it has been heavily overplayed throughout the years. I always thought "It's Up To You" would have made a good single.

105156.640@compuserve.com
I like the fact that they lightened up the production a bit - it gives them a bit more variety in sound and makes it seem that they're not repeating themselves too much. I think that "The Balance" is Greame's best poetic effort, thanks to Ray's music. I have to agree about the whispering in "Don't You Feel Small" - it ruins the track. Lodge's songs are good, but his voice is so weak. I think "Dawning" is actually Justin's weakest contribution to the album when compared with the other two. "Melancholy Man" lives up to its title - ugh!

lewallen@Oceana.net
I agree with you on "Minstrel's Song"! (Are you figuring out that I'm a John fan?) And "Melancholy Man"??? Yech!

pinder@aol.com
How on earth can you like "Minstrel's Song"? Every time I hear that song I want to puke. On another note, I have to say that this is probably their worst album of the first 7. Yes, "Question" is one of the greatest songs ever written, and in my opinion the Moodies' best, but in my opinion it also had 4 of their worst 5 songs of the first 7 ("How is it we are here", "Don't You Feel Small", "Tortoise and the Hare", and "Minstrel's Song").

lehmann@ideasign.com (Doug Tedeschi)
I always thought that "Tortoise and the Hare" should have been a single chosen by the Moodies for airplay, I bet it would have been in the top 5 at least.

francis.gallo@snet.net
I personally think the album is an extremely great piece of work. No- it isn't exactly the same as the rest, but if it were, it would be repetitive. Listening to the story it tells give a dim light of hope in the world to anyone that is hating life. I especially love the way "The Answer" ties it all together. It is a CD that someone definitely should include in their library.

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
"Question" has got to be one of their fastest songs I've heard. In "Melancholy Man" Mike Pinder sounded like The Count from Sesame Street. No wonder he has done two children's albums, and is working on a third one.

m-parkinson@onu.edu
I listen to "Melancholy Man" when I'm amazingly depressed. I like this album overall. Listening to it is like getting stoned without really getting stoned.

fyodor@mixcom.com (Zimmer)
This album is right up there with any of their previous four albums if not the best. "Question" is of course a masterpiece but it doesn't stop there. "Minstrel's Song" is one of the best MOodies' songs ever as is "Melancholy man". Each of them provokes extreme feeling of opposite emotions. "Minstrel's" makes me extremely happy and "Melancholy" makes me depressed, both of them are excellent

Bigrynz@aol.com
What the hell is wrong with "Melancholy Man"???? It's one of the standouts on the album if you ask me. I also love that middle part in "Dawning is The Day".

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
I think you are taking the wrong approach, sprindlywinks. I mean, you are certainly correct to point out that The Balance is definitely out of balance. Its bad hokum. No question. But, we are talking about the Moodys, right. So, you can either take it seriously, probably as they intended I might add, and be put off by the aforementioned hokum factor -- or! Or, you can laugh at how over the top it is, be amazed that anyone could ever be this wack! I play this particular song for friends all the time, to show them how amazingly far a band could go into the deep end, and be completely unaware the whole time!

I mean, think about that: that is fucking amazing!! !!

So, if you laugh at it, if you crawl into the psychic place where suddenly you see this kind of move that just screams out BAD IDEA as being sideslittinglybladderbustingly funny, you will realize that you have seen god. And that he doesn't have a clue. Not one clue, not even one iota.

And that is my idea of entertainment! Probably not everybody's though. Perhaps that's for the best.

TecmoFiend@aol.com (Jason Penick)
Ever notice that "How is it (We Are Here)?" has the same Moog synthesizer line as most West Coast rap songs recorded after 1993? Hell, it would fit in well on Dr. Dre's The Chronic. Well maybe not quite, but it is the best song on this record besides "Question" of course. 7/10.

kenyon@mail.netnitco.net
I definitely agree about "Melancholy Man." I always kinda wondered how the others could have actually sung that all the way through without laughing their asses off at the poor dink who wrote it. But I do love "Question" (am I the only one in the world who actually likes the remake better?), "Dawning Is the Day," And the Tide Rushes In," and "It's Up to You." And I thought the whispering in "Don't You Feel Small" was very effective! Again, am I the only person in the world who likes that? Overall, this is a great album! Very listenable.

bjbosch@halstad.means.net (Brandon Bosch)
One of my favourite Moody Blues albums, probably surpasing to OUR CHILDREN"S..... I never realized there was so much hostility towards Pinder and Edge, whom I think are terrific. While it may be a different and more leaner sound, it works, or at least for me, so I give it a 9.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Good news: great songs. Bad news: just a _good_ record.

I know it's not just cos of the stylistic changes that some of the songwriting is in the crapper. I mean, Question is, in my opinion, the band's best song ever. The Tide Rushes in is wonderful, Up To You, Minstrel's Song, and Dawning Is The Day are all great. But ... I dunno, How Is It We Are Here and Tortoise And The Hare really don't do a thing for me. And while I don't really mind Melancholy Man, I don't really like it either, and The Balance, while pretty, is, as has been said, "a clunker and a half." Oh... I HATE Don't You Feel Small. The only redeeming thing of the song is the middle flute part; nice and aggressive, more tullish than moody, but still good. The track itself, tho, is made into dog crap by the whispering and the stupid ecological tones (I really don't like songs that try to guilt me into becoming an environmentalist). I give the album a 7; a high 7, but a 7 nonetheless.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Here, for once, I gotta disagree and give the record a higher rating. Sure, it also tries to emulate Children as close as possible, but it succeeds. I reviewed it on my site and gave it a 9. A NINE! 'Question' rocks, the Pinder songs are real good (yup, I even like 'Melancholy Man', just because the song's mood matches the title and the lyrics very well), 'Tortoise And The Hare' is kinda scary, and, anyway, the only thing that makes me feel uneasy is the whispers on 'Don't You Feel Small'. Otherwise, a fine successor to Children.

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
I hate this album! This is the worst of their early stuff, by far! "Question" is a fantastic tune, "And The Tide Rushes In" is a beautifully sappy Ray Thomas tune, and "It's Up To You" is really catchy, but the rest is underwritten and sloppy. Some okay songs - but it really doesn't work as a whole, the way that their best stuff seems to. And "Melancholy Man" is awful - like a Pinder tune should be. A six.

squamous@interaccess.com (Terie R. Hopper)
All I have to say about this album is that "It's Up To You" makes me explode in a spontaneous muscial orgasm. And the album as a whole kicks ass.

richbunnell@home.com
Good, though initially a letdown from their prior days of bombastic glory. I can guarantee to any person who purchases the album that the only thing that will jump out at you at first will be "Question," and only the fast parts. Repeated listenings really jumpstart this baby, thankfully, revealing the Moodies to be just as adept at relatively minimalistic material as they were at wall-of-sound pomp. "Dawning Is The Day" is a brilliant, perfectly- constructed song, and I guess "Minstrel's Song" is a bit corny, but that does not make it any less awesome than it is (which is to say, a lot).

I even like the controversial tracks - "Don't You Feel Small" is creepy, though if you listen to it on headphones the whispering is certainly distracting, and "Melancholy Man" - well, I love it. Then again, I'm probably the only Moodies fan who doesn't wish that they'd hung Mike Pinder by his testicles. HEY MARK, HIS NAME LOOKS LIKE YOUR NAME!! Huhuhuhuh. Anyway, I give the album an eight. It doesn't reek "classic" like On The Threshold or Seventh Sojourn, but it doesn't reek "generic" like Every Good Boy, either.

c2pa@M33Access.com
This album, and Let it Bleed, more than anything else, helped me survive being drafted in 1970. In fact, A Question of Balance allowed me to find enlightenment almost every weekend. I loved it then, and I still do in 2005.

BWATSON1971@MSN.COM
Wow! All this animosity toward Mike Pinder.... what did he ever do to you guys? It never fails to amaze me when so-called FANS of a band proceed to attack and belittle everything the band does - with fans like that - who needs critics???? For the record, I'm a fan of Hayward, Lodge, Thomas, Edge AND Pinder - they ARE the Moody Blues! Mike Pinder's (often depressing) mysticism was just one more ingredient in the mix, but in my opinion, many of his compositions were absolutely brilliant! In fact, Melancholy Man is my all-time favorite Moody Blues song. Pinder's masterful Mellotron playing (which helped define the Moodie's sound) and his songwriting are sorely missed!

iicor517@sbcglobal.net
bwatson, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve been a moody blues fan for nigh on 35 years now and to me the heart and soul of their classic sound was, is, and always will Master Pinder and his incomparable Mellotron textures. In my humble estimation, they haven’t really been the Moody Blues since he left, just some kind of reasonable, but inestimably diminished, facsimile. Without him, dast I say it, they sound maddeningly like just about every other band, and my beans burn blackly whenever so-called enthusiasts (those who, presumptively, should know better) “dis” him.(I have long maintained that some of this has to do with his not being Boy Band pretty like Mssrs. Hayward and Lodge.)

I agree that some of his compositions were dodgy, but so what, they all contributed the occasional clinker. Is there a person out there who honestly believes that the Moodies could ever have achieved that lush, spacey, cosmic, apocalyptic grandeur without him? Quite frankly, in my formative pot-smoking adolescent days of yore, I meandered just this close to believing that the Moodies were God(s), and in the church of my life every note they played, every word they sang (and spoke) resonated with far more relevance and meaning than anything Moses brought down with him from the heights of Mt. Sinai. Therefore, I consider the scandalous and sacrilegious swipes at Pinder blasphemy of the highest order. So:

Repent now, all ye sinners!!!

…And lay off Graeme, too. Slamming his poetry is lame and lazy, the type of feckless and reflexive mental midgetry best left to the know-nothings at Rolling Stone magazine. I happen to think Graeme wrote with a great deal of passion, conviction and humor (much of which I think goes directly over everyone’s head), and Pinder’s reading, again, helped define that classic sound. If you can’t dig it, I can’t understand how you can call yourself a Moodies’ fan. As far as I’m concerned, that was the Moody Blues.

…And by the way. I have long maintained that if the words to “The Balance” had been scribed by John Lennon, or Jim Morrison, or Bono, or someone of that politically correct ilk, critics and rock historians would be ejaculating all over themselves about a what moving, Messianic masterpiece it is (much like they do over that detestably whining wet fart “Imagine.”) For my money, the “Gospel According to Saint Graeme” is the perfect expression of the Flower Power ethic, proffered with sincerity and wit, infinite times more moving than Lennon’s Socialist’s drivel.

kevinmartinell@aol.com (KevyGuy)
Another 10 dot rating for me, on this "Classic 7" Moody Blues release!

Here is where my favorite mix of "Question" can be found (I prefer this mix over the mixes featured on the "This Is The Moody Blues" and "Voices In The Sky" collections, because I was first introduced to the album mix). The loud and energetic introduction, with the crashing drums, mellotrons, and chanting vocal, really gets me psyched, whenever I hear it! Good for the 1996 compilation, "The Best Of The Moody Blues" (And 1998's "Moody Blues Anthology") featuring the album mix of this Justin Hayward hit, I might add. :)

"How Is It (We Are Here)" features outstanding mellotrons, making me think back to the mellotron-driven sound of "To Our Children's Children's Children" ... This Mike Pinder track sounds more like a track from "Children's," more than any other on "A Question Of Balance." The instrumental break is out of this world, featuring the electric guitar (sounding like a prelude to the "bee buzz" electric guitar heard on "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" and onward) blending in with the mellotrons, as well as the super-cool high "squeaking" synthesizer effects, giving the song an otherworldly sound.

"And The Tide Rushes In" makes for a calm and beautiful tune, and the instrumentation creates the setting of a tranquil seashore with waves "rushing in," in the distance. :)

"Don't You Feel Small" sounds a bit on the eerie side, with the whispered voice accompanying the singing (You can hear the same style of vocal overdubbing on The Doors' hit, "Riders On The Storm"). Ray Thomas plays the flute in a similar fashion to the solo heard in the middle of "Legend of A Mind," from "In Search Of The Lost Chord," and it sounds superb! You can also hear some deep haunting sounds from the mellotrons, near the end of the song, reminiscent of the mellotrons heard on the "Children's" track, "Eternity Road." This is an unusual but cool sounding Moody Blues' track. :)

The percussion sounds excellent on John Lodge's "Tortoise and the Hare," and so do the rockin' double-tracked lead guitars, during the instrumental break ... Also, notice that John Lodge's voice is double-tracked (And also separated, slightly, from one another, in the stereo field, as heard through headphones), as he sings in two octaves during the "While you were sleeping" parts of the song.

"It's Up To You" reminds me of "Lovely To See You," from "On The Threshold Of A Dream," only slightly more mellow. The double-tracked electric guitars sound wonderful, once again, and I like the "wave-like" effects from the drums during the "If they knew that we have got nothing to lose" parts of the song. :)

"Minstrel's Song," much like "Every Good Boy's" track "Nice To Be Here," is an upbeat, cheerful tune, and the flutes and percussion really stand out, on this track. Justin Hayward's brief solo, "Listen to the One ... Who sings of love," near the end of the song, is sung with perfection, and right on the beat!

"Dawning Is The Day" reminds me of "Tuesday Afternoon," from "Days Of Future Passed," when listening to the combination of the flute, mellotron, and piano. Notice how, near the end of the song, the Moodies chant, "Listen, we think we have found you," repeatedly, but right before the song fades into "Melancholy Man," the lyrics switch over to "Listen, we think we can see you" ... How sneaky! :)

Similar to the "Caught Live +5" track, "What Am I Doing Here?," "Melancholy Man" makes for a beautifully dramatic dark Moody Blues' composition ... Just like "How Is It (We Are Here)," loads of interesting sounds and keyboard elements are featured on this particular Pinder tune. The combination of the wind (or "whirlwind") effects and the intense synthesizer sound, in the middle of the song, puts the "icing on the cake," when it comes to following through with the theme of the song! Nice job with the backing vocals on the choruses, mainly from Justin and Ray.

"The Balance" made for the perfect poetic finale to the album ... The chorus is catchy and the instrumentation is arranged beautifully. Also, the individual band members' voices are heard, near the end of the song, as they take turns singing lines like, "Do you realize?," "Yeah, yeah...," and "Just open your heart." Also, is that John singing in falsetto behind Mike's narration? :)

In addition, the CD booklet, that accompanies the 2006 Deluxe Edition CD reissue, provides readers with the details on the controversial album cover to this LP (rear sleeve) ... Check out this release to get the full story (Page 13). Fans who own both the Deluxe Edition CD and the 1997 CD remaster will notice that the Deluxe Edition features the artwork that was changed while the 1997 version features the original artwork.

In conclusion, ask no "questions" about adding this classic Moody Blues release to your audio library! Thanks for reading! God Bless... :)

orlandodude
I truly like most of this album. Personally, I'd rather listen to "Days Of Future Passed", "Long Distance Voyager", or "The Present" from start to end; but most of these songs are reeeeealy good. This album seems like their most "group" effort. Every member plays well. They all seem to be on their "A" game, in spite of the drugs that were slowly eroding their puny English brains.

The best song has to be "Question". Years ago, I read a review that said they ripped off "Pinball Wizard" for the fast-strummed guitars. Maybe they did; but who did Pete Townshend, accused internet child molester, rip off? Every musician borrows from someone else. Cavemen did it all the time, fighting over mastodon bones that they would use to beat out tunes on the skulls of their enemies. You could strum your guitar with your weenie (or someone else's) and think "No one has ever done this", and you'd be wrong. Anyway, this song kicks ass and Justin Hayward has the golden throat of an angel. Cool background vocals too.

"How Is It (We Are Here)", "Don't You Feel Small", and "Tortoise And The Hare" make you want to eat Ben and Jerry's Weedsicle Ice Cream.

Highlights of "A Question Of Balance" for me are: "Question", "And the Tide Rushes In" (Loves me some Ray Thomas vocals, even though the song seems unfinished), "It's Up To You", and "Dawning is the Day".

I actually kind of like "Melancholy Man"; but not for the lead vocal(consisting of Mike Pinder Waterpiking his teeth in the studio while trying to sing) or the lyrics. I just like the melody and the backing vocals and the atmosphere that the band creates.

"The Balance" really sucks festering pustules, though.

Good album, and crazy cover art. Get drunk and try to figure it out! I still can't.

Add your thoughts?

Live At The Isle of Wight 1970 - Eagle 2008
Rating = 8

Well, today was the big historic Election Day when America hit the polls to choose between half-black Barry Alabama and half-dead John CoCain. And as the states slowly report their results, one question is on the mind of every American: "What if The Moody Blues' Live At The Isle of Wight 1970 were a presidential debate between McCain and Obama?"

Luckily, I'm just the Man to answer this daunting question.... In RHYME form!

Ohhhhhhh,
if the Moodies' performance at the Isle of Wight
were a presidents' debate, it'd be different all right!
"Melancholy Man," usually a total bummer
Would now be a tribute to Joe The Plumber!
Instead of performing their hit song "Question,"
John Lodge would point at Graeme Edge and call him "That one!"
Instead of making "The Sunset" sound even colder,
Mike Pinder would fail to lift his arms above his shoulder!
Instead of reading a poem that I could've shitted,
Graeme Edge would keep saying, "He just doesn't get it!"
Instead of performing four songs each from A Question Of Balance and On The Threshold Of A Dream, three from Days Of Future Passed, two from In Search Of The Lost Chord and one from To Our Children's Children's Children,
They'd discuss Obama's running mate, Mr. Joe Bildren!
Instead of accepting that he plays a holey wood dick
Ray Thomas would fancy himself a Flute Maverick!
Instead of screaming "It's a-comin'! Just you wait and see,"
Mike Pinder would end "Melancholy Man" by drinking his pee!
Maybe you missed that part of the third debate
But John McCain didn't have time to use the toilet - he was late!
So instead he stealthily used a coffee cup
And put it on the podium so he wouldn't screw up!
Unfortunately, then he forgot it was there
And took a giant swig before discussing healthcare!
"You'll get $5,000 to spend as you like,"
he shouted before vomiting all over the mic!
"HOLY FUCKING SHIT I JUST DRANK MY OWN PEE!"
he shouted as the band began their set with "Gypsy"!
Then he had a horrifying 'Nam flashback
And his "Tortoise And The Hare" vox were way off-wack!
Then he forgot the second verse to "Tuesday Afternoon"
And took a giant trip in a magic balloon!
I know I won't forget that horrible night
When the Moody Blues played at the Isle of Wight!
And Obama and McCain debated 38 years later
Oh no! Here comes an alligator!

(alligator solo)

In retrospect, "Ralph Nader" might have been a more appropriate rhyme to use at the end there.

But hey, is it my fault the second debate ended with Obama getting eaten by an alligator, necessitating his surreptitious replacement by one of the Jacksons?

"Hardly, I'd say," one must conclude!

Reader Comments

Steve
Whoooaaa... laughing out loud at that one. Thanks! I've never heard this release, didn't even know it existed, but I've been listening to this era of the Moody Blues since I learned to walk. The "Live +5" album never really did much for me, so I'm not too tremendously excited about a new live document from them. What was it with Live +5? I think the mellotron was mixed too high and the vocals were mixed too low. Plus Pinder's stage announcements sounded like he was talking in his sleep. Worth buying just for "What Am I Doing Here" on the "+5" side though.

Wilmar Greven
Being a fan since I was ten - when they were giving EGBDF to the world - I always was curious about how could a Moodies concert sound. Cause the "Moody Blues" were a big rock name those days, and I presumed they were a Class "A" or "B" band, even before knowing their albuns. Others favorite bands of mine like Genesis and Yes already had strong live albuns in the seventies. So, when came "Caught Live" I asked the music store man to play some tracks (those vinyl days, at least in Rio, stores had no individuals headphones). "Gipsy" was rough, ragged, almost a garage band! But I became really embaressed when the arm landed on the childish "Dr Livingstone" (after the rock intro). Anyway I bought the double album and until now, after hearing lot of other recordings from that era, like LATIOW or the 1974 Tour in Japan, I still can´t understand how inteligent, classy and hard working guys like the Moodies could repeat the same silly mistakes again and again in concerts! Ok, they were no virtuoses, so, why keep trying crazy bashings and nutso fill-ins on drums at the expense of a more cohesive timing, Graham?! He tries to be a Clown Moon in the wrong band! Mr Starkey could be a better reference to him! Those days many MB songs on stage sounded totally clumsy, dismantled! ("Tortoise and the Hare", "Out and In", etc) And why not pay a better team to work on tours?! No excuses for Hayward not having others guitars with different tuning instead of making the crowd wait while he is tuning (to play "Higher and Higher" for example)! And about a acustic guitar to play "Question", "Are You Sitting.." and others folk oriented songs?! Impossible that time? Genesis were doing acustic, ELP and Yes too!! Why being so "economic" and using that same ugly guitar tone (although in the seventies Justin already had good signature guitar sounds on albuns)?! And how keep a enormous mistake like making "The Voyage" live?! It´s so painful hearing Pinder destroying his reputation as a classy and creative mellotron player forcing that awful , ascending or descending sounds out of his too hard keyboard ("The Dream")! And why not showing at least some more Mellotron variety instead of the same tired strings sound?! Hearing the Moodies in LATIOW and other live recordings make me wonder why a extraordinary producer like Tony " Martin" Clarke is never remembered as the sixth MB!!

Add your thoughts?

Live At The BBC 1967-1970 - Polydor 2007
Rating = 7

This gigantic double-CD features alternate studio and live recordings of 28 different Moody Blues songs: 8 each from In Search of The Last Chord and On The Threshold Of A Dream, 6 from Days Of Future Passed, 1 each from To Our Children's Children Children and A Question Of Balance, and 4 non-LP tracks. Unfortunately, this being the '60s and rock music getting very little play on the BBC, The 'Blues (Or "The Moody'") felt compelled to play the same godfucking motherdamned songs every time they appeared on the network, hence two performances each of "Fly Me High," "Peak Hour," "The Best Way To Travel," "Lovely To See You" and "Never Comes The Day" -- and a spirit-sucking, soul-destroying THREE appearances each of "Nights In White Satin," "Voices In The Sky," "Ride My See-Saw" and (in the world's most boneheaded decision) Ray's lopey-dopey "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume." So that's 41 songs, but only 28 different ones. That's my opinion anyway. Now let's move on to the factual portion of the review.

"Fly Me High" is, objectively speaking, according to the Encyclopedia, a homosexual man.

Furthermore, The Moody Blues' sluggish, unenergetic version of the Animals hit "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is, according to data compiled by NASA, a poop log with a bunch of diarrhea inside it, molded into the shape of a Twinkie.

However, don't worry your litty prettle head because the other two rarities are hoTTT! "Love And Beauty" is a Pinder-written, minor-key (shocking, isn't it? That Mike Pinder would write a song using a minor key?) piano tune with terrific high soaring vocals in the chorus; and "Leave This Man Alone" is a catchy Justin-sung mid-60s rockin' Nugget/Pebble! So if you consider $30.98 a small price to pay for two great rarities, congratulations on the mansion, Mr. Rich Asshole.

I love The Moody Blues. The first time I listened to this CD, I was drunker than a hound dog on a back porch full of lemonade and fried eggs but that didn't stop me from singing along with every little nook and cranny of the band's lyrical genus. "And you can flyyyyyyyy - high as a kite if you want to!" I implored. "If only you knew what's inside of me now-ow, you wouldn't want to know me somehoooooow!" I cried to the Heavens. "I want to touch the fire - so deep within youuuuuu!" I ignored. This band played a major role in my musical development the summer between 6th and 7th grades, and that's not the sort of memory you can toss out the window like an old girlfriend. On tunesmanship alone, this release gets a 16 out of 10. But on worthwhilility, a 7 is about the most I can give. And here, let me tell you why.

It's because, with very few exceptions, these songs sound nearly identical to the traditional LP versions. I hate and so dislike all those anti-LPfans. All those anti-LPfans who critisize albums, well, your words are EFFETE , ELUDED, INGENIUS, INJUDICIOUS AND INVALID to LPfans. To all the critics, you are all irrelevant, irrepressible, brainless, useless, senseless human beings!

Except "Ride My See-Saw," whose first two appearances find the song in an embryonic stage, focused on a "dah-dadah dah-dadah" bass/keyboard rhythmic accent that is either unhighlighted or completely non-existent in the final LP version. I know I have been insulting you ANTI-LPFANS alot..well, sorry...guess you ppl are the best in the whole wide world...and there's no space for the rest....The LPfans are going to hell and LP is going to fall...You guys win..I guess you guys are the gods of this world...ppl should bow down and worship you...people should all love you...ppl must respect you...ppl must do things for you..and ppl can't never say what they want to say...this world is weird..I think there's nothing to live for...no space for LP and no space for the LPFANS....WE'RE not humans...thank you...so much.

Also, the first version of "The Best Way To Travel" is slower and more laidback than the version with which you are likely most familiar. And "The Journey" is played solely on Mellotron, not piano. Remember "The Journey"? Fuckin' great band. ANY WAY YOU WANT IT - THAT'S THE WAY YOU NEED IT! ANY WAY YOU WANT IT NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH ANHA

This was weird - right after I listened to this thang for review, my wife and I went to our local Viand All-Nite Diner for some foodin' when suddenly I perked my ears up, listened for a moment, and announced, "Holy shit! They're playing 'House Of Four Doors' by The Moody Blues!" I mean, that song was not only not a hit - it was never even a single! What the hell was it doing playing over the radio at a gross diner run by old bags?

Well, I was wrong. It was "Last Train To Clarksville." I've no idea how I mistook one for the other, and it's been bothering me ever since. Could it be that I actually hear music differently from everybody else? That would certainly explain why I keep playing The Nunfuckers at child christenings.

Add your thoughts?

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour - Threshold 1971.
Rating = 6

Hmm. Starts fine (except for the astoundingly poorly-thought-out "Procession"), but gets dull near the end. And there's not enough songs! Nine? The hell is that? "Procession" is stupid, Pinder's "My Song" is as tiring as we've grown to expect ("I'm going to sing my song / And sing it all day long / A song that never ends" - Yep! That pretty much sums it up, Mike!), and Thomas's two contributions are unfortunately just okay. Not even amusingly hokey; just non-descript.

This leaves five songs. But are they good? Well, Graeme Edge's rocker "After You Came" is better than the crap he put on the last record, but doesn't hold a candle to his Children's Children's Children winners, and Hayward's "You Can Never Go Home" begins beautifully but quickly degenerates into a boring rock song. So now we're down to three. But are they good? Yeah, they're really good. Lodge is the saviour of this record, churning out the lovely-as-a-butterfly "Emily's Song" and the alternately pretty and "rockin'" "One More Time To Live." Definitely the only reasons to buy this record. Except, of course, the hit. Hayward's "The Story In Your Eyes" is the only song on here you're ever likely to hear on the radio, but don't let it fool you. Just because it's one of the most instantly memorable rock songs they ever did doesn't mean that this is one of the most instantly memorable albums they ever made. It's something of a letdown after their past five chock-full-o-goodies LPs. Still not deserving of the one out of five stars that the Rolling Stone Record Guide gives it, though.

Reader Comments

scotiatb@e-z.net (Lisa McKenzie)
I think I like this more than you, but you're right about "One More Time to Live" being too cool for words.

DXEF93B@prodigy.com (Mrs. Eileen G. Cary)
I don't think "Procession" is at all stupid. I like the cleverness of the stages of life. Still very fitting today.

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
You know what's really annoying about this album? Listen to "The Story In Your Eyes," and you hear some good-ol' rock licks by Justin on his electric. But everywhere else (ESPECIALLY on "Nice To Be Here" and "You Can Never Go Home," a personal fave nonetheless) there's this goofy, weenie-sounding electric guitar that occasionally comes wafing through and ruins everything! On "Never Go Home," you can here it during the chorus! It sounds like Ray Thomas's voice embodied in a 6-string!

105002.1254@compuserve.com (Trevor A. Kotowich)
I agree 100% that Lodge is Saviour of album, and I never thought his vocals were "boring" but rather were a great harmony to Hayward (listen to Blue Jays - "Saved by the Music").

105156.640@compuserve.com
I really disagree on this one. "Procession" is mind-boggling. I mean, they don't exactly cover the whole range of human musical history, but so what? The shifts in color and tone are just great. Another headphone must. "Story", "One More", "Guessing", and "You Can" are among the band's powerful songs. I would vote "After You Came" as Edge's BEST song - the group trading voices on the chorus is wonderful, and the metaphors he uses to describe his divorce make for excellent lyrics. My problem with "My Song" is mainly that it's a retread of "Have You Heard/Voyage" - not very innovative. "Nice to Be Here" is a bit cutesy, but at least it's bouncy. And I HATE "Emiily's Song" - I would vote it one of the five worst on the first 7 albums. Just about everything about it is off - the cloying celeste, the clumsy cellos, Lodge's strained vocals. The live-with-orchestra version on the boxed set is a BIG improvement - although Lodge's voice still leaves something to be desired.

lewallen@Oceana.net
John did save it! Except for "The Story in Your Eyes" and "You Can Never Go Home", of course! "Emily's Song" is probably one of my absolute favorite songs in the world, it's so beautiful. Plus, Justin's harmony is incredible! He doesn't have to sing lead all the time to make an impression. Yes, the Red Rock version was a little rough, but I'm sure we'd all agree that John wasn't feeling well then. I don't normally find his vocals rough or weak at all! There's something about his voice that I find very striking. What a falsetto!!

Lansman@sweden-c.it.earthlink.net (Tom)
I may be in the minority here, but this stands at worst as my second most favorite Moody's album, if not my favorite album, just on the strength of side 1. When seen as one piece, "Procession" and "The Story in Your Eyes" make for compelling listening, if only as a long lead in ti the album (It reminds me of the "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" opening to Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road). "Guessing Game" ... well if you've never been there, you're either a better man than me or you just want to deny that some days are just better than others. "After You Came" proves to the world that the Moody's indeed could really rock. Yes, the second side tends to drag when heard without interuption, but isn't that why they invented random play for their CD?

wcmgelp@utah.uswest.net (Bill)
Of the "core seven," this is my favorite. I'm 45 and started listening to the MBs in 1967 ... 30 years. I think each album offers some thoughtful insights, and I disagree with your assessment of the 'boring songs.' When you get to mid-life, somehow singing your song all day long seems like rather a great idea. What I really like about the MB's is their now famous "Concept" approach, and in that sense, this album holds together the best for me. The frustrations and occasional joys of living. Oh well.

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
This album is much better than what you say. The first song is weird but it sounds awesome right before "The Story In Your Eyes". "My Song" is about Mike's life I bet.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
Well I finally got the cd. It is really magical. "Procession" is one of the weirdest songs the Moodies ever did. It's starts out like an Arriving UFO. Then you'll take a trip to Africa and it will sound like you are in a jungle with the birds chirping. First it starts raining. Then it will sound like you are in Saudi Arabia with the flute and the zatar. Then it will sound like you are in church with the harpsicord and the hammond organ and the mellotron or moog. Cool song, it's like a journey through places. Next is "The Story In Your Eyes", the rocker, I heard it before and I liked it, it still has some of that mellotron into it, but I like the guitar intro, and the piano part, Mike can really play. "Emily's Song" is beautiful. The nicest song I ever heard. Lodge I think dedicated it to his daughter. Very nice song. One of my favorites. I also like "Nice To Be Here" with the mellotron in the backround it sounds like a train horn. I also like the sweet sound of "My Song", No not my own Mike's Song not Me my song, ah forget it. I give this album a 10 I also like the cover.

Bigrynz@aol.com
I would agree that "My Song" is a rehash of "Have You Heard" and "The Voyage", but it's one of, if not my very favorite, Moodies' songs. Overall, I think the album is great, but not as good as the previous ones.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Ya know, I listened to this album considerably when in my youth and under my 'gotta discover the Moodys' buzz; the buzz that makes you like everything by a band and makes you collect all their stuff, even the stuff that sucks, but you don't know it yet, cause you think everything is great. But then that new band discovery high goes away, and you come down, and when you come down, you realize that this album just plain sucks. It is awful. Sure, there are a few good tunes. A band as great as the Moodys can't help but turn out some good tunes. It's in their blood. But still, there is no excuse for this product. And there are so many better Moody Blues records out there! So, why bother?! And you know what else? I bet the band knew. But they released it anyway, had the hit, and people bought it in droves. How can a band respect its audience when they even buy crap? Makes me wonder.

Every Good Boy Deserves Fecal!! And that's the fact of the matter!

kenyon@mail.netnitco.net
I personally didn't really like "Emily's Song." Too predictable and generic. I sang along with the instrumental parts the very first time I heard it, just because it was so obvious what was going to happen next. "You Can Never Go Home" is a personal favorite, right behind "Visions of Paradise." The rest of the album, in my opinion, is just neutral. I put it on and forget it's playing. It's just background music. Good background music, yes, but background music all the same.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I will admit that Nice To Be Here and My Song just drag and drag, and let down the record at the end. However ... now, I may be biased because before I bought To Our Children's Children's Children, this was my favorite album, but I think this album is wonderful otherwise. I really enjoy Procession, my only complaint being that they couldn't make it longer. Story In Your Eyes, of course, is awesome. Guessing Game is good, despite sounding more like Billy Joel than the Moodies imo. Emily's Song is gorgeous, and I simply adore After You Came. And of course, the best song on the album, One More Time To Live. I also love You Can Never Go Home; it speaks to me personally more than any other song on the album.

Also, I may be the only one who thinks this, but I feel that this album is the pinnacle of the Moody's ability to harmonize and to use their voices to their maximum effect. The chants in Procession, the background harmonies in Story, the beautiful Justin harmony in Emily's Song, the vocal trade-offs in After You Came, the switch between John and Mike halfway through the chorus of One More Time To Live... simply awesome.

Yes, Nice to Be Here and My Song just kinda drag, but I still think the album deserves an 8

moonkitty@eudoramail.com (Sally Ann Wood)
I just gotta say in addition to the Moodies' musical and poetic awesomeness is Phil Travers cover art!! This cover's colors really match the wonderful dreamy spaciness of it all.

richbunnell@home.com
For a Moodies album, this is pretty dull. I mean, the songs sound nice and all, but whereas on basically every other Moodies album I'm left with the memory of a vast array of musical experiences, after listening to this one I think "......Man, 'The Story In Your Eyes' is an awesome song!" "Our Guessing Game" and "After You Came" are pretty groovy tunes, and none of it's really bad (barring "My Song" - bash Pinder for THIS crap, not "Melancholy Man"), but...well... all that the Moodies have really set forth here is a set of completely generic songs. I guess that's okay if you like that sort of thing, but I like my Moodies to be interesting. This stuff isn't. I agree with the six.

Paulrobinbonfig@aol.com
Sheesh--you guys and gals are tough! I always considered this a great album--number 2 on my list of moodies albums after toccc. I think one more time is the most mature and, and melodic song they've written--something about the piano and moog swelling behind the leave the wise to write lyrics embodies just what it is about these guys that could make us drift into deep places. I think every song is strong--but I never was wild about after you came. (and I'm surprised so many in the e-mails above loved it). I thought my song was a great album finale--the words alone don't tell the tale. The background crescendo makes the statement. and Justin's guitar breaking out in the "i feel fine" feedback--to give way to his wonderful vocal and an intelligent song--told me on first listening that was music for the heart and the mind and the spirit. To me, the moodies slipped noticeably--and forever -- after this album.

lodge@cfl.rr.com (Bonny Campbell)
Boy you guys are tough that is my favourite album and I do enjoy every song on it " Emily's Song " being my favourite one and "and One More time to Live" second, the whole album is good it saved me

sreina@doc.com
I disagree with you low opinion of this album in many ways. This album is perfect. I dont mean to overstate that, but it is the album that towers over any other. Terms like "poorly-thought-out", "stupid", "tiring" just dont apply. If you are comming up with these kinds of ideas when discussing this album, I think that its just because you haven't "gotten it". This album, as one piece of art is admittedly very deep, but its meanings are layered, and there is degree of honesty that I think makes some people uncomfortable. I think that part of the reason why this album does not get the great reviews that it deserves is because it is mistakenly viewed as individual songs, or even as one individual album.

True, the Moody Blues did use the "concept album", but you have to see this album (as well as the others) as chapters in a book of of seven chapters. The Moody blues are a "concept band". Just as in a story of several chapters, some chapters will stand out and appeal to some people more than others, and we all will have a favorite. To understand just how this album is perfect, you have to be able to see that it is the climax to the story, and this chapter is perfectly told, with Sojurn as the ending of the book, the reflection on the story. Look into the following albums (after the seven). The songs therin refer in many ways to the story told in the first seven albums.

I dont want to come accross as some out-there hippie that lost it in the 60's. I'm not one. I'm not old enough. The Moody Blues are bigger than people usually give them credit for. These ae a group of men who tried to get an idea across to people. They happened to use music as a medium.

kevinmartinell@aol.com (KevyGuy)
Another 10 dot rating for me, on this "Classic 7" Moody Blues release!

Back in the days when I was discovering the music of The Moody Blues (About the 6th grade, in the late 1980's, for me), my parents put together a Moody Blues mix tape from the songs off of the vinyl albums in their collection, for road trips in the car. The cassette included this really cool-sounding rock song with mellotrons and pianos featured in it, and the tune reminded me of "Question" and "Lovely To See You," which I already knew at the time ... Of course, the song turned out to be "The Story In Your Eyes," my favorite song on that mix tape, at the time, and I went through all of my parents' records to discover that the song came from "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour!" Sound-wise, the "church-like" choir of backing vocals on the choruses are outstanding, and sound similar to the background chanting on "Nights In White Satin." The "clanging" of the pianos, near the end of the track, really packs a punch too, and a nice job on the stereo separation of Justin Hayward's well-sung double-tracked vocals (Best experienced through headphones)!

Backing up a bit, I found "Procession" amusing, and wanted to dissect it piece by piece, by commenting on my favorite pieces ... The Moog synthesizer that opens up the album has such a futuristic quality to it that I don't think you could possibly reproduce such a sound effect for any video game or techno sound recording! Gotta love those "bubbling" sounds! You don't need an alarm clock when you first hear The Moodies shouting, "DESOLATION!" The group shout just comes out of nowhere and is one of the most startling moments on a Moody Blues recording (Next to the thunder effects heard on "Say What You Mean," from "Keys Of The Kingdom") ... The band executes their line to perfection, just as the listener is becoming comfortable with the "Pillow Of Winds" (To quote Pink Floyd from their "Meddle" album, also released in the same year!) sounds, previously heard ... It's like The Moody Blues summoned the bursts of thunder and rainfall that follow their opening shout! Notice that the "E.G.B.D.F." piano chords pan across the stereo field, beginning on the left stereo channel and ending out on the right channel (Another headphone treat!). Originally, I thought that Graeme Edge's electronic drum kit was a set of state-of-the art bongos! They are right on the beat and make for yet another stereophonic delight! The sitar excerpt reminds me of some of George Harrison's work on the late 1960's Beatles albums, mainly "Love You To," from "Revolver" and some of the incidental music on the "Help!" soundtrack ("Another Hard Day's Night"/"The Chase") ... The flute piece reminds me of some of the musical interludes in the "Monty Python" series ... Strange thought, I know, but it still sounds lovely. :) The harpsichord section makes me think of Colonial times, and the buildup at the end of the track sounds like something that would inspire Queen to create their musical style of "God Save The Queen," from "A Night At The Opera!" Gotta love the "Halloweenish" organ followed by the double-tracked electric guitar that leads into "Story!" A fantastic job on this opening piece to the album!

The piano in the intro to Ray Thomas' "Our Guessing Game" really grabbed me, right from the start ... You would have thought that Mike Pinder would begin singing the song, as he did following the piano piece that opened up "My Song," later on! Sounded like a symphonic piece to me ... What a marvelous melody! There is great continuity with the stereophonic sound of the double-tracked lead guitar between the solo that ends out "Procession" and the solo heard on the instrumental break of "Guessing Game," as well! The Moodies sound psyched as they all pitch in on the choruses, too. :)

Nice job with the xylophone effects on "Emily's Song," probably John Lodge's softest, most delicate tune ... The powerful cellos really bring the rest of the instrumentation together so well. Glad to find that this tune received recognition on the "Collected" best-of triple disc compilation, as it was not featured in the "E.G.B.D.F." portion of "Time Traveller." The live version of this song, on the "Red Rocks" set, is equally enjoyable, by me, I might add. :)

Both acoustic and electric guitars dominate Graeme Edge's "After You Came," and as any true Moody Blues fan can tell you about this song, it is a successful team effort from all of the vocalists ... John Lodge really sounds like he's getting into singing his parts of the song when he hums briefly during the final chorus on the track! While "Time Traveller" ignored this outstanding rocker, the song rightfully received recognition on both the "Voices In The Sky" and "The Universal Masters Collection: Classic Moody Blues" compilations. :)

John's "One More Time To Live" captures all kinds of moods, and starts off and ends out on a pleasant sounding note ... The intensity on the choruses is well delivered, in both the vocal and instrumental departments ... Sound wise, the choruses make me think of a thunder storm and the soft parts remind me of the calm before and after the storm! Nice job on the way the flutes that ended out this tune blended in with the flutes that open up the next tune, by Ray Thomas...

"Nice To Be Here" sounds like a mellow version of "Another Morning," from "Days Of Future Passed," and the melody reminds me a little bit of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," by The Beatles, at a couple of points!. :) While Ray indicates that this song takes place during the day ("...Lying in the sun"), I can't help but feel that the tune has a "nighttime" feel to it (The mellow instrumentation), in which the animals in the woods get together to perform their tune while all humans are far away, and home, fast asleep. :)

Justin's "You Can Never Go Home" takes me back to "Never Comes The Day," from "On The Threshold Of A Dream," with the song starting off softly then rocking on the choruses ... On both occasions, Justin superbly showcases both the soft and powerful styles of his vocals. He also delivers a nice soft touch of his electric guitar on the "I lie awake for hours"/"Weep no more for treasures" parts of the song. Nice job on the cheerful harmonizing during these same sections of the tune, as well!

On Mike Pinder's closing track, "My Song," the tune starts off like a classical piece, featuring topnotch piano playing, then we hear Mike singing in his most dramatic style on the "Love can change the world" section of the song, in similar fashion to his singing style during the fadeout to "Melancholy Man," from "A Question Of Balance." The harp-like effects and marching drums that take the listener into the instrumental portion of the song blew me away, as did the variety of mellotron sounds that were featured! When the song becomes silent, we can hear the "smog" effects that were first heard throughout "On The Threshold Of A Dream," mainly from "In The Beginning." The heavily echoed breathing, in the background, sounded spooky ... Could it have represented the "life in other worlds?" The breathing did have an otherworldly sound to it! Pretty neat effect on the sound effects that ended out the song, as it was the opening sound effect in "Procession," played in reverse! This reminded me of how Pink Floyd's "The Wall" began and ended, featuring the same sounds! Thanks to the fadeout on Mike's track, we do get the impression that this is indeed "a song that never ends!" In addition, isn't it amusing that the very first song on the following album, "Seventh Sojourn," was written and sung by Mike? Imagine how "My Song" would have sounded if it morphed into "Lost In A Lost World," in the space between the fadeout of the former song and the fade-in of the latter song! This concept would have been further proof in carrying out "a song that never ends" ... Just an impression I had between the two Pinder tunes. :)

For me, this is a good album to listen to late in the evening, right before going to sleep ... It must also have something to do with the nighttime setting on the album cover, but much of the instrumentation creates a "dreamy" atmosphere on this recording, most notably the mellotrons, so it's a nice album to relax to. "Boy," I'm in "Favour" of "Every Good" (Or should I say "Great!") Moody Blues song on this "Deserving" of praise album! Thanks for reading. God Bless... :)

Wilmar Wil
I can´t get how a Moody Blues fan doesn´t love this album too! Even if you hear it after all the first 5 Core albuns (to compare with)! If someone can´t be deeply touched since the very beginning when that spellcasting album cover unfolds before his eyes, well, to me doesn´t deserve the rest of the artistic package equally!!

Now about the songs: Prophet Pinder pray for help in "My Song" ("there´s life in other worlds/ maybe they´ll come to Earth/ helping man to find a way") and, as other reader comments here, that ascending sound effect at the end of "My Song" it´s like a reverse to the Arriving UFO sound in the very beginning of "Procession".Curious, cause the answer to Pinder pray is given before he sing that, making the album a perfect circle or 8 (infinite), everlasting solitude and response echoing forever. It´s that intentional concept or is just the Truth working it´s way behind our/ their minds?

Well, I was just a 10 year boy (like the one in the front cover) when i heard EGBDF, and it was my second MB experience, being AQOB the first. So, I didn´t know "The Voyage" or "House of 4 Doors" to compare with "My Song" and "Procession" or " Another Morning" with "Nice to be Here". I was a fortunate child with older brothers bringing these albuns home.

So to me EGBDF was like a "Caballo de Troya" soundtrack ( I CAN´T BELIEVE THAT STILL THERE´S NO ENGLISH VERSION OF THIS JJ BENITEZ SAGA!! "THEY" DON´T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THAT EVENT: members of a US Air Force top-secret military experimental project on time travel codenamed "Operation Trojan Horse", who in 1973 supposedly succeeded in travelling back in time to the land of Palestine in the year 30 A.d.). A strong experience!

And talking about that another incredibly beautiful Phil Traver cover, I haven´t read nothing about its interpretation here. Of course the old biblical man expression contrasts with the surprised face of the boy looking to that shining cristal; and the teddy bear being offered (why?!) by the other boy behind them is a Out-of-Place Artifact(considering the "old testament" context of the painting). Since the DOFP cover (by David Anstey) the Moodies sound inspire painters to mix present-past -future images to express that all change / nothing change after all (being a human born in any time). So, why consider this album boring?! It´s "just" the magnificent MB procession again!! Thanx God for that!!

Add your thoughts?

Seventh Sojourn - Threshold 1972.
Rating = 9

See that? That's a 9! This is everything that the last album tried, but failed, to be. And what strong production! More reverb on the drums, a lot more guitar - they actually sound mature on this record! Only eight songs, but they're all well-developed. Even Pinder's two swingin' ditties about how much the world is just a big piece of shit WORK this time! He takes them somewhere, and takes you, the listener, with him! "Lost In A Lost World" is a terrific album-opener. It has three or four different melodies that flow into each other very well, plus a cool keyboard break in the middle - an absolute top flite golf ball of a number. And "When You're A Free Man," though miserably slow and depressing, nevertheless sticks in the brain - mostly due to a really cool flute break that keeps coming and going (especially at the end; what a perfect ending to a song - a hopeless flute disappears in the fade-out, leaving in its wake a barely-audible triumphant horn melody). Good for Pinder. Way to go, man.

Elsewise, Hayward spits up two impeccable odes to joy, Thomas's "For My Lady" is charming and pretty without becoming silly (although, with that dopey "la-la-la" chorus, it certainly tries), their co-written (I think. I don't wanna get the album out to check.) "You And Me" is a happier rewrite of "The Story In Your Eyes," and Lodge's FM classics "Isn't Life Strange" and "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)" do exactly what they were designed to do; the former lulls you into a drunken stupor, and the latter gets your foot a-tappin' and your fist a-thumpin' (albeit in a sissyish short-haired-guy-with-a-mustache kinda way).

Good listenin'! Mature! Looking towards the future, were they? Their wonder years ahead, huh?

No. They broke up and put out mediocre solo albums for six years.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
Overall a good record, and the ONLY place to listen to "Isn't Life Strange". I can't believe what they did to that song (and also to "Question") on the Legend Of A Band CD. Yuck! Sounded like something Chicago would do!

105002.1254@compuserve.com (Trevor A. Kotowich)
Although I was generally disapointed with ALL solo projects, I still think there are a couple of good songs from Blue Jays, especially "Blue Guitar."

105156.640@compuserve.com
I don't care for this one nearly as much as EGBDF. The overall pacing of 7th is way too slow compared with the previous albums. You can hear how depressed they are! Good thing they took a 6 year break. That said, there are still terrific numbers like "Strange", "I'm Just a Singer", "You and Me'".

MikeRobWil@aol.com
Absolutely their worst album of the Moodies' first period. From the first day I heard "Isn't Life Strange" I've hated it with a passion. Conversely, as bad as that Lodge song is, the best one on 7th is "I'm Just a Singer..." The only problem with the latter is that the studio mix has always sounded a bit muddled to me, but it still rocks and was the only thing living off this set.

lewallen@Oceana.net
All around, I love this album!! Though, nothing compares to "Isn't Life Strange" live. What an emotional experience!! Wow! Though, I liked all the solo work to come. Blue Jays was awesome, and the others were pretty great also!

bconyers@mindspring.com
Seventh Sojourn was the "Fairwell To The Moodies" album. They played their hearts out in "I'm Just A Singer In A Rock & Roll Band" and that was it. They just didn't have it thereafter. Mike Pinder was the heart and soul of the group. He put the "mood" in the Moodies, then he got religion or something and left.

Pinder must have had a small role in Octave since he had a song and picture on the cover, but the album was produced horribly. Listen to "Steppin' In A Slide Zone" again. It starts out great, then when the vocals begin, the production is GONE! It was like my sound system had no bass or treble. I went to a concert in Norfolk, Va. after the release of Octave. I was handed a program upon entering the Scope, and to my dismay, the photo of the group was missing Michael. Instead there was a long dark haired stranger invading the other four's presence. From that point I lost interest.

Call them what you may, but further productions are not Moody Blues. Mike took the M with him. Some possibilities are: Goody Twoshues, Booty Shues, Poppy Mues, Pukey Blahs.

walshl@eccic.com
"You and Me" is the best song on this album; I heard it one morning and it hooked me on the Moodies for good. "Isn't Life Strange" is one of the worst, most overplayed Moody Blues songs on the radio. John's songs are usually more bad than good. But at least he could hit those great high notes when he was young.

akeithdavis@mailcity.com (Keith Davis)
Okay, This Is The Moody Blues still remains my all-time favorite "Moody Blues" cd compilation. I still do not have the Time Traveller box set, I will probably wait until late 1998 to get that particular item. I do however, have This Is The Moody Blues. This Is is an outstanding cd compilation. It has been digitally remastered and contains many of "The Moody Blues" best songs. CD1 takes us on a journey into the distant past, It begins with "Question" and concludes with "Have You Heard? Part Two." Especially noteworthy on this first cd is the inclusion of "The Actor," "Eyes Of A Child" and Ray Thomas' masterpiece "Legend Of A Mind" about the psychedelic guru-Timothy Leary. I met the late Dr. Leary back in 1989, when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area. I remember telling him, something on the order of 'Ever since you were immortalized by the song "Legend Of A Mind" by The Moody Blues, it has been my utmost desire to meet one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century.' Incidentally, Yoko Ono was standing nearby him at the time. But getting back to the subject at hand, "Have You Heard? Part One," "The Voyage" and "Have You Heard? Part Two" blend together seamlessly to close the first cd.

The second cd begins with the upbeat rocker "Ride My Seesaw" and contains many of The Moody Blues best songs! "Tuesday Afternoon," "And The Tide Rushes In," "New Horizons," "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band)," "For My Lady," "The Story In Your Eyes" and concludes with The Moody Blues signature piece "Nights In White Satin" with "Late Lament." Overall, an extremely impressive compilation! One of my all-time favorite cds! I have to give this beautiful compilation a 10/10! Minuses, I wish that this particular cd had contained "Candle Of Life" and "Gypsy" from To Our Children's Children's Children.

Incidentally, I would hope that the Moody Blues release a better live version of "Legend Of A Mind" then the one on Caught Live Plus 5!

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
I see why you like this album. All 8 songs are good, and the two Lodge songs are classics. "You And Me" is a great song. "The Land Of Make Believe" makes me think Justin is Mister Rogers. This album has to be their greatest

LostChord8@aol.com
It has now been 25 years since I first heard Seventh Sojourn. This was given to me in cassette format by my older brother for Christmas. I didn't know hardly anything about the Moodies and didn't listen to the cassette for a few days. Once I did, the songs struck an emotional chord in me that still reverberates this day.

m-parkinson@onu.edu (Matthew P. Parkinson)
I think Seventh Sojourn is one of the better Moodies albums. "New Horizons" and "For My Lady" make the album worth it. Yes, I'll admit it, I think Ray Thomas's voice is a bit weak on the album. However, on Live at Red Rocks, he has a deeper, more powerful voice. That version of "For My Lady" sounds much better. I wish that Polydor (or whoever their recording label is) would have put "New Horizons" on Legend of a Band instead of "Isn't Life Strange." I really don't like that one.

MC101555@aol.com
"YOU AND ME" IS MY ALL TIME FAVORITE SONG OFF THIS ALBUM, SECOND IS "CANDLE OF LIFE" BY JOHN LODGE OFF THEIR CHILDRENS,CHILDRENS ALBUM AND FINALLY IS JUSTIN'S "FOREVER AUTUM" HARD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THEM ALL.:)

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
The swan song. After this, unlistenable pablum. But this one is pretty good. Even Pinder gets it up one more time! And we don't even mind much, which is always a good thing with Mikey, cause usually we wish he would shut up and just play the mellotron. But then, when Moraz joins the band, then we get nostalgic for Pinder, so that just goes to show you. Something, I dunno what, but something.

Tecmofiend@aol.com (Jason Penick)
I can't agree with your opinion of the song "For My Lady"... for me it just destroys this album (and also the This is the Moody Blues compilation, which is otherwise stellar) because it is twee and feeble and sounds like it belongs on a Popeye tribute album! In a semi-related note, there is an awesome song on TITMB called "Simple Game" that is not on any of the first 7 records. Including it in place of "For My Lady" on 7th Sojurn (or "Isn't Life Strange" on the other record) would have been a definite improvement.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
Well i got another Moody Blues album. You guys haven't heard from me for a while well that's because i was too lazy too right my review. Another kick ass album by the Moodies. New Horizons is a very intresting track but my favorite songs are For My Lady, Isn't Life Strange, I'm Just a Singer (in a rock and roll band), and The Land Of Make Believe. For my Lady, I heard it for the first time in their concert and I was amazed on how beautiful the track was. Extremely!!!!!!!!!! Isn't Life Strange an earlier version but still a lot of effort put into it. I'm just A Singer is a great rock track at the end is like a concert. i like the beginning of Land Of Make Believe, cool keyboards. FOREVER AUTUMN RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I GIVE THIS ALBUM A 10!!!

PIASAM@intrepid.net (Joe Haines)
I own a lot of Moody Blues albums, CDs, tapes, etc. Blue Jays has to be at the top of my list of favorites. Every song was absolutely magical as is any songs done by Justin, John, Ray or Graeme. Blue Jays were inspirational and continue to inspire me in my poetry and writing.

kenyon@mail.netnitco.net
"New Horizons," "For My Lady," and "The Land of Make-Believe" are absolutely beautiful. These are songs to listen to when you're in a contemplative mood. "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)" and "Isn't Life Strange" annoy the shit out of me. The latter would be good if they'd done some revising (like not repeating the last syllable of each line 98 times--my dad's parody of that was enough to make you wet your pants, it was so funny).

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
ANY other group, and this would get a 10. To all of you who pick on Isn't Life Strange and/or I'm Just A Singer, please. These songs friggin rule. Pinder gives us two absolutely terrifc songs, For My Lady is pretty, no matter what anyone says, Hayward's are beautiful (the final 16 measures of New Horizons are one of the three most powerful/beautiful musical stretches I have ever heard, the other being Love Reign O'er Me and the end of the I get up/I get down part of Close to the Edge), and You and Me is terrific.

A solid, solid 9.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
A sad and tired album, that's what this one is all about. Mature? Sure. But if you axe me, well, it's no surprise they quit right after it. The energy is clearly spent - the record is yet another cash-in on their past successes like Days or Children, and few of the tracks add anything new or important to the legacy. 'New Horizons' is beautiful, and 'Isn't Life Strange' is a good anthem, although very pessimistic and tired just as well. 'I'm Just A Singer' is weird - sounds more like ABBA than the Moody Blues (although for me, that's almost a compliment). Sad, sad, and tired. Even the album cover looks gloomy. An impressive, but still mediocre swan song. A 7/10.

richbunnell@home.com
I agree in a very large way. Most of it's ballads, yeah, but that's the type of music that the Moodies were always accustomed to the most, so it definitely works. The production doesn't hurt either-- compare it to the albums that came directly before it, it sounds so FULL! It really helps tunes like "Lost In A Lost World" and "New Horizons." As for the classics, I don't find "Isn't Life Strange" or "I'm Just A Singer" annoying at all. The latter, in particular, might be the catchiest tune the band ever wrote (that "Scorching this earth!" part is pure gold!) and a very huge example of Lodge's emerging talents as a great songwriter. Strong compositions all around on this one, and a very rewarding listen, so I'll give a 9, like you did!

kevinmartinell@aol.com (KevyGuy)
Another 10 dot rating for me, on this "Classic 7" Moody Blues release!

On this occasion, Mike Pinder gets to open up a Moody Blues album with one of his compositions, "Lost In A Lost World"... I like the instrumental verse in the middle of the song, as well as the stereo effects on the vocals near the end, with the "So many people" chant on the right channel and the "Lost In A Lost World" chant on the left (Best experienced through headphones).

"When You're A Free Man" is an equally fine Mike Pinder song, and there is a sense of hope in the lyrics ... I love the one line that states:
"You know that love lasts ... For Eternity...
Let's be God's Children ... And live in Perfect Peace"
I love how the instrumentation in the fadeout to this track merges with the fade-in of the drums in the intro to "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)." Both this superb John Lodge composition and Justin Hayward and Graeme Edge's "You And Me" are excellent rockers that open up and close the second half of this album ... The brass effects on the former track are really neat and give the song that extra "punch," plus the group chant on the Justin and Graeme composition, before the lyrics "You're an ocean full of faces" is executed to perfection!

Both Justin's "New Horizons" and "The Land Of Make Believe" have a dreamy atmosphere about them, especially "Make Believe" (Beautiful xylophone effects and flute). Excellent dueling electric guitars (Also best experienced through headphones) on the solos to "New Horizons," as well. :)

For me, Ray Thomas' pleasant "For My Lady" paints the picture of a man on a cruise boat with the woman of his dreams! I love the way the song flows into John Lodge's fantastic "Isn't Life Strange," as both songs are played in the same chord ... Both Justin and John do an excellent job trading off vocals, and the harmonies sound nice on the choruses. I'm glad that the 1997 and 2007 remastered CD editions of the album (As well as "Time Traveller") feature a clean fadeout of the song that doesn't abruptly merge into the intro to "You And Me," like the earlier CD format of the album, released in the 1980's, did. To go off on a slight tangent for a bit, I'm probably one of the few (Or maybe the only one) listeners who enjoys the 1989 orchestral remake of "Isn't Life Strange," from "Legend Of A Band," just as much as the original version!

It's difficult for me to pick a favorite on this recording, since I enjoy all eight songs equally! I want to close this review by typing out one of my favorite Justin Hayward quotes from the live "Hall Of Fame" release:
"We're just Singers in a Rock and Roll Band!"
Thanks for reading! God Bless... :)

Add your thoughts?

This Is The Moody Blues - Threshold 1974.
Rating = 9

The name says it all. Hey all you kids without much money in your pocket -- if you don't think you can afford to buy the previous seven studio albums, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE buy this amazing compilation. More so than any of the slick 80s or 90s packages, this reminds everybody -- you, me, fans who've heard all of these songs (with the possible exception of "Simple Game") a jillion times -- that the Moodys were an incredibly talented group of songwriters and hairstylists. So many great tunes on here. Everything you could possibly need. And sure, all of us fans have our favorites that we would have liked to include AS WELL, but boy this particular song selection isn't missing much! Beautiful, beautiful stuff. This should probably get the 10, but Children's Children is too cool to be left out in the snow. BUY IT!!!
Reader Comments

TecmoFiend@aol.com (Jason Penick)
I've been lucky enough to inherit five of the first seven MB albums on vinyl from my girlfiend's dad, as well as this compilation on cd. Also, I ordered a cd version of Caught Live +5 off the 'net which I just received in the mail. I'm also waiting on a bootleg of '68 BBC stuff called Legend of a Mind, which I may or may not be receiving (the company I ordered from "isn't sure" whether or not they can obtain a copy anymore). My point is, I'm really getting into the band's early stuff, peticularly the first four albums. I've changed my opinion on Chord, too. I think it is better than Threshold, track for track. As for TITMB, I would advise anyone who doesn't own any MB recordings to start here-- this comp covers many of the band's highlights, and contains only three truly weak tracks IMO, "For My Lady", "Meloncholy Man" and "Isn't Life Strange". Not bad for a two cd set. Still, the compilation bothers me a little because they left off some of the greatest early Moodies compositions... the first four tracks on side two of Children's and "Dawn is a Feeling" are the most painful exclusions. I created a mix tape I call TITMB2 to include all the great songs they left off the first TITMB like the ones I just mentioned, plus "Are You Sitting Comfortably", "Emily's Song", "Peak Hour", "You Can Never Go Home" to name a few others. For the Moody Blues neophyte looking for a starting point for the band's vast catalog, I would advise starting with this set, then purchasing the remastered cd versions of Days of Future Passed and Children's Children. 9/10.

richbunnell@home.com
Fantastic compilation. The only thing missing is "Gypsy," but considering the wealth of wonderful material otherwise, that's an extremely minor quibble. The songs are all crisply remastered (on the CD version, at least); "Legend Of A Mind" in particular sounds much better than its original In Search version. Screw the "one ten" rule; it's definitely worth it to buy most of the albums in the "core seven," but by all standards this is quite easily a ten. Too bad it's out of print.

john217@sympatico.ca (John Lawson)
At least it has the original 45 version of "Question" on it, which has more of that ringing 12-string and less of the production on it. I usually like lots of production, but it didn't help on "Question", at least not at the beginning of the song ...

KevinMartinell@aol.com
What a compilation of the "Classic 7" Moody Blues tunes! I have the vinyl version of this album as well as the CD. There is a photo montage of early pictures of the band on the inside of the vinyl release, when you open up the gatefold sleeve ... One of the pictures of the band features Justin Hayward with a beard! While the CD version doesn't include the photo montage, the booklet includes a well-written, detailed commentary of the band, in the liner notes, by John Tracy. There is also a section featuring the UK and USA release data and chart positions of all The Moody Blues material up to this greatest hits compilation. In addition, the CD booklet also features a couple of photos not seen on any of their original LP's, including one photo that looks like it was taken during the "Octave" period.

The CD release, reveals that all of the songs were re-mastered by Anthony Hawkins, who also re-mastered the songs from the CD version of Justin Hayward's "Night Flight" album, so we get outstanding sound quality, all the way through. Also, as with the earlier CD versions of the "Classic 7" albums, the tail ends of the final tunes that end out Side One are cross-faded with the intro of the songs on Side Two, creating one continuous flow of all of the tracks.

The remix of "Question" on this LP is nice, with some of the instrumentation missing from the intro (as heard on the single version of the song), and some additional instrumentation and vocals near the end of the song ... I liked that arrangement.

The sound of the bass guitar is boosted tremendously on the remixes of "The Actor," "Legend of a Mind," and "Watching and Waiting." For some strange reason, this mix of "The Actor" is edited down by one verse, near the end of the song, but you can hear Justin Hayward's lead vocal more audibly during the final chanting line in the song, compared to the mix on "In Search of the Lost Chord." "Legend of a Mind" is missing some of the mellotron pieces near the end of the song, but it adds backing vocals to one of the "Timothy Leary" lines near the beginning of the song ... Also, some of the instrumentation and the vocals are rearranged on the track, when listening to the stereo quality, so that was a cool effect.

The addition of the instrumental track, "Beyond" from "To Our Children's Children's Children," playing in the background behind the poetry of "The Word," made for a great combination ... I like how that track ends out with the "OM" chant, and then it merges with the opening lyrics to "Eyes of a Child."

For all of the material from "On The Threshold of a Dream," we get some nice mixes of all of the tracks, with better "stereo" separation of the vocals from "Never Comes The Day," "Have You Heard, Part 1," and "Have You Heard, Part 2." There is also a better stereo mix of "The Voyage," right where the pianos come in, near the end of that track. This mix of "In The Beginning" is unusual, because Justin Hayward and Mike Pinder's voices are more audible on this version and Graeme Edge's voice (The computer voice) is heard more in the background.

The mix of "Tuesday Afternoon" fades out before the orchestra comes in at the end, so it sounds more like the version on "The Best of The Moody Blues" ... Also, the stereo quality is in reverse, compared to the other mixes of the song, and the piano sounds a little different, with more echo coming from it, this time around. I like the way "Ride My See-Saw" fades into this song, and also how "Tuesday Afternoon" fades into "And The Tide Rushes In."

"A Simple Game" made for a nice addition, too, but the song ends a little earlier on this mix than the mix featured on the "Prelude" CD, so we don't hear some of Justin Hayward's singing at the end. Justin's vocals are brought to the fore on the mix of "The Story in Your Eyes," and the same goes for "Melancholy Man," with the backup vocals and the synthesizer piece halfway through the song. There is also a third stereo remix of the orchestral version of "Nights in White Satin" (In addition to the mixes from both the vinyl and CD versions of "Days of Future Passed"), and this version is missing the gong at the end of the "Late Lament" part of the track! I like the effect of the vocals from the end of "Melancholy Man" merging with the orchestral intro to "Nights in White Satin," and we can hear Mike Pinder shout, "Believe me! Believe me!" in the background.

The only low point for me, on this release (which isn't really too bad), was that a lot of the tracks were faded out a little early, when faded into other tunes, most notably on "The Story in Your Eyes" and "Isn't Life Strange." Also, I would have added the tracks "Voices in the Sky," "Gypsy," "Candle of Life," "One More Time to Live," and "You and Me," if I was putting together this release ... It would have been amazing to hear what those songs would have sounded like had they been remixed for this release.

What a shame that this album went out of print! :( Currently, the only 2 excerpts from "This Is The Moody Blues" that are available today include the mixes of "Eyes of a Child" and "Melancholy Man," which make a reappearance on the 2 CD set, "The Singles."

I think that "This Is The Moody Blues" should be re-released in an updated format. It would be great if the CD's were packaged with the see-through jewel cases, featuring the "Classic 7" album covers underneath (As seen with the re-mastered CD releases of those albums). The CD booklet should remain the same, because it includes a lot of info on the band, plus a mini poster of the photo montage from the vinyl release could also be included, with lyrics to the songs on the back of it. For anyone who has seen the re-mastered CD version of Pink Floyd's "Ummagumma" album, "This Is The Moody Blues" could be packaged the same way! I rate this album 10 dots! :)

Add your thoughts?

Octave - London 1978.
Rating = 7

A good comeback album! The rockers "Steppin' In A Slide Zone" and "I'll Be Level With You" sound disgustingly wussy in this post-punk age, and Thomas's two are really friggin' bad, but this album has FIVE trash-cleanin' clam-lappin' sunny day real estate love gun heaven ball raise your ears and weep beauty queens! "Had To Fall In Love," "Driftwood," "Survival," "One Step Into The Light," and "The Day We Meet Again" cannot be beat. Just beautiful. There ain't nuthin' like a Moody Blues ballad, I'm tellin' ya. They probably shouldn't have even bothered trying to rock. They just didn't know how to do it, generally speaking. They overdid everything until what they were sure was "rockin'" was just "stupid." They weren't the Rockin' Blues or the Moody Rocks or the Rockin' Gang Of Thugs or Collective Soul for a reason. They were a moody band. Moody Pops would have been more appropriate, I guess, but perhaps there was a lollipop company utilizing that moniker at the time of the band's inception.

On a different subject, the title of this album is a clever way of suggesting that the band never really broke up (from Seventh Sojourn to Octave). Get it? Most people didn't. I mean - it didn't sell real well.

Reader Comments

105156.640@compuserve.com
A lot of the problem with Octave is that many of the songs sound like out-takes from solo albums. Thomas's could have been on From Mighty Oaks, "Survival" on Natural Avenue. "One Step.." has even wonkier lyrics than stuff from The Promise and I HATE that wimpy electric piano. But the other songs are pretty cool. But it's definitely their least focused record.

MikeRobWil@aol.com
I waited a long, long time for the Moodies to make their comeback but this wasn't it! This album was a major disappointment when it came out and remains so today. I tried to force myself to like it for several years and finally just had to admit that is sucked big time. Fortunately, better things were ahead.

lewallen@Oceana.net
5 gems is right! I agree with you completely! "Driftwood" is definitely the best! Though, for some odd reason I absolutely love "Top Rank Suite". Not many people seem to, maybe I'm just weird.

eggman@delrio.com
This is an absolutely beautiful album. I must have played it a thousand times when it came out! "Driftwood" and "The Day We Meet Again" are as good as anything the Moodies ever did.

RFitzpa478@aol.com
I love your reviews-but you've got too much of a hardon for Lodge- the band is nothing without Pinder- there's not one song after octave that I look forward to in concert-My hope is that in 1999 Pinder will join for a summer of 69 tour-I hope they talked about that when they met in Reno a year or so back.

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
I didn't like this album too much. Other than "Steppin in a slide zone" and "Driftwood". The rest of the album didn't make the cut for me. I was wondering if Graeme Edge really sang "I'll Be Level With You". Out of ten stars I'd give it a 5

Skyvoyze@aol.com (David)
I liked parts of your review. I know Ray's songs may not be as strong as his efforts in the late 60's-early 70's but..."Under Moonshine", for some odd reason, brings back memories of the musical style I remember so well between the ages of ~4-6. I was born in '75 and--although young--was surrounded by enough music, that when I listened to Octave in the early 90's, along with a lot of other crap that was out by bands today, I couldn't believe how much worse some popular music had become, compared to Octave. "Survival" is one of the top 10 pop-lullabies of all time (try to find the other 9). Who says John can't sing well!? He's a stud on this ballad! "Slide Zone" could use a drum boost, as could "The Day We Meet Again". I like Mike's song, and its change in style. He did a remake of that on the reissued release of his solo album The Promise as a bonus track. "Had to fall in love" is a great song to play in a dimly-lit room in front of a lit-up Christmas tree (don't ask); heck--you gave this album a good rating, and I agree. However, the music is so nostalgic, that I can't ignore it.

Bigrynz@aol.com
I'm trying my best to comprehend how you can rate Octave so highly. I personally think Octave is pretty awful.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Ugh. And I'll speak no more of the Moodys. I'm glad they are rich and well off, they are a favorite band of mine, but I just never want to listen to their phase II music. The magic is gone, at least for me. It's just unlistenable. And I did try. I wanted to like this stuff, I really did. But no. I just doesn't work.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Perfect review. I kinda, sorta enjoy Steppin' In A Slide Zone and I'll Be Level With You, but not a whole lot. And Thomas' two are horrid; I'm Your Man sounds too much like theme music to a 70's soap opera. And Top Rank Suite is just...ok. But the ballads man. THE ballads. Anyone who doesn't enjoy these five beautys (well, I guess I can understand not liking Pinder's, tho I love it) simply hasn't really listened to them, hasn't given them a chance. Anyways, I agree with the 7.

KevinMartinell@aol.com
This album made for a great listen, all the way through. On this occasion, John Lodge opens up a "Moody Blues" album with one of his tracks ... I enjoy "Stepping in a Slide Zone," especially the synthesizer and sound effects in the beginning and end of the song. The guitar piece in the intro made for an eerie but awesome buildup to the opening lyrics, too. I also like the parts of the song where John Lodge shouts, "Slide zoooooooone!" ... My father (The original "Moody Blues" fan in my family) used to sing along on that line! :)

Also, I agree that "Had To Fall in Love," "Driftwood," "Survival," "One Step Into The Light," and "The Day We Meet Again" are absolutely beautiful and are among the greatest songs ever written by the band. This is the only album where you can listen to the full version of "Driftwood," which features excellent guitar and saxophone solos ... Also, earlier pressings of the CD featured a shorter version of "Survival," but I believe you can get ahold of the five minute version on the later pressing of the CD, which is available as I type this. :) The longer version of "Survival" is just amazing!

Both of Ray Thomas' selections sound different from his previous compositions, but I like them and enjoy them just as much as his other songs ... I like the mellow and relaxing feel to both "Under Moonshine" and "I'm Your Man," and the strings sound marvelous on both tracks, too.

It would be excellent if this album was re-mastered and reissued (and the rest of the "Moody Blues" albums following this, as well), hopefully soon ... It's nice to see that the "Classic 7" albums and "Caught Live + 5" were re-mastered ... Now it's time for the record company to re-master the rest of the albums, and hopefully, if and when that happens, the full versions of "Driftwood" and "Survival" will be featured again! :)

Oh yeah ... Don't want to forget about "Top Rank Suite!" For me, this is a unique sounding Justin Hayward track compared to his other songs, but it's so catchy and the saxophones add lots of pizzazz to the track ... Another fine tune on the album! :)

David.Moses@odpm.gsi.gov.uk
This album lost the band a lot of its credibility. I think I can explain why. A lot of people who like their 1967-72 output do so, because they have labelled the Moody Blues as 'progressive'. Even if not defined as a prog band, they still had inventive ideas, with their albums, having concepts, which even if dumb, were still innovative to some degree. 'Procession' whatever anybody thinks is progressive to an extreme.

Yet with the reformation in 1978, they were no longer a prog band at all. Their music becomes AOR. Mostly a ballad orientated group, but now, more cheesy than before, without the progressive element. Now, they are always slated for this, because those people interested in their music, generally tend to be progsters, so will slate all this music.

But if you like cheesy, catchy easy listening, then most of the stuff from Octave onwards, is just as good as the prog, in its own way. It has to be reviewed on its merits.

The ballads make this album. And fortunately, there are plenty of them. 'One step into the light' is almost spiritual it is so good. A great last song by Mike Pinder. Just as a sideline, has anyone noticed how he has gone from the most depressing music in the Moody Blues he is slated for, to the most wussy AOR ever on 'the promise'? Talk of cheesy, happy music. (Still like his solo stuff though!)

'Survival' is a great love song and well orchestrated. Wonderfully moving song.

Hayward excells. 'Had to fall in love' is genius. with oodles of acoustic guitars and harmonica interludes. 'Driftwood' has the best tune on the album, and would be a 10/10, but I dislike the saxophone which sounds like it has been overdubbed, with little thought, for the emotion in the music.

'The day we meet again' is good, but not outstanding. The melody doesn't grab me immediately, as it did with the previous two songs.

I don't think Ray's songs are actually bad. They sound like stuff off his solo albums, and 'I'm your man' is so wimpy and the lyrics so bad, the songs is severely downgraded, but I like the stocatto feel and still think Thomas sings brilliantly. 'Under moonshine' is ok, but menaders after a while and loses a bit of direction.

There are three upbeat songs on the record. 'I'll be level with you' is fine, but may try to rock too much. Always unison vocals in an Edge song. Still, good effort.

'Top rank suite' grew on me. Hated it for months, then it just clicked. 'Can you tell me...why!' I think it is really good now, and grows on me with each listen. I don't think you can call this generic!

'Steppin in a slide zone' to me is the weakest song on the album. No melody whatsoever. But the only real weak song, on an otherwise vastly underrated album.

blondechicksinger@hotmail.com (Music Lover)
Man, I need to get this on CD. I still have my old, original vinyl copy that sounds like crap. I actually might like the album better if I had it on CD and could actually HEAR it properly.

Anyway, this wasn't one of my Moodies favorites but excellent, nonetheless. Perhaps it was the cover of the album. Their previous albums had this intricate and rich artwork which hooked you in and here we have them just walking through a door with a bright light behind them. Unless you happen to see the "video" (videos being what they were in 1978) of "Steppin' in a Slide Zone", you didn't know what that was all about and that they were just trying to look hip and cool walking through a door with a bright light behind them.

I totally agree with all the others in that this album did produce some of the most GORGEOUS love songs! *sigh*. "Had to Fall In Love" is wonderful. Perfect make-out song. "The Day We Meet Again" *another sigh*, "Survival",.....buy this album for these love songs! Trust me.

"Steppin' in a Slide Zone" is a great rocker and perfect album opener. I wish there was a recording of this in concert. It's a great number, live.

I like "Driftwood" except for the saxophone part. Same for "Top Rank Suite". Great, catchy tune, but that whole saxophone was too much. But, this was 1978 and every pop/rock song at the time had saxophones in it. Maybe it'll strike me different once I get it on CD.

Most definitely a good album.

CandleLight@dsl.pipex.com
"Driftwood" is one of my all-time favourite songs and deserved to be so much more of a hit in its own right than it ever was here in the UK. I think it may have been had it been the first single from the album. "Had to Fall in Love" and "The Day We Meet Again" are other highlights. The rest of the album is pretty mediocre and "Steppin' in a Slidezone" was a very weak single to come back with. Aaaahhh!!! Glorious hindsight!!!

Add your thoughts?

Long Distance Voyager - Threshold 1981.
Rating = 8

Mike Pinder's gone. I don't know where he went. He was bald and maybe he felt like he didn't fit in any more. I don't know, but the remaining Moodies (thinking on their feet) recruited Patrick Moraz, who had played on Yes's Relayer, and perhaps had some other career going too, but I wouldn't know about it. More importantly, long-time producer Tony Clarke is gone. In other words, the two guys who made sure that the Moody Blues didn't completely flake out into lovey-dove dream happy cornballville were gone. That's why this album sounds like a Patrick Moraz solo album with some vocal help by the Moody Blues. You see, Moraz didn't play a Mellotron; he played those corny modern 80's-sounding keyboards - and they overshadow everything on this record!!!!

"So," you ask derisively, "why an 8?" Cause the songs are excellent, that's why. It may take several listens to get past the sleazy early-80's Mr. Mister production, but if and when you finally do, you'll hear four of the most wonderful pop songs this side of David Hasselhoff (and those weren't even the hits!). Three of them lament a lost love; Lodge's "Talking Out Of Turn" and Hayward's "Meanwhile" are self-blaming, yet hopeful somehow, while Lodge's "Nervous" is darn near heart-wrenching ("Why am I so nervous? / Please explain to me / why I can't sleep / I close my eyes to shelter / In the dark, I try to hide .... / In my mind confusion / I see you everywhere / But we don't speak / I try so hard to touch you / but you're always out of reach") until it kinda cheeses out during the chorus so you can wipe the tears from your cheeks before somebody calls you a fag. (Nothing against gay people, of course. It's rednecks I don't like. But that's another story entirely. I'm speaking now of the Moody Blues.) The fourth great song on this record is Hayward's golden love song "In My World" - and I do mean "golden." As in really butt good.

The other songs are good, too, in their own way, and both the decent rocker "The Voice" and the disco-influenced "Gemini Dream" were hits. Go ahead and buy it. You can probably get it for a dollar somewhere. I know I did.

Reader Comments

fritzi@escape.ca (Bill Hanson)
I thought that "In My World" was one of the incredible tracks on this album. Wanted to play it on my wedding day as the song for the bride and groom to dance to. It is simply a beautiful love song.

105156.640@compuserve.com
By far the peak of their post-7th Sojourn releases. I strongly disagree about Patrick's keyboards - they helped redefine the sound of the band. The intro to "The Voice", for example: Incredible, especially through earphones! "In My World" is the song I lost my virginity to - enough said. "Nervous" is another Natural Avenue-type orchestrated Lodge ballad, but well done. "Talking" is better - the keyboard/orchestra arrangement is really unique. Everyone provides good material. "Gemini Dream" is the low point, especially the "n-n-n-night" part. Sounds like ELO. At least it sounds better live.

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
Let's see, the first half of the album was a Moraz ego trip. The songs revolved completely around his keyboards and no member of the band other than Moraz seemed willing to step up and make music, which would have been okay, if I wanted to hear a Moraz album, but I wanted THE MOODY BLUES, and coming off the only Moody Blues album I own, Days Of Future Passed, this album plainly sucked. Moraz is talented, don't get me wrong, but I want to listen to the band. If I wanted to listen to him, I would have bought one of his albums. On the same token, his style could have been applied nicely in Yes, where all the members are always competing to outdo each other. His music would have fit perfectly. If he had replaced Downes in the new Yes in 1981 then he would have saved the band, I'm sure. Instead, he went and ruined a good one. The second half, well.....It was good. It tried to pull an all inclusive mood out of the album at the end. "Meanwhile" and all the other songs on the second side were great or at least good. The band actually stepped up, and Moraz seemed to step back a bit. Well written songs, and it is at least half of a great album, and half of a pretty good Moraz album which makes it about a 7 overall, but I doubt I will listen to it too often, it's just such a step back from the last Moody Blues album I was familiar with.

MikeRobWil@aol.com
This was the real beginning of The Moody Blues, Part Two. I don't give much credit to Patrick Moraz one way or the other as a Moody from this album on. He has been just a fill-in directed by the songwriters to add to their vision. The highlight of this recording is "The Voice" and it is pure Hayward. This one song kept me buying each new album from this point forward upon release with no idea of what to expect. The result is I've bought a lot of crap, with enough gems sprinkled in to keep me hooked.

lewallen@Oceana.net
This is in my top few albums! First off, I'll just say that I hate Moraz and leave it at that! "Nervous" is up there with "Emily's Song" in my mind, so beautiful!! My mom was fortunate enough to see "Talking" live and said it was great. I hear it's on the casino set list this year! "Gemini Dream" was my favorite song back when I was 12, my first favorite, so it sort of means a lot to me. I still love it!

pinder@aol.com
How could you not say anything about "22,000 days" or the last three songs by Thomas? "22,000 Days" may be the best song Edge ever wrote. Meanwhile, those last three songs are easily the part of the album which I like the most. They were a return from the constant lovidoviness of the first half of the album and back to the lighthearted silliness which made the Moodies so great. And I would be hard pressed to think of a better ending for an album than Thomas singing at the top of his lungs, "He's afraid that he will die."

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
I also enjoy the music of the "Moody Blues", as well as "Rush," "Pink Floyd" and "Yes." I feel that "The Moody Blues" were another one of those great art-rock bands. Of the cds which I currently possess, my favorite "Moody Blues" cds are To Our Children's Children's Children, In Search Of The Lost Chord, On The Threshold Of A Dream, Long Distance Voyager, and This Is The Moody Blues. This Is is a magnificent cd, although it does not contain the better songs on To Our Children's Children's Children. Still, I believe it deserves a 10/10, along with TOCCC, and OTTOAD. ISOTLC, DOFP, and LDV deserved 9/10. I do not particularly care for EGBDF or Octave. It may be some time before I decide if I need the remastered versions of A Question Of Balance and Seventh Sojourn, although these cds have a much greater priority in replacing than EGBDF or Octave.

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
This album is great. It has two top 20 singles ("The Voice", "Gemini Dream"), and John Lodge has two great ballads. ("Talking Out Of Turn", "Nervous"). As for Patrick Moraz, it doesn't matter if you like him or not. He gave the Moodies an eighties sound with his keyboard. Can you imagine if Mike Pinder had stayed with the band with his Mellotron?

i21apawa@unibw-muenchen.de
if you say this album is not so good ....i am disagree...... just only 4 songs in this album make it worth buying....you already know which songs i talked about......."nervous" is one of the most beatiful songs i've ever heard in my life...ok 4 songs and forget all about the rest....

katew@bicnet.net
To me, the highlight of this album (other than "The Voice") is the three Ray Thomas tracks at the end, concluding with "Veteran Cosmic Rocker". They are absolutely vintage Ray Thomas. Hell, they're vintage Moody Blues, creative and unique, absolutely impossible to duplicate. These three tracks make be ache for their golden age in the late '60's and early '70's.

rob@954access.net (Robert Kilbride)
I have over 1500 cds and this is one of the few that I constantly listen to. I love the songs and I love the arrangements and production. The keyboards sound great. I like your reviews it seems you have pretty good taste in music. Moraz is also on my favorite Yes album, Relayer a simply awesome album.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I like this album. And I didn't expect to when I bought it. But man... Talking Out Of Turn, In My World, Meanwhile, and Nervous are just friggin beautiful, man. Justin and John had it goin' on. It did take me a while to get past Moraz' production, but once I did, ah man. OH. And I actually really enjoy Thomas' songs, especially Veteran Cosmic Rocker (sorry Mark). And 22,000 days is good too. I only sorta like The Voice here, tho; I like the Red Rocks version _much_ better. And Gemini Dream annoys the crap out of me. But other than that, a splendid album. 8.

richbunnell@home.com
The four ballads are the best songs on here?? Aw, Mark, you don't -have- to disguise your true feelings just because you're in the presence of fans. Admit it: You think "Gemini Dream" is great. ADMIT IT!!!! It's like what "Here Comes The Weekend" would sound like were it good. I don't even have to defend "The Voice," even though it set off the irritating "Hayward writes every first single" trend that still haunts the band to this day (not that it's really a bad thing). The rest is the rest, a synthier, gentler Moodies for the post-Me decade, creating beautiful music which doesn't reach any particular emotional highs but doesn't blatantly disgust either. "22,000 Days" is probably Edge's best song, "song" being something which is hindered neither by poetry or stupid musical experiments ala "Procession." That pretty much only leaves this song and "After You Came," and I like this song better, so it's his best song. I agree with the eight for the album - it's Eighties Moodies, but it's also the pinnacle of Eighties Moodies.

katsman7@hotmail.com (Madd Hunter)
I agree with your 8, Mark. This is a beautiful, melancholic album. Apart from the really dumb "Talking Out Of Turn" and the weird "Veteran Cosmic Rocker", the others are, as I want to say, excellent. "22,000 Days" has to be my favourite, along with "Painted Smile" which is very different from the other songs. The lyrics aren't as good as they can be, for example in "Talking Out Of Turn" (I didn't mean to make you cry/I don't need an alibi to start me talking out of turn); What's this? It seems to me like a cheap poetic apology!! Anyways, the music is good. VERY GOOD. Listen to the opening of "The Voice" (is this soundtrack music?); very strange. Also, "Meanwhile" has good music. "In My World" is the perfect love song (not the junk of "Talking Out Of Turn"!). Buy this album, you won't be dissapointed. Symphonic pop-rock (yes, rock without much guitar playing). Anyways, I don't understand why "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" is here. Doesn't match with the rest of the album. But ain't bad.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
Mmmm... I'd give this album a low 7. Great songs mixed with mediocre songs. "In My World" is so tender, although long, and "Nervous" and "Painted Smile" are stunning. "22,000 Days" is kinda cool too. "The Voice" is good but somewhat overrated, I believe it's not the best song here. The worst ones are "Talking Out Of Turn" (long! long! long!) and "Gemini Dream" (I hate disco music). And I could live without "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" (the melody is good but the song itself is somewhat silly). Don't start your MB collection with this album. Buy Days Of Future Passed instead.

David.Moses@odpm.gsi.gov.uk
Another great album. Again, the ballads are the best. I think there is only one stinker on the record.

'The voice' is a funny song. I know it is really nice and I like it. I can just never remember the melody. It is the only Moody Blues song i can't remember. (Except for the crap on 'sur la mer'.) Funny that, can't comment.

'Talking out of turn' is amazing. Another great Lodge ballad.

'Gemini dream'. No no no. Disco nonsense. I can sing along to it, but can't stand the synths and unmelodic unison singing. Should have gone on 'the other side of life.' Completely out of place here. Bet Moraz had a huge hand in this one.

'In my world'. Lovely melody, excellent, romantic lyrics, and beautiful glistening acoustic guitars. Love the playout bit as well. Majestic Hayward ballad.

'Meanwhile' another acoustic masterpiece.

'22,000 days' actually, this is quite effective, come to think of it. Rocks along nicely.

'Nervous' What an excellent introduction. More acoustic finger picking and lovely flute. Love the verses. Lodge's ballads are truly terrific also. Choruses have more beat, but are also great. love the playout to this one too, even the synths work. amazing track, second best.

Thomas ends with three tracks, 'reflective smile' is just an interlude- who actually speaks this bit? Painted smile' is another of his carousel and pink fairy and candy floss songs, but there is a hidden meaning, quite obviously. Good way of making you smile at the apparent triviality, but realising there is more to this than a nice sound.

'Veteran cosmic rocker' is very hit or miss. I actually don't mind it for entertainment value, and think Thomas's vocal is hysterical. Not really my thing though.

Great album, 'in my world', 'talking out of turn', 'nervous' and 'meanwhule' holding out the best.

tater794@yahoo.com (J G)
I give this album a 10. Classic Moodies...but yet, to me, all their offerings are classic. I ddin't pay too much attention to the new keyboard player with the big hair. He just seemed like a backup musician to me. "The Voice" has the coolest intro...instantly recognizable as The Moody Blues. Oh, and if you aren't in love with Justin Hayward before you hear "In My World", you will be afterwards! *sigh* I always like the radio hit "Gemini Dream". Yes, it's a bit disco and as a poster above said, it's better when you hear it live, but it's a great tune, nonetheless. I was mesmerized the first time I heard "Painted Smile/Reflective Smile/Veteran Cosmic Rocker"! I'm all: What the HELL is that!?; but was so enthralled that I listened to it again and again..... Can't help but chuckle to myself though, as "Painted Smile" ends and morphs into "Reflective Smile" with all the creepy circus m! usic in the background and Ray Thomas' theatrical speaking voice, it makes one think of scary clowns in a bad dream. So be thankful to your grease paint clown...if lonliness bears the crown of THE VETERAN COSMIC ROCKER!

Wish they would've done this live when I saw them.

CandleLight@dsl.pipex.com
My favourite Moody Blues album. With the exception of "Veteran Cosmic Rocker", there isn't a track on this album I don't like. "Talking Out of Turn" is one of my all-time favourites as is "The Voice" (what an intro). "Gemini Dream" is what I wanted to hear from them in the 80s (I was one of their younger fans until "The Other Side of Life" and "Sur la Mer").

I thought Moraz added a great deal to the band and was sad the day he left. Hayward and Lodge's voices shine in this style. But then I was never a fan of the depressing and mawkish Pinder material and find it genuinely difficult to understand the appeal it holds for so many Moody Blues fans.

Add your thoughts?

The Present - Threshold 1983.
Rating = 8

Everyone who's laughing and pointing and making fun of me right now can just kiss my black ass. Every single song on this album is beautiful. No stupid rockers. Just sappy pop songs - exactly what the Moodies were best at, gosh darn it. The only song that even approaches lousitude is Lodge's "Under My Feet," which is a little dull. But everything else; the depressing (but poppy!) "Blue World," the more rock-esque (but poppy!) "Sitting At The Wheel," the upbeat "Meet Me Halfway" (which I absolutely adore - "Is it a dream? / Is it a dream coming true? / Meet me halfway!" - that part can stay on a constant repeating tape loop in my brain for the rest of my stinkin' life if it so desires), the sad but hopeful (and poppy!) lost love anthems "Going Nowhere," "It's Cold Outside Of Your Heart," and "Running Water," the silly-but-great experimental 60's-throwbacks "I Am" and "Hole In The World" (which is actually a very very good instrumental, come to think of it) - even Thomas's "Sorry" is really pretty, except for that part where he's talking about making love to his bedmate. Bleah. I don't wanna picture Ray Thomas screwing. You?

Like the last album, you just have to ignore the production (which alone was enough to drag this record down to an 8) and enjoy the melodies and harmonies buried beneath.

Reader Comments

malberty@bcie.hn (Mario Alberty)
I really love that album. I got it on cassette in 1983 in Lafayette, Louisiana. I drove my car to Central America hearing that album. Couple of years ago I got it again in CD. Incredible!!

bclaritc@selkirk.csrv.nidc.edu (Blaine Laritchie)
I really like The Present!! Some say it sounds country but I hate country so that can't be true. Maybe it just suits my mood at this time in life. Thanks for ranking it so high.

105156.640@compuserve.com
It's the beginning of their slide. Except for "Sitting", they sound like they're depressed, like on 7th. I like Patrick's elaborate keyboard parts, but the songwriting isn't up to snuff. Most of the lyrics are rather ordinary. "Blue World" is the coolest song. I like the way the bass is mixed way up front. I like "Going Nowhere", too - a moving statement on aging.

hmras@ix.netcom.com (Harold F. Mras)
I love this album. Currently it is my favorite. I don't normally like country either, but "Its Cold Outside Of Your Heart" IS a country song whether Mr. Hayward intended that or not. And "Sitting At The Wheel"? Sure wish they'd do that one live! It's been said this was a very painful album to make. Wonder why?

rlk0003@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
The Present is, in my opinion, one of their best albums. Unfortunately, the band members all hate the album. In fact, they refuse to do anything from that album in concert which is a shame because "Sitting At The Wheel" sounded VERY good in concert back when they did it in the mid 80s. Justin's guitars were loud and up front, and Patrick's keys were more in the background, and the ending was fantastic. "Blue World" was also a good song in concert, but alas, when The Other Side Of Life was released, the band began to boycott all material from The Present, and they're still boycotting it to this day. The only way to hear that material live now is to be fortunate enough to acquire a copy of the King Biscuit radio broadcast of the LA show from that tour. And that tape is very rare.

MikeRobWil@aol.com
Appears I'm in the minority here. I look at this as a step backward from Long Distance Voyager and more closely attuned to the dull Octave. As much as I love Justin Hayward, "Blue World" needs some heavy editing and not much else has any depth. I've seen the Moodies 5-6 times since 1970 in concert and am not surprise that this material has had little attention live.

lewallen@Oceana.net
Finally, a Present fan! Gosh, it seems like all the fans hate this one. "Running Water" is gorgeous, "Sitting" is addictive, and "Going Nowhere" makes me cry nearly everytime I hear it.

"type your username"@teleport.com (Tom in Portland)
Yep, this is a great -- and much maligned -- album. Ditto on the band's boycott of these songs. Anyone who heard (and saw) Justin playing keyboards to "Running Water" in the '83 tour would agree. Ray Thomas gets bonus points in my book for skewering the boomer generation before it was fashionable. I always think about this song during more recent tours, where masses of "laid-back, uptown, turnaround people" have suddenly reappeared, after dumping the band (for the most part, in a group stampede to elevator jazz from the like of Pat Metheny and Kenny G) in the 1980s!

RFitzpa478@aol.com
It's hard to take you too seriously when you give Days of Future passed the same rating as THE PRESENT? Are we listening to the same albums? Do you really like post Octave material that much? Still, you give the funniest reviews I've ever read, but on this one-maybe you should kiss mine.

Lansman@sweden-c.it.earthlink.net (Tom)
Indeed my first reaction to your review is to scoff, but when I listen to the album itself and do not try to compare it to its predecessor or the "Golden 7", it is actually gets better with time. "Blue World" strikes a chord and "Meet Me Halfway" is an alltime classic of "cosmic rock". "Running Water" can easily stand on its own. Of course, this still doesn't excuse the self-descriptive "I Am" and "Sorry" (truer word were never spoken) and Graham Edge's puke piece at the end of side one, "Going Nowhere".

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
I'll agree with you. The Present is a good album in disguise. The songs are very good, and the best one is John Lodge's "Sitting At The Wheel". I wonder why nobody wanted to buy it?

jhall@si.umich.edu
It's worth having just for the cover art. (Even though "Meet Me Halfway" is Justin Hayward ear candy at its best--which, to rip off Martha Stewart, is a good thing).

BILLCHAFFIN@postoffice.worldnet.att.net
Well, I have read other comments about this release. I agree that the band has 'outlawed' any cut in shows since Voyager but I disagree with them.

"Hole in the World" is a very good military sounding instrumental. "Meet Me Halfway" has always been one of my favorites. In fact, one of the two disappointments of their tour supporting that album was that they did not play it. It was one of those tunes where the mellotron and Justin's guitar were in perfect sync. That does happen and gives me what I call "brain goose-bumps."

The other disappointment was the loss of electrical power for THE piece of the album, Graeme's "Going Nowhere." Ray's voice, the harmonies, and Patrick's multi-keyboard wizardry makes this a classic. I, too, am in middle age, having seen this band 15 times since 1972 (yes, from the Mike Pinder days). This song is very poignant,and beautiful, to me. In fact, I have a print of Maxfield Parrish's "Daybreak", framed in my bedroom.

All in all, the Moodies have certainly slipped since the Core 7 but they still have it. Can't wait to see what comes from the Italian sessions!

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I can't explain the appeal of these songs. I mean, there are just so many little things that make these songs so wonderful. The darkness of Blue World, the unbelievable vocals in Meet Me Halfway, the guitar work in Sittin'... I mean, man oh man. I even like I Am and Sorry. That being said, none of the songs is _great_, but they're all _really_good_. Good enough for an 8 in my book.

MaxOmaggot@aol.com
I have to agree completely with the review on this one. All these songs are beautiful.

Blue World is one of my new favourites, with its great lyrics and beat. Very blue. Very cool.

Meet me Halfway kicks its own ass, despite initial hangups I had with it.

Sitting at the Wheel really grew on me, and I like it, though not as much as the American public apparently did.

Going Nowhere is probably the third best song on here--way to go Graeme. I LOVE this song.

Hole in the World--finally, another instrumental, and it's a crazy military march. Excellent...

and it makes a great intro to Under My Feet. I totally dig the chorus, with those crashing thunder sounds.

It's Cold Outside of Your Heart is filled with emotion I can identify with, so I naturally love.

But Running Water is even better, I think.

I Am is GREAT. We have Ray, flutes, booming, poetry--an all around powerful song. This hearkens back to earlier Moodies stuff (just like how Ray did on Long Distance Voyager). And it even leads into...

Sorry. Which is pretty good. Better than average song, of course, pretty touching at times.

One of my favourite albums now.

David.Moses@odpm.gsi.gov.uk
I love this album. Loads of beautiful ballads and the last album ever, where the writing credit is split between the group more evenly. Hayward and Lodge dominate after this, which means we lose the varied and balanced sound, and the more natural flute and drums, replaced by sequencers and synthesisers. Yes, I think some of the production on this album is poor and some of the syntheisers are becoming more prominent, but at least there is an organic feel, not a metallic one.

Weird- I just realised going thorugh John's songs, even though the album is dominated by ballads, his token ballad is not on here! He contributes 'sitting at the wheel', the only upbeat song. Really catchy and nice synths! He really tries to sing here, John, and his dull voice, does take on some energy. But think about it, none of the Moody Blues really can sing rocky material. If they do and it pays off, it is comical- (Ray on veteran cosmic rocker) Good song nonetheless.

'Hole in the world' is to me, almost sinister. Weird synth lines, rhythmic military drums and some eerie electric guitar bits. Good stuff.

It leads straight into 'under my feet', which is also fine, but definitely the weakest track on the album.

Hayward is in fine form. 'Blue world' is excellent and sceranic with some lower range vocals. 'Cold outside of your heart' is considered by some to be country- but so what? it is a lovely folk song nonetheless.

As for 'running water', easily the best song on here. Fantastic ballad, nice sparse arrangement and brilliant singing. Liked it so much, made my own version of it. Layered loads of keyboards, bass synth and just loved singing that vocal line. One of Hayward's best ever.

'Meet me halfway' is also lovely. 'Is it a dream coming true'- I'd love to work out what that chord is and what they are singing above it. Another soaring melody.

That leaves the other two members of the band. Ray and Graeme don't dissapoint. I always had Graeme pegged as the one who wrote the rockers, but this time, it is a heartfelt ballad, with incredible synths, nice acoustic guitars and a beautiful baritone Thomas delivery. Song about growing old. Genius.

Ray ends the album, as he did on LDV. He betters his last contributions. 'I am' is a nod to their more progressive stuff. Typical, arrogant, self important lyrics 'I am', almost falsely philosophical, but I have no problem with it at all. Excellent little poem, with great flute flourishes I can hear in my head as clear as crystal.

'Sorry' is another of Thomas's more serious songs. Absoluitely excellent. Lovely tune, great lyrics, simplistic but honest and more harmonica here. This was the last album, where Thomas proves to add something definitive the Moody Blues sound.

Wonderful album. One of their best.

blondechicksinger@hotmail.com
I call this one the: "All The Moody Blues Are Pushing Age 40" album. Hence, all the musings about compromising and living to love another day and meeting halfway and being sorry and tired of yelling.

Still, there's something so very elegantly poignant about it.

FranciscaBiggs@dsl.pipex.com
Core 7 Shmore 7! The Moody Blues moved with the times in the 80s and good on them (though whether they would have done this or whether Hayward would have remained an old man before his time had Pinder still been there is debatable).

There isn't bad song on this album, not a track that I skip.

"Blue World" is one of the best tracks they have ever put together, right from the first bass notes of the intro through Hayward's sublime vocals to its merge into track 2.

"Going Nowhere" is a great vocal and musical arrangement.

"Running Water" has a beautiful melody and lyric (particularly personally poignant for me). A stunning vocal effort (though it could easily be a Hayward solo).

All in all, one of my favourite Moodies albums but then I'm an 80s girl!

rwdgrwnmfan@yahoo.com
Gotta support you 100% on your review here. A terribly underrated album. This is the one that got away...from their setlists. :( Great listening for many everyday activities!

Blue World: Great nighttime music.
Meet Me Halfway: Great hiking music.
Sitting At the Wheel: Road trip music.
Going Nowhere: Drinking music.
Under My Feet: Cave-exploring music.
Hole In the World: Same as above.
It's Cold Outside Your Heart: Fireside music.
Running Water: Dish washing/shower music.
I Am: More drinking music.
Sorry: Music to play to the officer who pulled you over. (Or not. Where's the lyric sheet? Uh, NO!)

Add your thoughts?

Voices In The Sky: The Best Of The Moody Blues - Decca 1985.
Rating = 9

Ummm. Well, it does have MOST of their greatest hits, I suppose, but why did they totally dis Children's Children's Children? Was "Gypsy" not good enough to make the cut??? Hah??? My ass.... And why no "The Story In Your Eyes"???? Hell, for that matter, where the crap is "Tuesday Afternoon"???? Or "Legend Of A Mind"???? This album is sucking my ass as we speak!!!! "Veteran Cosmic Rocker"???? Are you frigging kidding me????

It's a good darn thing that all the songs on here rule (except "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," which is kinda hokey), or I'd tell Decca to shove it where my moon don't shine. Nine it is! Don't buy it though.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Responding to this one is difficult because there were two versions of it released. One with a blue cover had "Never Comes the Day", and "Talking out of Turn" on it. The other with a guy laying down in a field on the cover had "Sitting at the Wheel" on it. Both were pretty bad MB greatest hits albums. It was worth it, though, for the non-orchestral version of "Nights in White Satin".

msmith48@snet.net (Monica Smith)
I agree, for the most part. The songs are great, but there's so much more the Moody Blues have done.

KevinMartinell@aol.com
A rather mediocre greatest hits album for the band ... Too short! I agree that "Tuesday Afternoon," "Legend of a Mind," "Gypsy," and "The Story in Your Eyes" needed to be added to this collection. I also found it most unusual that the "Voices in the Sky" track didn't even appear on this album with the same title! Also, "Driftwood," "The Voice," and "Gemini Dream" are edited down for some odd reason ... Why? There's enough room on the CD to feature the full-length, original versions!

In addition, the CD booklet that accompanied both versions of the CD release isn't much of a booklet. It's more like a fold-out card featuring just the list of the songs on the CD ... Very boring. "This Is The Moody Blues," "The Best of The Moody Blues (1997)," "The Moody Blues Anthology," "The Singles +," and the re-mastered CD's of the "Classic 7" albums all have interviews, photos, and/or commentaries within their CD booklets. Why not this one? Not even lyrics to the songs are included. Very strange. :(

On a positive note, I was pleased that the rare single edit of "Question" made an appearance on this album, as well as "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," which was left off of "Time Traveller," but should have been included on that one, as well. There is also a slightly different mix of "Isn't Life Strange," with a longer pause between the middle of the song, where the music starts to fade, and where John Lodge's vocals come in to sing the final verses of the song ... The song also fades out a few seconds earlier than the original mix from "Seventh Sojourn." "Sitting At The Wheel" made for an excellent inclusion on this album, so John Lodge has three "rock and roll" songs on here, the other two being "Ride My See-Saw" and "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)," of course. :) This was also the first album I listened to that featured the single edit of "Nights in White Satin," because, at the time, I never knew there was a mix of this song without the orchestra, before!

I have both versions of this album on CD ... The earlier CD version featured a rare stereo mix of "Never Comes The Day," which I have never found on any other release ... It's too bad that not even that track was included on the later version of the CD.

It seemed that the 1997 release of "The Best of The Moody Blues" was an updated version of this album and in that case, it is quite an improvement in some areas ... "Tuesday Afternoon" and "The Story in Your Eyes" are featured, along with "Stepping in a Slide Zone" and "Blue World," which were left off of "Legend of a Band." The only major criticism I had on that release was that "The Other Side of Life" which made an appearance on "Legend of a Band," was left off of the CD ... It's too bad that this track couldn't be fitted in, as well. I'd give "Voices in the Sky" about 6 out of 10 dots, but I would give "The Best of The Moody Blues" 9 out of 10 dots!

One more thing ... Here's something really bizarre that I've discovered, in regard to the 1997 release of "The Best of The Moody Blues" ... I used to have a copy of the earlier version of this CD, featuring the title of the album displayed in a spiral formation with the "Moody Blue" logo in the background on the cover (before the version featuring the dove and the starry evening sky on the cover). The earlier version features a shorter version of "The Story in Your Eyes," taken from the mix on "Time Traveller," while the later release features the single version, which is about 12 seconds longer! Also, there is one point in each of the following songs where the songs go from stereophonic sound into mono for a second: "I'm Just a Singer in a Rock in Roll Band" (Right after the first time The Moody Blues sing this line), "The Voice" (At the beginning, when the synthesizers begin to fade in ... both versions of this release have it), "Your Wildest Dreams" (After the second set of verses, when they sing "Once upon a time in your wildest dreams"), and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" (Right on the chorus, following the verse that begins with, "The words that I remember..."). Check this out with your headphones on, if you own a copy of the earlier edition of this CD! :)

Add your thoughts?

The Other Side Of Life - Polygram 1986.
Rating = 6

Uh oh. They're giving in to the popular tastes of the consumer. "Your Wildest Dreams" and "I Just Don't Care" are pretty, but that's it. The rest of this sounds like generic mid-80's pop aimed towards thirteen-year-olds. I loved it, of course, but then... I was a thirteen-year-old. "Talkin' Talkin'" and "Slings And Arrows" are slick keyboard-driven upbeat poppers like Starship or something, "Running Out Of Love" is a Robert Palmer rip-off, "The Spirit" and "Rock 'n' Roll Over You" don't rock nearly as hard as the band seems to think they do, "The Other Side Of Life" sounds like post-Waters Pink Floyd (which, admittedly, hadn't begun yet - but it was about to!), and "It May Be A Fire" is about as vibrant as a couch. Ray Thomas is pictured on the cover, but he didn't write any of the songs and there sure as hell aint no flute to be heard. This is the sound of a band that has no goddarned clue where its strengths lie. It gets a 6, though, cuz some of the songs are surprisingly catchy.

Reader Comments

105156.640@compuserve.com
I hate all the programming on this album.. The production is too heavy. The lyrics are increasingly uncreative, except for "Other Side" and "Spirit". The peak tune for me is "Your Wildest Dreams". It takes the best elements from "The Voice" (a really cool spacy intro) and "Blue World" (bass mixed to the fore) and combines them with accessible, coherent lyrics. And I must strongly disagree about "It May Be A Fire," which I think is the other high- light. Sure, it's yet another rewrite of Natural Avenue's "Say You Love Me." But Justin's guitar solo is wonderful - it takes the song to another level.

MikeRobWil@aol.com
"The Other Side Of Life" was the first Moody Blues song I can remember seeing on MTV and it was quite an impressive production. I really like this song. It seems to be a departure from all their past work which I would have liked to see as an album theme, rather than an oddity. It's one of their best concert pieces.

lewallen@Oceana.net
If this album is bad, I personally think you can blame Moraz for it. "Look at me, I play keyboard!" Ugh! I'm so glad they woke up eventually and brought in Bias and Paul. I liked the album a lot. "Your Wildest Dreams" is my favorite, but "Running Out of Love" is suprisingly catchy to me.

jtrickey@vivanet.com
I would have to say this is probably the best CD the Moody Blues have ever put out. Granted all but two songs suck ("in your wildest dreams" and "the other side of life") but it was "In Your Wildest Dreams" that turn me on to Moody Blues music. To me anyways this song redefine what Rock and Roll should sound like. I know this may sound corny but it speaks to me about the way I live my life by listening to the music that guides me through life; this song is very dear to me.

fingertipfacts@sprintmail.com
I thought "It may be a Fire" was so good it should have been on the Time Traveler collection.

wcmgelp@utah.uswest.net (Bill)
What?! Have you never lost your first love?! "Your Wildest Dreams" speaks volumes in rather a short span of time. It is possible to be popular and very good simultaneously (that is, at the same time). To borrow a quote from ESPN, "To know is to understand."

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
Uh Hello, if it weren't for this album, the Moody Blues probally won't be recording a new album right now (Scheduled to release in 1998). After all it had only their third top ten single in the group's history. All 9 songs can stick to your mind easily, and you could remember the lyrics to all nine songs. I hope you recognize this, because it's one of their best albums.

jhall@si.umich.edu
When I was fourteen, I thought "Wildest Dreams" was a great song, and it's the song that introduced me to the band, but now that I have a clue, I have to say it's not really all that great except nostalgia. The best song they made in the eighties is here, though--"The Other Side of Life." Try standing in front of the bass amp when they do this live.

kenyon@mail.netnitco.net
I can't stand this album. The only good ones on it are "Your Wildest Dreams" and "The Other Side of Life." No wonder they're the only ones that made it to the Greatest Hits album (the one that later became Legend of a Band). By the way--how many greatest hits albums can one band legally have? because as much as I love them, they have got to be pushing the limit.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
6 is all this deserves. I really, really like the title track, with my other favorites being Your Wildest Dreams, I Just Don't Care, and, surprisingly enough, The Spirit. The other stuff... urgh....

Rock and Roll Over You sucks ass. Completely. Talking Talking has some good lyrics, but it's still stupid. The fact that this hit #9 and The Present only hit 15# (or something like that) simply says that the buying public is a bunch of morons.

MaxOmaggot@aol.com
I just recently got this one on tape... I'd say it's not as good as Sur La Mer, but it's not horrible, either.

Your Wildest Dreams--duh, great song. I've loved it, since, like IKYOTS and TOSOL were both on Legend of a Band, which I've heard lots before.

Talkin' Talkin'... it's true it has a bad name, but I've gotten to really like it. I live for the weird synth zigging between the lyrical parts... you know what I mean. It has other good moments that redeem it.

Rock 'n' Roll Over You also has a shitty title, but the way John says "Like a rock, I'm gonna roll over you," and the melody and such make up for the lyrical... meaninglessness. In other words, I can definitely listen and like, but it's no great song.

I Just Don't Care is more than pretty... I love it. It's slow, just like In My World, but it's got more catch to it. The part where some old-times-sounding instrument (how am I supposed to know what it is?) comes in is excellent.

Running Out of Love is pretty damn fine, too. Better than Rock and It May Be a Fire.

The Other Side of Life is dark and powerful. I would die to see this performed with an orchestra as I've heard it is done in concert...

The Spirit is also one of my new favourites. The lyrics and the melodies and whatever else are all superb, especially the quick synth solo bridge thing.

Slings and Arrows is catchy and good and all that. Equivalent to Talkin' I'd say.

It May Be a Fire is, even with its lack of vibrancy, good. It's not TOO long, and it does have cool parts ("people you've not known for years will come knocking at your door"), but I don't get the significance at all. It's mysterious... which isn't a bad thing.

David.Moses@odpm.gsi.gov.uk
Not a terrible album, this one still suffers from unemotional synths, which do not suit the Moody Blues sound. But, there are a few good ones.

Your wildest dreams- a beautiful melody and a song where the synths compliment the arrangement.

Talkin' talkin'- forgettable yet harmless song, but featuring the electronic sound that hurts this album. Rubbish title too.

Rock 'n' roll over you- The absolute nadir of the Moody Blues catalogue. their worst song title ever and worst song. No melody, horrible sound effects. Utterly monotonous and terrible. Lodge is a disgrace here.

I just don't care- great ballad, with more prominent acoustic guitar and a beautiful melody from Hayward. Probably my favourite track.

Running out of love- completely bland and has no melody.

The other side of life- Hayward scores 3/3 for his solo songs on this CD. An excellent song with some atmosphere, for once.

The Spirit- Was interested at the writing credit for this one, but it's a boring song, really, with a better chorus.

Slings and arrows- as pointless as running out of love. Talkin' talkin' was boring but passable, but i tend to bunch these three songs together, as sappy electronic nothingness, this one the most forgettable of all. I don't think it has a melody.

It may be a fire- I find this song wonderful. I think the problem of 'vibrancy' is Lodge's weak vocal delivery. Ray should've sung it. I love the instrumental break around 1:30 into the song. Synths are nice here. Also one of my faves.

blondechicksinger@hotmail.com (Stephanie Daniels)
I bought this on cassette in 1986 and wore it out! The first thing I can say about this album is that it produced one of the most perfect pop songs in history. "Your Wildest Dreams" is right up there with the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" IMHO. If the song doesn't grab you with the catchy tune, vocals or great synthesisers, it'll grab you with the story. Not only that, if you didn't have the attention span in 1986 to really listen to it on the radio, the video was incredible. (Didn't it win "Video of the Year" or something?)

The title track, "The Other Side of Life" is a cool song but I can't help but remember the video (wasn't the 80's just all about videos!?) and the band is in Soho or somewhere sinister and they are all wearing black eye liner. Great Lodge bass line all through this tune.

"I Don't Care" is a sweet, stars-in-the-eyes Hayward love ballad. And NO ONE can write those love ballands like sweet Justin! He's the King of Love Songs.

"Rock and Roll Over You" doesn't impress too much at first semi-listen, but by the 2nd or 3rd listen, you love it. It almost has a little hip/hop rap thing going on at the end! "Like a rock...like a .....like a.....like a ro....like a rock......" (Maybe Chevy could have used this in their truck commercials.) Go have a listen and you'll see what I'm talkin' about.

"It May Be A Fire", I personally love as the lyrics are are very inspiring and hopeful. But one wouldn't expect any less than inpsiring and hopeful from The Moody Blues. That's what's so cool about them.

If you are going to get any album from the 80's....be sure and add this to your collection!

Add your thoughts?

Sur La Mer -Polygram 1988.
Rating = 4

No no no! What are you doing? "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" is a blatant "Your Wildest Dreams" rip-off (but still good), and both "Want To Be With You" and "Vintage Wine" will give a guy a goose bump or two, but the rest of this is faceless, brainless, forgettably unnecessary modern pop schlock!!! Idiots!!!!

Oh! I've been corresponding with a great guy and huge Moodies fan by the name of Robert Linus Koehl who has provided me yardfulls of information about recent (post-1983) band happenings. I'm now going to present to you a large comment that I've created by combining remarks from five different letters. I'm only telling you this so you won't think that he's the sort of person who would write five or six really long paragraphs about the same band without bothering to ask if I was interested. Honestly, I wouldn't have minded had he sent it all at once, but I thought that you, the discerning reader, might find it a bit strange. Thus, I chose to inform you that this is actually a conglomeration of letters, and not just one letter at all. If you're a big Moodies fan, you should write to this guy. He's really bright, really friendly, and really into the band. Really? Really!

Reader Comments

rlk0003@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
So you don't like The Other Side Of Life and Sur La Mer. WHY? People often claim that during that era, they sounded like 80's pop. So what! In the 60's they sounded like 60's pop and same goes for the seventies. (Just listen to Octave). What separated the MBs from other pop groups in the 60's also separated them from other pop bands in the 80's. It was the melodies, vocal abilities, and experimentation. (Don't tell me that "The Spirit" and "River Of Endless Love" qualify as everyday 80's pop). And where do you get off saying Ray Thomas sounds fruity? His booming voice (Post 1978) couldn't possibly be mistaken for "fruity." Just listen to "Celtic Sonnant" on Keys Of The Kingdom. If you liked Seventh Sojurn, you should give Bluejays a try. And what was so bad about 80's production? It was much higher quality than previous techniques.

Well, if you want the maturity they showed in The Present, then Keys Of The Kingdom is the album you're looking for. Patrick only managed to play on three of the songs before they kicked him out of the band forever. And I know you will find this hard to believe, but The Other Side Of Life and Sur La Mer do have mellotrons on them, only Patrick erased all the original sounds out of the mellotron and put in explosions and stuff like that. I saw them on the Sur La Mer tour and Patrick had the mellotron with him onstage. Keys and A Night At Red Rocks are very good, and the new keyboardists, Bias Boshell and Paul Blis, manage to mix the best aspects of Patrick and Mike. Keys Of The Kingdom does still have a good deal of keyboards, but the guitars are much stronger, and the flute returns. Red Rocks has everything, a symphony, Ray singing "For My Lady" with the booming voice he used in "I Am", and a lot of good guitar work. Its like the 60s 70s and 80s Moodies all coming together. I'm sorry if I seemed a little abrasive regarding the "fruity" comment, I'm sure you can understand how it could taken the wrong way.

Here's something else you might be interested in: In 92 Patrick Moraz sued the Moody Blues for breech of contract in kicking him out. It was carried on court tv. If you can get a copy of the episode, it is rather interesting. He had a MAJOR falling out with Justin Hayward. Patrick wanted to write more and he told Keyboard magazine that the Moody Blues didn't have enough musical dimension for him and that they were a stale gig. He also made several complaints about how the producer just programs everything and doesn't even deal with real performance if he doesnt have to. (This is obvious on one of the three songs Patrick performed on Keys, "Say What You Mean"). He was supposed to record the Keys album with them, but after three songs, he had to go to America to score a film. During this time, they brought in Bias Boshell, who at that time was their concert backup keyboardist, and Paul Bliss to complete the album. Then the Keyboard magazine article came out. This caused a major rift between them. The final straw was the face to face confrontation with Justin that followed. So they kicked him out, and he filed a suit against them for three million dollars in American courts. This forced them to cancel the Australian wing of the Keys tour. The case was thrown out of court because the lawyer kept trying to smear Justin and John, using the fact that this was on national tv. Patrick was, however, awarded 30,000 dollars in back royalties. The MBs then wrote him out of their history, claiming that he was only a "backup" musician. The most interesting twist was that after the suit, Mike Pinder filed against them for back royalties using the same lawyer as Patrick, but ended up settling out of court.

And about the '80s records: Well, back in 1985, the band signed to Polygram records, and Polygram began to market them as Justin and John with a bunch of backup guys. The producer and the record company decided to make J&J the only voices heard because they were the most pop marketable. It wasn't the band's decision. Ray didn't even bother to show up for the Sur La Mer sessions because he knew he'd be doing nothing. And according to Patrick, the producer was making them program everything, drums, bass, you name it, everything but the guitars. Finally, during the making of Keys, they revolted, and put Ray's voice in towards the end of the album, along with real flutes. On the Red Rocks album, Ray adds his voice to all the songs that he didn't get to the first time around ("Wildest Dreams," "Out There Somewhere") Although, I would advise buying the Red Rocks video before getting the disc, the video has more songs.

If you'd like a quick review of Keys Of The Kingdom, read on. "Say It With Love" and "Hope And Pray" have a lot of programming; it's just being done by Paul Bliss instead of Patrick, so the style is different. "Say What You Mean" does have Patrick, and too much programming, but the rest of the album is different. "Bless The Wings" and "Shadows On The Wall" are ballads which include a real orchestra, and the keyboards have been traded in for an electric piano. "Magic" is a John Lodge rocker that features REAL DRUMS. It also has a kick brass section that adds a good effect, and some good guitar work as well. "Is This Heaven" is an acoustic guitar song which shows off a sense of humor that's been missing in other albums. "Once Is Enough" is another semi-serious song, with the kick brass, and a crunch guitar. "Celtic Sonnant" was written and sung by Ray, and has alot of Flutes, enough said. And the song "Lean On Me Tonight" is a ripoff of "Talking Out Of Turn" but I like it anyway. Well, I've rattled on long enough. You should like Keys better than the previous two. You'll probably REALLY like Red Rocks. The symphony makes the music perfect.

105002.1254@compuserve.com (Trevor A. Kotowich)
I really do like parts of The Present, especially "It's Cold Outside Of Your Heart," "Meet Me Halfway" and "Hole In The World" ( I always thought they should do more instrumentals -- although "Procession" was something a little too weird for me!). But something happened on the way to the next album! What I mean is, as albums go, the next three I have to give an overall failing grade. The catchy (albeit simple) "Wildest Dreams" was a hit with me right away, but the rest of the album is made up of average songs, for the most part made worse by the over use of synthesized horns and electronic drumming machines. Sur La Mer...Ditto. I think "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" should have been called "Your Wildest Dreams Part Two" but it is not as good, and so this album should have been called The Other Side Of Life Part Two. Some may say I am being over critical, but even without the electronic overkill I just don't think the songs are as well written as in the past. I must say although that "Vintage Wine" and "No More Lies" (both perhaps somewhat sappy) are somewhat enjoyable, thanks mainly to streamlined instrumentation and I can actually hear Justin Hayward's acoustic guitar for a change! As for Keys Of The Kingdom, the song "Say What You Mean" is pretty hokey, especially the disco-like keyboards and drumming, and i could really do without the spoken bits--what's next, "Late Lament Part Two"?. As for Ray's plodding "Celtic Sonant", more hokey spoken bits. Lodge tries to recapture the rocking spirit of "See-Saw" with "Magic" and for the most part it works. "Lean on Me" is OK with a nice acoustic guitar solo in the middle and some nice lyrics ---"and you can see your world slip through your fingers, I'll reach out for you in my heart" for example. Same goes for another John Lodge tune "Shadows On The Wall". The song "Never Blame The Rainbows For The Rain" has nice vocals but a somewhat depressing tone to it (at least to me it does), reminiscent of "Melancholy Man" but not quite THAT bad. Rest of album is undistinguished in my opinion.

MikeRobWil@aol.com
This must be what happens when you are approaching 50-something but still feel obligated to be creative. I hope I find the fountain of youth quick! Bought both of these on CD not having heard them and I've only played them a few times since their purchase. Pretty God awful stuff. But hey, I just can't give up and I bought tickets today to see Justin as a solo act Dec. 3, 1996 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. What will I hear? Maybe the Moody Blues Part 3.

lewallen@Oceana.net
This is also one of my favorites! Though, I have to clear up something somebody else said first. Ray did not drop out because of anger. I've talked to people with excellent knowledge and they have all said that Ray was not involved because of health problems. Justin and John would never let him be dropped from an album like that.

Anyway, back to the album. Well, at least Patrick dropped back a bit. "IKYOTS" isn't as good as "YWD," but still great. "Vintage Wine" is one of their best ever, "Breaking Point" is just plain spooky, and "Want to Be With You" is wonderful. Also, "No More Lies", the sequel to "IKYOTS" and "YWD," is very nice. All in all, a great album.

Keys Of The Kingdom isn't as good in my opinion, but it's definitely worth a chance. John's "Lean on Me" is probably his best since Long Distance Voyager, and one of my favorite songs. It also makes a great lullaby if you're rocking a small child.

rabin@BINAH.CC.BRANDEIS.EDU
I didn't know Bias Boshell was in the Moodies. He had a psychedelic Fairport Convention type band called the Trees in the Seventies who made two neat records and he wrote all the originals. And it is true that dolby named their tape grading system (high bias, low bias, with the little greek letter 'mu') after him.

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
HOW COULD YOU GIVE THIS ALBUM A 4????!!!!!!! It's a pretty good album. Tony Visconti, the producer, didn't give Ray a chance, but you've got to like the songs they put together, espcially "Want To Be With You" and "Deep". I wish you would come to the eighties. As for Keys of the Kingdom I didn't buy that album either. I read it did'nt do too good.

m-parkinson@onu.edu
Hey, now! Sur La Mer isn't *that* bad. Yes, it may have been money-driven, but then again, I'd be pleased to hear of a popular music act that *isn't* money driven.

Back to the album... "Vintage Wine" has this nice, up-tempo feel to it. I read somewhere that Hayward and Lodge wrote "Breaking Point" for the movie of the same title. However, they saw clips of the movie, didn't like it, and pulled the song from it. The guitar solo on "Deep" is one of the best guitar solos I've heard. (David Gilmour on "Comfortably Numb" and Joe Walsh on "Victim Of Love" are better, maybe.) I was told the "Deep" has a sexual tilt to it, but I don't think so.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
A somewhat distrubing number of you have wondered aloud about why Sur La Mer was given a 4. First off, remember what a 4 means; not godawful, but lousy nontheless. This is a perfect description of this album. I Know You're Out There Somewhere is a great opener and brings me to tears from time to time. No More Lies makes me smile, and Vintage Wine is pretty neat.

But ... when I listen to the rest of this album, I hear a bunch of men in their early 40's going through a midlife crisis and trying to sound young again. No wonder Polygram considered them a joke by this time. Want to be With You is pretty, yes, but even though it's only 4:48, to me it just seems to go on and on and on. River of Endless Love has signs of creativity, but tries too hard to 'rock.' And then there's Here Comes the Weekend. THE MOODY BLUES WERE NOT MEANT TO BE 'ROCKERS'!! If you will look back through their catalog, you will notice that whenever they had a good, well written 'rocker', it always had depth/darkness to it (Story in your Eyes, Singer, Eyes of Child II, Gypsy, etc.") HCTW, however, is utter crap. It's possible to sound 'modern' and still be good, but it's even easier to sound 'modern' and be total garbage, and Lodge manages the latter rather than the former.

Breaking Point tries to set a mood of some kind, but it just sounds phony. Miracle seems to me, at least, to be a rip-off of River of Endless Love (you know you're having problems when you have to parody something from the same album). Love is on the Run is better, and has real potential, but falls flat. And finally, Deep does have the aforementioned sweet guitar solo (btw, even Visconti, the producer of TOSOL and SLM, has admitted that Deep is about sex, so don't try to say otherwise), but ... overall, it's just mediocre. A drum machine and lyrics about horniness. Just like everything else out there.

I love the Moody Blues, more than any other group, but I can't lie to myself and say that this album is good or even mediocre. It just sits there and doesn't do anything, and most surely deserves the same ranking as Monumental Crap of Gilmour.

custudent@colorado.edu (Sean Lynott)
All I have to say is that Deep has the best guitar solo I have ever heard Justin Hayward do. It is intense, powerful and always sends a chill down my spine when I hear it. You can make fun of the song and it's sexual implications all you want, but that solo is awesome!

MaxOmaggot@aol.com
I just broke in (as in, gave all the songs a few listens over) this album. All I can say is "Wow." I had read so much bad stuff about it that I hadn't begun to hate it before I listened to it, but I had absolutely no hopes for it. That worked out the best, because I'm surprised now that I've listened to it and like it, nay, love it. It's probably better than The Other Side of Life!

I Know Your Out There Somewhere is, duh, a favourite of mine (since I listened to this on the Legend of a Band when I was a kid). Thy synth bothers me zero. I think it's beautiful.

I haven't given Want to be With You many listens yet, but I like the lyrics... the overall effect is kind of boring, but I feel it'll grow on me. It is one, as of now, one of the low points on this album.

River of Endless Love kicks ass... it's got that creepy synth backbeat thing or whatever. To me, it seems like a Dark World sequel to Running Water (just because of the similiarities "aaaaah, running water"--"ah, on a river of endless love").

No More Lies is competent and growing on me, like Want to be with You, but better.

And wtf is everyone's deal with Here Comes the Weekend?! This is song is NOWHERE near the worst Moodies song ever. I really like it. It sounds creepy.

Vintage Wine is great, too. It takes a while to get used to the "oh oh oh, oh oh oh, ooooh oh oh oh oh oh oh" part. Justin sounds too wimpy. What a wimp. But the rest is AMAZING (especially the time he goes "aa-aa-ah'll tell you").

Breaking Point is one of my favourite songs now. This song is just indescribably scary. Hands of ice... down your spine? Jesus Christ.

Miracle is upbeat and very catchy. I like it.

Love is on the Run... eh--I don't know. The low point of the album.

Deep--oh yeah. Great album ender. It's dark, like Breaking Point, and long. You have to love that "air being released from a tire" wheezing beat. It's creepy.

This is possibly the Moodies creepiest (not darkest--I guess On the Threshold of a Dream takes that prize) album, and it's good, goddamnit! The synth doesn't really bother me.

David.Moses@odpm.gsi.gov.uk
The unbelievable low point to the groups' career. The synthesisers and unemotional feel completely take over.

The songs 'breaking point' and 'here comes the weekend' are terrible, the latter is the second worst song in the bands discography, save for Lodge's other garbage 'rock 'n' roll over you.'

'River of endless love' is forgettable but has a few ok bits. 'Miracle' is also completely generic and I can't remember it at the moment.

Lodge's ballad 'love is on the run' is so lame and spineless also. wha happened to those great orchestrated ballads from 1978-81 he wrote?

'No more lies' is vaguely catchy but the lyrics are stupid and the tune is ridiculously simplistic. So even though it is more guitar based, still, overall, a let down.

'I know you're out there somewhere' has a nice opening synth line, but is definitely very similar to 'your wildest dreams', though not as good, and it is too long.

That leaves three excellent songs. 'Deep' has a good melody and an excellent guitar solo. 'Vintage wine' is a really nice, acoustic ditty, out of place on this album. But then again, I can't think of an album it WOULD fit on.

My favourite is 'Want to be with you'. Gorgeous melody and the only ballad proper.

Overall, a very disappointing album. The rut would continue on the next album, but show clear signs of improvement.

blondechicksinger@hotmail.com
Oh good God almighty! Everyone acts like this is the worst album in the history of recorded music! Well, it wasn't the Moodies "best" but it had some great songs: "I Know Your Out There Somewhere" had some incredible keyboards by the mad-scientist looking Moraz. "Vintage Wine" is a great finger snappin, sing-a-long song and "No More Lies" is just plain sweet. "Breaking Point" is cool. And while I doubt the song "Deep" will be talked about generations from now in music theory classes, like, say, "Nights in White Satin", it's damn sexy! Nuff said.

If you are a Moody Blues fan, definitely get it. If your a so-so Moodies fan...at least get it for "I Know You're Out There Somewhere."

By the way, the title is pronounced: "Sur Lah Mare". Not Sur-la-merrrrrr.

repairguy58@cox.net (RICK in nebraska)
I seem to not see any mention of Justins lil foray into video VH1 with a young gal by his side."Called "No More Lies"...Its such a bouncy tune,for the time,and very creative for him ,and the band..

Mohsin Wadee
Up mine, I really dig this album. Way better than Keys. And listening to the album for the first time after about 20 years, I gotta say it rocks. The only weaker tracks are John’s. But even Here Comes The Weekend is growing on me. Did anyone ever notice its acoustic guitar is a nod to Bowie’s Scary Monsters? I’m sure Visconti put it there just for kicks. Clever. Oh, I really love Miracle and Breaking Point. This is arguably one of their best of the 80s.

Add your thoughts?

Keys Of The Kingdom - Polygram 1991.
Rating = 6

Oooh! Here we go! Better! Much better than that last one. Justin is in top form, contributing some beautiful, unforgettable pop tunes, Lodge is.. ehh... passable, but his voice is getting even duller, and even ol' Ray Thomas contributes a decent tune! Plus, the shitty synth noises are on the way out, leaving us with the beautifully slick lovely smooth guitar and keyboard sound we haven't heard since The Present. And that's something I should really stress here - I personally really like The Present, so maybe that's why I'm fairly fond of this one. See, it's the same sort of album. Very simple, lovely, catchy, slick pop songs with Justin's beautiful voice wooing us all the day. The only problem is that this record isn't nearly as consistent as The Present. Where that record boasted, in my opinion, great song after great song after great song, this one is split pretty evenly between lovely numbers like "Say It With Love" and shitty faux-rock like "Say What You Mean" (not to mention Lodge's fairly dull ballads). There are definitely four or five great songs, but the rest range from just passable to downright ugly. Still, at least they've remembered where their strength really lies -- maybe the next one will be more consistent.
Reader Comments

katew@bicnet.net
I can't understand how anyone can put down Sur La Mer and the Other Side of Life while praising Keys of the Kingdom! I think that Sur La Mer is their best album of the 80's under Long Distance Voyager. "Want to be With You" and "No More Lies" give me goosebumps everytime I hear them, and "Here Come the Weekend" is their most kick-ass rock 'n roll tune since "I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock 'N Roll Band)." I don't like the fact that Justin & John were the only two writing & singing at that point, but they really are dynamite when they put their heads together. I admit that nothing will ever come close to the old albums with Mike Pinder, but I really think that Sur La Mer kicks, and The Other Side of Life is really good too, with a lot of really original and extremely listenable songs (such as "Talkin' Talkin'", "Rock 'N Roll Over You", and the title cut). Keys of the Kingdom, to me, while still a good album, is the poorest of all their albums. The only song that really strikes a nerve in me is "Lean on Me (Tonight)" (which is really wonderful in concert).

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
Well I have another one. I did not feel like getting one of their 7 classics so i got this one. They still got it.... They still have that excellent abillity to impress their listeners. Bless The Wings (That Bring You back) is a very beautiful track with a stronger guitar sound put into it. At the end is a beautiful orchestra sound that touches you. I like Is This Heaven?, it has a pretty funky tap dance in the middle of it and such spectacular lyrics put into it. Say What You Mean Parts 1 and 2 I heard on the radio before so I knew what the song was. Lean On Me (Tonight) was a beautiful track that I first heard at the concert I went too. I still like it. Celtic Sonant was a beautiful Ray Thomas song. It's an irish poem. I also think Never blame the Rainbows For the Rain is a very sweet song even though it was there last. I still like it. Enclosing my review I give this album a 8......

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Your review basically nails it. The Present has really good song after really good song after really good song. Keys of the Kingdom has GREAT song after GREAT song after .... medicore song after ... absolute shit. But, the best on here is better than the best on The Present, so despite the fact that there are some _major_ dips in quality at points in this album, the highs of the album are high enough to drag it up to a 7.

GRIJ@chevron.com (Jennifer Griggs)
Well, I guess I'm a bit partial to this CD being it was the first Moody Blues album I bought back in '91 and it's been played many, many times over the last 9 years. "Say It With Love" is a super track to begin the CD. It's up, lively and positive. Great live song, too. "Say What You Mean" (Track 4) is exciting and phenomenal. Have you ever listened to what Justin Hayward is saying in part 2?! "Let's walk into the forest, only witnessed by the moon......and the breeze that once would chill us, now excites us....and we'll touch the secret places as the earth beneath us breathes and the roar of exquisite ecstasy rushes in...." And then there's that big splashing sound!. Whoa!!! Chills!! (I know you female fans out there can relate.)

"Celtic Sonant" is so very beautiful and touching. "Hope and Pray" is great with the line, "When it comes to matters of the heart, I thought I had it covered but it's tearing me apart."

John's ballads are emotionally moving and though his voice may not be as strong as a soloist as Justin's or Ray's, he contributes greatly to "that sound" that the Moodies had and always will have. His harmonies with Justin, that high pitched "aaahhh" all come from John and they just wouldn't sound right without him!

I give Keys of the Kingdom a 10. It's one of my favorites and if you don't have it, get it. Get a glass of wine, put the headphones on, and really listen. It's great!

MaxOmaggot@aol.com
Jennifer, you've hit the nail on the head. I absolutely love this album.

Say It with Love rapes up and down the block with its upbeat, positive philosophical ramblings. Love the world, goddamnit... or... well... just do it!

Bless the Wings is poet, slow, and touching. Then it gets the rockin' chorus going, without being overly rockin'. Rock on.

Is This Heaven? Is officially one of my all-time favourites. Sometimes, when I listen to it, I go outside and yell "I love this world" as loud as I can, in sync with the softly-yelled voice in the background (after "I had to stop myself from shouting out/I love this world."). It's like I can imagine Justin's inner self screaming as he opens the letter. Wow. All that, and this is song just sounds so -sweet-. Screw salvation through Jesus! Heaven is all about love... as it should be. Plus that 'humourous guitar' really adds a lot. And the tap-dancing. And the whistling. And the piano bridge. Christy! This is premium OJ indeed.

And I can never get Say What You Mean out of my head. It's so slick and well executed. Somethin' about it. Gotta love that little guitar pluck every now and agian...

And, wow! They got back to doing the Part I & Part II thing. But what's this? There's no song inbetween them? At first, I thought that was really stupid, but now I know better. It's like a darker Say What You Mean, and it's got that poem. Jennifer got this poem all right--it rocks. I'm no girl, but this shit rocks. I wish that crash were louder. Just like the crashes in Under My Feet. Too soft. Still, the MBs know what's up.

Lean on Me is... superb. Great job, Lodge. This song sounds -so- familiar, yet it's so novel. I feel like I'm bobbing up and down while listening. He should work on his grammar, though.... "Lean on me. I'll be there whenever you need someone to share in every prayer, in every dream you've left somewhere... 'till tomorrow... will be just like it was when we were young." Jesus, man, make up your mind! Does tomorrow belong with the first sentence or the second? :-) Actually, I guess what he did is kinda clever.

Hope and Pray reminds me of the Cranberries, but it's better. Slow and streaming. Touching. Hell yeah.

Shadows on the Wall is my least favourite on here by far. Something about it seems old and tired. The name is cool, but... I think those back-up singers really ruin it. The song is listenable, though. Very listenable... just... not the best.

Once is Enough. Crap. I love this song so much. Cheerful, clever, catchy. Everything good! "Sometimes you're first, sometimes you're last; then again you're somewhere in your Days of Future Passed." Damn. This song is worthy to have a reference to that great album.

Coo! Ray's back. We sure as hell missed him. Cool intro lyrics... but the rest of the lyrics are kinda screwy. IOW, they could be better. But the tune, the ambiant birds, the flutes, rock.

And Magic is A GOOD SONG, damnit. Lodge should at least get credit when credit's due... this song really rocks. Low key beginning, drum roll, and then we're on our way.

The last song, Never Blame the Rainbows, is... well, a pansy song. And I guess that makes me a pansy for liking it, 'cause I do. The pictures it paints are superb, and the chorus is touching. A great end to the album.

"The key to happiness is truth; the key to truth is love; these are... the Keys of the Kingdom."

David.Moses@odpm.gsi.gov.uk
I consider 'the other side of life' and 'sur la mer' to be the nadir of the Moody Blues. There are a few good songs, but the general production and 80's sound did not compliment this group. 'Keys in the kingdom' is where they begin to pick themselves up. It is still marred by some of the crap from the two previous albums, so the album is a bit hit and miss, but I don't tend to dislike the songs as much as some others do here.

The rubbish first-

Am I the only one who thinks 'say it with love' is completely monotonous, and it's the first time I'm not keen on Hayward's voice ever.

'Say what you mean'- utter rubbish. Any song that begins 'say waht you mean, mean what you say' can't be good. belongs on 'sur la mer'. And this is by Hayward, not Lodge.

Once is enough- not terrible, but still tries to rock in such a false way. Don't like the backing either.

I actually don't find 'magic' that bad- there are some ok acoustic guitars backing the track and it rocks along in a playful way. Still, no great song.

'Hope and pray' I just find boring. Could have had a good melody, but the arrangement just strikes me as boring.

As for the good songs, I think they are REALLY good.

'Bless the wings' is the token Hayward ballad, but it has that ability, as many of his ballads to have a soaring quality, where you feel lifted by the music. Lovely arrangement, great melody.

'Shadows on theall' is a bit dull, but I do like 'lean on me'. Think this is a lovely Lodge ballad. the problem is that all his expression and power in the vocal side of things is so limited. I think he could sing falsetto so well, but his voice really suffers, hence why people may misinterpret his songs as dull.

The best two songs on the album are 'celtic sonant'- a lovely Thomas song, with flutes and a nice arrangement. His voice is also in fine form. Why is there no more of him? And I personall will go out on a limb and say 'never blame the rainbows' is my favourite Moody song, period. I remember when i first heard this. It is incredible. The melody and backing vocals are wonderous. Hayward/Thomas songs were always ballads and always brilliant. Watching and Waiting is also genius. Just listen to the Thomas bass backing vocals in the second chorus of the aforementioned song.

A 7/10

tater794@yahoo.com (Jennifer)
Weeeeeee!!!! This album is what the Moody Blues are all about: beautiful music, heart-felt lyrics and love, love, love.......

Opening number, "Say It With Love" is great but even greater in concert. Love the drums in the opening. (By the way, I have always thought Graeme Edge is one of rock's greatest drummers and doesn't get the credit he deserves....)

And the song "Is This Heaven?" Oh, wow. I smile so big whenever I hear this song! The lyrics ("I had to stop myself from shouting out: I LOVE THIS WORLD!" and "tell me all about yourself and how you came to me like in a dream...") And the tap dancing and whistling... That was a brilliant addition. Because afterall, don't those that are so in love want to shout, dance and sing? This song provokes sort of a Gene Kelly - Singin' in the Rain scenario image.

The song "Say What You Mean" is just plain sexy, baby! (As another poster above mentioned.) And I mean HOT sexy! Justin Hayward turns into Captain Erotica once again (previously, it was in was the song "Deep" in Sur La Mer) and starts singing of nakedness is before him and how he can't leave you alone and he's ready to take you now and then starts speaking of walking into the forest and touching secret places.....

OK, I digress. Lost my train of thought there for a moment.

"Bless the Wings", "Hope and Pray", "Celtic Sonant",....all speak of love, beauty, romance, emotions.

I really like the mention of "days of future passed" in the song "Once Is Enough".

Album is a 10. All the way. Erotica and all!

I just want to shout it out: I LOVE THIS ALBUM!!

CandleLight@dsl.pipex.com
" Have you ever listened to what Justin Hayward is saying in part 2?! "Let's walk into the forest, only witnessed by the moon......and the breeze that once would chill us, now excites us....and we'll touch the secret places as the earth beneath us breathes and the roar of exquisite ecstasy rushes in...." And then there's that big splashing sound!. Whoa!!! Chills!! (I know you female fans out there can relate.) "

Jennifer, you took the words right out of my mouth.

I absolutely adore that track, and Justin's voice on the sung and spoken parts .......................

Other than that, "Bless the Wings" is my favourite track from the album followed by "Never Blame the Rainbows for the Rain".

I'm not that keen on the rest though and can't see why some people rate "Say It with Love" so highly (or why the band still play it for that matter when they have dropped some far better songs).

Add your thoughts?

The Story Of The Moody Blues: Legend Of A Band - Polygram 1989.
Rating = 9

Dammit to hell! Correct some mistakes and make some new ones. Okay, unlike that last greatest hits compilation, this one DOES include "Tuesday Afternoon" and "The Story In Your Eyes," along with the more recent hits "Your Wildest Dreams," "I Know You're Out There Somewhere," and "The Other Side Of Life." However, they're STILL ignoring Children's Children's Children, and NOW the bastards are ignoring Octave and The Present too! WHY? I just don't understand some people.

Oh! And for no good reason at all, they've re-recorded "Isn't Life Strange" (which honestly isn't harmed too much by the process) and "Question" (which IS) instead of just including the classic original versions. Ugh. Still, there's no getting around the quality of these tracks. Great songwriters, those Blues can be when they desire! Still no "Legend Of A Mind," though, regardless of the misleading album title.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Actually, "Legend of a Band" was the name for the Documentary video made of the Moody Blues and released around 1990. Polygram put this together as a montage of Moodies music video's through the years, live footage, and band members telling the history of the band. The remake of "Question" was actually done for the MTV video version of "Question". Polygram had originally asked Justin to re-do "Nights in White Satin", but he refused. The video for "Question" was horrid. It contained video footage of the Moodies performing "Question" from their 1984 Wembley concert, Coronet documentary films, and classic Moodies videos. As far as I know, there was never a video done for "Isn't Life Strange". The Documentary version of Legend of a Band also contains video's for "Nights in White Satin", "I'm Just a Singer", "Slide Zone", "Voice", "Gemeni Dream", "Wildest Dreams", "Other Side of Life", "No More Lies", and "Out There Somewhere". It also contains live versions of "Tuesday Afternoon", "Story In Your Eyes", and "Ride My See Saw" from the 84 Wembley show. As for overlooking TOCCC, there were no "hit singles" from that album, and at the time, they were ignoring it and Octave. As for the present, The Moodies themselves dislike that album, and seem to be pretending that it never happened. Who knows why this CD was released. Possibly as a "soundtrack" for the video? I don't know. I personally think it was just Polygram attempting to make more money. If you want a GOOD Moody Blues greatest hits package, get the Time Traveller box set.

tabasco@worldnet.att.com
Great cd. Actually this is my parents but what the hell i listen to it anyway anytime i want. "Your Wildest Dreams" got me going on this cd it really sounds like you are in a dream really. That came out on The Other Side Of Life. "The Voice" opens with Pat Moraz's synthesizer and keyboards. Then it talks about in the beginning Going Back to School Woopie. "Gemeni Dream" has a disco beat into it. These 2 tracks came out on Long Distance Voyager. "Gemini Dream is my favorite song". "Tuesday Afternoon" was also good tack i heard some mix of melotron and orchestra on that song. "Isn't Life Strange"? It sure is. Good song i never heard of The Seventh Sojourn. Sounds pretty fucking intresting. "Nights In White Satin" hey a Number 1 hit is what they need. Espically if it 8 minutes long. I'll take it man, really i would. "Late Lament" is cool so Breathe deep that gathering gloom watch lights fade from every room. "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights" came out on Days Of Future Past. I never saw the video to "I Know Your Out There Somewhere". But i heard the song and it's moving heart warming and relaxing. Sur La Mer was the cd it came out on. Oh, I forgot a track "The Story In Your Eyes". Another good track. I want to get Every Good Boy Deserves Favour soon. It has a picture of Pinochio and Japetto on the cover and the blue fairy in the backround. The only reason i wanna get this cd is "Procession" and my girlfriend Emily. Well back to the review. "Ride My See Saw" was all good. One of the few guitar rock songs on this cd. Most of it is keyboard or orchestra. They should do more guitar rock tracks Really Believe me. This one came out on In Search Of Lost Chord. "The Other Side of life" is cool to. Its a title track. "Question" chug a chug a chug a chugga DA DA DA DA. Mellowy and guitary, and lyricy is what what i say hoo hoo. Funky sound and music this isn't the 1970 version it's the 1988 version. I never heard the 1970 versio but as far I know this is a good song the way it is on this cd. Ok okay i love phsycidellic music you know i realy do Yes, Pink Floyd, and The Moody blues fit in to my music intrests. See ya all later you can check out my reviews for those 2 other bands you'll love em. Please email me your oopinions of anything you wanna know about Yes or Pink Floyd I wanna here them but don't ask me about The Moody Blues I am really not to familiar with them yet. Enclosing my review I give this album a Perfect 10. Have a safe and healthy summer and don't drink and drive and Drive Safetly. Bye all

kenyon@csinet.net
My dad bought this when it was just Greatest Hits, and when he died it got passed on to me along with some other stuff (including a huge stack of Beatles records, but that is beside the point). Then a while later they repackaged it and issued it as Legend of a Band. I'm still not quite sure why. But anyhow, this was the first Moody Blues album I ever owned, and it got me hooked pretty quick. Even though it neglects TOCCC, it's still great. Nice sampling of their various styles.

KevinMartinell@aol.com
This release was my favorite greatest hits compilation out of all the single CD "Best of" "Moody Blues" albums. I believe that this was the first CD that featured the original orchestral mix of "Nights In White Satin," from The "Days of Future Passed" vinyl release, and not the CD version ... Fortunately, both "Time Traveller" and "The Moody Blues Anthology" featured this original mix, as well. :) While nothing beats the original versions of "Question" and "Isn't Life Strange," I enjoy these orchestral versions, too ... Now that this CD is no longer manufactured, those two tracks are rarities. Even though the songs aren't arranged in chronological order, I am satisfied with the sequence as is.

There was an imported CD I was able to get ahold of, during the mid 90's, called, "Journey Through Time," which is like another "Legend of a Band" ... I'm not sure if it's still available, though. There is a picture of an astronaut on the cover and the same songs (Even the remakes of "Question" and "Isn't Life Strange") are featured, with the exception of "The Story In Your Eyes," which is replaced with "Voices in the Sky." Also, the tracks are arranged in a different order, with "Nights in White Satin" starting off the CD and "The Other Side of Life" bringing the CD to a finish ... How awesome is that?! :)

As with "This Is The Moody Blues," this album should have never gone out of print! It needs to be re-released, possibly with a few bonus tracks! Since the CD clocks in at a little over an hour, there is still some room to fit a few more songs onto it ... Maybe the original versions of "Question" and "Isn't Life Strange" could be added, or some tracks from "On The Threshold of a Dream," "To Our Children's, Children's, Children," "Octave," or "The Present" ... The possibilities are endless! :)

Luckily, I came across a used copy of this album on vinyl (when it was first titled "Greatest Hits"), but because of the record's limited space, "The Other Side of Life" had to be excluded ... I'm glad that this track appears on the CD version, as well as on the "Moody Blues Anthology" set. :) I give this album 10 dots.

Add your thoughts?

A Night At Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony Orchestra - Polygram 1993.
Rating = 7


Unfortunately, I was expecting to love this album after all of the great things I'd heard about it; the situation such as it was, Red Rocks was quite the letdown. Yeah, the orchestra is a nice touch and some of the songs sound every bit as great as the studio versions ("For My Lady," "Isn't Life Strange," "The Other Side Of Life"), but the "rockers" suffer immeasurably at the hands of an awkwardly thick drum tone and rotten keyboard noises (the disco intro to "Ride My See-Saw," for example is ridiculously inappropriate and ineffective), and lots of the really pretty ones are weakened by understandably strained harmonies (they're like 50 now, right? We can't expect angelic harmonies at that age.).

Too bad. Still, it's got lots of classics and, even in their weakest form, songs as intrinsically beautiful as "Question" and "Nights In White Satin" can hardly cease to amaze - or at least slightly impress. Too many keyboards, though. Dump the keyboards, pump up the orchestra, lay off on the "oh yes, I wonder!" vocal asides, and you got a dang eight or nine here.

Reader Comments

underwood@midwest.net (David L. Underwood)
I absolutely love the Night At Red Rocks cd. My favorite next to Children's Children and Sur La Mer (I have no idea how that got a 4 in here)? Red Rocks is so cool! It "Rocks." I do agree they do need to pump the orchestra up a bit, but Hayward did not even like the idea of an orchestra playing with them. I went to a St. Louis concert and the orchestra was a bit louder; maybe Hayward is getting more comfortable with them. But Red Rocks is just so awesome! "Nights" and "Question" just totally rock. And in Time Traveller, the bonus disc, "Legend Of A Mind" is just totally awesome. Good orchestral arrangements!!! Wow!!!

lewallen@Oceana.net
Let's see what this spring/summer brings, guys!!! A new album, and possibly new goodies!!! Plus, check out Justin Hayward's new solo, The View From The Hill. Wow!!! Talk about great!!!

JW90125@aol.com (Bill)
I happened to be at the show recorded for this album & video. I don't know if it's me, but the orchestra is much easier to hear on the album than it was in person at this show. I most liked the fact that the moodies went back to using acoustic guitars in the songs that had them in the studio versions (I think "Nights in White Satin" sounds dumb with an electric guitar, which is the way they performed it in earlier shows I had seen). I have not missed a Moodies show here in Denver in the past 16 years. A better Red Rocks show happened 2 years later in 1994, when they played again with the CSO. The program included songs like "Gypsy," "Eternity Road," "The Actor," "Driftwood," and a few others they hadn't done on stage in a few years. I would much rather have this particular show on a cd than the other. Personally, I would just once like to see them lose the backup singers, second drummer and get Pinder back with his mellotron (pipedream, eh?). Given their age the sound may not be pretty, but I think it would make a hell of an idea for a final Moodies tour. Perhaps they could also make a final studio album with the same lineup (as long as it's a TOCCC clone). Anyway, A Night At Red Rocks isn't a bad album; my only beef at the time it came out was that "Legend of a Mind" & "Story in Your Eyes" weren't included in the original release. (By the way, between A Night at Red Rocks & the bonus live tracks included with Time Traveller, the entire show is there). One final thought- if they do make one more studio album, hopefully it will be filled with classic Moody Blues, not the commercial fluff that has dominated the last few recordings.

lehmann@ideasign.com (Doug Tedeschi)
The song "Just a Singer" had a lot more energy than the version on 7th Sojourn. You can see the energy in the audience when the song stops twice for 1/2 a second. Those two brief pauses build up excitement a lot more than the studio version ever could. I have everything done by the Moodies (except the album with Denny Laine) Red Rocks really rocks!

wcmgelp@utah.uswest.net (Bill)
You're rather a critical fellow, aren't you? It's just good music, albeit not perfect. Put on a CD, lie down, and relax. It will all work out. Disco intro on "See Saw?" Nahhhhhh. All in the eye of the beholder.

joe@tutsys.com (Joe Strickland)
I enjoyed reading your critiques of the Moody Blues and for the most part agreed with your assessments. I absolutely loved their early albums but from OCTAVE on, their albums took a big slide (your later ratings were way too kind). At best, they had two songs on each that still had a glimmer of the past's magic. What I really would like to address is their live performances. The Moodys,IMHO, were a great band for those soft, dreamy, soul-stirring, mind-expanding ballads and beautiful love songs that we all loved so dearly. However,they were never, apparently, meant to be "Rockers". I have seen them several times in concert and they always insisted on playing all their up-tempo songs in a vain attempt to "Rock" the house (which consisted mainly of aging baby-boomers like me who prefer their more mellow stuff). I always left the arena feeling like they were more interested in throwing off their image of being "mellow moodies" and convincing the audience that they could (still?) "rock" rather than giving the audience what they really loved to hear (mellow Moody Blues tunes). Patrick Moraz was bouncing around the stage, like a cheap circus geek, with his "big hair" and playing that ridiculous portable organ that looks like the one under your tenth christmas tree. I hated him the moment I laid eyes on him. Whatever!... One other absolutely marvelous song any Justin Hayward/Moody Blues fan should not miss is his captivating "Forever Autumn" contribution on the WAR OF THE WORLDS soundtrack. Scour the used record stores for this song. It will be worth it. The rest of the album is nothing special (with the possible exception of Richard Burton's marvelous narration and "Thunder Child"). I have transcribed the chords/words for "Forever Autumn" if anyone is interested (can anybody figure out the tablature for the leads?) Can the Moody Blues ever return to that same mystifing form as Threshold of a Dream or To Our Childrens x3? Doubtful, but Hope springs eternal!

hapyjack@pacific.net (Tigger aka Christie Sue)
You should be ashamed of yourself for some of these filthy, underground thoughts (she says in her best, stuffy English teacher voice). However, any thoughts about the Moody Blues are better than no thoughts at all.......

upress@mach3ww.com
I dont think you have a clue of what the Moody Blues are really about, you are obviously not on the other side looking in.

henni9e@gcs.co.za
I've got the Keys Of The Kingdom. It's real nice. Acctually I don't know how you would like it 'cause I am 19 years old. But man the Moodies is great, admit it! Can't wait for their next CD, I hope it's not too soft and gentle.. I don't want to say the guys is growing old but hey, the only two guys that still likes noise is Graeme and John.

Nickrj@aol.com (Nick Johnson)
Well this album is a collection live with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. But I've got to say, John Lodge didn't have a good voice that night. He must've had a sore throat or something. It's not his usual John Lodge voice. Otherwise this album is great. Listen to "Legend Of A Mind" on Time Traveler, on the fifth disc. It is AWESOME!!!!!!!

tomad@flash.net
Well part of me says that all of us should get a life- I mean the Moodies prime was a long time ago...but for people like me who got turned on to the Moodies in the late 60's or early 70's, they were truly magic. I first saw them in 1971 in San Antonio..I was in college in San MArcos and chick bought me a ticket ($6) to their concert. She also gave me a hit of acid and we drove down for the show. Other hippies on the interstate waived to us... I parked on the sidewalk so we wouldn't be late-didn't care if the car would be there later. The show started with "Gypsy" and ended with "Ride My SeeSaw" and totally blew my mind in between. Mike Pinder's mellotron roared thru the Arena and there was so much POT smoke in the air the band looked like it was floating on a cloud. We went back to San MArcos and went skinny dipping...my ears rang for aweek. I saw them many more times after that...once at Red Rocks. I met Justin Hayward there after the show...he said I looked familiar. I learned how to play the guitar because of him. Yes some of there music is passe but under the right conditions they still have MAGIC..but like a butterfly wing that magic is very delicate and too much inspection ruins it. But yes, my favorite album is TO our Childrens... thanks to all

Sputnick502@aol.com
How can you call yourself a Moody Blues fan. You were more negitive towards them than positive. i think that you don't know a thing about the Moody Blues. Graeme is a awesome poet and John, Ray and Mike all have splendid voices. I think you should be more positive.

cliffnorth@localaccess.com (TAD)
Your Moodies reviews R right on the money, very fair, level-headed & complete -- & let's not 4get FUNNY.

It's nice 2 C some1 who notices the really good, overlooked stuff that all the other big-time reviewers always leave out -- tracks like "You and Me," "Peak Hour," "Evening: Time to Get Away," "It's Up to You," "Meanwhile," "Nervous," "In My World," "You Can Never Go Home," "Blue World," "Running Water," "It's Cold Outside of Your Heart," etc. I LIKE "Eyes of A Child, Part Two," I just wish it was a minute or 2 longer....

My favorite Moodies track ever is "You and Me." Seventh Sojourn was their first album I ever heard all the way thru. Heard "Ride My See-Saw" on the radio 4 years, but had a heckuva time finding out who it was....

If you ever stumble over a copy of This Is (the 2-record best-of), B sure & listen 2 "Simple Game," which I think is Mike Pinder's BEST song BY FAR -- the silly "doo doo doo" choruses'll kill ya. It would have made a GREAT addition 2 In Search of the Lost Chord, the Xtra touch of comedy that album could have used (Xcept 4 "Om," which is silly enough already....). I agree with U about that record's rather low value. (I think "Simple Game" was originally the B-side of the "Ride My See-Saw" 45, seems I read that somewhere....)

I think Graeme Edge had about 2 great moments as a poet -- his best, I think, is "The Dream" on On the Threshold of a..... At least there his poetry-reading doesn't sound intrusive. & whatever that thing is called that opens "Ride My See-Saw" on Lost Chord is pretty wild, 2. I 4get the title right now, but it's a cool track. & of course "Late Lament" has Bcome a classic of our time....

The Present is 1 of my favorite Moodies albums -- I think it might B their most consistent record. MayB other fans just didn't give it a chance. Course, I can't find more than 2 good tracks on Other Side of Life or Sur La Mer & couldn't find ANYTHING worth playing a 2nd time on Keys of the Kingdom.

Don't know if U got a copy of the Time Traveler 4-CD set, but has any1 ever complained 2 U that the CD versions of "Blue World" & "Running Water" R programmed WAY TOO SLOW? I wonder what went wrong....

I was actually fairly disappointed with Time Traveler. I mean, the music SOUNDS great, & most (but definitely not ALL) of what I wanted 2 hear was included, but... when U spend $60, & after yr done lookin it over & hearing it, U can still say 2 yrself that U could have written a better history of the band on yr own, plus could have done a better job picking the tracks that were used.... I mean, despite all the great music, it just didn't WORK 4 me, & I LOVE these guys. I could have picked better "rare" tracks (why wasn't Hayward's silly "Cities," the B-side of the "Nights in White Satin" single, included? Why isn't "Simple Game" here?), I could have written a better history of the band. Somebody at Polygram really messed up the assignment....

Anyway, nice work here, I read every word. U R providing a valuable service. & U should go back & re-listen 2 Ray Thomas's stuff. "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" is a hoot, "Our Guessing Game" is pretty great, 2. I even like "Sorry." & I've learned somehow 2 enjoy "Painted Smile." I think Ray's underrated.

& if U've never heard Hayward & Lodge's Blue Jays, U've GOT 2 score a copy. It's pretty great, especially "When You Wake Up," "Saved by the Music" & "This Morning." But practially every track's a winner.

katew@bicnet.net
The only problem with this album is the female backup singers. They absolutely ruin the best part of "Singer in a Rock and Roll Band". Other than that, this album is masterful in every way.

radio_gawd@hotmail.com (DJ Dude)
Absolutely the most overrated, boring, pompous piece of artsy-fartsy shit band ever created. How a child could like crap like this is beyond me, but you've obviously evolved into some sort of self-important mutant fuckwad not unlike this band. Plus you've got the guts to bag on AEROSMITH? Fuck off.

Well, any publicity is good publicity, huh? Keep up the bad work.

m-parkinson@onu.edu (RockHistorian)
I like the album. Like Justin Hayward, I'm glad it was recorded. Yes, the voices are getting a bit weak, but what do you expect? THEY'RE GETTING OLD! I read somewhere that Hayward turns 50 this year, and he's the youngest. Hence, the backup singers were brought in to hit notes that the guys can't reach anymore. SO BE NICE!

Back to the album. "Nights In White Satin" is still as powerful as it ever was. Ray Thomas just plain shines on "For My Lady." If you really like this conert, I suggest getting the video. On the video, "New Horizons" and "Say It With Love" appear, whereas they don't on the disc.

My only dissappointment with the video is this: They didn't do enough Ray Thomas songs (ONLY 1). Consequently, Thomas is on stage for 2 hours with NOTHING TO DO.

Oh, it takes serious guts to rip Aerosmith AND The Moody Blues. The Moodies are actually one of the top bands in the world. They haven't put out a studio album since 1991 because they're too busy with touring. Hey, you must be doing something right if you've sold 55+ million records worldwide...

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
While feeling greatly bored, I decided to give ratings to the Moodies' albums in the same style that you've done, using a little algorithm I came up with (it's kinda dumb, but it works). For the most part, the ratings I came out with are pretty close to those which you have determined

Here they are
DOFP: 9
ISOTLC: 7
OTTOAD: 8
TOCCC: 10 (duh)
AQOB: 7
EGBDF: 8
SS: 9
Octave: 7
LDV: 8
Present: 8
TOSOL: 6
SLM: 4
KOTK: 7
CL+5: 8 (glad someone else likes this album)
Red Rocks: 9
Legend of a Band: 9 (Hard not to be)

I also did this for Floyd too, but that's another time

msmith48@snet.net (Monica Smith)
I have to say I don't like this album that much at all! It only has 15 songs out of the many that they performed! Where's the rest of it? And, while Ray is singing beautifully, John is straining to hit those high, high notes and Justin sounds like he has one HECK of a cold! (Must be that Rocky mountain air, I dunno.I mean, "Choo-sday afternoon? What is that??) And WHAT is with those lousy women backup singers???!! They're drowning out the orchestra and to top it off, they sound absolutley horrible, like deranged opera singers. (ie:Isn't life strange, tuesday afternoon.) i wish I could hear the concert in its entirty.

KevinMartinell@aol.com
At the end of March, 2003, I picked up a copy of the brand new deluxe version of this album and also picked up another set for my father, who got me into The Moody Blues ... This updated double CD was too good for words, including the entire concert, outstanding sound quality, and also a wonderful commentary and lots of live photos in the CD booklet. I loved the full version of the overture, which included, "New Horizons," "Another Morning," "Voices in the Sky," and "Legend of a Mind," to name a few selections. A few of the introductory speeches to some of the earlier songs were also included, as well, which were excluded from both the original "Red Rocks" CD and the bonus disc from the "Time Traveller" set. The only edit job I've noticed on here was featured near the end of "Tuesday Afternoon" ... The part of the song where Justin chants, "Tuesday, aaah!" is edited out of this version, making it sound more like the version from "Hall of Fame."

All of the selections were well done, and it's hard for me to pick a favorite. I will say that, as other reviewers had mentioned, "Legend of a Mind" is out of this world, and I love the extended flute/synthesizer solo in the middle of the song! This track was one of the highlights for me, when I bought the "Time Traveller" set, back in the days when the bonus CD was included. "Isn't Life Strange" was awesome, as well, because the orchestra repeated the brilliant orchestral/brass track that was first heard on the remade version of the song from the "Legend of a Band" compilation. :)

The 2000 live release, "Hall of Fame" was another enjoyable live CD for me, and I thought it was equally as good as the "Red Rocks" CD. On that release, I was glad to see that a few tracks from "Strange Times" had been included in the set. :) The only downfall on that release, for me (Many reviewers on "Amazon.com" had made note of this), was that both "Isn't Life Strange" and "Legend of a Mind" are edited down a bit. :( The full versions of the mixes on "Red Rocks" are much better.

Back in 1997, I was fortunate to get ahold of a live bootleg CD titled, "Starlight Sojourn," which was recorded at the Starlight Bowl with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, in San Diego, California, during 1994 ... On that release, the set list was almost identical to the "Red Rocks" set list, and the performances sounded very similar to the way they were played at "Red Rocks." In addition, the CD also included some outstanding live versions of "Eternity Road," "Gypsy," "The Actor," and "Steppin' in a Slide Zone," ... The orchestra sounds fabulous on all of those tracks, and it would be awesome if these live versions were released on a future Moody Blues compilation or boxed set of live performances! I would give all three of these live performances/albums 10 dots, because nothing beats a Moody Blues concert. :)

blondechicksinger@hotmail.com
You must get the updated remastered version of this immediately!! It is far superior to the original release from 1993 and also, if for no other reason, get it to hear Justin Hayward go off on this hippie-trippin' introductory spiel before the song "The Other Side of Life" ("...once upon a time,...there was a man in search of himself.....and he saw the other side of himself..... as others see him....this is The Other Side of Life.....")

Whooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaa. Groovy, man.

Add your thoughts?

(John McFerrin reviews) Time Traveller -Polygram 1995.
Rating = 8


Definitely great songs on this 5 disc set. Includes all of the hits (Nights in White Satin, Question, Story in Your Eyes, you name it) and lots of the lesser but still really good tracks (Never comes the Day, Dawning is the Day, New Horizons, etc) from the beginning through the Keys of the Kingdom sessions. It also includes the best tracks from Blue Jays, and on most issues, the encore from Night at Red Rocks (Legend of a Mind, in particular, is spectacular). It also has two superb outtakes (?) in Highway and This is the Moment.

However, there are definitely problems. First of all, the collection could definitely have used another disc. Only one disc is devoted to the post-octave material, and as such, great tracks such as Meanwhile, Meet me Halfway, Vintage Wine, Hope and Pray, and Never Blame the Rainbows for the Rain get the shaft. More distressing, however, are problems with the selection of earlier material. Who was the dumbass who decided that Don't You Feel Small belonged ahead of The Tide Rushes In or Eternity Road? Why is My Song here and not Emily's Song? Where is Simple Game? And where the frig is Go Now? While two of the pre-DOFP tracks are really really nice (Love and Beauty, Cities), Fly Me High is quite expendable, in my opinion. Also, while the accompanying biography of the band starts off strong, the writing gets really iffy as the band's career progresses into the 80's.

If you can find this on sale, it's worth your while, otherwise, don't bother.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Ohhhh I HAD to repond to this one.

I went and got the first copy of Time Traveller that hit the shelves when the album was released in 1994, and these were my thoughts. First, I'm GLAD they didn't include "Go Now." The band that did "Go Now" and the band that did "Nights in White Satin" were not the same Moody Blues, and I'm glad to see them refusing to live in the shadow of Denny Laine. As for the other pre-DOFP material, I think "Fly Me High" is a perfect inclusion. It's a look at the EARLY Justin Hayward. You cant get much earlier Hayward material without going into the solo stuff he did back in his mid-teens like "London is Behind Me," "Day Must Come," "I'll be Here Tomorrow," or the stuff he did with his previous bands like The Whisperers. And "Love and Beauty" is probably my favorite Mike Pinder song ever. My complaint is that there wasn't MORE pre-DOFP Hayward/Moodies stuff like "Leave this Man Alone." That one got snubbed by Caught Live+5, Prelude, and this compilation. I agree with you on the fact that "Simple Game" should have been included. I also agree that this should have been a bigger set than it was. Alot of the 80's material got snubbed, and for that matter, WHY THE HELL is the only live material on here the Red Rocks outtakes? Don't get me wrong. The live extended version of "Legend in Mind" is worth the price of the entire set, but there has been so much live magic from this band over the years, it's sickening for me to think that aside from bootlegs, they've only had two live releases. This set would have been a perfect place to include some of those cuts, like the live "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," which always included an extended Thomas/Moraz duet, or the live "Rock and Roll Over You," which bore little resemblance to the original, or the live "Blue World," which bore NO resemblance to the original. I am glad that it included the Keys of the Kingdom outtake "Highway," which was actually one of the best songs recorded in the Keys sessions, but I would have appreciated MORE outtakes. I know there's one from Long Distance Voyager called "I'm Alive," which was written by Ray. There have to be some from the other sessions as well. I appreciate the fact that they put the ORIGINAL mix of Tuesday Afternoon, and Nights in White Satin on here. The original mixes of Days Of Future Passed have never been released on CD. Only the 1978 re-mix is available on cd. I only wish they had included "Time To Get Away" as well. That song suffers the most on cd because so many of the background vocal parts have been removed. Time Traveller brought back the original mixes of TWO DOFP songs, why not one more. Oh, and one more beef, WHY is "Forever Autumn" on this release? It barely even qualifies as a Justin Hayward solo single. He did LEAD VOCALS only on that track, everything else was studio musicians. He didn't even write the thing. If that's a Moody Blues song, then I guess so is "Something Evil Something Dangerous," "Shoe People," "It Wont Be Easy," or "Eternal Woman." I dare say those barely even qualify as Hayward solo tunes. Of all the solo albums that Justin did, of the two albums Ray did, of the KICK-ASS solo album John did, of the dogcrap Mike did, and of the stuff Greame did, the ONLY solo venture they included in Time Traveller is a song that Justin merely lent his vocals to on a disco-opera remake of War of the Worlds? Whoever put this compilation together had a sick sense of irony. That, in a nutshell, is my opinion of Time Traveller. When it was a five disc set, it was worth it for the fifth disc, which included the Red Rocks outtakes and the 1994 hit single "This is the Moment." Now that it's been reduced to four discs, don't bother.

GRIJ@chevron.com (Jennifer Griggs)
Time Traveler is a fantastic box set which includes a wonderful history of the Moodies. The song "Fly Me High" is great! It sounds like something that should've been included in any "Austin Powers" movie.

My one complaint is the live version of "Bless the Wings that Bring You Back" Justin is great; it's those awful backup "singers". What's with the: "Aye, Yye, Yye...." in the background?! That's not the way it was on Keys of the Kingdom. They sound like Ricky Ricardo. Besides that, they are about 1/2 a step flat. Yuk. Get rid of those chicks!!! They are an eyesore (and earsore) They are NOT needed!! If the guys want a "fuller" sound, then dub it in electronically.

Other than that, the box set is worth getting. The booklet enclosed is great, too!

KevinMartinell@aol.com
When I first purchased "Time Traveller," in the year it was released, it had to be one of the greatest audio collections I had ever bought at the time, which included newly mastered audio quality in the songs that sounded way better than the original CD releases of the albums (The re-mastered CD's of the "Classic 7" Moody Blues albums, which had even better sound quality, weren't released until three years later). The designs on each of the CD's were eye candy, each label with a different color. :)

OK, first the criticisms ... Even though I enjoy all of the tracks on this set, many more songs should have been featured, as well! While it was nice that this set included the rarities, "Fly Me High," "Love and Beauty," and "Cities," I also agree with those who wanted "Really Haven't Got The Time," "Leave This Man Alone," and "A Simple Game" to appear on this set, as well ... "A Simple Game" would have fit nicely between "The Actor" and "In The Beginning," on the first disc. :)

For me, "Don't You Feel Small" is the only song that seems out of place on this release ... I would have substituted it with "The Balance," which is mentioned briefly in the booklet, under the section that covers the "A Question of Balance" album. It was a shame that the second disc on the set featured no Ray Thomas compositions at all. :( I agree with the comments about "And The Tide Rushes In" and/or "Eternity Road" making excellent choices for "Time Traveller."

While I enjoy the tracks selected from "Blue Jays," I agree with the comments about either leaving those tracks out, since only Justin Hayward and John Lodge are featured, or including some of the solo work of Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, and Graeme Edge, as well ... Sounds fair enough. :)

I'm glad that so much from the "Classic 7" albums was covered, but I was disappointed, like some of the other reviewers were, that there wasn't too much represented from "Octave" onward...

I would have added, "Had to Fall in Love," "Survival," and "One Step Into The Light," from "Octave," and used the full version of "Driftwood," as well ... I don't know why this set and other greatest hits compilations feature the edited version of this song. :( Back to, "Had to Fall in Love" ... I'm happy that this track made it onto both "The Singles +" and the 2003 love song CD compilation, "Say It with Love," at least. :)

Thank goodness the full length version of "Talking Out of Turn" appears along with the hits "The Voice" and "Gemini Dream," from "Long Distance Voyager." "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" made a reappearance on the "Voices In The Sky" compilation, and both "In My World" and "Nervous" appear on the "Say It with Love" compilation. All three tracks should have been added to "Time Traveller," as well, because they are standout tracks, too. At least six tracks from "Long Distance Voyager" would have been satisfactory for inclusion on "Time Traveller."

From "The Present," "Going Nowhere," one of the most beautiful songs written by Graeme Edge that I've ever heard, should have added, as well as the "Hole In The World"/"Under My Feet" medley, which is an awesome intro to Side Two of the original LP.

From "The Other Side of Life," I would have added "Rock and Roll Over You," "I Just Don't Care," "The Spirit," and "It May Be a Fire."

From "Sur La Mer," I would also have chosen "Want To Be with You" (which was also a great inclusion on the "Say It with Love" compilation), as well as "Here Comes The Weekend," "Vintage Wine," and "Love Is On The Run."

From "Keys of The Kingdom," it would have been nice to also have "Hope and Pray," "Celtic Sonant," "Magic," and "Never Blame The Rainbows for The Rain" featured.

The 1989 remakes of "Question" and "Isn't Life Strange," from the now out-of-print "Legend of a Band" release, could have been possible choices, as well, since they are rarities, now. "This Is The Moment" should have stayed on the set, even after they stopped manufacturing the bonus disc that featured that song. The set would have needed a disc or two more to fill this many tracks, but I figure it would have been worth all the trouble, since a majority of every single album would have been represented, as well as a few rarities.

In addition, since the original LP version of "Ride My See-Saw" is featured, Graeme Edge's opening track, "Departure," is included, as well, but the booklet doesn't make note of this, when it really should have listed the track as a medley ("Departure"/"Ride My See-Saw"), and included Graeme Edge's name in the credits. Also, it was unusual listening to "Legend of a Mind" before both "House of Four Doors," Parts 1 and 2, in the running order of tracks ... The original sequence from "In Search of the Lost Chord" should have been repeated, here.

On the positive side of things, I still enjoy "Time Traveller," and I'd give it a rating of 8 out of 10 dots, because I still enjoy all of the songs that are featured, including, "Highway," which was the newest "Moody Blues" recording at the time ... Love the sound of the bagpipes on that one! I was also overjoyed to find that so many tracks from both "On The Threshold of a Dream" and "To Our Children's, Children's Children" were featured! :) The set was even better when it also included the bonus disc that was stored inside a pocket in the booklet, near the back of the set. Still, I'm glad that The Moody Blues finally have a boxed set of their own. :)

Add your thoughts?

(Amanda Kenyon reviews) The Singles+ - BR Music 2001.
Rating = 9

Yet another compilation. This one, however, is really good. I think this is what Time Traveller was trying to be, except this one fits it all into only two discs. The first ten tracks on Disc 1 are dedicated to the pre-Hayward/Lodge era, and for the most part they really suck bad. The overall impression one gets from these songs is one of an extremely white British band trying their damnedest to make it onto the Motown label. Besides that, the sound quality on these ten is absolutely terrible - even the CD version sounds like an old beat-up 45. Even though some of them have their inexplicable charm - "Steel Your Heart Away" (does anybody know why they spelled it "steel" instead of "steal"? I can't figure out any sort of clever pun in the song), "Boulevard de la Madeleine," and "Go Now" - you still breathe a heavy sigh of relief when Hayward finally makes his presence known with "Fly Me High," which is so vastly different from the previous ten that it's almost like they were done by two different bands. (Ha ha!) Catchy, melodic, and with a neat piano line, this is actually one of my favorite Moodies songs, believe it or not. And from this point on, it's the Moody Blues we all know and love. And this is the one compilation that I know of besides Time Traveller that doesn't completely diss To Our Children's Children's Children, featuring "Eyes of a Child," "Watching and Waiting," AND "Candle of Life." Very cool. A major highlight is the inclusion on Disc 2 of Hayward's beautifully harmonic "Had to Fall in Love," which as far as I know doesn't appear on any other compilation. (And, though it's lovely, its guitar riff owes a heavy debt of gratitude to "Dear Prudence" and/or "Brain Damage.") Another interesting feature of this particular album is that because it is a collection of singles, it's all the radio edits on here. All the long drawn-out Moraz keyboard intros are gone, as are the orchestral intro and outro to "Nights in White Satin." And for some reason "A Simple Game" is listed in the inner liner notes, but it does not appear on the album itself. Disappointing. The long and short of the matter is that if you can't find This Is the Moody Blues (which unfortunately is out of print), pick up this one! Excellent introduction to all three phases of the Moody Blues, and cheap too!
Reader Comments

KevinMartinell@aol.com
A pretty good "Moody Blues" compilation. I did, however, have a few criticisms on this one. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not too big on the edited down versions of the songs ... I suppose that this release meant to show that these are single edits of the longer songs (Ex. "Blue World," "The Other Side of Life," "I Know You're Out There Somewhere"), in keeping with the theme of the album's title.

The song selection from the "Denny Laine" period was pretty good, but it should have also featured the rarities, "You Don't (All The Time)" and "He Can Win," which were also left off of the 1992 CD release of "The Magnificent Moodies." "Remember Me, My Friend," "Blue Guitar," and "Forever Autumn" should have been excluded from this release, because, while I enjoy all three songs a lot, they don't feature all of the Moody Blues performing on those tracks ... Their inclusion on "Moody Blues Anthology" was OK by me, though. :)

According to the booklet from the now out-of-print "This Is The Moody Blues" CD, the discography section lists quite a few B-sides of singles that weren't featured on this collection, including, "Another Morning," "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume," "So Deep Within You," "Out And In," "After You Came," and "My Song." It's a shame that none of these tracks were included, as well. I was also disappointed that both "Time Traveller" and this release excluded the rarities, "Really Haven't Got The Time," "Leave This Man Alone," and "A Simple Game." :(

I thought it would have been a great idea for this compilation to follow the same formula as the two greatest hits CD compilations of "The Beatles" ("The Red Album:" 1962-1966 and "The Blue Album:" 1967-1970). In this case, one CD set could have been devoted to the "Go Now" period, the early singles featuring Justin Hayward and John Lodge, and all of the tracks that were released as singles, during the "Classic 7 Albums" period. The second set could have featured all of the single releases from "Octave" onward, as there were even more B-sides off of the later albums which were ignored on this release.

Having said all that, there are some plusses to this release. Ever since "Time Traveller" was released, it's nice that at least "Fly Me High," "Love and Beauty," "Cities," and the "Days of Future Passed" vinyl mix of "Tuesday Afternoon" are all featured on this collection ... For anyone who is tight on money and can't afford to buy "Time Traveller," you can still get ahold of these songs on this set. :)

While "This Is The Moody Blues" is no longer available, two remixes from that album are featured here: "Eyes of a Child" and "Melancholy Man." Those remixes made for a pleasant surprise! I also liked that the song list included the tracks "Lovely to See You" and "Dear Diary," which would have made for a great single release, at the time ... I guess that's why there's a "+" in the title of this album. The rare single version of "Question," previously heard on the "Voices In The Sky" compilation, was also a nice inclusion. For some strange reason, the full version of "The Voice" is featured on this collection, and not the edited version (Also from the "Voices In The Sky" compilation), but that's actually a plus, for me! :)

I'd rate this one either 7 or 8 out of 10 dots ... While I think this compilation needs some fine-tuning, there is still a great song selection featured. "This Is The Moody Blues" and "Moody Blues Anthology" make for better 2 CD "Moody Blues" compilations, though, IMHO. :)

Add your thoughts?

Strange Times - Universal 1999.
Rating = 6


2010 UPDATE: I ORIGINALLY GAVE THIS ALBUM A 7, BUT MORE THAN A DECADE LATER, IT SOUNDS MUCH MORE BORING. VERY SLOW, RELAXED AND NOT EVEN ALL THAT PRETTY. 6 SEEMS MORE ACCURATE. ORIGINAL "7"-RATING REVIEW BELOW:

Their first studio album in EIGHT YEARS (keep in mind that eight years after Meet The Beatles, the Beatles had already broken up!!!), this baby shows the Moodies dumping the schlock rocker shit and sticking to the awesome pop balladry that they do so well. And there's not a bad song on here. NOT ONE!!! The only problem is that, to my ears anyway, half of the songs are extremely predictable, both lyrically and musically. I mean, they're pretty and catchy and whatever, but the melodies and lyrics of stuff like "Sooner Or Later" and "Wherever You Are" just sound kinda halfassed. Especially side-by-side with AWESOME, breathtaking tunes like "English Sunset" (with a hip 90s techno beat!), "Foolish Love" and two of Lodge's most gorgeous and heartjerking ballads ever, "Words You Say" and "Love don't Come Easy" (both of which thematically hearken back to the "my soulmate is slipping away because I'm an uncommunicative bastard" days of "Talking Out Of Turn" and "Nervous").

It really is a solid album -- but, clocking in at 57 minutes "and change" (as a dipshit might say), there are definitely more than a few minutes that scream out for editing. Predictable chord sequences and hacknosed lyrics like "Time goes by/Seems like the blink of an eye" take some of the fire out of what is otherwise the most well-produced and lovily-performed (and ORCHESTRATED!) CD they've done in quite some time. If you're a big fan, you should buy it. It's definitely the best thing they've done since The Present!

Reader Comments

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
8

The Moody Blues are officially back! John's individual contributions are a little dull/generic, but other than that, this album is practically perfect (and no stupid 'rockers' this time). Justin's voice is still gorgeous as ever, and all 8 songs that he had a writing role in are fantastic. The singles English Sunset and Haunted are wonderful Present-style pop songs, the title track is utterly fantastic, Sooner or Later (Walking on Air) is terrific ... the list goes on and on. Lots of BlueJaysish orchestration, and there's even a neat poem at the end!

Basically, the guys finally realized that they couldn't be taken seriously if they kept trying to be 'young' and 'hip', so they returned to their greatest strength; being true to themselves. There's somewhat of a concept to the whole album, about the passage of time (TOCCC anyone?) and how nothing really changes even as everything seems to change.

Get this album ASAP if you're even remotely a Moodies fan, you shant regret it.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Finally it's here, Strange Times is here, and here are my early thoughts on it . . .

It opens with a slight nod to their 80s albums with "English Sunset." It's a great number, even though it borders on techno. I'm glad they chose it as the single. Then, Justin gives us a follow up to "Broken Dream" with "Haunted." So far so good, but then . . . WHAT THE HELL!!!! "Sooner or Later" is a wierd rock tune. On one hand, it features Justin, John and Ray trading off lead vocals for the first time since "After You Came" off Every Good Boy. The chorus is annoying but still better than anything on Keys of the Kingdom. John's up next with a dark number called "Wherever You Are" It's driven by this creepy flute line. It's a great song. I love it. Justin keeps things going with a rocker called "Foolish Love." Still going strong, but then . . . Oh, "Love Don't Come Easy" is a good song, but I miss the rocker John. Of course, Justin follows it up with a real shocker as side one closes with a COUNTRY WALTZ! Seriously. I'm not kidding.

Side two starts with the title track "Strange Times." Most of us have heard this song several times already since they've been doing it in concert for some time now, but this new studio version is better than any of the live renditions they've been churning out. The electro-percussion effects make it perfect. Then, the orchestra comes in and launches the band into what is probably one of the best John Lodge songs ever, "Words You Say" is a gorgeous ballad, right up there with "Nervous" and "Who Could Change." This song will make you cry. It's a definite highlight on this album. I can't wait to hear it in concert. Ray's up next with a goofy ditty much like "Another Morning" and "Nice to Be Here" called "My Little Lovely." Next up is another ballad from John.(too many ballads John, give us another "Sitting at the Wheel" will ya) "The One" brings the rock pace back, "The Swallow" shoots it back down, but both are fantastic numbers. Then Greame closes the album with a poem entitled "Nothing Changes."

So overall, it's the best Moody's album since Long Distance Voyager. Ray and Greame are back. Justin is his usual self, and John is writing his most beautifull ballads ever. It also sounds like John is singing IN HIS VOCAL RANGE! Something he hasn't done since his solo album. It's also great to see Ray, John and Justin all three harmonizing again!!! This album really FEELS like classic Moody's. "Words You Say" FEELS like Days of Future Passed. "Sooner Or Later" FEELS like Bluejays with Ray added in. Upon my fifth listen today (yes, this album is addictive) I've have to give it a rating of NINE. Yes, that's nine, as in damn near the best thing they've ever done.

Well, enough ranting on my part. If you want, you can post that until you get a chance to hear it for yourself. I really think you'll like this one. I know I did.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
After my own 4th or 5th listen of the day (damn right this album is addictive) I've gotta agree with Robert and give this a 9. I'm still a bit iffy about John's numbers, but Justin's songs have grown on me even more than I thought they would. Best since Long Distance Voyager? Hell, this is their best since Seventh Sojourn, and maybe even better.

Mark, about your comment on the length of the album; even though it's 57 minutes, it seems MUCH shorter than that to me. I mean, Forever Now ends and The One comes on, and I'm always like "Aaaaaaaaaahhh!! There's only two more tracks after this song ends? Nooooooo!!!!"

And yeah, maybe The Swallow is a little too syrupy, and Justin goes a little long on the acoustic-dicking-around, but it's still cute. And yeah, maybe some of the songs are somewhat predictable, but for some reason, that doesn't irritate me like it probably would otherwise. Who knows, maybe I'm just high on that "Yeah! The Moodies don't suck now after all!!" vibe, and maybe it's clouding my impartiallity. As is, though, this has cemented itself as my third favorite, behind SS but ahead of Days.

That being said, I'm glad you liked the album.

GRIJ@chevron.com (Jennifer Griggs)
After waiting 8 LONG years for their new album, I'm overjoyed with Strange Times. It's vintage Moodies along with a 90's sound. As stated by everyone else, it's very addictive. The first week I had it, each day, I took it out of my CD player at home, inserted it into my CD changer in the car and when I arrived at work, took it out of the car and kept in in my CD Rom on my computer at work and at the end of the day, same process over again, only backwards.

It's a fantastic album with great vocals by Justin, John and Ray. (I'm a singer myself and nitpick everything I hear). I guess my faves would have to be a toss up between "English Sunset" and "The Swallow" and "Foolish Love". But I love them all. I'm seeing them in Houston on October 16 and cannot wait! (It'll be my 3rd Moodies concert) By the way, is it just me, or is that song, "The One" directed at Mike Pinder?

I give it a 10 all the way! Justin, John, Ray and Graeme are classy, elegant, extremely talented gentlemen and as far as I'm concerned, they rule!!

TOMBRADY33@aol.com
I think the Moody's have kept the mystery of their magical music but have also advance into the 90 's with this new album ,Strange Times. After eight years the group has come out with a new album which has 14 new songs which will differently keep you listening to this great cd!

Karlphills@aol.com
The first moodies album since 1972 where I did not ask myself `where`s Mike Pinder?` Who cares.This is wonderfull pop music crafted by experts and the first moodies album in 27 years that is not a dissapointment.John`s voice sounds great despite the weakness of a few of the songs......`words you say ` one of the best things he has ever done.Justin`s tunes ,as usual, are excellent and well crafted.Even the daft poem at the end sends shivers up the spine...`We have all heard the Word`.........Indeed! 9 out of 10 and deserves to be a chart hit.

Rartnriver@aol.com (Frank Peters)
I love the guys but as far as I'm concerned no way on the new CD, cant even get thru the thing without shutting it off. Think Justin should start singing in a lower key, but the bottom line is Mike Pinder. Lets leave it off the way we began.

Slidernumber9@aol.com (Don Gilmore)
As an ardent fan of the boys since 1967, and after having had a chance to work with them a couple times, I consider myself a qualified critic. The first time I heard Strange Times I thought this was the end for them.

However it becomes infectious. The more I listen the more I like it. However I refuse to believe that the band would pick"English Sunset" as the single over "Sooner or Later" and expect to get airplay, Who the hell cares about English sunsets?

Justin's songs are consistently great. John's ballads are embarrasingly bad, and Ray can do much better. They really needed the objective viewpoint of an outside producer on this album.

Although the sound is tight, fresh, and well recorded, the vocal mixes are the worst I have ever heard from them. Half hearted harmonizing really hurts the album.

What would be a real shot in the arm for them right now is to bring back Mike Pinder.

Wouldn't that be great after all this time now that Mike kid's have grown up! Justin has always mentioned to me how he misses his music.

In a nutshell there are 5 bloody good songs on the album, and the rest are very forgettable.I hope this album gets the airplay it deservesm, for I would love to see the guys back on top again, not relegated to "a strange and distant time" of nostalgia.

d1812@webtv.net (Debbie Leidy)
how do people have the nerve to express an opinion about something so personal ? I think what the moodies and especially justin puts out there is sooooooo incredibly full of their feeling on life, love and the way of the world.......... The view especially shows just how much justin has to say about life today and still comments on that unattainable love he has written about for the past 35 yrs. I still can't understand how smeone who claim to be hapily married can write such beautiful and haunting love songs of sadness and lost loves......... well I will end my ranting with this final note, we are very lucky all us true moody fansthat they have given us over 30 yrs of beautiful and thoughtful and moving music and when it comes to justin all I can say is that every man should have his heart and soul. the world would be a better place for sure.

Yupaha@aol.com
Moodies fan forever here.I heard there was to be a new album coming and I kept waiting for the big event. Married with two kids and living a very busy life I'm guilty of not running out and buying it...but something needs to be said about todays music and the simple fact I haven't heard anything from the new album on the air waves. Where is everybody? I crave the moodies sound after all these years,good review or bad,rock tunes or orchestra...I need it...and after listening to what is on the air today can't say but one thing...strange days indeed!

kafm@primus.com.au (Peter Gray)
What more can one say, to true Moodies fans this is a 10 Album well worth the 8 year wait, If you really are a true moody Blues fan, like me since 1965, then you cannot fault anything on any album.

"Strange Times " there are some Strange people out there who claim to be music critics.

The Moody Blues, surely one of the greatest bands of all time.

Rock on into the new millennium Juss and the boys

you are the greatest

akenyon@ups.edu (Amanda Kenyon)
This is a terrific album. Very tight, very well put together. Although I'm really not sure why they chose to use English Sunset as the single when there are so many other songs that, in my opinion, are much better and more commercially attractive. Foolish Love, for instance, which has found its way to my list of favorite MB songs. Excellent album. The best since Seventh Sojourn.

ehurden@on.aibn.com (Esther)
The music continues to accompany and coincide with events in my personal life, not that personal that I can't post it, so to make my point, here goes...

English Sunset's lyrics make me think this might be the last recording as a group. As a since forever fan I just gasp at the thought! The Swallow fits so beautifully with my dear friend's early retirement..."It's so strange, life in the really slow lane, take it easy, that's what we'll do..."

My Little Lovely will always make me think of my other friend who had a daughter born just around the time of the release of Strange Times. Forever Now, took me into the year 2000 with amazing memories. Words You Say To Me is what my guy should be singing when he be bad, bad, bad! (Oops, did I get too personal!? Well, aren't all men like that sometimes!?)

Wherever You Are just reminds me to be a decent person so you can live with yourself. "let your shadow show..."

With Sooner Or Later, I was walking on air when I found out I was able to see the Strange Times tour twice in 6 months.

You get the idea though...the Moody Blues just keep coming at us with things people can relate to in their hearts and lives. Now if I can only slot The One into some type of perspective, I'll be content!

All in all, it's a delightful album and bless these guys for still giving.

NOLARD9999@aol.com
I'm listening right now...My Little Lovely...sounds like For My Lady..the one part...I think so anyway..Forever Ever..a little like..Isn't Life Strange.... Anyway..I intend to listen until I see them on July 18 in Buffalo at ARTPARK...seeing they are not coming to Canada, can't believe they are not playing Toronto.. Anyway...It's so great to talk to a true Moody Blue Fan...Fans....they helped change my life with their lyrics...especially..Lost In A Lost World...that was me a 13 years old..lost..well..enough of my story...I love Strange Times...and I'm really hoping that we they play at Artpark that when they sing these lines...I feel the rhythm of the earth in my soul tonight..may it never fade away.....I hope they move like I envision...okay enough yapping...take care Moody Blue fans...Moody Blue fans cannot just happen..who we are is where we have been....A time on this Earth...while the Beatles, Stones and The Who were yelling out their power on Earth..these magicians flew us into space and we loved Earth even more because of it.. Good Night..hope all of you catch a concert in your neck of the woods....nothing changes and nothing stays the same and life is still a simple game... My name is Anthony....take care

thecroft@enterprise.net (Andrew A. Morton)
Have to agree with most of the folk here. I've been a fan since about '78 around and about Octave). At first this album didn't do too much for me. Then, after a couple of listens, I found I was singing bits of it around the house in a way I haven't done for a while. There's something about this album which says 'stuff the production and the technology - let's just sing'. I've really come to like it.

glena@companionlink.com (Glena Dusky)
I have been in love with the Moody Blues since I was 15, and I finally got to see them 25 years later in concert. 4 hours of non stop music, Lets see some of the younger bands try this one!! The concerts I have been to play 1/2 hour, and whine that they are tired. I watched them in an interview with Kathy and Regis a few years ago, alas, Regis wouldn't shut up and let them talk. They were far more interesting than he was.

sweetpea711@hotmail.com (Nancy DiNardo)
what a dopey review about the wonderful moody blues!

oneofakind151@hotmail.com (John Sieber)
Okay, it don't really matter where you guys decide to plant this comment o'mine on the Moodies page; I guess the "general comments" section is doable, but I'll leave that to y'all. FIRST OF ALL! I hate reading comments from rabid fans of any band. 99.9% of them are opinionated, closed-minded morons (read my own past STYX comments for examples). The stupidity it takes to be a Moody Blues "rabid fan" is so evident here, as it is with just about any art-rock band. "But they did so much, it takes so much talent, it's better than the crap in the 90's!!!"

Now don't get me wrong; I love Days of Future Passed and that Lost Chord album is okay too, but I can't really see hailing these guys as musical geniuses or anything. They really had dick to do with the orchestra parts of DOFP; you can't, in reality, praise just those 5 guys for the whole album when, in reality, 1/3 of it ain't them, now can you?! But! That don't make it a damn fine album, at any rate. I just think that the Moody Blues are a bit overrated. They're like the Beatles, except they don't suck like the Beatles did.

Wow, that last comment'll get me shot on most college campuses.

Too bad it's the truth :-)

smeagol05@yahoo.com (Kadyria Mackay)
yes. it's the creepy 15 year old again. came back to say, i lurve the moody blues, too. yes, i like them too. i have a thing for british groups from the 60's and 70's that no one my age has ever heard of.

tdeaton@communicomm.com (TAD)
I must disagree with the majority on this 1. THIS is a comeback? Why didn't they just stay retired? "English Sunset" is (VERY) mildly intresting, the rest of the songs are just sleepy. Boy, do these guys sound old (of course they ARE), & I LOVED them, once. This album is as weak in its way as KEYS TO THE KINGDOM & SUR LA MER. This definitely isn't the way 2 bow out of a long, honorable career. They shoulda stopped after THE PRESENT, 1 of the GREAT albums of R time.

lodge@cfl.rr.com (Bonny Campbell)
Some people are very harsh on the John Lodge songs, I can relate to all the John songs, the" words you say to me" there is a thin line between" love and hate" strong word but think about it you can have a love hate relationship been there done that ! It's not a nice place to be but it is possible to tune somebody out, and yet they are in your Heart and Soul ! I think this album is up there with the best of them, I love all their albums, I don't think there really is a bad song on any album, some are over played, yes but I can put in any Moody CD and know that I'm going to be taken on a musical journey, from beginning to end ! That is no matter what album one listens to!!! They always leave you wanting more.....

Add your thoughts?

Hall Of Fame - Ark21 2000
Rating = 7


If you love Moody Blues live CDs recorded with orchestras, then you're in luck because they release one like every 20 minutes.

Don't accuse me of exaggeration. I clearly see you accusing me of exaggeration.

This one, recorded live at the The Royal Albert Hall on May 1st, 2000, is Ray Thomas' last gasp with the band, and he sounds like a billion mucks. His voice is lower than in days of yore, and it makes "Timothy Leary's Dead" sound so good, you'll toss a piranha in your toilet and go fishing with your 25-inch pri

ndledick. Hi! I had a great meeting with a client this morning, wherein they informed me that my company is a big piece of shit and they're going to fire us if we don't get off our lazzy azzes and get some results! It would be awesome if I were hilarious, because I could have replied, "You want results? Fine, here's your results: you've got AIDS!" But unfortunately, due to my unhilariousness, it would have come across as callow and heartless rather than chipper and Oprah Winfreyish.

Did you watch the TV last night? I did, and look what I saw! First there was a show about these 16-year-old girls who are conjoined twins! Check 'em out - they're awesome and kick some ass! Watch the two movies on this page --> Ass-kicking Conjoined Twins. Then I saw another show about this tiny-ass motherfucking baby. Check out how motherfucking small this tiny-ass baby is. Click into the site and look at some of her photos, at age 3 --> Small As Shit Baby. Yes, TV really is a Magical Wonderland, and a wonderful place to meet a new wife.

Also, the other night my wife and I were walking Henry The Dog home from Central Park at about 1 AM and a drunk guy across the street was singing the reggae version of "Layla." But -- GET THIS -- he only knew one line. So we kept hearing this over and over: "LAAAAAYLA.... ya got me on my knees, Layla -- (*clears throat loudly, 'hocks loogie'*) -- ya got me on my knees, Layla... (pause)... ya got me on my knees, Layla." So it's true what they say about drunk people, and Eric Clapton sucking.

As for this Moody Blues live album, it's 10 greatest hits, 3 songs from their at-the-time latest album, and one orchestral flourish overture. So that's 3 Strange Timesers, 2 In Search Of The Lost Chorders, 2 Days Of Future Passeders, and then one each from Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, By Mudhoney, Sure Lamer, TOSOL (The Other Side Of Life) (True Other Sounds Of Liberty) and A Question Of Ballsac. Here's me, talking to the Moody Blues: Say! Wow! You played "Question" LIVE!? Hang on, what the -- "Tuesday Afternoon" LIVE!? You had the balls to perform a rare import b-side like "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)" LIVE IN CONCERT!? You mean you guys managed to get on a stage and, without having to completely relearn the song and rehearse for 6 months beforehand, perform "Nights In White Satin" LIVE!?!?

The drums sound fantastic -- really, really crisp. One of the guitar tones is awful though - very wispy chorused wimp girl distortion with no guts. Can somebody do me a favor? You people all hang out with Justin "Hey Baby, Let's Take A Roll In The" Hayward, right? Could one of you please tell him that he's NOT HELPING the songs by fucking around with the tempo of the words? What is UP with him always singing so far behind the beat in "The Story In Your Eyes"? Or saying each line as quickly as possible in "Nights In White Satin"? I mean, if you're going to bother catering to audience expectation with a set list comprised almost entirely of songs you've played 500 million times, why not go that extra tenth of a mile and not sing the songs like you fucking hate them with every ounce of your being? Somebody tell him that. But do it nicely because he's written a lot of great songs. Have you heard "The Land Of Make-Believe"? He WROTE that!!! It's not on here though.

If you already have Red Rocks, you don't need this. And vice-versa. They're both fine, but the orchestra is mainly just used to recreate the sound of the old Mellotron (or the actual orchestra on Days Of Future Passed), so it's not nearly as cool as it would have been if they'd whipped up a violin frenzy during "Your Wildest Dreams" or something.

Mmm, maybe I'll whip up some violin frenzy for dinner tonight.

Sure, you can lick the beater... if you want to be a Splinter-Tongue!!! Ha ha!!!! You hear me, Splinter-Tongue!?!? (*shakes angry fist at Splinter-Tongue*) You goddamned Splinter-Tongue -- you're nothing but a goddamned Splinter-Tongue!!!

(*calls ambulance on behalf of Splinter-Tongue*)

Reader Comments

goldilocks417@yahoo.com
No, they do NOT release a live album every 20 minutes!! Well..OK....every 2-3 years. But they are ALL different, I promise! And yes, IMHO, if one has "Red Rocks", they DO need "Hall of Fame", and "Lovely To See You" and "Caught Live + 5".

And where is Justin rushing the lyrics? I thought "Nights in White Satin" was perfect on here. As is "Question" and "I'm Just A Singer In A Rock and Roll Band".

To fully appreciate this release, get the DVD. The true show is the audience! Trust me.

Go ahead....go buy it. You'll be ROTFL! (at the audience...not the Moody Blues.)

Add your thoughts?

Answer To The Mystery Of Life - Bootleg.
Rating = 8


Side one is rare studio material unavailable anywhere except maybe on the box set or on b-sides of singles, and side two is LIVE material! Got LIVE if you want it! LIVE at leeds! LIVE Grand Funk Railroad! I have the headache of the lifetime in the back of my skull right now, perhaps compounded by the fact that I lost one of my accounts at work today. Nobody likes getting laid off. And the only thing worse than getting laid off is getting LAID. Hence the headache.

Side Wun: "This Is My House (But Nobody Calls)" - This is a peppy good time dance number from the Denny Laine era! Yeah!

God my head is killing me. The rest of this side is melancholy Hayward/Lodge-era material: great dark depressing anthems like "Cities" and "A Simple Game," as well as the gallopping goodtime "how's your mother" of "Really Haven't Got The Time." Don't listen to "Fly Me High" though. Its unconquerable girliness will have you crocheting a sweater before you realize that your LoveMachine(TM) has lopped off to go hang out on somebody who's not listening to "Fly Me High" (or, as I like to cleverly call it in a spirit of parodic adventure, "Sissy Fag Gayfer").

Side two is live material with muffled, lousy audio that still doesn't manage to erase the genius of their early material: "Nights In White Satin," "Legend Of A Mind," "Tuesday Afternoon" -- if only they'd included "Here Comes The Weekend" and "Reflective Smile," this could've had ALL the hits! Instead, they do "Tortoise And The Hare" with a different beginning and overall sound - why they couldn't fade all their instruments including the drums in like they do on the album is of little consequence to me, but I know how upset you get by such falsities so perhaps this track would best be skipped by us all. "While Hare was sleeping/He went on keeping/The final line in his mind!" GOD, I fuckin' LOVE the deep philosophical implications of Aesop's Fables!!!! You THINK they're just about aminals doin' shit but the more you read into them, you realize that the aminals aren't just DOIN' shit - they're SPOUTING shit too!!!! Like that one where the fuckin fox invites over the fuckin crane for dinner and the fuckin crane can't drink outta the fuckin bowl, then the fuckin crane invites the fuckin fox over for dinner but the fuckin fox can't drink out of the really tall glasses that the fuckin crane uses. I'll never forget the moral I learned from that story: Never invite anybody anywhere because the entire world is a bunch of pricks.

Reader Comments

seerup101@hotmail.com (Devin Lawrence)
I just had a great production idea, based on the wildly popular Jingle Cats albums: teach a bunch of felines to wail Howlin' Wolf riffs, record them and call them the Bluedy Mews!

If you couldn't figure out by now, I have no insights, so relax.

KevinMartinell@aol.com
Re: Anthology

For me, the "Moody Blues Anthology" is a wonderful double CD, just like "This is The Moody Blues." This compilation is like a condensed version of the "Time Traveller Box Set" with the addition of "Go Now."

It's nice that this set includes the full versions of "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights in White Satin" (with the orchestra, which isn't featured on "The Best of The Moody Blues"). These are my favorite mixes of the tracks, featuring the "Days of Future Passed" CD mix of "Tuesday Afternoon" and the "Days of Future Passed" vinyl mix of "Nights." It's also nice to see that, on this occasion, "Nights" gives mention to "Late Lament," written by Graeme Edge, on the song list (Previously noted on the "Prelude" and "This is The Moody Blues" CD's).

The "Best of" mix of "Ride My See-Saw" is on here, so there is no cross-fade from the "Departure" track, on "In Search of the Lost Chord" ... This mix begins with the count in. There is just one Ray Thomas track on this release, which is "Legend of a Mind," one of my favorite Ray Thomas compositions (and awesome to listen to through headphones). Then, we get "Voices in the Sky," one of the best Justin Hayward compositions I've ever heard.

Two more Justin Hayward tunes follow from "On The Threshold of a Dream," including, "Lovely to See You" and "Never Comes The Day" ... I love the way the first of the two songs is faded in, because we hear the choir and mellotrons that end out, "In The Beginning," from the original LP, a really cool effect.

Up next are three of my favorites, from "To Our Children's Children's Children," the 'mellotron-driven' "Gypsy," "Candle of Life," and "Watching and Waiting," and from "A Question of Balance," the original LP mix of "Question" appears, along with "Melancholy Man," which I think is a cool song for a sad tune.

It was also a treat to hear the mix of "The Story in Your Eyes," originally from the "Legend of a Band" CD, which is a few seconds longer than the mix heard on "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor."

From "Seventh Sojourn," the two John Lodge classics, "Isn't Life Strange" and "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)" end out the first disc. The original version of "Isn't Life Strange" appears here (not the remake on "Legend of a Band"), and "I'm Just a Singer" starts off with the loud, crashing drums, not the cross-fade from "When You're a Free Man," from the original LP. It was also a treat to get one more tune from "Sojourn," Mike Pinder's, "Lost in a Lost World."

Opening up CD #2, is Justin Hayward and John Lodge's "Remember Me, My Friend," from "Blue Jays" ... Notice that the opening guitar riff lasts only three bars instead of four ... This is because the opening riff was cross-faded with the synthesizer from "This Morning," as heard on the "Blue Jays" album, so it was edited out.

"Blue Guitar," also makes another appearance on a "Best of" compilation, which is another fine Justin Hayward tune.

"Stepping in a Slide Zone" and "Driftwood" appear from the "Octave" album, but because of the length of the CD, both songs are edited down a bit, with the sound effects from the intro of "Slide Zone" missing, and the end of "Driftwood" fading out about a half minute earlier than on the "Octave" LP.

Justin Hayward's "Forever Autumn" follows, creating a nice bridge between the timeline of "Octave," and "Long Distance Voyager."

From "Long Distance Voyager," the full length hits, "The Voice" and "Gemini Dream" are heard on this collection (Not the single edits from the "Voices in the Sky" compilation), but there is an edited version of John Lodge's "Talking out of Turn," which I first heard on the earlier CD version of "Voices in the Sky."

Excerpts from "The Present" include, "Blue World" and "Sitting at the Wheel." Once again, as heard on "Time Traveller," the end of "Blue World" is cross-faded with the intro of "Sitting at the Wheel."

From "The Other Side of Life" album, "Your Wildest Dreams" and "The Other Side of Life" are both on here ... While I was disappointed that "The Other Side of Life" didn't appear on "The Best of The Moody Blues," I'm glad to see that it is featured in this collection. :)

The mixes of "Sur La Mer's" "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" and "Keys of the Kingdom's" "Say it With Love" are the same as the original mixes from their respective albums, but a big surprise I've noticed was that the mix of "Bless the Wings That Bring You Back" is taken from the CD single mix of that track ... This mix features the orchestra, and lasts about four minutes instead of five. Until the "Anthology," this mix of "Bless The Wings" was very rare, so I'm glad it made a reappearance here.

"Highway," one of my favorite songs by "The Moodies," makes a reappearance here, and this is especially good if you are tight on money and can't afford to buy the "Time Traveller" Box Set, which debuted this tune ... You also have the opportunity to get ahold of this song on this collection. :)

There are just a few criticisms I had on this release ... The first is in regard to the edited down versions of "Driftwood" and "Talking out of Turn," which are better suited for the "Singles" 2 CD set (I'm not a big fan of edited down songs, and those were two fine songs that should be left at their regular length). Since the full length mixes of the songs probably wouldn't fit the length of the overall CD, I would rather see them replaced by shorter songs like "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" and "This is The Moment." It's a shame that there is only one Ray Thomas composition that appeared on this collection ... At least two of his songs could have been featured, so I think "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" would have been a nice choice, too. Also, while I liked the way "Time Traveller" cross-faded the end of "Blue World" with the beginning of "Sitting at the Wheel," I think the songs should have been separated, this time around, instead of the same procedure, again.

On the whole, this is an excellent 2 disc CD compilation for "The Moody Blues," with a great selection of songs and outstanding sound quality. I like the first CD in that it is sort of like a condensed version of "This is The Moody Blues," with the addition of songs like "Gypsy," "Candle of Life," and "Lost in a Lost World." This release is a nice introduction to someone who is just discovering the music of "The Moody Blues" and it is worth the cost.

robertkoehl@yahoo.com
Like many Moodies fans, I was thrilled at the thought of The Moody Blues doing another concept album in the style of the original seven. So imagine my utter horror at finding that the concept behind the new album (their first record since Ray Thomas quit) was that it was going to be a CHRISTMAS album. I got immediate flashbacks of how Savatage and Mannheim Steamroller both turned to crap after becoming "holiday" bands. To make my horror worse, it was going to be half cover tunes (White Christmas, Happy Xmas War is Over etc) and half original tunes about the holiday in question. My horror was made complete by the knowledge that the lead track was entitled "Don't Need a Reindeer." (shakes head in disgust)

So with expectations set lower than hell itself, I was in complete and total shock to find that the album is actually good. I mean REALLY good. If you'd like a breakdown, here it is: "Don't Need a Reindeer" is evil. I mean EVIL. It starts out just like I was afraid it would, with sleighbells and a cutesy synth. Then Hayward starts singing this cutesy line and I'm just grimacing. But after about 45 seconds, Lodge, Edge, and Madonia kick in and the song kicks ass. It's an honest to God rock song, and you can't help but sing along. Nice prank, guys. "December Snow" is another in Hayward's string of "Haunted" and "Broken Dream" style numbers. The other Hayward penned tune is "Yes I Believe" and it's absolutely GLORIOUS. Hell, even my perpetually grumpy roomate liked it. Only real detractor is that Justin has repeated himself by using the words "days of future passed" yet again as a throwaway line in the middle of one of his tunes. It was novel in 1991, it's contrived in 2003.

Lodge contributes two songs. Typically I like his stuff, but on this album it's hit and miss. The "hit" is "Spirit of Christmas" which starts off like a Roger Waters tune, then inexplicably goes into this gospel meets the Beatles thingy. Odd, but I like it. The "miss" is "On this Christmas Day," a tune so useless that it makes "Shadows on the Wall" look like his masterpiece. Most of the covers are just so-so. There's a really really sour vocal note on the John Lennon cover that'll make you cringe, but it's otherwise ok. And I must admit that the only way they could have made me even accept "White Christmas" is to do exactly what they've done with it. They made it into a 6/8 time rock song which is led off by a nod to their 2001 album, "Journey into Amazing Caves." That's better butchery than even ELP ever committed. I respect that, as words cannot express my otherwise caustic hatred of "White Christmas." Overall, I'd call this album good, though. Granted, they'll probably never do another Threshold of a Dream, but at least it's better than Octave.

Add your thoughts?

December - Universal 2003
Rating = 6

Okay this is definitely an album for old people, so you kids get off the computer and show this review to your parents. It's for them, not you. You're too young to appreciate the CD or this review. Okay, I'm assuming your parents are here now. Great. Hi parents! I'm Mark Prindle, a thirty-year-old grown man who writes record reviews for the World Wide Internet Gateway, a new system whereby people all over the country can talk to each other through the magic of "networking." First of all, I wanted to let you know that your son or daughter is gay and on drugs - he or she told me so. But more importantly, I wanted to let you know about a soothing new Christmas CD that is just right for bringing out the Holiday Spirit in every one of us hard-working adults with families and coffee. We work hard and our children play in Little Leagues, and that's why it's important that, at times like Christmas when there's not much on TV, we get together with our families and celebrate our love for trees, getting up early and opening presents. Well, this year, there's gonna be a NEW gift under the tree! And it's a new compact disc (a compact disc is like a record, but smaller and harder to figure out) by The Moody Blues called December!

I know I don't have to remind you who the Moody Blues are. Remember your wild college days, hanging out with the radical hippies and listening to the wild psychedelic sounds of "Nights In White Satin"? And then the early '70s, when you settled down to start a family to the relaxing strains of "Isn't Life Strange"? And then again in the mid-80s, when you bought a Trans Am and "zoomed the strip" to the kickass hard rock of "Your Wildest Dreams"? The Moody Blues were there for you through all these life-changing experiences, and Christmas 2003 is going to be no different!

I know you don't know any of the band members' names (nobody does), but the one with the pretty voice sings a lot of nice new holiday songs on here, including "Don't Need A Reindeer," "December Snow" and "Yes, I Believe." The one with the ugly voice contributes a couple as well - "On This Christmas Day" and "The Spirit of Christmas" - but they're depressing and completely out of place, and should be fast-forwarded past before they completely ruin the mood of the holidays. Leave it to the one with the ugly voice to try to bring back the "revolutionary" spirit of the hippie "political" movement on a Christmas album. But once you get past him, you can enjoy the one with the pretty voice singing classics like "White Christmas" and John Lennon's "Have A Merry Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year." It's a little disappointing to see that they chose this track over Paul McCartney's superior "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time," but nevertheless it's always good to hear from a Beatle, as long as it's John or Paul.

This is a lovely adult contemporary approach to holiday cheer, full of slow, relaxing acoustic strumming and lots of lots of those lovely fake violins and synthesizers. Even that hippie flute player has left the band -- for the BETTER! A warning though - you have to be the adventurous type to enjoy this CD because you're only going to know a couple of the tracks on it. The rest are new compositions or obscurities with titles like "When A Child Is Born" and "In The Bleak Midwinter" (don't worry! it's got a much more Positive Mental Attitude than its title would suggest!). It's a funny thing about music though - if you take a song you've never heard, and I know this can be very uncomfortable and strange at first, but if you take a song you've never heard and listen to it a few times -- suddenly it seems completely familiar, like you've known it all your life! If you're ready and willing to take the plunge into the Great Unknown, December is bound to make this holiday season the best one yet!

Thank you for your time, parents. Please return the computers to your children.

Are you back, kids?

Good. Your mom sucked my cock through the disc drive.

Reader Comments

BlackSabbath3887@aol.com
I don't think John has an ugly voice, I think you have an ugly attitude, John's songs are beautiful ballads.

Oh and the whole "kids on drugs and being gay and the mom sucking your cock through the disc drive" I don't know where you get off, talking like that doesn't make you sound like a "thirty year old grown man" geez grow up.

David.Moses@odpm.gsi.gov.uk
Haven't you got a sense of humour? It's crude, but funny. She probably sucked yours and you got repressed about it!

threerandot@yahoo.ca (Threerandot Wagner)
Hi:

I really enjoyed your reviews for the Moody Blues, as well as anything else. You really have a way with words. I particularly liked the "Your mom sucked my cock through the disc drive" remark. Did you get it on Video? The internet has the power to really connect people in new and strange ways!!

Anyways, yes... The Moody Blues. I used to belong to this strange and bewildering bunch of devotees to the ever omnipresent demigods who lavish their inpsired and insightful perceptions of the Universe through the use of Mind-Controlling and Diabolical Wizardy to control the minds of all who follow them. Luckily, I was able to break this impenetrable spell through the power of light and reason.

Moodies fans are the strangest and most peculiar individuals I know of. I too, am a pretty nice person I think, but the excessive use of Moodies imagery in fan magazines and so on really made me sick. As Groucho once said, "I would never want to belong to a club that would have me as a member". This goes ditto for Moodies fans. Not that all of them are so repulsive. Many just like you, enjoy the tunes. Even i occassionaly will hum a Moodies song, but the spark these guys lit up my ass with when I was 12 years old just isn't there anymore. Maybe that's how old most fans are when they start. Maybe their music is just for lonely nervous people who have nothing better to do with their hands.

At any rate, these guys reached their expiry date a long time ago. I think they keep going because there's nothing else left for them to do. They regrouped four years after the first time they broke up. They are at least smart enough to realise they don't have the brains to do other things in the industry like produce. They even couldn't sign any real acts for their Threshold label, apart from "Trapeze". "King Crimson" just laughed in their faces and eventually signed with EG Records.

Still, it's not that all of their stuff is bad. The first seven are pretty good most of the time, but this whole "Classical Music" connection has been blown way out of proportion. They were a BLUES BAND. They changed some members and it was THE RECORD COMPANY that wanted them to do a rock version of the Symphony No. 9 ("From The New World") by Antonin Dvorak. They just kind of threw that Mellotron in there and this whole "Art" or "Prog Rock" label has stuck with them ever since.

They certainly never had the ability to really create Hard Rock music. They were a love song band. Ballads and such. One act. Period.

I have heard all of their albums and they really haven't done anything I could listen to since the original seven and maybe "Blue Jay" and "Long Distance Voyager".

It's really John's band now isn't it? Him smacking his gum and hamming it up for the camera. Meanwhile, his voice makes my head crack in two. Their last one, "Strange Times", is more of the same sugary, sappy, hearts and flowers kind of stuff. "Sur La Mer" is indescribably bad and "Keys of The Kingdom" is pretty silly.

The downfall for my brother and I's obsession came with The Red Rocks Concert. The Living End. Justin looked like he was trying with all his might to believe in it and John's "look at me I'm a Rock Star" face really made me sick. How about John in the "Legend of a Band" video with his bass guitar raised aloft on the Isle of Wight site? really sick-a-fying!! YUCK!!

Anyways, I've rambled on enough. For fans who realise they have the Moodies addiction, they need only sign up to "Moodies Annonymous". Their in the phone book. Your fist visit entitles you to three free months of Prozac or Children's chewable Aspirin. If you can't beat the addiction they shoot you.

lodge@cfl.rr.com (Bonny Campbell)
This person who wrote this review is a very sad person, but every one is entitled to their own opinion on anything, I think the guys did a great cover on John Lennons Christmas, and White Christmas, they wrote about what is going on in the world now, sure it is unlike the normal christmas songs, and John has always wrote how he feels, Nasty remarks about the mother also, not even funny.

blondechicksinger@hotmail.com (Music Lover)
I MISS RAY!!!!! This is the first Moody Blues recording since flautist, Ray Thomas retired and I'm not happy about it. Well, I'm happy they are recording, but not happy that Ray left. But, ob la di, ob la da, The Moody Blues go on.

"December" is a beautiful album and one would expect no less from these guys. I always wondered why they didn't do a Christmas album before, with their lush vocals and orchestrations. I do have to say, in spite of Mr. Thomas' absence, this album is incredible!

"Don't Need A Reindeer" (don't let the title scare you off) is a catchy little Hayward ditty that will stick with you and even hours later, you'll be singing it on the way to the mall to finish your Christmas shopping.

I LOVE "A Winter's Tale". A song of lost love and loneliness. Feelings that always seem to resurface for so many people at Christmas. (To me, it's along the same vein as Dan Fogelberg's "Same Auld Lang Syne").

"December Snow" is another tear jerker. Justin reaches in and grabs your heart with his soulful voice and lyrics of sadness, and love, combined with the falling snow.

John's and Justin's vocals are so beautiful in "When A Child Is Born", it puts a lump in my throat.

"In the Quiet of Christmas Morning" and "In the Bleak Midwinter" both have such a sacredness to them is simply spine-tingling. One can almost picture them singing it in a church on Christmas morning. OK, OK....the flute is pretty. I just pretend it's Ray playing.

So, in closing go get "December" to add to your other Christmas music. When you get tired of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Manheim Steamroller or Bing Crosby, put "December" in your CD player and believe me, you won't be listening to anything else the rest of the season!

musiccollector@hotmail.com (Harry, Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Apart from Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, my most favorite band in this music category. Their music is absolutely INCREDIBLE, melodious, and utterly fantastic, and nothing short of works of art! It is much more then mere music that we mortals can enjoy. They sure have given the world immeasurable enjoyment, which has been made endless, thanks to the recorded medium. "Visons of Paradise", "Voices in the Sky", "Meanwhile", "Nice To Be Here", "Are You Sitting Comfortably?", "Don't You Feel Small", "And The Tide Rushes In", "The Sun Istill Shining", "Floating", "The Voice", "In My World", etc. Not enough superlatives can be found to describe Hayward, Thomas & The Boys. Long live the Moodies.

barbara.richards3@ntlworld.com
I have only recently discovered the Moody Blues music, through a friend, and I have been enjoying so much lovely music that I seem to have missed, I don't know how. I really like the album December. I think it's the best Christmas album I've ever heard. I think I was given Justin Hawkins christmas record the same year, and although I really really enjoyed watching Mr Hawkins cavorting and dancing on the amps like a rock god on Jools Holland that christmas, I didn't want to play his record as much as the Moodies christmas cd. No, it's a really nice album.

rkka.roblin@sympatico.ca (Rick)
I have been following these guys since I started high school in 1973. This makes me sound old, i am only 47, but young in music. I still follow music up to date.

The moodies inspired me so much , now I write music.

I have been part of a musical production of many groups in a special C.D.

These guys are one of a kind. How can anybody say anything wrong about their early albums. The later albums have a little change , because they dropped Mike Pinder for some reason. He was the heart of the group as far a I am concerned. I would love to see the Moodies again, (I saw them in Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens in the 80's), it was great but not the same without Mike. Patrick Mariz was the keyboardist. Hope i spelled his name correct.

Any way, Threhold of a Dream was one of my favourite album expressing musical productions. The art work on the album and the production was amazing.

I will not forget these amazing musicians............

diane.thoman@worldnet.att.net
The Moody Blues are my band. My heart and soul are refreshed everytime I listen to their music. Of course I listen to many different types of music, but the Moodies are in a category of their own. I am spiritually lifted when I listen..and I mean LISTEN to the depth of their music. I once met Justin at a signing in '97. I tried to think of something meaningful to say when my turn came...something original, memorable, and not embarrassing. All I could say was "Isn't it nice to know there will always be an audience for your music?"

He just looked up, smiled, closed his eyes and said "Yes, it is very nice, thank you".

I especially love the timelessness of the lyrics and melodies. I truly believe that if everyone on the planet could listen to Moody music at the same time, war would cease. Their music feeds my heart..makes me feel serene...I go to the concerts everytime they come to town. Just saw them at Hard Rock Hollywood. Packed audience 5500. No breaks. Great show.

I tried to absorb every detail of the evening as I never know for sure if I will see them again. The next time you go to their concert, take a minute to turn around and watch the faces of the crowd...you will see all eyes riveted, I mean RIVITED to the stage....you will witness the definition of awe, respect, admiration and love all at one time. This is what they see...this is why they still do what they do. We fuel their need to deliver the music, and then reward them for it. It is a relationship that will continue as long as we and they exist...and then our children's children 's children will continue to enjoy the feeling for the rest of time.

YahBooSux@msn.com
Since 1967 the Moodies took us all on a musical journey, they encompassed solid rock through to gentle, surrealistic love ballads. Only one other band I can think of were better at their craft......THE BEATLES.......and to be second to the the Beatles must be considered one hell of an accolade.....long may John, Justin and Graeme continue to delight us with beautiful music and imagery. Thanks guys.....40 years later and I am still enjoying their music as much as when I first heard them, far too many years ago.......

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Lovely To See You LIVE - Image 2005
Rating = 8

Have you ever had a dog? That's great, I'm glad to hear that. Then you know how it feels when the veterinarian conducts a few tests and discovers that your dog's kidneys aren't working properly and then you look on the Internet and learn that dogs with kidney problems tend to die long before their time. Henry The Dog is my little boy and I've always hoped and assumed that if we took care of him properly, he'd live to around age 12. But he just turned 6 and now this goddamned blood test and piece of shit urine test and asshole follow-up urine test are suggesting that his body is in the beginning stages of chronic kidney failure. Which means, I think, that we'll be lucky if he lives to see his eighth birthday. I hope I'm wrong and the vet is wrong and the Internet is wrong, but it does no use to pretend it's not happening. It's apparently somewhat common in German Shepherds, and Henry is at least half that very breed.

I know that life throws shit (or "challenges") at everybody all the time, so I can accept this situation if I'm thinking clearly. And I'm told we can do things to help him live longer -- change his diet, give him medication, etc. Plus, it does no good to sit around and worry. The nice man on the third floor of my building, for example, has known for about four years that his wife will eventually succumb to her ever-returning cancer. But he doesn't live every day all depressed about it. He accepts that that's what life is, and cherishes every moment he has with her. So my wife and I will just have to do that with Henry The Dog. After all, for all I know, I'll get killed by an exploding bird tomorrow and the little fuzzy man will live to be 108!

On a similar note, you sometimes forget how good the Moody Blues are. Lovely To See You LIVE is a pretty strong reminder of this goodness. An interesting thing about the Moody Blues that you hardly ever read about in books is that their melodic sense is phenomenal. They have come up with so many catchy, hooky, singalongable, memorable, creative pop/rock songs in the past 39 years that somebody should give them a medal for "Karate Champion - Songs." Their ballads are beautiful, their rockers are silly but fun, and their happy pop songs are bubblegumlicious. No, hang on -- BUBBLICIOUS! Pardon me one second while I patent that clever turn of phrase - Bubblicious(TM). Okay good we're all set.

This double-CD is the first non-orchestrated Moody Blues live album since the Children's Children-era performance captured on Live + 5, and the set list features so many surprises, they might as well have called the album December because Christmas is in December and you get surprises at Christmas. Hang on while I trademark that idea - A Moody Blues Album Called December(R). Now I'll just sit and grin, and the money will roll right on up to my house.

The 20-song performance (recorded live at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA in June 2005) features at least one track from every single post-Laine Moody Blues album bar two. One of these two exceptions kinda makes sense, as they probably felt they'd run Strange Times into the ground on their last live album, Hall Of Fame. But what kind of assholes would neglect The Present!? I know it wasn't commercially successful, but surely they know that a lot of people (like myself) really love that album. I mean, if you're gonna bother playing something from Octave - an album that most people don't even realize exists - would it kill you to play "Sitting At The Wheel," a single that reached #3 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart? Likewise, if you're going to consider it appropriate to play a solo Justin Hayward track ("Forever Autumn") during a Moody Blues concert, then say! -- why not give a go at "Blue World," which charted at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100? Come on, don't you people read Billboard in 1983 anymore!? These tunes are spicy HOTTT!

But the goods that are here - sweet Jesus, Lord of Magdalene! "Steppin' In A Slide Zone"!?!!? "Talking Out Of Turn"!!?!!?! "HIGHER AND HIGHER"!???!??! "THE GODDAMNED ACTOR"!??!??!?! "ARE YOU MOTHERFUCKIN' SITTING COCKSUCKIN' COMFORTABLY"!??!???!???!?!??!???!? And they're played WELL! "The Actor" is beautiful! "Are You Sitting Comfortably" is as haunting as it was 36 years earlier! "Higher And Higher" is a G___________n PUNK ROCK song! Any longtime Moody Blues fan absolutely must pick up this CD. It's so weird and neat and oddball to hear decade-spanning genre-crossing rock blocks like "Lean On Me (Tonight)" (90s) followed by "The Actor" (60s) followed by "Steppin' In A Slide Zone" (70s) followed by "The Voice" (80s). And every single one of those is a great song, even though they sound absolutely nothing like each other!

Personnel-wise, the official band is down to Justin Hayward, John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge (the only original member), what with mustachey fluter Ray Thomas having retired a few years back. As such, they've propped up their rickety old concert line-up with flautist Norda Mullen (December, Meet The Fockers soundtrack), keyboardist Paul Bliss (Keys Of The Kingdom, The Hollies' Greatest Hits... Live!), back-up singer Bernie Barlow (Bob Seger's Face The Promise, Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius original television soundtrack) and second drummer Gordon Marshall (sitting on his ass). The instrumentation sounds almost uniformly rich, deep and lovely. Some of the keyboard intros are clearly just tapes of the original studio recordings, but the actual songs all seem to be live recordings (or at worst, live recordings that were later studio-enhanced). And modern listeners will be pleased to note that the corny '80s synth bass has been removed from both "Your Wildest Dreams" and "The Other Side Of Life." Huzzah for an actual real-live bass guitar!

There are only a few of things that keep me from being Alice Cooper's legendary "Mr. Nice Guy" and giving this CD a score of Public Image Ltd.'s legendary "9." The first is that, although his voice is still absolutely gorgeous, Justin Hayward is clearly bored to death tears with some of this material, taking unwelcome liberties with the speed, melody and even phrasing ("the atmosphe-yaaa"?) of certain vocals. Secondly, I'm glad they love to 'kick out the jams' and all, but the extended "Kick Ass Rock And Roll" solos and codas of "I'm Just A Singer" and "Ride My See-Saw" are an embarrassment not only to the band but to the actual genre of 'rock.' Third - and this is just a minor thing, but I'll mention it anyway - what I always loved about "Lovely To See You" (the song) is that it was played and mixed in such a murky way, giving an eerie dark undertone to the jaunty little melody. As performed on this live disc, it's simply a wussy little girl pop song for fags, girls and fags.

But otherwise, what a great album! Sadly, "December Snow" sounds a bit sleepy and tedious when removed from its "Christmas Album" context, but I'm still glad they chose to represent that album. If they're gonna FUCK us out of The Present, we'd might as well take our December while we can.

Fans - buy it! Non-fans - buy it! Then you'll become a fan and have to buy it AGAIN, because I said "Fans - buy it!" Also, do all this through Amazon so I get a cut.

Two final things: (a) Justin and John are the most mellow between-song banterers I've ever heard in my life. They sound like they're about to fall asleep and topple off the stage! (b) "Higher And Higher" is about the Apollo moonlanding!? I always assumed it was about smokin' dope! Strange how I would think that based on a title like "Higher and Higher" and lyrics like "Blasting, billowing, bursting forth with the power of ten billion butterfly sneezes," yet somehow.... somehow....

Reader Comments

erfinagerfin@hotmail.com
Sorry to hear about your dog! I can't imagine what it's like knowing someone (or a dog) you love is going to die sooner rather than later...but death is a fact of life isn't it? Anyways, as for the CD...I don't have it, but I did see these guys live. I didn't want to really, but a friend of mine wanted to see them pretty badly and I did like To Our Children's Children's Children a lot. Only played one song from it though. It was still a great show...the guys must be in their 60's, but they aren't succumbing to old age yet...Hayward and Lodge sound great and the performances packed more of a punch than the studio performances!

Trfesok@aol.com (Bob)
Hi, Mark,

Also sorry to hear about your dog. We just found out our 7 year old Sheltie has prostate cancer, which is like saying a human has pancreatic cancer. This, after losing an 8 year old golden retriever to advanced liver disease two years ago. It can be hard to "keep the faith," as John Lodge usually tritely says before the band does "Question" live.

Anyway, I saw the group perform the same songs (except "Forever Autumn") in the same sequence about 4 weeks after this performance was recorded, and I can assure you that the sound is authentic. Really surprising setlist, I agree. I also would have rather heard a Present track than "Lean On Me (Tonight), as well. The vocals aren't quite what they used to be, but they haven't been for about 17 years. The band sound is great though. Really worthwhile for a Moodies fan, but my wife, who by no means isn't, also enjoys this CD. I guess there's also a DVD of this show out, though, and that might be a better purchase.

Happy Holidays to You!

rwdgrwnmfan@yahoo.com
Are You Sitting Comfortably is the only real reason to see the band live now days. They will always be my favorite band, (well, second favorite) but I really, really wish Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder would come back just for one last 'Steppin' In An Old Folks Home' tour. Without them, the band cannot play half of their ctalog, and therefore so many great songs are going unheard in concert. Btw, I wonder why the Moodies didn't play at Live 8?

eharris@crain.com
I'm 58 years old. I've been listening to the Moody Blues since I was 19. As I read the various reviews here I sensed that most of the negative ones came from people under 30. These people can't really be blamed for failing to grasp the brilliance and importance of the Moodies. They've grown up in an era of truly terrible pop music both musically and lyrically. There are exceptions of course, but for the most part pop music has been a sewer of mediocrity since 1980 or so; especially the last 10 years.

The Moodies write about much larger themes than today's artists (that mainly sing about booty's, violence and misogny) Their songs actually have melodies played by real musicians. They have toured and recorded successfully for nearly 40 years. How can you be expected to grasp the themes of Days Of Future Past or Threshold of a Dream after being weaned on rubbish like Madonna, Brittany Spears, rap and Hip Hop??

"Forgive them father, for they know not what they hear" The 60's were the golden era of rock and pop music. The Moody Blues (in my opinion ) were one of the top 5 artists to come out of that period, the Beatles being #1 and in a class all by themselves. Although it's encouraging that people under 30 still listen to the Moodies, it's disappointing that they fail to understand or grasp what they are hearing. Their reviews simply reflect the cynical and tasteless times they've grown up in.

slqhracing@yahoo.com (Steve Sharp)
I may be biased, but I've been around long enough and heard enough to be qualified to make this judgement: the Moody Blues are the greatest band of all time. In 5,000 years they will still be scratching their heads about that cosmic rock group from Birmingham. No group combines their vocal prowess with such beautiful harmonies and transcendent lyrics. (Have you listened to the lyrics of "Gypsy" and "Eternity Road"? Haunting. Poetic. Timeless.)

No group can match the sheer variety of their sound (slow, fast, rock-n-roll, ballad, acoustic, whatever) Or their originality.Their songs do not sound the same. I've heard them for 30 years and I still marvel that they sound as fresh and lively as they did when I heard them in 1969. In fact, many of their original songs are better today! Listen to the modern "Lovely to See You" and "Slide Zone," and you can hear that the Moodies have actually improved those songs, made them deeper and richer. And they're damned good on the instruments too (more than 44 instruments were played for "Seventh Sojourn," I believe!)

They will continue to get hammered by stupid tasteless idiots who have no sense of what good music really is. Anyone who claims the Moodies are "pretentious" doesn't know TS Eliot from Dr. Seuss. Just because they dared to fuse classical music and rock they are severely criticized by the bums who like 4-chord songs with scratchy voices.

Those who think the Moody Blues' music is "formulaic" are also totally wrong . The Moodies don't follow any "formula" in order to sell records or consciously write songs that always follow a prescribed pattern; many of their best songs are highly structured, with repeating patterns, but this is beautiful symmetry and artistry, not a "formula" they are reverting to.

Though not every Moodies song works, I do not know of any other group with such vocal and instrumental prowess. Those who criticize the Moodies are jealous of their superior artistry (have you heard Justin play the 12-string chord section in "Question" and the rollicking riffs in "I'm Just a Singer"?), lyrics (if their songs were poems, TS Eliot would be impressed, believe me), melodies (transcendent!), and voices (the best in the business). "Rock'n'roll" is often a synonym for tasteless drivel, and most of the practioners of this low-life business do not have as much talent as Justin and John have in their little pinkies. The Beatles, Doors, and Eagles (along with many others) are great bands, but I don't think I could come up with 20-25 of their songs that are almost flawless musically and vocally. With the Moodies, I can. And there are many songs I still have not heard!

A Moody Lover--Long live the greatest band of all time!!!!

marilynhayward@talktalk.net
I found your website which is great.

My kids grew up with my Moody cassettes belting forth on every long car journey and I now have a number of albums in my ITunes- oh what memories!

One cassette which was lost many moons ago was 'Yoga For Health' (drove my now ex husband mad - he hated it). I'd love to rediscover it and wonder whether you might have any idea how I could get hold of it. My daughter, now 40, remembers it well and would love to hear it again too.

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