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The Moody Blues - This Is The Moody Blues  CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

4.34 | 51 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Listening to the Moody Blues is like spooning into a bowl of extra rich vanilla ice cream: a not altogether nourishing experience, but still irresistibly tasty. Of course any appreciation of Progressive Rock has to more or less begin with the band's early albums (not including the 1966 Denny Laine "Magnificent Moodies" LP, which most fans regard as something from a different group entirely), and with that in mind this two-disc 1974 collection is an all but essential indulgence.

It was the first of what would later become a small, ongoing industry of Moody Blues compilations, and may still be the best of the bunch, if only because of its (thankfully) limited scope: the songs here were all drawn from their seven best and most influential albums, spanning the band's Golden Age between 1968 and 1972.

You can of course expect to hear all the usual hits ("Knights in White Satin", "Ride My See Saw", et al), but beyond those familiar touchstones is a generous sampling of other, no less quintessential selections, including (for better or worse) some of those trademark interludes of now horribly dated, paisley-colored poetry, without which any Moody Blues album would be incomplete.

All of it is desperately unfashionable today, but there's no denying the uncomplicated appeal and youthful idealism in much of the music. Add to that a strong element of undiluted nostalgia: these are songs to thrill the lingering teenage romantic in all of us, or at least those of us who came of age in the middle 1970s. Like our own lives at the time, this was a music in transition, capturing that moment when the Flower Power of the '60s, and the nascent psychedelia of the later BEATLES, blossomed into the mature Progressive Rock of YES, GENESIS, and especially the first KING CRIMSON, groups which never would have existing in the same form without the good example set by the Moodies.

Maybe you had to be there the first time around. But anyone admitting a weakness for the faux- orchestral sound of the Mellotron is already a fan of the Moody Blues, whether they realize it or not.

It's a shame the band never continued through the same door they opened for so many other acts. Listen to this set for proof: the twenty six tracks, taken from seven different LPs (and not arranged in chronological order), show little variation in style or content, an indication perhaps of the comfortable, gold-plated rut the Moodies dug for themselves at the time (and, as of this writing, continue to maintain almost four decades later).

On the other hand, that same uniform homogeny makes this compilation possibly more worthwhile than any of the band's individual albums: only the highlights of each are included. It may not be as comprehensive as later CD collections, but what it lacks in quantity it more than compensated for with quality, of both selection and presentation. This may in fact be the only Moody Blues album anybody really needs to hear.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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