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The Moody Blues - To Our Children's Children's Children CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

4.09 | 406 ratings

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4 stars Depending on one's view, no artist celebrated or exploited the 60's counterculture quite like the Moody Blues. From a homage to acid guru Timothy Leary to all manner of hippy dippy lyricism, the Moody's were quite in a league of their own. With the release of this, their forth conceptual album To Our Children's Children's Children, the group jumped away from the 'love in' topics and jumped onto the space exploration/moon landing craze of 1969 and put together one of their least dated sounding albums of their late 60's albums run.

Starting with an authentic sounding Saturn rocket lift off (all studio trickery), the group catapult the listener from Graham Edge poetry on "Higher And Higher", not one of his better ones unfortunately, into the driving "Eyes Of A Child" that is broken up into two pieces by a whimsical Ray Thomas song called "Floating". "Floating" is uplifting and infectious and actually sounds as if it was written with a child in mind. So far so good. This is followed by a lovely acoustic guitar ballad by Justin Hayward titled "I Never Thought I'd Live to Be A Hundred". All the songs, which are banded together and flow into and out of one another, are quickly over before the listener can catch a breath. That comes immediately with with a slight instrumental that features an insistent 2/4 beat with a repeating Mellotron driven melody that unfortunately goes nowhere fast. Authored by drummer Graham Edge, this must have been his "Ringo takes the spotlight moment", as Edge's "Beyond" is the weakest track on the album. Fortunately, keyboard extraordinaire Mike Pinder ends the album's original side one with "Out And In", another of his gentle philosophical songs that's bathed in all manner of lush sweeping Mellotron.

The original vinyl's side two starts with Hayward's strident and dramatic" Gypsy", A song about some lost space traveler rocketing around the universe alone "without a hope of coming home". It's one of guitarist Justin Hayward's most underappreciated songs and is a cornerstone to the album. Ray Thomas' "Eternity Road", a good song that's well sung, seems out of place both lyrically and musically, but the song doesn't break the album's spell. Immediately following is the exquisite "Candle Of Life". The song, written by bassist John Lodge but wisely song by Hayward, is a clinic of lush layered Mellotron and wonderful piano accents from Pinder that boasts a gorgeous melody and truly moving lyric; save the "flower power" vocal chant of "Love everybody and make them your friend" in the song's middle eight section. Truly cringe worthy stuff (even for an old hippy like me) but this cliched flower power intrusion is gone quickly before the song returns to it's gorgeous melody and lyrics.

Unfortunately, the flower power vibe returns full blast with Pinder's eastern tinged "Sun Is Still Shining" which merges Arabic sounding mellotron scales with ridiculously outdated (even for 1969) sitar. This song actually breaks the space traveler vibe of the album for me, but all's well again with Hayward's melodically melancholy ballad "Watching And Waiting". The album's stunning closing track, "Watching And Waiting" is one of those emotional songs that only Hayward could write and sing, and only Pinder could magnificently orchestrate with his virtual arsenal of Mellotrons. In fact, no following Moody's albums would be as lush, layered and overdubbed as TOCCC.

The album does suffer from some period production shortcomings, particularly the use of Sgt. Pepper's-like recording tricks from time to time, but this really didn't detract from my enjoyment of the album. 4 stars seems about right for as enjoyable as TOCCC is, there is something missing about the album that I feel makes it truly essential and classic. Perhaps I should dig out my old water pipe from the attic and give it another spin.

SteveG | 4/5 |


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