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Hayward & Lodge - Blue Jays CD (album) cover

BLUE JAYS

Hayward & Lodge

 

Crossover Prog

4.16 | 91 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars "Blue Jays" is a Moody Blues album in all but name. After the release of the Moody Blues "Seventh Sojourn" album in 1972, their record company Decca were clamouring for another album. The five Moodies couldn't come to an agreement on the next album, so the two frontmen of the Moody Blues, Justin Hayward & John Lodge, set out on their own to record the "Blue Jays" album with producer Tony Clarke at the helm. The end result would turn out to be a symphonic masterpiece on a par with the Moody Blues classically-inspired "Days of Future Passed" (1967) album, which featured the anthemic "Nights in White Satin". The original "Blue Jays" album released in 1975 didn't contain the magnificent song "Blue Guitar", which was released as a single around the same time as the album. This omission was later rectified when "Blue Guitar" was added to the album in the 1987 re-issue and again on the 2004 remastered CD. All of the songs on the album were written by Justin Hayward & John Lodge.

"This Morning" opens this magnificent album in true Moody Blues style with sweeping symphonic soundscapes and the familiar heartfelt tones of Justin Hayward, as he imploringly sings, "As the dawn is breaking on your future my child, Is there none of your love alive?, If every door you open closes on me, I don't know if I can survive." The production and orchestration on this opening song is just superb. It's a masterly demonstration of the art of the producer and it sets the tone for the album as a whole, where you know you're in for a real symphonic treat. "Remember Me (My Friend)" is another magnificently orchestrated ballad with Justin Hayward's beseeching words asking, "I am your friend, You must remember me, I'm the one who saw through the world's disguise, Took away its cloak and made it hide from me, Remember me?" The lovely harmonies and sweeping orchestration are just awesome, with the trademark sound of Justin Hayward's superb guitar always there to remind you that this is really a Moody Blues album. The pace slows down a bit for the next song "My Brother", a gentle ballad with those Oh-So-Beautiful harmonies at the forefront again and masterly orchestration from producer Tony Clarke. who also produced all of the Moody Blues albums between 1967 and 1979. Continuing this magic carpet ride on a symphony of sound is "You", a romantic song of love gone sour with these words from balladeer Justin Hayward, "You don't even know my name, Time was when you would take the love you've given all away, Take a part of me, You don't even walk my road, Can't find where you turned, Looked away and you were gone." ..... These are the kind of melancholy heart-wrenching songs that have become Justin Hayward's trademark speciality and his beseeching voice always has that urgent emotional appeal that never fails to tug at the heartstrings. "Nights Winters Years" rounds off Side One in magnificent style. It's a fully orchestrated symphonic epic in the style of "Nights in White Satin", only more so. If you haven't been transported to a magical place before now, then this song will take you there. Prepare to be amazed by this epic production of dynamic proportions! Side Two opens with the most up-tempo rocker on the album, the uplifting "Saved by the Music", although the song does have its quiet reflective moments too. "I Dreamed Last Night" follows next. This sweeping symphonic masterpiece is another emotional rollercoaster ride, guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings with its tale of lost love, where Justin Hayward opens the song with these imploring words, "Oh, I dreamed last night, I was hearing, hearing your voice, And the things that you said, Well, they left me, left me no choice." There aren't many singers of Justin Hayward's calibre who are capable of pouring so much emotion into a bittersweet romantic ballad. "Who Are You Now" is a nice gentle acoustic guitar-driven ballad with the ever- present lush orchestration from Moody Blues producer Tony Clarke. You'd have to be as emotionless as Mr. Spock in Star Trek not to be touched by the powerful emotional appeal in all of the heartfelt songs on this wonderful album. If you're in the mood for some full-blown classically inspired symphonic music, then "Maybe" this next song is for you. Just lie back and let this beautiful music carry you away to an ocean of harmonic serenity. This is the music that dreams are made of. Finally, we come to the album closer, "When We Wake Up" which seems an appropriate title, bearing in mind coming to the end of this album is like waking from a beautiful dream. As you'd expect from two-fifths of the Moody Blues, this is a full-blown symphonic masterpiece of lush orchestration with everything but the kitchen sink thrown into the mix.

This is truly an outstanding album which reaches the parts that other albums fail to reach. "Blue Jays" is an album that's guaranteed to linger longer in the memory with its timeless romantic ballads with everlasting appeal for generations to come. If you're a hopeless romantic, or just hopeless at romance, then this is the album for you. An absolute must-have album for any fans of the Moody Blues. In comparison with other Moody Blues albums, this solo endeavour from Justin Hayward & John Lodge ranks as one of their finest albums. This album is a master-class in production technique and represents one of the pinnacles of classic 1970's Symphonic Rock.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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