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Various Artists (Tributes) - Justin Hayward & Friends Sing The Moody Blues Classical Hits CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

2.17 | 3 ratings

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2 stars This album is a real missed opportunity. The idea here was a pretty good one - take some well known and not so well known songs from the Moody Blues' extensive catalog and re-record them with a rock ensemble AND a huge 75 piece orchestra. And then bring in Justin Hayward as a guest vocalist. So far so good, right? Yes, Genesis, and Tull had all previously been given the same treatment. Why not the Moodies? At the time this album was originally recorded and released (the mid 90's), the Moodies were in fact touring the world with symphony orchestras and this CD could have complemented their efforts quite nicely. However a fatal mistake was made during the final stage of the production - bringing in the "friends".

Michael Sadler (Saga) and Shawn Williamson sing lead on 4 tracks each, which renders these 8 tracks as nothing more than cover versions by Michael Sadler and Shawn Williamson. It's not that they did a bad job, (I think Sadler has a great voice) it's just that I don't know how many Moodies fans are interested in hearing these other singers cover these classic Moodies tracks. What should have been a showcase for these songs being recorded in a new way with a big orchestra is obscured by the fact that our ears are instead focused on the lead singers who most listeners will feel don't measure up to Justin Hayward. And having Hayward sing lead on the remaining 6 tracks (Forever Autumn, Running Water, Blue World, Blue Guitar, Voices in the Sky, In My World) only serves to reinforce this point.

A much better option would have been to either have Hayward sing all of the tracks or at least leave those that he didn't sing as instrumentals - which would have showcased the lovely orchestral arrangements, which was supposed to be the purpose of the project in the first place. This album has been released numerous times now with different cover art. One distributor, realizing the mistake the producers had made, released the album with only 10 tracks - eliminating 4 of the tracks not sung by Hayward. This 10 track version seems to work better. If you're a Moodies fan, don't be discouraged by my 2 star rating - you've got 6 excellent tracks here to enjoy. But it's up to you if you think it's worth the price.

DavidMinasian | 2/5 |


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