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

TO OUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN'S CHILDREN

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

4.05 | 268 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This was one of the last Moody Blues albums I bought back in the 70s, mostly because it was one of the least-heralded (in the States at least), and because since it came sandwiched so closely between the much better On the Threshold of a Dream and the U.S. smash Question of Balance that it went largely unnoticed by some of us less- fanatical fans until later in the decade.

None of the songs here seem to be fully developed on this album in my opinion, and that’s really my main issue and only significant observation about it. “Higher and Higher” takes a while to get going, but when it finally does the percussion and guitar work border on psychedelic and represent some of the most energetic music the Moodies put out during this early period. But just when I start to get into the sound, the song fades out and is replaced by the more traditionally melodic and sanguine “Eyes of a Child”, which is itself just a brief sliver of a song. Great vocals and a very appealing bass line, but incomplete as it peters out into “Floating”. This is a truly spacey song as it describes the feeling of floating in space and reflecting on the cosmos. I was too young to imbibe in mind-altering substances when I first heard this album, but I have no doubt many listeners were doing just that as they grooved on the melody and other-worldly keyboards and delicate guitar.

After the brief and slightly up-tempo reprise of “Eyes of a Child” we’re off on another abrupt mood shift and “I Never Thought I’d Live to be a Hundred”, an almost morbid lament on aging and life passing by. I can imagine this as an extended piece at the end of the album with long, elegant keyboard passages and a reflective look back at the landscape of time and humanity, but instead it is simply a fragmented concept in the middle of the album.

“Beyond” is a keyboard-heavy instrumental that just doesn’t go anywhere at all, followed by “Out and In”, which is probably the most recognizable song on the album, but again an undeveloped bit of a concept about exploring the universe both external and internal to ourselves.

The second half of the album picks up a bit of steam with “Gypsy” and its excellent Moodies’ vocals and mystical lyrics, followed by another heavily psychedelic number with “Eternity Road” and then finally “Candle of Life”. These are all pretty much standard fare for the Moody Blues, and none of them really stands out as definitive works for either this album or the band’s music as a whole. It’s just another day at the studio, cranking out another album. That’s really the overwhelming feeling of this album anyway – another forty minutes on tape and back on the road, business-as-usual but no extra spark to really grab the listener’s attention. Maybe it’s the lack of lush orchestration, or the fact that there is only a vague notion of a central theme to what is supposedly presented as a conceptual work. Maybe it’s the pervasive melancholy in the understated vocals, or the sometimes depressing lyrics about life and the infiniteness of space, I don’t know for sure. It’s probably a little bit of all the above.

The chant-like vocals and sitar on “Sun is Still Shining” give it a bit of an exotic feel, but also make for a very dated sound when played today. The arrangement here is the most interesting of all the tracks, but still nothing to get particularly excited about.

The closing “Watching and Waiting” reminds me a lot of “Tuesday Afternoon” and “For my Lady”, and benefits from some good supporting orchestration and nice harmonic vocals. The message is a bit weak after investing the better part of an hour in the build- up though, and again is a rather dated message that today seems either quaint or na´ve, depending on your viewpoint.

This is a decent album by the Moodies, and I wouldn’t suggest that fans bypass it altogether. But I don’t think this is the one you would want to start your Moody Blues collection with, and one should expect to have to invest a bit of time and energy to get anything is substance out of it. It’s probably a bit better than a simple collectors-only work, but certainly not quite up to the ‘excellent’ standard either. Three stars seems right.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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