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The Moody Blues - From The Bottom Of My Heart CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues

Crossover Prog

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3 stars 8.5/15P. Remarkable A-side, unremarkable B-side.

This brief review intends to cast some light on the Pinder/Laine composition From The Bottom Of My Heart, recorded in 1965, which might be the first recording made by The Moody Blues which abandons the pop music rules for a while. Even on their more straightforward numbers which dominate the original Magnificent Moodies release they often managed to lend that special gloomy mood, with the deep pianos and huge backing vocals, even to classic R&B songs; James Brown's I Don't Mind, also covered by The Who at that time, is so much more interesting and emotional with Ray Thomas' falsetto and Denny Laine's weird guitar picking than in any other version I've ever heard. And My Baby's Gone is a similar case: basically it's a straightforward clap-along R&B thing, but the strange sustained guitar notes which enter somewhere in the middle do give it a pretty unexpected taste - even though it still remains pretty 'basic'.

The slow and moody From The Bottom Of My Heart, however, is a much more unconventional affair, mixing up some wicked classicisms with somewhat primal drum work and an R&B chorus. It begins with a piano variation on the famous Rodrigo Adagio motif from his Concierto di Aranjuez without a clear rhythm, and you actually don't know the direction which the song heads to until circa 20 seconds into the song when the operatic backing voices and Denny Laine's desperately crooned lead voice end up in a late-50s Elvis-like chorus. Afterwards the clear rhythm dissolves again until the next chorus - a bit like the equally experimental Dedicated To The One I Love by The Mamas & The Papas. After three minutes Ray Thomas brings in his flute and introduces the finale of this song which features Denny Laine and the band desperately wailing on top of an ever-growing two-chord vamp. It's actually one of the most frightening and shrill vocal parts I've ever heard on a R&B/pop single. Of course this stuff is still miles away from Mike Pinder's quasi-ambient textures on later Moody Blues records, but provides an unexpectedly unique development of the R&B roots into a more independent sound frame. Get it as part of the Magnificent Moodies expanded reissues!

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Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | Review Permalink

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