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The Moody Blues - The Magnificent Moodies [Aka: The Beginning] CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues

Crossover Prog

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars THIS IS NOT PROG. They started out as a pop group of the sixties before they became a household name with Days Of Future Past. They had released this Go Now single and a few other and this R'N B is not bad for the times. But if you want to listen to the symph Moodies Go Now elsewhere.
Report this review (#15781)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars All (but one) of the single, EP and LP tracks of the band's original lineup are on this 25 track release. Contains that lineup's one big 1965 hit, "Go Now". This material is British Invasion Pop and R&B covers, bearing no real resemblance to the band that scored with "Nights in White Satin" and DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED in 1967. The most unique aspect of the music is that the sound is centered around Mike Pinder's piano rather than Laine's guitar.

That said, there are only three more tracks here that are really worthwhile: "From the Bottom of My Heart", a hauting, mostly acoustic ballad; a version of "Time is On My Side" that is more upbeat than that of their Decca labelmates, the Rolling Stones; and the next to the last A-side from the Laine lineup, "Boulevard de la Madeleine", a lovely, French styled ballad that was their most elaborate recording and a hit on the Continent. The rest isn't all that good, actually, despite Laine's soulful vocals. If you really want this music, then find the 1988 version on Decca/London/Polygram, which may be out of print. The 1994 reissue on Repetoire chops off the six single sides that were released in 1966 after the original "Magnificent Moodies" LP.

Report this review (#42257)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars This album is basically equal to 'Go Now' released a year before and already reviewed.

What is astonishing noticeable for both albums is that the same band that should receive a 1st-class treatment some months later, with new and sophisticated instruments, stereo recording, orchestra suite, powerful arrangements were so poorly produced.

Anyway, this album is good to hear if you are only trying to obtain a sabbatical from more complex progressive works. Then 'Stop!', sit and enjoy the songs and that's all. Nothing is left.

For collectors/fan only. Total: 2 stars.

Report this review (#57634)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The roots of a myth: The Moody Blues. Another difficult CD for a rational review for me. I don't understand totally the Prog and this CD please me too. So, how to do? If i listen to my heath clearly... 5 stars. But for PA and Prog isn't so... Well for me The Magnificient Moodies is one of my favourite album. Sure for the songs included in this CD is one of the better with songs of those period. Surely with great gems (Go Now, Stop!, It Ain't Necessarily So, Steal Your Heart Away, From The Bottom Of My Heart and Time Is On My Side, above all). And surely too complicated for a correctly rating, for me. But if you love recover the roots of a bands/ artists this is a great CD.
Report this review (#156225)
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Most of the songs featured on this debut album (this is the UK version - the US one being named Go Now) are cover songs from the rhythm & blues repertoire.

Gershwin, Dixon and some lesser known ones are on the programme. I have to admit that this first album has little to do with their later work and is not a great record. Of course, this one has to be compared with the comparable, but when one listens to the first Fab Four album, it was significantly better than this one.

The only outstanding track is "Go Now". A number one hit single in the UK. And frankly, if you except this one, there are hardly any other interesting songs featured. One of the bonus track, maybe ("Time Is On My Side"). But it doesn't add anything great to the original Stones version.

I am not very keen on this style of prehistorical music. And I doubt that even a "Moody Blues" fan can be enthusiastic about such a work. Three out of ten? Not even sure. One star.

Report this review (#162454)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Magnificent Moodies is the debut album by UK progressive pop/ rock artist The Moody Blues. This is the only Moody Blues album to feature guitarist Denny Laine and bassist Clint Warwick.

The style of music on The Magnificent Moodies differs greatly from what most people expect from a Moody Blues album. The style is R´n´B influenced and rather naive and simple. The songs are all single length ( 2-3 minutes long) and nothing sticks out as being innovative or progressive in any way. With titles like Can't Nobody Love You, Thank You Baby and Something You Got it´s very obvious which kind of lyrics are on the album. It´s the kind of lyrics I associate with Doo-Wop from the fifties.

The musicianship is good and I especially enjoy the many vocal harmonies.

The production is good for the time.

Allthough The Magnificent Moodies is a representative album for the time it´s really not that interesting to my ears. Looking back at the album in a clear retrospective light there are so many other albums in the same style that was much better ( for example The Beatles mid-sixties albums) and I can´t give this album more than a 2 star rating. If you like the style you´ll probably enjoy this more than me though.

Report this review (#207974)
Posted Sunday, March 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars After owning a cheap knock-off version of The Magnificent Moodies for a number of years, I finally decided enough was enough and that I needed to get something that came closer to the original version of the album. I went out and purchased a CD version with this album, with bonus tracks and everything, and figured this would be all that I would need to become acquainted with this incarnation of the band. Unfortunately, I later realized that I hadn't grabbed the best possible version: while a remastered version of the album exists that also contains all 26 tracks this lineup officially recorded, it turns out that I'd grabbed a version that only has 16 songs, and which apparently doesn't even contain all of the tracks that were on the original album. And so, I'm reviewing a version of this album that doesn't exactly match what other (e.g. well-informed) people will have available to them should they wish to purchase this, or would have bought for themselves already. Sheesh, it's hard enough to get people to pay attention to this version of the group: it's made all the more difficult to take its existence seriously when there are so many conflicting versions of the album floating around (like what also happened with all of the different versions of the first Genesis album). It doesn't help that my version is missing a few tracks that are minor classics; I had to hunt down "Boulevard De La Madelaine" on my own later.

Still, I can only review what I have, and this does feel like less of a patchwork release than does that Time is On My Side album I've owned for so long, so I press onward. The truth is, I don't totally get why some people praise this version of the group so vehemently (aside from possibly overreacting in dislike of the "regular" version of the group), but that doesn't mean it's not without strong merits. The band doesn't rock very hard, even by 1965 standards (of course, the later band didn't rock very hard by any standards, not that that was a major problem), but the band isn't sloppy either, and it sounds pretty tight and snappy. The vocal harmonies are different from the classic sound, what with having no Hayward or Lodge and having Denny Laine, but Pinder and Thomas are around, and they sound just as distinct now as they would later. The instrumentation is fairly standard, apart from a few bits of flute here and there, but Pinder presents himself as a solid R&B pianist, and the band shows a decent knack for generating excitement and for showing a flair for the dramatic.

So yeah, the band had a few good things going for it. As far as the songs go, there are only a few major standouts, but most of them are at least decent. As mentioned in the last review, the big highlight is "Go Now," which somehow manages to have a huge, anthemic sound despite terrible production. Heck, maybe it's partially because of the terrible production; the song ends up feeling like it's somehow existed forever, and that if it didn't exist the universe would be worse off. Of course, it's not actually that amazing, but it's got great vocal harmonies, a decent enough lead vocal from Laine, and a bunch of soulful piano lines, so it's still a pretty great song.

As easy as it would be to dismiss this just "Go Now" and filler, though (and technically that kinda sorta was how it happened), a few of the other songs definitely stand out as well. The opening James Brown cover, "I'll Go Crazy," has some silly call-and-response action going on in the beginning, but it also has a really fun piano-driven groove and a bunch of great start-and-stop vocal parts, so it can stick around. "Something You Got" might have gone down as unremarkable filler otherwise, but for some reason just adding a flute to the sound gives it a slightly exotic sound, and it kinda works. Another James Brown cover, "I Don't Mind," features a nice Pinder vocal, and as mentioned before, it's tons better than the Who cover of the same song. An original song, "Stop," is one of the first betrayals that the band would eventually move away from standard R&B, thus passing the Rubber Soul test (roughly speaking, if a song was released in 1965 or afterwards, but sounds like it belongs in 1964 or earlier, I say it fails the RS test; otherwise, a song passes), and it's a good one. Ray Thomas gets a great vocal spotlight in a cover of a Gershwin song, "Ain't Necessarily So"; it's a good reminder that Ray, aside from being the flautist and the band's caretaker of childlike whimsy, was a fine tenor in his own right. And finally, "It's Easy Child" would have made a really great 1963 Beatles song, and that's ok by me.

The rest of the tracks are just kinda okayish, but except for a couple of them being really boring, they're at least passable. So overall, this is a decent enough album, and while regular fans of the band would have no reason to bother picking this up, "pop music historians" who happen to like the group would get some value out of this. If that's you, get it.

PS: I have to say, though, that the liner notes to this album have to be one of the obnoxiously pissy things I've ever read. The bulk of it is useful information about the band during this time, but it's largely ruined by whining that the later version of the band ("lite psychadelia" for "aging baby boomers") became popular while this one faded into footnote territory. Uh, not to sound too snarky about an album that I more or less like, but maybe if this version of the band was more interesting and distinctive, it wouldn't be a footnote ...

Report this review (#293028)
Posted Sunday, August 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was the first album for the band whose name comes from their favourite beer.

At this time Denny Laine, later of Wings fame, was the lead man. The direction here is very blues and sixties pop based. There is a bit of Motown feeling in some of the songs.

The big hit here is "Go Now". I think to this albums' credit, even though this album seems prehistoric in direction when compared to their later work, it does stand up fairly well, and most people would rate it above some of the albums that came later, even though it is in a completely different style to what they would usually come to expect.

Of course, 'Go Now' is the big standout, but 'Something you got' and 'A beautiful dream' also stand up. The trouble with this album is it just isn't as much fun as most mid sixties albums. They are trying, they have a lot of talent. The orginals are searching, but just not really hitting the mark, because they don't really know where to go. But the music is still good. Good enough for three stars.

Interesting to note bass player Clint Warwick, who was very young at the time, soon left. He would have been only 16 or 17 when they were making this music.

The front cover says it all, Pinder, Edge and Thomas on one side, glaring at Laine on the other side, while Warwick is bent down, looking at the camera, as if wishing he could get away from it all!

Report this review (#322046)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Well, I really liked Tarkus1980 in depth review of this album here. At last somene did it! Because there is not much to say about it, at least prog wise. The Moody Blues MKI was not an outstanding band from hundreds of others at the time. Their repertoire is the usual: blues, R & B and soul covers, some merseybeat stuff and all. The only real highlight is the famous Go Now!, which deserverly was a big hit for them. The production was quite poor and the performances are ok. Mike Pinder´s playing however shows he was an excellent pianist already, with several tasteful breaks.

It´s hard to believe that this is the band that only one year after that would record such powerful and groundbreaking stuff as Days Of Future Past. Well, not exactly the same band, since guitarrist Denny Laine and bassist Clint Warwick would be gone and the classic line up would reunite for a string of important records. Still, it was a stunning achievement for such little time and such young outfit. They had a real special chemistry. However, the early Moody Blues were not. And I agree with the ones who think they were two completely different bands. It seems that even MB themselves see that way.

So in the end I found this CD a curio and nothing more. This surely for the collectors and completionists. One and a half star, rounded to two because of Go Now!

Report this review (#394031)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Magnificent Moodies ? 1966 (3.5/5) 11 ? Best Song: Something You Got? No it's Can't Nobody Love You So many folks have taken a strong whiff of debut albums and sent them to the shredder. Either they're musical curios or 'paving the way for the future' or 'showing the band at their infancy'. That and a bag of potato chips, crackercack. The Magnificent Moodies is that and more ? spurned by failing Beatles imitations and some exquisite vocal harmonies, I dare say this might be one of the best debut albums from a less-than-wholly-noteworthy band ever. It sucks donkey nuts!

So let's ground ourselves in the debut for what it is and what it is not. It is NOT Rubber Soul and it is NOT Aftermath. It IS a nice collection of covers tunes and singing that is bogged down by what usually bogs down every 1960's release that isn't considered a GRAND CLASSIC TO END ALL CLASSICS BY THE ONE AND ONLY EDITOR IN CHIEF OF ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE, BECAUSE THEY KNOW MUSIC BETTER THAN YOU. That is to say ? it's just goddamn cover songs and a few hit singles that aren't much more than meets the eye (ear).

What makes me not rate this like the [&*!#]pile it would probably be if put in the hands of criminal cocksuckers like Rush is the diversity and the melodic strength. There's the sweet, harmonica pop of 'Can't Nobody Love You', which is truly a highlight in a sea of?decent songs. Seriously, I think I'm the only man on earth to actively enjoy this album to any real, feasible degree. It's still pap and inconsequential, but it's one of the few mid-sixties debut albums that actually give me a good time. Take that up yer bunghole. I just rated The Moody Blues' debut as high as Machine Head and Led Zeppelin's Debut. I'm bound for Hell!

Report this review (#440448)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Okay, to be fair this is hardly the same band that gave us such gems as DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, and TO OUR CHILDRENS CHILDREN". This is pure 60's British pop. It is not bad pop, however, but it is pop. I think only 3 of the people on this album are also on the later Moody works. "Go Now" was, of course a hit, but none of the other tracks has the same impact. Very 60's, Mersey Beat, bluesy, etc... If it was not for what this band went on to create, this would not be on this site at all. Is it bad? No. Is it Prog? NO! And just about a year later everything exploded. Go figure...
Report this review (#928072)
Posted Sunday, March 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Just like PFM's first record(not exactly but I Quelli) is this first Moody Blues record is a quite nice little record. "The Magnificent Moodies" from 1966 though has little in common with the later more symphonic sound and nothing to do with prog feelings. Unlike other bands of those days The Moody Blues here didn't sound psychedelic. I like the cover with the band standing on a bridge in proper suites.

The band made up by Michael Pinder(keyboards and vocals), Ray Thomas(bass, flute and vocals), Graeme Egde(drums), Denny Laine(guitar and vocals), Elaine Caswell(percussion) and Clint Warwick(bass) and they played quite simple rock'n'roll songs. They are not complex and the melodies aren't so strong such as those from The Beatles. I like the happy feeling and the young enthusiasm but I don't like the blues feeling and the simplyness. The best songs are "Go Now" which I consider cosy and jolly(6/10) and the cover "It ain't necessarily so" which is a different from the original and the nearest the organ sound of the later prog(6/10). Otherwise the songs mostly are quite nice and pleasant but I find them quite uninteresting. The least good tracks are the first "I'll go crazy"(3/10) and "Thank you baby"(3/10). I wouldn't say I recommend this record, but if you like The Moody Blues you'd perhaps find this interesting or if you prefer the little simplier sixties.

I hope the next Moody Blues record will give me more to think about because I don't think I will remember this. Two stars!

Report this review (#1108737)
Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars The classic (67-72) Moody Blues means a lot to me, but I can't say I was very excited to get the Eoteric Recordings' reissue of this sole album of the MB Mk. 1, served with each non-album track they recorded up to the end of 1966. As you probably know, this was a totally different band than the one featuring the new guy Justin Hayward and John Lodge, who had already been around in pre-Moody Blues phases.

This single-oriented band played basically r&b of the black American artists, doing mostly covers (such as their biggest hit 'Go Now'). The singer-guitarist Denny Laine was the keyboard player Mike Pinder's songwriting partner as they gradually shifted to their original repertoire on further singles. I won't deal with the songs very deeply, because they just don't interest me enough to listen to more than [barely] once, which is not to say they wouldn't be good within the genre in question, or as the popular music preceding the great watershed year 1967.

The Gershwin tune 'It Ain't Necessarily So' is among the nicest tracks on the main album, thanks for the recognizable Ray Thomas vocals. A 7" B-side song 'Time Is on My Side' (better known as the Rolling Stones version) is a good example of the vocal harmonies, the one feature that was continued and improved in the classic era. The Laine/Pinder compositions at the end of this phase are naturally more interesting to hear than the numerous covers. My favourite - and frankly the only one I knew besides 'Go Now' - is easily 'Boulevard de Madeleine', which I also know as a good Finnish cover by Pate Mustajärvi.

The ER reissue gets the biggest applauses for Mark Powell's very detailed and long liner notes that tell everything you ever want to know of the early history of the Moody Blues. (When it comes to the rating, I would prefer not to give any rating at all. Please note that my two stars are very subjective, completely ignoring the context of pre-1967 pop music that I don't care much about in the first place.)

Report this review (#1439507)
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2015 | Review Permalink

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