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The Moody Blues

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The Moody Blues December album cover
2.55 | 70 ratings | 8 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Don't Need a Reindeer (3:59)
2. December Snow (5:11)
3. In the Quiet of Christmas Morning (Bach 147) (2:51)
4. On This Christmas Day (3:40)
5. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (2:37)
6. Winter's Tale (4:28)
7. Spirit of Christmas (4:52)
8. Yes I Believe (4:21)
9. When a Child Is Born (3:34)
10. White Christmas (3:08)
11. In the Bleak Midwinter (3:21)

Total Time: 42:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Justin Hayward / vocals, guitar
- John Lodge / vocals, bass
- Graeme Edge / drums, percussion

- Danilo Madonia / keyboards, sequencing, orchestration
- Norda Mullen / flute (3,7)
- Carlo Felice Orchestra

Releases information

Artwork: Lucio De Giuseppe

CD Universal Music TV ‎- 9811955 (2003, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE MOODY BLUES December ratings distribution

(70 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(9%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)

THE MOODY BLUES December reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars An album from a prog band where the listener shall not find much prog (or even proto- prog) to listen to since songs were made for a specific date: Christmas!

Otherwise the album is pleasant to hear and combines almost perfectly with the event. Orchestrations are fine as well as vocals and playing by band members mainly Justin Hayward, a good guitar player and an excellent singer though sometimes forgotten when a list of best vocalist is made.

There is no weak song since they are all classics and with MB's talents they grow intensely. Songs 'A child is born' and ''Yes I believe' are the album's peak. If one has no idea for a Christmas gift then may choose this work without regrets.

Like this album is non-essential for prog-fans I'll give it 3 stars.

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Christmas is nearly upon us again, so what better idea than to review a Christmas album by one of my favourite bands. Wrong! "December" represents everything I hate about Christmas music - warm, cosy, mid-slow paced ballads for feet-up minced-pies and brandy-glow, a bunch of formulaic originals and second-rate cover-versions [just what is the point?], swamped in orchestral schmaltz and an over-generous splattering of sickly-sweet gloss ..... and those horrible tinkly-bell keyboard sounds. If Pinky And Perky ever released a Christmas album it wouldn't be worse than this easy-listening middle-of-the-road nonsense. The Moodies were once a great band, and still pack a mean punch live [see 2005's 2CD set Lovely To See You - Live From The Greek if you don't believe me], but on this evidence the fires of creativity are nothing more than a few smouldering embers.

There aren't any real highs. Opener 'Don't Need A Rain Dear' is the best of the bunch, a typical Hayward ballad-by-numbers that at least has a bit of get-up-and-go about it. It is all downhill from there, though it doesn't have far to go down! - 'December's Now' [slow ballad .... yawn], 'In The Quiet Of Christmas Mourning' [Bach goes to Birmingham], 'On Some Other Christmas Day' [harmless], 'Happy Christmas (War Is About To Start Somewhere)' [short on pathos but mercifully short in length too], 'Winter Stale' [Hayward 'does' David Essex - one word springs to mind .... WHY?], 'Sherry At Christmas' ["where did the spirit of Christmas go?" sings Lodge in an infant-school tune - oh please, do us a favour ....], 'Yes I Probably Believe' [not .... instantly forgettable formulaic ballad - erm, what was it again?], 'When A Child Is Bored' [quick, nurse, the screens .... ], 'What Christmas' [given a bit of zest but Hayward isn't Bing .... nuff said really], and 'In The Freak Midwinter' [aaaargh!].

Please don't waste money on this, even if you are a Moody Blues fan, unless you really must have everything they have done, or are desperate for a bland backdrop to the Great Present Opening ceremony or post- Queen's Speech blues, or you need something to drown out grandad's annual war reminiscences or Uncle Henry's whisky induced snores. In a word - YEUK!

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars To put things into perspective, I am not really thrilled each year around the Christmas period. Probably due to my (non) religious feelings.

I remember having reviewed a similar Tull album with two stars. But Tull is one of my favourite bands. This album is a collection of useless music IMO. But I'm biased. I only appreciate two X'Mas songs.

One is massacred here in the cover version of the great John Lennon. Do yourself a favor: never listen to this crappy Moodies one. Such a P.I.T.A. The only good thing about it, is that it is shorter than the excellent original.

Of course, if you are into such mellow mood about this particular period of the year and that you are willing to spend some forty minutes listening to the most boring and syrupy songs (eleven in total) this album might well be worth a listening. But I doubt that prog lovers can stand this punishment.

One star.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Generally speaking I'm not a big fan of novelty albums, which I would define as Christmas records, tribute albums and nostalgic collections of covers from some artist's youth. For the most part they seem like blatantly commercial tripe that don't deserve serious critical attention. There are exceptions of course and there have certainly been some longstanding Christmas albums that remain popular and well-respected even today (and of course whose presence on store shelves becomes quite prominent around the time snow begins to fly in the North).

But in this case I have to say that I don't really see where the Moody Blues had much incentive for personal or commercial gain by releasing 'December'. The band had just bid farewell to longtime member Ray Thomas and after nearly forty years were certainly not looking to make a comeback. I think the band was in a good position to put out something tasteful that reflected their elder statesmen status as well as showcased the considerable talents of Thomas' replacement, the multi-instrumentalist Norda Mullen. That plus a little digital orchestration from Italian composer Danilo Madonia (the album was recorded in Italy) make for a very solid addition to the progressive rock Christmas album collection. Ian Anderson would be proud.

The first couple tracks are Justin Hayward originals and are decent though not exactly groundbreaking. Ms. Mullen makes her presence felt for sure, and her flute playing along with Madonia's orchestral sequences make for a full-sounding arrangement. "Yes I Believe", the other Hayward tune, is similar.

Lodge offers two compositions of his own, the more traditional-sounding "On This Christmas Day" and "The Spirit of Christmas" which manages to come off sounding like something of a Moodies outtake from the band's earlier, heady days.

Beyond that the group takes on a few covers, the first time they've done that since the very earliest days of the group in the mid-sixties. The most notable is the John Lennon classic "Happy Xmas (War is Over)", delivered here with Lodge, Hayward and Graeme Edge providing the backing vocals to replace the children's choir Lennon employed. It's not quite the same, but this is such an iconic song that you can't help but smile listening to Lodge and Edge try to hit something approaching the same octave as a bunch of English kids. A charming rendition that makes you want to sing along (in fact, I did the first time I heard it).

The Irving Berlin classic 'White Christmas" made so famous by Bing Crosby before I was even born, the song Berlin considered one of the greatest tunes ever (he may have been right). Here again its hard to get the well-known Crosby version out of your head while listening to the more modern Moodies take, but again its also hard not to tap your toes and sing along, especially as the snow is blowing around outside amid the colored Christmas lights as the sun is setting. Come to think of it, I'm kind of surprised that a band like the Moodies that were so skillful in tugging heartstrings didn't think to put out a Christmas album years before this one.

Some of the other inclusions are more English in character, including the Rossetti carol "In the Bleak Midwinter" and the Renaissance-era "When a Child Is Born", neither of which is particularly popular outside the United Kingdom. Still, this is a British band and these are quite beautiful songs that the band acquits well with acoustic guitar, piano and tender vocals.

In all I like this album, even having already said I don't typically take to Christmas albums much. The songs suit a band like the Moody Blues quite well and they don't try to turn the effort into something crass and commercial. For that they have my respect and appreciation. Happy holidays if it's the holidays when you read this; if not, bookmark it and come back in December. This album is worth checking out then.

Peace (on Earth, good will toward men)

Latest members reviews

2 stars December is The Moody Blues' last album, their sixteenth, and it was released, eleven years ago in the year 2003, pachaged in, this time, a fine painting of a winter landscape. This is a christmas album with both known and unknown christmas songs for the audience to delight. The length is just ... (read more)

Report this review (#1117795) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars December is the Christmas album from The Moody Blues. Like The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, December came out late in the band's career. The album contains originals and covers of classic seasonal tunes. Also of note is the fact that the Moodies are down to a trio here - just Justin Hayward, John Lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#880383) | Posted by FunkyM | Saturday, December 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As a long-time Moodies fan, this was truly a great Christmas present from my wife! The songs are produced quite well, although I wish some of the songs had been cross-faded in the old Moodies fashion. The orchestral backing is very good. Even though it is billed as a Christmas album, it ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#62720) | Posted by | Sunday, January 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A Moody Blues Christmas album! In my opinion it`s a good album (but half of it is really for the fans). Songs like White Christmas and Happy XMas (war is over) should be left alone, eventhough Justins voice is always a pleasure to hear. In my humble opinion the A Winter`s Tale version on thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#47432) | Posted by gromek | Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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