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HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES)

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) biography
There was gap of almost six years between the MOODY BLUES albums "Seventh Sojourn" (1972) and "Octave" (1978). During that time, the members of MOODY BLUES felt the need to emulate YES, and release solo albums. These were of a uniformly of a high standard, with Ray Thomas gaining particular plaudits for his two fine albums.

The two most prominent members of the band Justin HAYWARD and John LODGE chose initially to continue to work together, resulting in the album "Blue Jays". "Blue Jays" is in many ways, the MOODY BLUES missing link between "Seventh Sojourn" and "Octave". Although the other band members do not appear, the album has all the hallmarks of a MOODY BLUES album, including lush orchestration by Peter Knight, and HAYWARD's distinctive guitar and vocals.

Both later went on to record their own solo albums before the band got back together, and while HAYWARD & LODGE still work together today, "Blue Jays" is the only album released by them as a duo to date.

A single recorded by Justin HAYWARD with 10CC called "Blue Guitar" was subsequently released under the band name "BLUE JAYS". Although John LODGE did not in fact play on it, the song is included as an additional track on the CD version of the "Blue Jays" album.

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4.15 | 61 ratings
Blue Jays
1975

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0.00 | 0 ratings
Remember Me (My Friend)/ I Dreamed Last Night
1975
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Blue Guitar/ When You Wake Up
1975

HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by DavidMinasian

5 stars The Moody Blues were at the top of their game in 1974 when they decided to take a break from their continuing efforts of world domination. Their previous album, Seventh Sojourn, had gone straight to #1; their 1967 signature hit Nights in White Satin had re-emerged at the top of the charts; and the band had just completed a hugely successful world tour. But after a string of seven hit albums in a row, many critics felt that the band had run its course; their output becoming repetitive and stale. I didn't agree. I was more than happy to see them continue to do what they were doing - writing highly melodic appealing music, drenching it in Mellotron, and assembling it into a progressive format.

To keep the band happy, all five members were given solo recording contracts from their parent label Decca. Guitarist/vocalist Justin Hayward and Mellotron pioneer Mike Pinder chose to team up together for the first of these non-Moody Blues projects to be recorded between 1974 and 1977. After some initial meetings, Pinder however got cold feet and was replaced by Moody Blues bassist John Lodge. The resulting album, Blue Jays, produced by longtime Moody Blues alumni Tony Clarke, was the first of the 'solo' albums to emerge.

There is a reason why this album is currently rated higher than all of the Moody Blues albums here on Prog Archives - including their landmark album Days of Future Passed. It is because Blue Jays is a flawless masterpiece of symphonic rock. Every track is beautiful, magical, and timeless. Even the cover art (front and back) is mesmerizing. Despite the absence of Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, and Graeme Edge, the album still manages to sound like a Moody Blues album. To make up for the loss of the Mellotron (it does make one appearance on the gorgeous Hayward penned track Who Are You Now) Hayward and Lodge employed three real string players from the band Providence, a symphonic folk band signed to the Moodies' own Threshold label. If that weren't enough, a full symphony orchestra was brought in for three of the album's tracks (Nights, Winters, Years; I Dreamed Last Night; and Maybe) which was arranged and conducted by Peter Knight who had done the same for the band's Days of Future Passed album. Needless to say, the overall album has an extremely lush, classical feel to it. And when combined with Hayward's trademark sustained/distorted guitar leads and the Hayward/Lodge vocal harmonies, the sound produced is simply heavenly.

From the opening notes of This Morning (one of Hayward's most powerful compositions) to the closing guitar solo of the Hayward/Lodge joint composition When You Wake Up, the music of Blue Jays will take you to a place you can only dream about. The CD release features a lovely Hayward solo bonus single co-produced by 10CC called Blue Guitar which continues down the same path as the parent album.

While there is an ongoing debate as to the Moody Blues' place in prog, I can only offer my own personal perspective. This is the album that inspired me to really get into prog. And the rest, as they say, is history...

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars The years 1967-1972 produced seven classic albums of THE MOODY BLUES and had not given much time to have a break. After The Seventh Sojourn the band didn't exactly break up, but the members felt the need to have some distance from each others. (An anecdote tells how they used to give numbers to their jokes: -"Number eight." - "Hahahaha...") The most prolific song-writer Justin Hayward however started to feel the urge to get back into the recording studio, so he stayed at Mike Pinder's home in Los angeles hoping to make some music together. Soon also John Lodge and the producer Tony Clarke wanted to join, which made Pinder to withdraw from such re-grouping. The long and winding process resulted in an album that definitely deserves its place in the MB legacy.

Additional musicians were hired from groups of the Moodies' own label Threshold, dor example string players from the American Providence. The one thing that clearly separates Blue Jays from the MB output is the absence of Pinder, Ray Thomas and Graeme Edge. Clarke is again a master as the producer, and the orchestrations for three songs were written by Peter Knight, the man they worked with on Days of Future Passed.

Over half of the songs are by Hayward whose song-writing pen was in good shape. The duo shares credits for two songs, of which 'Remember Me (My Friend)' Clarke edited down to 3 minutes from the original nine minutes. Lodge's own compositions are 'You', ''Saved by the Music' and 'Maybe', all rather romantic songs but in my opinion slightly from the better end of his output. No, nothing as gorgeous as e.g. 'Candle of Life' (1969) but at this time the vintage Moody Blues magic was of course more or less left behind.

The whole album's atmosphere is soft and emotional, but not commercially sentimental as the latter day Moody Blues tend to be. The oroginal album release was followed by the single 'Blue Guitar'. Hayward's basic track is a collaboration with the 10cc musicians, dating from 1973. That laid-back, dreamy song is naturally included in the album's CD release. Even with the absence of the original quintet's synergy and many-sidedness in song-writing, Blue Jays beats almost anything released as the Moody Blues since their comeback album Octave (1978). Before Octave each member released solo album or two. Only Justin Hayward has made a considerable solo career, starting with a good album Songwriter (1977).

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The keyboards (and in particular mellotron) which were hallmarks of the Moody Blues sound were absent for this album, recorded by Hayward and Lodge to fill time during the Moodies' mid-1970s hiatus, and in their place is a string section backing which gives the album a sound reminiscent of classic baroque pop releases of the 1960s. The overall effect is close enough to the duo's Moodies compositions that the album will appeal to listeners of that band - indeed, it's a sufficiently good companion to their Moody Blues work that few fans would want to be without it - but it's definitely its own entity at the same time.

Equally, it's hardly an essential entry in the Moodies story - it boils down to Hayward and Lodge trying to keep the band's soft prog formula bubbling just a little bit longer, and it had already been feeling a little tired out before the band took their hiatus.

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by Progosopher

4 stars Saved by the music from pain, fear, and sorrow.

Recorded during a six year long hiatus between Moody Blues albums, Hayward and Lodge out Moody their own band. Each and every song is filled with lush orchestrations, plaintive vocals, heartfelt lyrics, and haunting melodies. Indeed, it seems there was very little chance of the Moodies reconvening during those years. Symphonic orchestrations are more apparent than on any Moodies album since Days of Future Past, even more so, and more grandiose, for in that iconic album there was much a trade off between orchestral and band tracks, while here the orchestra is fully integrated into the songs. We can separate the tracks on Days and get a bunch of good songs, but we cannot do that here and still have the same music. All of the songs are either slow ballads, where the orchestrations really make their mark or mid-tempo rockers, Saved by the Music being the liveliest of the bunch, which are enhanced by the orchestrations. The chanting vocals of the closer, When You Wake Up, brings the album to a satisfying climax. I do not have the more recent CD release where a song Hayward recorded with 10cc, Blue Guitar is featured. To be honest, I am not sure if I want it, the album closes off so well in its original form (but then again, the cassette tape I have this on will eventually wear out). If the lusher, more romantic side of the Moody Blues interests you then you have to get this album. If not, then avoid at all costs. Myself, I enjoy it a great deal. There is really nothing like it that is better; in other words, it is the best of its genre, as long as we don't confuse it with a Moodies album, and even then it stands up well.

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by ibnacio

4 stars Call them sickly-sweet, sugary or slushy. Call them too melodic, over-produced or over-arranged... Call them whatever you will, I do it. And, in spite of all the adjectives, what beautiful songs these two did gather here! And not just so, they even make them progress and evolve an enrich with brilliant guitar solos and trade-name vocals and heavenly choirs...

Do indulge yourself once and for all with this splendid album. The quality of the raw material is so good it will instantly make you forget about the corny presentation..and, what the hell, there is also a corny (hidden) side in us all which now and then wants to be released... or is it just me?

Anyway, do not tell anybody, but get this Cd. You will not get disappointed if you liked The Beatles and The Moody Blues.

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by burgersoft777

4 stars I cannot imagine why I did not buy this record when it came out somehow it passed me by. So somewhat later, I have finally given this record the plays it deserves, and frankly its wonderful. I always liked the M.B's but found some parts of their music a little irritating , they were a band that everyone seemed to respect despite some embarrassing moments.

Blue Jays, seems to be free of such defects of style, and is closer to the brilliant Seventh Sojourn than any other moodies recording. The inclusion of Blue-guitar is a real bonus and tidies up nicely.

A very pleasant album that demonstrates the very skilful writing of haywood and Lodge.

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by Frankie Flowers

5 stars This absolute treasure was written while The Moody Blues' were on hiatus between 'Seventh Sojourn' and 'Octave'. Every single track on the album is melodic, moody, deep and rich. With the Moodies' long-time producer, Tony Clarke, at the mixing desk, it is hardly surpising that this sounds like a Moody Blues album, although it is actually quite different in many respects.

For those who love Haywards profound ballads and Lodge's airy harmonies this is a must hear. There is something different about each song and there are interesting choices of backing instruments (pipe organ and trumpets on 'Maybe' to a simple string quartet on 'Who Are You Now?' to the rocking guitar and piano on 'Saved by the Music'). "My Brother" and "I Dreamed Last Night" are big heartwarmers, drenched with emotion and lyrical imagery. Who can sing of the bittersweet pain and promise of love like Hayward?

I could often compare the songwriting combination of Hayward and Lodge to the quality of Lennon-McCartney. I once read a reviewer describing this pair as the masters of mellow rock. I don't believe anyone can write songs as beautiful as this anymore. There is nothing too deep or philosophical in the lyrics, just a blend of voices to paint with sound on the canvas of imagination. The wonderous harmonies here are good for a romantic evening in front of the fire place. It's a fantastic album that never tires of listening too - several times in one sitting! Every Moodies fan must have this in their collection. 5 stars.

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by apwerner

5 stars This CD is an incredible masterpiece. There is not one track that I don't like - - and most of them I LOVE. Seriously. Justin's and John's vocals are strong, soulful and thought provoking.

I've only had this CD for a few weeks. I now listen to it every single morning before going into work. It's inspirational to me and helps me start my day on a thoughtful note.

As I said previously, I really love each and every track. My personal favorites are Remember Me (My Friend), You, Nights Winters Years, I Dreamed Last Night, Maybe. Those are the songs that stand out for me....PLUS a special note about Saved by the Music:

This song is beautiful and more upbeat. I fell in love with it - but wasn't sure about the chorus. Simple and to the point. I want you to know, after hearing it 3 or 4 times, I started going to work humming this song to myself. Couldn't get it out of my mind. This song has a different twist and I, too, LOVE this track.

Justin and John, in a way, are made for each other. If you believe in destiny, this is it, folks.

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by DocB

5 stars If you are a fan of The Moody Blues' classic era in the late 1960s and early 1970s, then Justin Hayward and John Lodge's Blue Jays is a must album for you. It maintains the sound of the Moodies from Days Of Future Passed through Seventh Sojourn. Hayward and Lodge utilize the Moodies' producer, Tony Clarke, some of the songs are orchestrated by Peter Knight, who orchestrated the Days Of Future Passed album, and even the cover art is done by Phil Travers, who illustrated six of the classic Moodies albums, from In Search Of The Lost Chord through Seventh Sojourn. Blue Jays has a mix of ballads and upbeat numbers, typical of a Moody Blues album. When released in 1975, while the Moodies were on hiatus and doing solo work, Blue Jays was treated by fans as a new Moodies album. Hayward and Lodge subsequently went on to record solo albums that were a bit more of a departure from the classic Moodies' sound. But Blue Jays marked the beginning of Hayward and Lodge as the performing and songwriting duo who would front the Moodies after they reformed in 1978. The Blue Jays CD release also includes the single Blue Guitar, which was originally recorded by Justin Hayward and 10cc, with John Lodge and Tony Clarke later adding their touches.

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 Blue Jays by HAYWARD & LODGE (THE MOODY BLUES) album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.15 | 61 ratings

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Blue Jays
Hayward & Lodge (The Moody Blues) Crossover Prog

Review by gero

4 stars It used to be my favourite album of all times, but the long-neglected criticism starts percolating to my mind and sobering my wiew now. Yes, the album is a bit monotonous, paradoxically enough, as the promising pre-conceived notion was to render each track in a different key and tempo. Still, the arrangements reek of sameness, which makes it a bit hard to sit the whole album through.

Which is sad, because the compositions are brilliant, and the level of the performers' emotional attachment seems to be even higher than on the previous Moody Blues albums. The harmonies are impeccable (especially in the rocking "Saved by the Music"), and the lack of Thomas' and Pinder's voices is hardly felt. The moving "Who Are You Now?" even manages the mellotron in the background, and the other tracks are rejuvenated by the presence of a string quartet and sometimes even a french horn player (which is a welcome addition to the Moodies instrumentarium). The overall feel of the album is very bright, but this is not flat or market-induced optimism. There are two Hayward-Lodge collaborations (the first instance of such a credit ever), both of which are classic Moody Blues tracks. In fact, each of the songs (with the exception of Lodge's "Isn't Life Strange" rip-off called "Maybe", which is undercomposed and underperformed vocally but overarranged at the same time) could adorn any of the core-7 Moody Blues album. Replace "Maybe" with "Suitcase' off Hayward's second solo album, wipe the Hollywoodish "Nights Winters Years" finale and you might get the greatest prog-related spin-off album ever!

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