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THE MOODY BLUES

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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The Moody Blues biography
Imitation. Innovation. Sensation. That pretty much sums up the first phase of THE MOODY BLUES. Their 1965 debut, "The Magnificent Moodies," was your standard British Invasion record; R&B covers and originals from Mike Pinder and Denny Laine that included an earlier #1 hit single, Go Now. In 1967, Justin Hayward and John Lodge replaced Laine and Rod Clarke, and what followed was the stunningly original "Days of Future Passed."

Featuring orchestral arrangements and introducing to many ears the transcendent tones of the mellotron, that work almost single-handedly set the stage for the progressive rock movement. Subsequent albums confirmed the band's status as England's newest sensation: "On The Threshold of a Dream," "A Question of Balance," "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" and "Seventh Sojourn" all hit #1. Hibernation of a sort followed in the mid '70s, as each member of the band released solo albums (Hayward and Lodge had the most success with their 1975 effort, "BLUE JAYS.")!

The band regrouped in the '80s and picked up where they left off (commercially anyway) with "Long Distance Voyager." Though the '90s found the Moodies less of a commercial force than a cult band, the group still tours and releases albums on occasion (including 1999's "Strange Times"). Their mix of sentimentalism and existentialism still resonates with listeners today, a point perhaps best made when the band was invited to play themselves on that most trendy of television shows, The Simpsons.

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THE MOODY BLUES shows & tickets


  • The Moody Blues - Timeless Flight Tour 2015 on 8 Jun 2015
  • The Moody Blues - Timeless Flight 2015 on 17 Jun 2015
  • Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts 2015 on 24 Jun 2015
  • The Moody Blues - Timeless Flight Tour on 25 Jun 2015

THE MOODY BLUES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE MOODY BLUES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.28 | 69 ratings
The Magnificent Moodies
1966
4.15 | 593 ratings
Days Of Future Passed
1967
3.83 | 308 ratings
In Search of the Lost Chord
1968
3.72 | 270 ratings
On The Threshold Of A Dream
1969
4.05 | 290 ratings
To Our Children's Children's Children
1969
3.48 | 218 ratings
A Question of Balance
1970
3.51 | 224 ratings
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
1971
3.66 | 212 ratings
Seventh Sojourn
1972
2.69 | 111 ratings
Octave
1978
3.27 | 156 ratings
Long Distance Voyager
1981
3.01 | 95 ratings
The Present
1983
2.24 | 80 ratings
The Other Side Of Life
1986
2.40 | 60 ratings
Sur la Mer
1988
2.80 | 56 ratings
Keys Of The Kingdom
1991
2.58 | 61 ratings
Strange Times
1999
2.54 | 45 ratings
December
2003

THE MOODY BLUES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.11 | 44 ratings
Caught Live + 5
1977
3.25 | 30 ratings
A night at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphonic Orchestra
1993
3.93 | 17 ratings
Hall of Fame - Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2000
2000
3.60 | 10 ratings
Lovely To See You Live
2005
2.74 | 13 ratings
Live At The BBC: 1967 - 1970
2007
3.29 | 15 ratings
Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
2008

THE MOODY BLUES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.16 | 6 ratings
Legend of a Band
1990
3.25 | 19 ratings
A Night At Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (DVD)
1993
4.07 | 9 ratings
Hall Of Fame
2000
2.14 | 16 ratings
The Lost Performance: Live in Paris '70
2004
3.31 | 14 ratings
Lovely To See You Live (DVD)
2005
2.50 | 7 ratings
Live at Montreux 1991
2005
4.00 | 7 ratings
Classic Artists: The Moody Blues
2006
3.47 | 15 ratings
Threshold of a Dream - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
2009

THE MOODY BLUES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.64 | 6 ratings
Go Now!
1965
4.32 | 46 ratings
This Is The Moody Blues
1974
2.32 | 6 ratings
Voices In The Sky - The best of The Moody Blues
1985
2.49 | 11 ratings
Prelude
1987
3.77 | 12 ratings
Greatest Hits
1989
4.25 | 18 ratings
Time Traveller (Box set)
1994
1.00 | 1 ratings
True Story
1996
3.05 | 8 ratings
The Best Of Moody Blues
1997
2.16 | 5 ratings
The Moody Blues Anthology
1998
2.72 | 5 ratings
The Best of Moody Blues - 20th Century Masters
2000
3.81 | 7 ratings
The Singles +
2000
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ballads
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Say It With Love
2003
3.81 | 7 ratings
Gold
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Moody Blues Collected
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Playlist Plus
2008
4.67 | 3 ratings
Timeless Flight
2013
3.67 | 3 ratings
Timeless Flight
2013

THE MOODY BLUES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.33 | 3 ratings
Steal Your Heart Away
1964
2.60 | 5 ratings
Go Now!
1964
2.00 | 3 ratings
I Don't Want to Go On Without You
1965
2.00 | 3 ratings
Everyday
1965
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Moody Blues E.P.
1965
2.87 | 4 ratings
From The Bottom Of My Heart
1965
2.00 | 3 ratings
Boulevard De La Madelaine
1966
4.42 | 19 ratings
Nights In White Satin
1967
2.50 | 2 ratings
Life's Not Life
1967
3.67 | 3 ratings
Fly Me High
1967
3.43 | 7 ratings
Voices in the Sky
1968
4.04 | 7 ratings
Tuesday Afternoon
1968
3.60 | 10 ratings
Ride My See-Saw
1968
3.83 | 6 ratings
Voices In The Sky
1968
4.00 | 4 ratings
Never Comes the Day
1969
3.83 | 6 ratings
Watching and Waiting
1969
4.00 | 9 ratings
Melancholy Man
1970
4.13 | 12 ratings
Question
1970
3.75 | 4 ratings
The Story In Your Eyes
1971
3.80 | 10 ratings
Isn't Life Strange
1972
3.33 | 3 ratings
I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
1973
2.83 | 6 ratings
Steppin' in a Slide Zone
1978
3.33 | 3 ratings
Had to Fall in Love
1978
3.00 | 3 ratings
Driftwood
1978
3.33 | 3 ratings
Gemini Dream
1981
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Voice
1981
3.00 | 5 ratings
Talking Out Of Turn
1981
3.50 | 6 ratings
Blue World
1983
2.14 | 5 ratings
Sitting at the Wheel
1983
3.25 | 4 ratings
Running Water
1984
3.56 | 9 ratings
Your Wildest Dreams
1986
4.00 | 4 ratings
I Know You're Out There Somewhere
1988
3.00 | 4 ratings
No More Lies
1988
1.23 | 7 ratings
Bless The Wings
1991
3.50 | 4 ratings
English Sunset
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
December Snow
2003

THE MOODY BLUES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Question of Balance by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.48 | 218 ratings

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A Question of Balance
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars Albums from In Search of a Lost Chord (1968) to To Our Children's Children's Children (1969) had been very ambitious technically, witnessing The Moody Blues work in the studio like a miniature orchestra, with endless overdubs. At this point the Moodies simplified their sound a lot, to make it easier to sound similar in a live setting. I can't blame them for that, in the end it was a natural way to move forward. This album still sounds fresh. It gives all attention to the songs themselves, and more clearly than ever before its attraction, whatever highs and lows it has to an indivifual listener, lies in the songwriting.

But that's not radically new after all, because each MB album of the Classic Seven is more or less uneven in songwriting - in my opinion - , a fact that all studio ambitions in the world can't hide. Perhaps the dull songs here are just duller in their rather monotonous nature, but they are a small minority. OK, I start with them: 'Tortoise and Hare', what a bore. The well-known Aesop fable has just inspired John Lodge (who wrote it if I remember right) to give the song a hectic feel of a running competition, and the virtue of keeping the goal clear in mind, but nothing else. The other bore is 'Minstrel's Song', which proceeds in equal monotony, though happy chorus makes it better. Anyway it is too long for the musical contents.

'Question', Hayward's mighty opener, is fantastic! One of the most dynamic and majestic songs he ever wrote.Pinder's 'How Is It (We Are Here)' is not among his best songs but has a deep atmosphere. 'And the Tide Rushes In' shows Ray Thomas in a sentimental crooner mood, succesfully. 'Don't You Feel Small' may be a little phoney with its whispered double vocals, and very simple in structure, but I like it as well. A couple of Hayward songs on his high standards, one rocking and one emotionally loaded. Pinder's 'Melancholy Man' is a beloved classic, and 'The Balance' ends the album in a very emotional way. Yes, this album is full of emotions, and works perfectly as an introduction to new MB listeners.

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 To Our Children's Children's Children by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.05 | 290 ratings

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To Our Children's Children's Children
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Along with Alan Parsons Project and Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues were an early venture for me into non-metal- related progressive rock. Their "Days of Future Passed" was the first compact disc I ever bought (back in 1989) and the only CD I owned for a couple of years. Impressed by this first acquisition, I looked at their other classic era albums and without knowing one from the other, I bought "To Our Children's Children's Children".

From the onset, I really got into this album. The opening track "Higher and Higher" has such excitement and promise. Justin Hayward's vocal delivery sounds like an optimistic narrator for a "promise of human kind in space" documentary. The lyrics capture that enthusiasm and optimism:

"Vast vision must improve our sight / Perhaps at last we'll see and end / To our own endless blight / And the beginning of the free / Climb to tranquility / Finding it's real worth / Conceiving the heavens / Florishing on earth"

The song also features some terrific fuzz tone guitar, making this a very accessible to an 80's metalhead who became enamoured with the psychedelic guitar sounds on the late 60's.

The next two songs capture the Moody's more childlike character with gentle music, pretty melodies and lines like, "The candy stores will be brand new". However, "Eyes of a Child Pt. 2" comes in rock band packaging with more electric guitar. A short acoustic guitar number about a sun that has turned 100 (years? eons?) concludes this set.

The instrumental "Beyond" is a highlight for me. It begins with an intense and busy guitar and flute rock piece which is then eclipsed by an ominous drone of notes that makes me imagine humans busying themselves in space for the first part and then the enormity of the celestial bodies and vastness of space in the second part. A second busy theme floods in and once more human beings and their space craft are rushing about hither thither, only to be replaced by a pretty pair of flutes creating a vision of a Catherine-wheeling space station orbiting over the earth as the sun comes in a blaze of light over the horizon. The piece concludes with more playful humans in space active and occupied.

"Out and In" wraps up side one in a more gentle and emotive Moody Blues fashion.

Side two seems to focus more on space adventure with more mature and lively themes in "Gypsy" and "Eternity Road". Some great songs here. We get a little mellower and reflective with "Candle of Life" and "Sun is Still Shining". The Moody Blues write some pretty eloquent and evocative lyrics, a very poetic and English take on the Age of Aquarius sentiment.

Our sun has become a million in the brief track to follow and "Watching and Waiting" is the obligatory slow tempo album closer with strings and lyrics about a lonely entity, quite likely the Earth, offering its bountiful fruits to all its inhabitants. Perhaps there is a message here for us to not neglect our home in our rush to conquer space.

After five Moody Blues albums and a double-disc compilation of their career from 1967 to around 2005, this album still resonates with me the most. One of the first albums you should hear by this band!

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 Every Good Boy Deserves Favour by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.51 | 224 ratings

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Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Where to begin on this fabulous album? In terms of favorites, this album lies between the masterpiece "Days of Future Passed" and "In Search of the Lost Chord". It is truly that good in my opinion, with delicate melodies, strong acoustic guitar, and and yet another solid lyrical journey.

The Moody Blues have come out of nowhere to be one of my very favorite bands. "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" is a story about finding the good things in life, but only as a child can find them. It celebrates and bemoans the state of this world and the unfortunate children that must grow up and learn all about it. Lessons are learned, love is found, and dreams are produced. This album, then, is incredibly human and fantastically relatable.

The album, while not featuring the lush orchestration or the mellotron lines of previous works, completely stands on its own with moog atmospheres that are dense and so colorfully played out in my mind. Pinder offers these keys with a richness that simply dazzles me. However, Hayward on guitar is marvelous. His guitar work is deliberate, strong, and masterful. Lodge on bass impresses me, too, with his stumbling, groovy bass lines that are very audible and so catchy. Thomas and Edge, as usual, are both outstanding, too.

But, what do The Moody Blues do best? They write melodies. Very, very memorable ones. "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" is no different, as every single track leaves a strong impression. From the strangely appropriate "Procession" to the beautiful flow of "The Story in Our Eyes", and from the delicacy of "Emily's Song" to the strong guitar work and rhythm of "After You Came", this album fires on all cylinders. Yet, the second half might be even stronger! Boasting the flute strains of "One More Time to Live", the funky mooginess of "Nice to Be Here", and the ballad "You Can Never Go Home", the album simply gets more incredible as it plays.

Finally, it ends with one of this band's very best song combinations, "My Song" and (on the remaster) "The Dreamer". The former is a melodically acute, piano-soaked song with a haunting, psychedelic interlude. The latter is a shorter, guitar-driven song with amazing melody and movement.

The Moody Blues need to be appreciated more, I believe. Albums such as "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" are gems, full of some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard. I'm beginning to see their influence in many, many other bands, and I believe their influence will only get stronger as many young people I know are also in love with them. This album, then, is a masterwork, and only gets better with time.

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 In Search of the Lost Chord by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.83 | 308 ratings

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In Search of the Lost Chord
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have a long history with The Moody Blues, although I'm just now coming around to them. My father was a very strict authoritarian, and music was more or less prohibited, unless I wanted to listen to classical music only. I do remember, however, that he liked two bands (as much as he denied it): The Beatles and The Moody Blues. I can still remember him saying, "The Moody Blues have always been better than The Beatles" whenever someone would rave about the latter. So, I grew up hearing "Nights in White Satin", but, as so often happens with sheltered pastor's kids, I didn't like it simply because my father did.

Fast forward a couple decades, and my curiosity has been aroused. After listening to the masterpiece that is "Days of Future Passed", I pursued other albums by The Moody Blues. "In Search of the Lost Chord" is one of these, and I find that I love it almost as much as the aforementioned masterpiece and also "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor". This particular album is incredibly mysterious, as it not only abandons the orchestral structures of "Days of Future Passed", but it also dwells upon Gnostic ideas of secret knowledge that all of mankind is pursuing: a secret knowledge that leads to salvation and existential peace.

One of the most common comments on this album is its "dated" sound. I find that this one reason I love it! It is SUCH an album from the free love period, and I appreciate it as such. Also, it's no more dated than Genesis or King Crimson or Yes. With the wondrous soundscapes created by the mellotron, "In Search of the Lost Chord" delves into various world musics and combines them with, yes, the pop of that era. To me, that is extremely progressive.

This album is markedly darker than their previous work, as it starts with a throbbing, sweating introduction (Departure) that begins the journey into discovery. It launches itself into a few pop songs that are catchy and fantastic, such as "Ride my See-Saw" Soon, we arrive at the "House of Four Doors" suite that has "Legend of the Mind" smack dab in the middle. This track is amazing. Nothing more needs to be said, but I can't help but go on. It's pop chords give way to illustrious flute exercises and a bright darkness that penetrates the haze. The rest of the suite and the second half of the album are full of surreal sounds and excellent depictions of mankind's search.

Finally, we arrive at the last two songs, "The Word" (a poetic interlude) and "Om", the final destination of inner transcendence. While some may find these tracks cheesy, I find them profound, celestial, and important, if you pay attention.

"In Search of the Lost Chord", then, is a wonderful album of new sounds (for the band) and philosophical inquiry. Man searches for the light, and he pursues the natural harmony that is within him, though I believe that this generic spirituality is not the ultimate answer. It is, however, a fascinating experience with much to learn embedded in a vibrant, organic musical journey. The Moody Blues deserve so much more attention.

4.5 stars

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 A Question of Balance by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.48 | 218 ratings

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A Question of Balance
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Just as everyone else was jumping forward into the 1970s, the Moody Blues decided to go back to basics. Stripping away the orchestral touches to feature just the band playing somewhat more straight-ahead takes on their cosmic rock might have sounded like a good idea to revitalise their sound, but in practice it made them sound dated - like a proto-prog pop group from 1967 still holding out hope that an outpouring of peace and love from Woodstock could halt Vietnam.

To be fair, the album itself is perfectly listenable its own right, but at the same time it also marks the spot where the Moodies failed to keep up with the cutting edge of the progressive rock movement they'd helped to kick off. Though this is a solid album, and they'd put out further solid albums after that, they'd never again feel quite like the trailblazers they were on In Search of the Lost Chord or To Our Childrens' Childrens' Children.

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 On The Threshold Of A Dream  by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.72 | 270 ratings

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On The Threshold Of A Dream
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the 1960s, there wasn't such a sharp line between the tripped-out aesthetic of psychedelia and the high ambitions of progressive rock, and with On the Threshold of a Dream the Moodies do a great job of straddling that line. Dear Diary finds the band at their most earthbound - taking the beat sound of the mid-1960s and applying it to the evocation of a dreary daily rut - whilst elsewhere their trippy poetry and experimentation with early prog song structures finds them gearing up to explore higher worlds. It's a little muddled and the concept isn't as well formed as on the previous or subsequent albums, but it's a collection of solid Moody tracks that nicely demonstrates how varied their sound could be.

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 The Present  by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.01 | 95 ratings

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The Present
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Daybreak

The Moodies eleventh album "The Present" was released with the wind of "Long Distance Voyager" at its back. Patrick Moraz was now settled in and the band had now successfully reinvented itself for a new fan base, a new decade, and a streamlined new 80s art pop sound. My perception back in the day was that this was a pretty weak effort but I no longer believe that. With the benefit of some hindsight I think the Moodies began the 80s with more mature and timeless material than some of their more acclaimed prog peers who shall remain nameless. Call it art rock if you need to-whatever gets you through the night. I for one am enjoying the Moodies more than I ever used to. I do take issue with some of the production choices of the time, the programmed drum sounds and the economical production choices. But the uplifting spirit of the band members and the catchy qualities of the music make The Present another very enjoyable listening experience. The arrangements are really quite lush and inviting in typical Moody fashion despite being so much more "commercial" than their early material. The mix of Hayward's velvety voice with Moraz's more fully realized contributions yield great success in presentation.

The opening selections "Blue World" and "Meet Me Halfway" tick all the boxes that were so successful on LDV while pulling in the vibe of the famous Parrish painting that is used (if modified) on the album cover. Catchy choruses with lovely harmonies and tasteful guitar parts. Ray Thomas delivers his usual beautiful contributions, if not quite as flamboyant as before, on "Going Nowhere" vocals and on this own closing piece "Sorry", which features a cool flute intro. Side two is even more succulent with some very solid Lodge/Hayward tracks. "It's Cold Outside" is so typical Hayward, very upbeat and filled with the kind of optimism he has expressed in later years. Same with "Running Water" which moves me with its lyrics of hope and love, again, very tasteful lead guitar and keyboard background to Hayward's smooth vocal. I'll be honest and admit there is that cynical streak buried in me which could give this album one star and rip it for its disposition and sweetness, but I can't do it. I'm not that person anymore. I enjoy The Present nearly as much as Long Distance Voyager and the band were on a bit of a roll again.

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 Lovely To See You Live (DVD) by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2005
3.31 | 14 ratings

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Lovely To See You Live (DVD)
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Lovely to see you indeed

I often rail against rock and roll senior citizens. Too often I have to agree with Grace Slick's ranting on the subject. She says rock is a young person's game and that her peers should have the common sense to know when it's time to take up painting. Instead we now have "rockers" around age 70 still hauling in the big paychecks singing material they wrote as young men. Worse than having little true conviction to the material is the inability to "get it up" anymore. They play the songs slower, they can't hit the notes (coughhhrobertandgeddy), or they can barely move. Come on people. You're still gonna pay huge bucks to see such mediocrity?

However, occasionally I come across veterans who not only manage to pull it off, but actually do it well enough to put across something genuinely moving and worthwhile. The Moody Blues deliver a set here that is dignified, well done, and enjoyable. This is probably because they wrote timeless material that doesn't sound silly coming from an older person. And they can still sing their parts with relative ease. As only three of the long timers remain they have filled in the rest of the stage with new faces who do a fine job, especially flautist Norda Mullen who seems to have won over the fan base already with her energy.

The show is recorded in Los Angeles and features a simple stage presentation but tasteful lightning, bathing the band in blues and soft purples. Highlights include an early Tuesday Afternoon and The Actor. I would have preferred more Long Distance Voyager but they do sample it with The Voice and Talking Out Of Turn. There is a beautiful acoustic number called Forever Autumn from a Hayward soundtrack collaboration. Then they bring down the house with a poignant, beautiful Isn't Life Strange from the Seventh Sojourn album. This one really seemed to touch people with its melancholy lyrics, I believe there are a few tears in the audience. It also seemed to energize everyone in the band.

They got better as the show went on and positively rocked on Question, Higher and Higher, while delivering all the regal majesty on their classic Nights in White Satin. Hayward just excelled at the show's climax, the fast guitar part at the beginning of Question seemed faster if anything, and his leads were right on the mark though he rarely deviated from the album leads. The Moodies have proven remarkably resilient over all this time and their material holds up. I got a little emotional at the end. It is not lost on me that I'm watching old friends here, voices that have been a part of my life for all of my life, and are rapidly nearing retirement based simply on the math. These voices will be missed and this is a great final document....if it proves to be their last major DVD release. While they were never my favorite band and still aren't I consider their music a treasured part of the last half century.

The extra is a warm and laid back 30 minute interview with Hayward, Lodge, and Edge. At first the questions are short ice breakers moving quickly back and forth between members, but eventually they all take them into more philosophical areas discussing family, art, and fans. They seem genuinely grateful for their long ride and they seem to enjoy being together yet, without the animosity we know exists in some of the other long time bands. The sound on the DVD is decent enough although not perfect. At times there are some anomalies which irritated me and I could use more bass. But don't let that stop you from catching up with old friends.

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 Long Distance Voyager by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.27 | 156 ratings

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Long Distance Voyager
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Lush, beautiful art rock ponders time

When I first obtained the cheap, mass produced cassette tape from the Columbia music club in the summer of '81 (20 Records or Tapes for 1 Penny!!!) I was not a Moody Blues fan. I was a kid who enjoyed hearing "Gemini Dream" on the radio and added their cassette to my order. It didn't get much play. I never expected my revisit to this sometimes maligned title to yield much love, but a more mature appraisal than I would have given it then says LDV is indeed quite a finely crafted piece of music. Certainly there is some truth to the criticism it gets: it is a safe and softer art rock that pushes toward the mainstream more than their old albums, which themselves were not exactly all that dangerous. The percussion strikes me as much too canned at times. Yet despite all the criticisms I think it is consistent, well constructed, melodic and just plain fun art-pop music. Throw in the beautiful and thoughtful artwork and it makes a nice package.

Boasting two successful radio hits in "The Voice" and "Gemini Dream" LDV was a huge commercial success which gave the band a rebirth of sorts. But there is so much more here. "22,000 Days" sounds almost Beatle-esqe in places as it ponders how short our lives are and how we shouldn't waste time. Hayward puts together a nice pair of tracks with "In My World" and "Meanwhile." Lodge contributes a longer artsy track in "Talking Out Of Turn" and the more inward and sullen "Nervous." The album is unusual in that most of it flows well until the last six minutes when Ray Thomas' track are tacked on, almost like an afterthought. One gets the feeling he was somehow less appreciated, and yet in the view of many, his slightly off-kilter and more theatrical pieces do their job in bringing some strangeness and excitement to a band that otherwise plays it a bit too safe.

Despite my reluctance toward the more mechanical sounding percussion, LDV excels in creating a lush and rewarding sound and arrangement. All of the guitars and bass parts are tasteful and layered with care. Moraz is frequently coloring each track with an array of cool keyboard and synth parts, he is the secret weapon on LDV. Some tracks are further dressed with lovely string arrangements from the New World Philharmonic. Rolling Stone described the sound as an "elegant soufflé consists of silkily strummed guitars and gossamer Mellotron and keyboards, capped by a host of agreeable, charcoal-mellowed vocals. They manage to fill every small hole in the sound with a kind of comforting, pea-soup sonic fog. Like the Genesis of Wind and Wuthering, the instrumental weave here is so tight, the strands so densely and artfully stitched into the fabric..." -Parke Puterbaugh

The final lines of Puterbaugh's review reached the same conclusion as my own. This is a charming release that was "terribly unhip" but why judge it in those terms? It was and remains a reflection of a pastoral and melancholic longing some people have, of memories and curiosities of times past, as well as taking stock of the present. The themes and content seem a perfect fit for the luxuriously crafted, dreamy sound the Moodies have dealt them. In essence they understood where the material was going and they succeeded quite brilliantly is presenting it with a top-notch sense of grandeur, while at the same time managing to make the tracks catchy and appealing beyond their core audience. And it may be that very crime which many proggers will not forgive them for, but in my view the Moodies have always been on the warm milk side of prog. They balance the conflicting interests as well as anyone could in that time and place-and for the most part LDV is an excellent album.

A special mention to some incredible art work on both the front and rear cover. They carry this over to small drawings on each lyric page and it creates a great bond between the written word and the music.

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 Long Distance Voyager by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.27 | 156 ratings

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Long Distance Voyager
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Forum & Site Admin Group Forum & Site Admin

3 stars [Disclaimer: towards the end of this review I make some speculations about the band's personal motivations behind the songs. Please note that these are only speculations on my part, and not based on any real knowledge of the musicians' lives at the time. I am, however, serious about my speculations, and mean no harm in voicing them]

Unlike many of the classic prog albums, this is an album I was THERE for, bought on its day of release back at the age of 12 in 1981, and although I'd never rank it as a classic, it's an album I know by heart, and so thoughts come easily and freely when thinking of what to say. My elder prog colleagues here at Prog Archives may fondly remember that day in their youth when they took their horse and cart to the local trading post to buy the first copies of CAN's Monster Movie, likewise I was there and remember the fuss (by me, anyway) over this release.

I had spent most of the last decade (age 2-12) listening to mostly Moody Blues albums, and after the pretty good but underwhelming Octave three years prior, this album seemed even at first glance to be a more exciting proposition. For one, there was a new guy on keyboards. I remember buying a copy of Us magazine with the Moodies on the cover, talking about Mike Pinder's replacement Patrick Moraz, who had been in a group called Yes. I'd heard that band's name before, but it didn't mean much to me yet. It was mainly what I heard every night when I asked my mom, "Do I HAVE to go to bed now?" (rim shot).

Okay, side one: immediately this album announces itself proudly with the magnificent single "The Voice", a classic Justin Hayward tune that is inspiring, melodic, has a lovely guitar solo, and deserves its place on the list of greatest Moody Blues songs of all time. It's classic stuff, everything you like about the band is in there somewhere... except the Mellotron, of course - they'd retired that a while back - but Moraz fills the gap with keyboard washes that blend in well with the guitars. Best song on the album? Actually, batting second, John Lodge's "Talking Out of Turn" gives it a bit of a challenge in that respect. A baroque string arrangement over a simple rhythmic pulse makes this one of the least-dated songs of the era, sounding even contemporary today. And as a ballad, it's one of Lodge's best. Lodge and Hayward collaborate on the next tune, "Gemini Dream", a transparent attempt to cash in on some of that disco crossover gold enjoyed by the likes of ELO (sounding not unlike their excellent "Last Train to London"; I think the song is even similarly about nightclubbing). It's a decent tune, but even in 1981 at the age of 12 I had to say "huh?" a little bit. Then Hayward closes a strong side one with the latest in a long line of Hayward ballads (most recent winner entries: New Horizons, Driftwood), "In My World", and though it goes on a tad too long, it's a beautiful number.

Having front-loaded the first side with the songs with hit potential, side two shows some other sides of the band. Even Hayward's opening "Meanwhile" is kind of a quirky song for him, with almost a jazzy riff and vocal in the verses, followed by anthemic bridges and choruses. Not a highlight, but functions as a signpost telling the listener that side 2 will not merely be more of the same. Case in point: the next track is by drummer Graeme Edge - the only guy in the group that doesn't sing, and most of his contributions in the past have simply been his poetry bits, spoken by the departed Pinder - and is about mortality, entitled "22,000 Days" ("it's not a lot! it's all we got!"). It's a strong tune, not a knockout but certainly different from what's come before. Lodge then weighs in with another ballad (come on John, where's the rock and roll you're known for? And no, Gemini Dream doesn't count) about a troubled relationship called "Nervous". It's heartfelt and an improvement over the last album's similar "Survival" (also song 3 on side 2, how about that). And then the album's over.

Wait, no, where's Ray Thomas? He hasn't written or sung anything yet. Ray Thomas of the happy childlike songs about frogs playing tambourines and eating lamb on Sunday, what have you this offering? What? What's wrong, Ray? You look a little down. Yes, the last three songs on the album are a mini-suite written and sung by Thomas, and boy are they bitter, even shocking. "Painted Smile" is Ray's take on the "sad clown behind the happy mask" theme done by so many artists before (e.g. "Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles), but this one really made me wonder what was going wrong in his life. And it's not just sad; it's angry at the audience for indulging him, and it's self-pitying and humiliated for pushing on in the rock world past his prime. Likening himself to a jester implies that he sees his role in the band as nothing but a sideshow; and indeed, he always had to play second fiddle to Hayward and Lodge, and even Pinder, and it's clear his confidence is low. The music is a macabre sort of marionette waltz dance, with Thomas's strong vocal wrenching out all the bitter drama he can muster. This leads into a short linking track, "Reflective Smile", which is a recitation over circus music, furthering the "clown" motif, but with a very twisted vocal, suggesting a descent into madness. This is the Moody Blues?

Finally we get the hard dance-rock of "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" (this time a bit reminiscent of ELO's "Showdown"), which further drives home Ray's dismal caricature of himself, the washed up old has-been rocker, hanging on for dear life to a rock world he has no business being in any more ("he's afraid that he's going to die"). The venom in Thomas's voice is so palpable here, it almost strains off pitch in spots, he's just "going for it", as if this were his last gasp. Well, he wasn't done yet, but in a few years his role would finally be limited to backup vocals and tambourine, and singing the obligatory "Legend of a Mind" in concert. And that's a shame... Ray Thomas provided a key ingredient to the band with his 2 songs per album, frequent flute playing, and strong vocals; after this album, we would only hear increasingly watered-down Hayward and Lodge songs, a situation that quickly produced diminishing returns. One of my favorite things about the band growing up was how all 5 of the members contributed and (with the exception of Edge) sang lead; the eventual obsolescence of Ray Thomas was foreshadowed and the process begun with this album.

Probably the last album by the band you really need to own; it's quite good and offers a couple of classics surrounded by good-to-very-good songs. It offers the same variety in voices and styles that characterizes their classic seven albums (1967-1972). The Mellotron is missed, but apart from that it's very much a typical Moodies album, and worth having.

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