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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


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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)

2.26 | 71 ratings
The Magnificent Moodies
1965
4.15 | 604 ratings
Days Of Future Passed
1967
3.83 | 315 ratings
In Search of the Lost Chord
1968
3.72 | 276 ratings
On The Threshold Of A Dream
1969
4.06 | 296 ratings
To Our Children's Children's Children
1969
3.48 | 224 ratings
A Question of Balance
1970
3.51 | 228 ratings
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
1971
3.66 | 217 ratings
Seventh Sojourn
1972
2.69 | 113 ratings
Octave
1978
3.27 | 157 ratings
Long Distance Voyager
1981
3.00 | 96 ratings
The Present
1983
2.24 | 81 ratings
The Other Side Of Life
1986
2.39 | 61 ratings
Sur la Mer
1988
2.79 | 57 ratings
Keys Of The Kingdom
1991
2.58 | 62 ratings
Strange Times
1999
2.53 | 46 ratings
December
2003

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

3.10 | 45 ratings
Caught Live + 5
1977
3.25 | 30 ratings
A night at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphonic Orchestra
1993
3.91 | 17 ratings
Hall of Fame - Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2000
2000
3.60 | 10 ratings
Lovely To See You Live
2005
2.72 | 13 ratings
Live At The BBC: 1967 - 1970
2007
3.27 | 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
4.33 | 47 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
 To Our Children's Children's Children by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.06 | 296 ratings

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

Review by Mr. Gone

5 stars I love this album. It's probably my favorite of the "Core 7". And part of the reason is that it truly feels like a concept album - not just lyrically, but musically.

If you check my review of Octave, you will note that I consider that album to the be the "anti-Children's". While some of the songs are actually quite good, the package as a whole does not hold up. With Children's, by contrast, the individual songs are also pretty good - but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A Gestalt smorgasbord, if you will.

I understand that the arrangements on here were largely impossible to replicate live. It's too bad in some ways that they couldn't have expanded their touring group with another guitarist and keyboardist (at least) to maybe better approximate the lush, languid sounds that permeated this album. But they didn't, and, as a result, only "Gypsy" ever got much exposure live (until they started touring with an orchestra, at least). Further, subsequent albums featured a much more "stripped-down" sound to accommodate the need to play songs live.

But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the studio craft that went into making this document - and it's significant. The loud crash that introduces "Higher and Higher" shows the sonic care that went into making this album. It's one of few very rocky moments on here - and it's a great song indicating the space travel celebration that is to follow.

"Eyes of a Child" - a slower number. Not my favorite on here, but it fits in nicely with the album as a whole and as a bit of a breather from the frenetic opener.

"Floating" is one of Ray Thomas's more "fluffy" numbers. Not as good as his later offerings here, but again - it works well with the document as a whole.

"Eyes of a Child Part 2" is the other really rocky moment on here. Nice vocals by the gang.

"Never Thought I'd Live to Be a Hundred" - a nice little acoustic piece from Justin Hayward. Its companion, "Never Thought I'd Live to Be a Million" is in a similar vein. Not essential, but again - works very well as part of the whole.

"Beyond" is Graeme Edge's second offering. Nice flute work here by Thomas. The song reminds me of the three stages of a Saturn 5 launch vehicle - three separate sections here. Don't know if that was the intention, but if it was - well done!

"Out and In" is the album's centerpiece for me. I either love or hate Mike Pinder's stuff - and I love this one. Lush mellotron, great flute and percussion, and Hayward's electric guitar underpinning the proceedings wonderfully. Just a fantastic song.

"Gypsy" is another winner. More great guitar and bass work, terrific mellotron and well-arranged vocals. Very nice.

"Eternity Road" may be my favorite Ray Thomas composition. Great guitar work in the bridge portion, and a fantastic melody with a slightly edgy feel. Another winner.

"Candle of Life" is John Lodge's best song on here. Great piano and mellotron work (again), great vocals, and a thoroughly warm feel throughout.

"Sun Is Still Shining" is my one tenuous spot on here. The melody isn't terrible (though it's not great either), but Pinder's lyrics leave me completely cold. It's really the only blemish here, though, so I can overlook it.

"Watching and Waiting" is another lush offering. The melody in the verses isn't terribly inspiring, but the chorus is very nice, as are the transitional bits. A nice way to end this long-player.

Now, are all these songs absolute classics? No. Probably only five or six of them would qualify. But that's a very high number. And most of the rest work very well in the context of the greater whole, to the point that I consider this to be my most essential Moody Blues album. Five stars. Make sure you listen to the whole thing at once.

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 The Magnificent Moodies by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
2.26 | 71 ratings

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The Magnificent Moodies
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

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.)

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 A Question of Balance by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.48 | 224 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
4.06 | 296 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 | 228 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 | 315 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 | 224 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 | 276 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
3.00 | 96 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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