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The Moody Blues

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars I do like what The Moody did previously but this is really uninspired . The formula they used for those albums has grown weary and even though this sold extremely well ,one understands why they took a six year break ; and when they did come back , the inspiration was still not back. This has a feeling as the album too much. Even the hit Singer lacks inspiration : JUST a Singer........
Report this review (#15713)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Just the singers in a rock and roll band?

For me, "Seventh Sojourn" was one of the best Moody Blues albums. This is in no small part because it includes "Isn't life strange", a beautiful 3 verse 3 chorus ballad with lush orchestration. It may seem like sacrilege to say so, but there a Bee Gees feel to the song in terms of structure and sound. It was a huge hit single, which consolidated the success the band enjoyed with their previous single "Question". By the way, the "Live at Red Rocks" version includes a magnificent extended orchestral break.

"I'm just a singer (in a rock and roll band") was the other hit single taken from the album, and finds the band in full heads down Status Quo mood. The song starts like an old steam train, with Graham Edge on drums winding up the pace gradually from a standing start to a frantic runaway train. Edge then maintains that driving pace over a wall of sound, with brief all encompassing stops only serving to emphasise the sheer power and volume of the piece. If your toes don't tap along with this one, check if your legs have fallen off!

Ray Thomas contribution "For my lady" is a lovely sea shanty influenced song, while "New Horizons" is a softer "Watching and waiting" type song with more traditional Moodies sound.

These then are the highlights, but the album as a whole is coherent, and melodic from start to finish. This apparently belies the rather difficult atmosphere within the band during the recordings. Much of the album can be found on the excellent "Time traveller" compilation.

Note, the extended remaster includes several bonus tracks, among them an 8 minute "original recording" of "Isn't life strange" with additional orchestration. The added orchestration is different to that on the "Red Rocks" set.

Report this review (#15714)
Posted Saturday, March 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars In frontal contrast to other opinions, IMHO this album is the peak of early period Moody blues inspiration. A very important component of their sound at this album was the melodies (simply awesome). The compositions had variety and almost all songs could be released as a single (strong examples were Horizons, Land of make-believe and Lost in a lost world). Unfortunately, time goes by, and this record gets truly old.. Moodies already knew by that time that their formula would not survive much longer..So, the band started some kind of voluntary retirement or freezing.. Only thawing six years later with the horrible Octave (forgive them).. And everybody knows the rest of the history, with Patrick Moraz efforts to raise more money during 80´s with lots of plain solid crap records with almost nothing worthy of listening... Exception to Strange Times (curiously they sack off Moraz on this one, but this is another story...). I love Moraz solo works but his work on Moody Blues is unbeliavably below his potential.
Report this review (#15715)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars THE MOODIES' "Seventh Sojourn" in the studio proved to be their last, for a while anyway. It's not a great sign that the band was keeping count, but they can still be counted on for good music. "Seventh Sojourn" has its critics, some of them fans who took umbrage with what sounds to be a more individual approach to songwriting. Earlier albums ("To Our Children's Children's Children", Every Good Boy Deserves Favour) worked toward a greater whole, dominated by dreamy ballads. "Seventh Sojourn" still has some of that, notably "Isn't Life Strange" and "New Horizons," but it's an album written by individuals rather than a team. (The band has since cited a certain malaise in the studio when this was recorded.) MIKE PINDER in particular seems out of synch with the band, driving them toward the sound of David Bowie ("Lost In A New World") and PINK FLOYD ("When You're A Free Man"). The rest of the record is quintessential MOODIES, from RAY THOMAS' swooning sea chantey "For My Lady" (the prettiest song they've ever recorded in my opinion) to the deliciously desperate "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)." If the remaining tracks fail to stand out, hasn't that always been the case? The truth (as I see it) is, there isn't a bad song on "Seventh Sojourn". It may not envelop listeners in a conceptual dreamscape, but song for song it's a fine record. However, it does underscore the fact that Moodyville might not have been big enough for so many songwriters. When five players can each contribute songs of serious merit, something has to give.

Still, there are worse ways to make an album than letting five talented songwriters toss their ideas into a pile and pull out the best. "Seventh Sojourn" is a very solid collection of songs. By no means a band running out of steam, but rather one that succeeds at stoking five separate steam engines.

Report this review (#15710)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The last album of the "classic seven", one can definitely hear that this was a band in need of some time off. For one thing, the demands of releasing seven elaborate, original albums in five years had the individual members emotionally and creatively exhausted. This led to definite problems- the album has a dense, dark feeling even in the more upbeat offerings- but also to some rare moments of ragged beauty that the previous releases had smoothed out.

"Lost in a Lost World" is not one of my favorites- the despairing vocal and bluesy embellishments combine with a rhythm that rides the line between driving and plodding. The overall feel sounds more like a culmination than an opening song, and one may be excused for thinking that they got too deep too soon. Luckily, "New Horizons" allows Justin Hayward to bring some upbeat rock into the gloom- on this song, and "Land of Make Believe" on the second side, he demonstrates a perfect 70s light rock sensibility in the style of such artists as Dan Fogelburg or America. Good ol' Ray Thomas also delivers another simple, pretty, naive tune in "For My Lady", and his "You and Me" is a pleasant, optimistic 60s pop rocker. "Isn't Life Strange" is almost reason enough to own this album as this is what the band does best- from the tender, contemplative verse to the absolutely huge chorus, with just enough raggedness to really emphasize the emotional quality. Justin's fuzzy lead guitar underscores the vast harmonies perfectly; for my money, this version has a slight rawness that works better than subsequent orchestrally-enchanced versions. "When You're a Free Man" returns to the drowning Lodge darkness of the opening track, and again a rocker has to save the day- and what a rocker! "I'm Just a Singer" is a classic, managing to make the dark themes end in an energetic, symphonic protest rather than a dirge. I'm also secretly convinced that Jeff Lynne kept this particular song in mind while developing ELO's sound (their debut album came out the same year).

There's not even a loose attempt at a concept here, but ironically the album as a whole holds together as well if not better than previous releases due to the inherent distress every song (and even the bleak album cover) revealed. It was a respectable album to go out on; although their (relative) originality was running dry, the quality of the songs themselves hadn't slipped much since "Threshold". If you like the Moody's 'light-prog' sound, this album is only a slight departure, and contains at least two essential songs.

Report this review (#15716)
Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Okay, here is the last of the classic seven and it is not a bad effort. However, their sound has mutated to a more commercial sound at this point. It has lost alot of what made them good back in the late 60's. Dispite that, there is some good music here.

"Lost in a Lost World" is a good song and has some decent lyrics for a change. At least compared to their last two efforts.

"New Horizons" is another song that grows on you, the first time you hear it you say"What is this?!", but then the melody and key changes begin to sink in after a second listen and you beging to realize that there is some very beautiful singing here and it is a good song.

"For My Lady" is another good song. There is a central medieval theme that carrys throughout the song and it is an enjoyable tune.

"Isn't Life Strange" is a bit boring but not completely bad. The ending is awesome, but the 5 minute build up to get there is a little long. It is still dispite this, a OKAY song although it could have been better.

"You and Me" is an awesome song! This is probably what they have been trying to do on the last 2 albums. It has a rockin' guitar line, a good melody, and a decent rhythm to it. I believe this is the gem on the album and is probably one of their best songs. This song almost makes the album worth having on it's own merits. "There's a Burning Tree in Asia" is the line that sticks out every time I remember that song. Very hostile towards war and very pro-peace. In America right now alot of these old songs are striking nerves with the public as there is alot of tension regarding war at the moment. This is classic Moodies.

"The Land of Make Believe" is an excellent song, when it plays you want to actually finish the song all the way through. It isn't incredibly dynamic, nor does it stand out in an obvious way. However, it is a highly enjoyable song with a very good melody and here is a Moody Blues srtong point they they once again get in touch with again on this album. It goes right into "When You're a Free Man" which is again, a beautiful composition. The only problem is they carry on the same idea for to long. Once there is a 6 minute mark for a song you need an interlude of some kind to draw up new ideas and keep the song fresh and it dosen't do that. Dispite that, you still don't end up hating it at the end. So, it is a good song. "I'm Just a Singer..." is a cool song as well. It jams and it has very good vocals and rhythm.

I don't think that this album could classify as prog at this point but it is a worthwile purchase. Even the boring songs on this album are good songs. The lyrics aren't trite and the music moves you in many places. An excellent effort that deserves 4 stars!

Report this review (#15717)
Posted Thursday, September 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "I woke today, I was crying lost in a lost world. So many people are dying lost in a lost world."

I was very curious to listen to some Moody Blues' album, for many reasons: their fame, their albums' covers, which are usually very cool, their historic importance, also for their influence on other bands that came after them. Being me a great fan of Barclay James Harvest, I was so impressed and sad when I knew that they were stigmatized as the "poor man's moody blues". So I bought in my town "Pickuprecords" cd store this 1972 album in its remastered version. Soon it was on the cd player and saved as mp3 format in my pc's huge archive: after a month and many listenings I can tell what's is the result: mixed feelings, disappointment but a great sense of revenge! This last feeling became sure when I compared this album with the 1972 Barclay James Harvest's work titled Baby James Harvest. The same year, the same situation in which the two albums are respectively the last for some reasons: the Seventh Sojourn was the last of their "classic seven", before the band's break up until 1978; Baby James Harvest was the last album under the Emi label, before the band was dumped for never reaching the charts. It had to pass two years before Barclay James Harvest signed for Polydor, in 1974. Following the words of John Lodge this album was very loosely based on the idea of The Canterbury Tales, by Caucher, written in 1389 and deriving directly from the Boccaccio's Decameron, written between 1349-1351! In the album, in fact, everyone talks about what happened to them and tell stories. On one hand the Moodies make a more commercial sound (too commercial).I don't find any particular song with some "progressiveness". Isn't Life Strange, Lost In A Lost World (the best of the album, in my opinion) and The Land Of Make Believe are all good songs, I can confirm it! But seem to lack in something.; on the other hand you have the Baby James Harvest remastered cd, with true gems as bonus tracks (the Moodies' one has no extra track), with a great booklet with tons of information and photos and, above all, with a great selection of memorable songs: from the opener Crazy Over You to the over 10 mns long Summer Soldier; from the rocker Thank You to the classically Mahler-like 60 pieces-orchestra arranged opus Moonwater, penned by Wolstenholme.

.how some people (the press in particular) could (and can) stigmatize a band like this? Where are all those references? I recommend you also compare the two remastered cd versions and make yourself conscious of the real difference between a then (1972) commercial band and such a beautiful progressive/melodic one.

Do not misunderstand me! I cannot, and I won't say the Moody Blues' Seventh Sojourn is a bad album (in fact I like it, after all), but that it's not a good progressive effort!

Finally I got my satisfaction to see where the true differences lie, who are really BJH and, above all, what they are not! Maybe the previous Moody Blues albums are better, maybe could be miliar stones of the prog history! In fact there's no doubt on the fact that Days Of Future Passed is an important opus in music's history in general, in prog's history in particular. Also in Italy the song Nights In White Satin settles a prominent place, since it became famous for a cover version by the here memorable band I Nomadi (Ho Difeso Il Mio Amore). In Search Of The Lost Chord is great too. But for Seventh Sojourn, for now, my rating is only 2,5.

Report this review (#51522)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars On the whole and by comparison with their other main albums (Days of Future to this one), this is relatively light in mood, very commercial and more pop music sounding. Very easy on the ear for the most part. Used to find 'Isn't life strange' a bit of a dirge, but now appreciate it as a semi-classic. Not their strongest offering and doesn't have the 'concept album' feel of their others, but good. Borderline good/'essential'.
Report this review (#52086)
Posted Monday, October 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Seventh Sojourn", the last of the classical MOODY BLUES's albums is a good farewell, since after it for new works of the band fans had to wait for 6 years. Musical score is fine, very balanced with pleasantly audible songs, although none of them really memorable.

'Lost in a lost world' is an honest opening, with a certain space/psychedelic tunes that remind Pink Floyd; 'New horizons' is a single ballad, moodie style, followed by the folky 'For my lady'. Then comes 'Isn't life strange' with its symphonic beginning promising more than it really performs, but in the end it's an OK song; 'You and me' and 'The land of make-believe' are the weakest songs in the album, although fairly listenable. The soft rock 'When you're a free man' prepares for the ending track, 'I'm just a singer', a real rock piece, with a nice and well placed orchestration that makes this track the best in this album.

A fine and agreeable work which deserves to be sojourned at any prog collection. Total: 4.

Report this review (#58830)
Posted Thursday, December 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I prefer not to put in order how much I like each of MB's Classic-7 albums. For me personally, this final one surely isn't behind the others. It sounds a bit more commercial and straight-forward but not the way that would bother me. Instead, I enjoy it being more open and fresh, "on the wind, soaring free" - just like the cover art! My dearest MB songs spread evenly over the 7 albums but this is the most absent on the list of unfavourites and in that sense the strongest one... if you get my Lodgic.

I just love Mike Pinder's two impressive songs, 'Lost in a Lost World' and 'When You're a Free Man'. Among his best! Actually each member is at the peak of writing, except that Justin "Never-Been-Bad" Hayward's 'New Horizons' is indeed beautiful and 'You and Me' deliciously flowing rock number (was 'The Land of Make-Believe' his? I have skipped that one in my taping) but he HAS done so many better ones in the previous albums. Otherwise I would rate this 5 stars anytime.

'For My Lady' is a charming Ray Thomas classic that loses only to 'Legend of Mind'. John Lodge wrote a strong ballad 'Isn't Life Strange' and 'Just a Singer' which is probably the catchiest MB rocker ever (it just should have been faithful also in length to 2-3 minutes 60's pop format not to get annoying). But on the whole, a very enjoyable farewell album for one of the best rock bands of 60/70's. Sad that the spirit was mostly gone ever after and they became quite a mediocre pop band.

Report this review (#70732)
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The last great moodies album, and damn is it good. Better than EGBDF, this has some truly amazing tracks like Isn't Life Strange, You And Me, The Land of Make Believe and For My Lady. These are all awesome songs, and the others are good too. This is where Hayward sadly loses his classic voice a little, and starts putting a spin on it. He still sopunds great, though. This is simply a solid, great finally to the 7 amazing albums released by the moodies from 68 to 72. This is where it dies, and we get Caught Live which is also AMAZING, but not really an official, new album. Check it out, it is awesome....enjoy.
Report this review (#71461)
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars Seventh Sojourn is yet another of the pivotal progressive albums of the 1970's. It came at the end of an incredibly productive five year period by the band that yielded seven brilliant and varied works. This was also the last album featuring the signature melancholy but somehow optimistic sound of the band that made it such an influential force on many progressive, folk, and pop groups of that period. The band would return to the studio sporadically in the years following Sojourn, but the music was more polished and commercially savvy, and lacked that elusive character that gave this one such an endearing blend of 60's innocence and 70's anxiety.

No song on the album demonstrates this better than "Lost in a Lost World", which was a deep soul sigh penned by Mike Pinder. At first listen it seems like a strange choice to open the album, with its depressing theme and gloomy sound. Pinder reveals a 60's flower-power connection with lyrics like -

"Grow, the seeds of evolution, Revolution never won; it's just another form of gun to do again what they have done, with all our brothers' youngest sons".

But it's not really an anti-war song, it's much more than that. We are after all "children from a family tree that's longer than a centipede, started long ago when you and I were only love". What an appealing and earnest thought, and one so unlike the angry and divisive rap and punk music that was lurking on the horizon. The music itself is characteristic Moody Blues, ethereal and brooding, but not melancholy. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. I was still in elementary school when it was released and owned an 8-track copy of the album which I loved to listen to, but it would be years before I appreciated the grace of this song.

"New Horizons" is a bit more upbeat musically, very soft yet uplifting. Justin Hayward's lyrics are a somewhat cryptic, but the message is quite similar to that of groups like America and England Dan & John Ford Coley - namely, that peace of mind is just around the corner, and that the love of another, this "precious gift", will sustain us. This is a very pleasant song.

Ray Thomas contributed "For My Lady" to the album, a tune that very much reminds me of bands like Amazing Blondel and perhaps some of the tamer later works of Jethro Tull. The keyboards are very simple here, but effective in making this a uniquely Moody Blues rendition of a love song. This song probably could not have been recorded and made it onto a commercial album at any time other than the very early 70's. "For My Lady" ended up on the B-side of "I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)", and as such was later sometimes compared thematically (though certainly not musically) to works like "Beth" from Kiss and "Lady" from Styx.

The fourth track, "Isn't Life Strange", came from the fourth band member to pen a song for the album, in this case bassist John Lodge. Despite this, it is remarkably consistent in tone and topic with the other songs on the album, offering lyrics like -

"Isn't love strange? A word we arrange, with no thought or care, maker of despair. Each breath that we breathe, with love we must weave, to make us as one - you know it makes me want to cry, cry, cry".

Here again the wistful sound of quiet guitars and Hayward's moaning voice are in perfect union with the message in the lyrics. One can't really tell whether the subject in the song is despairing or is simply coming to a point of acceptance, but in the overall theme of the record it is more peaceful than pedantic.

On "You and Me" the band kicks it up a little, with more prominent guitar work and drums. This could have very easily been sung by Peter, Paul & Mary a half-dozen years before as a folk song, but in the hands of the Moody Blues it could just as easily turned out to be a Coca-Cola commercial jingle ala "It's the Real Thing". Hayward seems to have stepped out of his introspective mood for a few minutes, and the song ends up with very much of an attempt to garner a radio-friendly single out of the album. One would come, but it would actually turn out to be "I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)".

"The Land of Make Believe" is very much a throwback to the love-child songs of the later 60's ("So fly little bird up into the clear blue sky, and carry the word love's the only reason why"). There's nothing much to distinguish this song from anything else on the album, and it's likely that this was a later choice as filler to finish out the recording sessions.

"When You're a Free Man" is the closest thing to a progressive song on the entire album. The lyrics leave the listener unclear if they are about a lover, a god, or simply nirvana. Hayward adds a simple yet likeable guitar bridge in the middle, and the harmonizing voices are more distinct and pronounced, while the drums and keyboards take somewhat of a back seat. Again, nothing particularly special about this one, although it has the same musical and lyrical characteristics as most of the rest of the album, giving something of an impression (although a mistaken one) that there is a central story or theme to the album. This is also the longest track on the album, clocking in at over six minutes.

"I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)" was clearly intended from the beginning to be the hit single for the record, and it turned out to be just that, along with "Isn't Life Strange". I'm not sure if the guys in the band actually do not take themselves all that seriously, or if Lodge was just looking for words that rhymed, but the lyrics "so if you want this world of yours to turn about you, and you can see exactly what to do, please tell me - I'm just a singer in a rock and roll band" are so perfectly poignant that they form an ideal ending to the album. For most bands this would probably have been the opening track, but it seems the Blues were content to deliver the obligatory hit for their management, while still retaining the integrity of the album as a whole by opening instead with "Lost in a Lost World". It was a great decision, as the songs simply seem to flow together much better this way. The only other change I would have made would have been to put "For My Lady" on the back-side of the vinyl release as well.

The Moody Blues were a band with one foot in the 60's and another big one in the 70's at the time of this recording. Their years of touring and pressures to deliver hits, combined frankly with their huge success at the time (in 1972 Seventh Sojourn was a #1 album, and this and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour co-inhabited the best-seller charts for several weeks), led to their regression to a part-time status for much of the rest of the 70's, returning from relative obscurity at the end of the decade to release the much more commercial "Octave". By this time most of us thought they had actually broken up, and the album didn't make much of an impression (although 1981's Long Distance Voyager was both a commercial and critical success). But in 1972 the band was winding down a relentless period of touring and studio productivity, and based on the somewhat introspective lyrics, were in definite need of some time off. Seventh Sojourn, however, is a very well- produced, cohesive work, and makes an excellent addition to any progressive collection. So, four stars.


Report this review (#71700)
Posted Sunday, March 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another great Moodies album, and said to be their last great one. The band split after this release and reformed in the late 70's. SS is an album of gentle dark melancholy, with a few rockers thrown in for good measure. Mike Pinder swaps the Mellotron for the superior Chamberlain on SS, and his contribution is as melodic and atmospheric as ever. The opener 'Lost in a Lost World' is among my favourites. It's a dark and mounfull song, awash with ambient sounds, sombre vocal harmonies and sinister bursts from Pinders Chamberlain. 'New Horizons' is a beautiful ballad, with not so much as a hint of cheesey topping, and is brought to life by some fine melodic lead guitar work, and classic harmonies. 'For my Lady' is a bouncy little sea shanty. Sound terrible? I assure you it's not. Despite the jaunty rhythim, again the song oozes Moody Blues melancholy in generous measure.

There's basically no bad tracks on this album IMO, but the albums centre piece, for me, has to be 'You and Me' This is a moodies masterpice and is one of those great moments where the Chamberlain, the vocal harmonies and lead vocal melody work so well against the rhythim section, to create energy, drama and beauty. Haywards vocal performance is fine throughout, and the song seems perfectly juxtaposed with the following piece, 'The Land of Make Believe' Another superb offering.

I've yet to hear the two albums that preceded Seventh Sojourn, but so far I've not been dissapointed by anything the Moody Blues produced between 1967 and 1972. I dont really regard them as a 'prog' band, just a great band, with a unique and very attractive sound and approach to song writing.

Report this review (#72306)
Posted Sunday, March 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Moody Blues 7th album (Or is it the 8th?) is also their first to hit no. 1 in the US. Quite surprisingly I think, since it sounds a little distorted and sometimes out of tune. Mainly on side 1. I feel this especially on the guitar and maybe the vocals. This isn't necessarily bad though. It's just that it isn't what I usually prefer - The big expectation, "You and Me", is my favourite track, naturally.

As said, nothing really bad on the album. Most is quite good even. On the first side, this apply particulary for "For My Lady".

The second side is better. "You and me" isn't just the best track of the record, it's possibly the best song by The Moodies I've heard. "The Land of Make-Believe" and "I'm just a singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)" are also good.

To conclude, this is an album wcich deserved its' first place. It's not the best I've heard but so far the ebst by The Moody Blues. It seems quite typical of its' time in many ways, most of all the nice cover art.

Report this review (#86459)
Posted Thursday, August 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Getting over the first of many life threatening illnesses, falling in love with a stranger the first time, and crying till the well ran dry over "Isn't Life Strange" off this album, though I was 19 at the time and I am 30 now I remember it with remarkable clarity. The afformentioned song is the only thing of relevance here, but what a song it is! And all of Side One is some of the best music, vocals, and lyrics The Moodies would come up with. I love The Moody Blues, but here and on the 3 or so albums preceding it the group were at their best. That pertains mainly to Side One although Side Two is also brilliant, just less memorable. Perhaps this would merit 5 stars had they saved "Isn't Life Strange" for the closing track so I could more have soaked in the songs that instead come after it and seem to not be quite up to that masterpiece level. Another very moving song from this album is Mike Pinder's "Lost In A Lost World" which sadly pertains just as much or more to the world of today than when the song was written in 1972. Even Ray Thomas is less lighthearted here on "For My Lady:" "My boat sails stormy seas/Battles oceans filled with tears." Music that makes you cry can either be moving beautiful and sad or sick depressing and miserable, thankfully "Isn't Life Strange" is in the former category. The mellotron as always dominates the music, but Justin Hayward gets some juicy licks in on here- just listen to him wail in the background on "Isn't Life Strange." Hayward comes up with another gem this time it's "New Horizons." Like all Moody Blues albums though, I wish there was a bit more rock in here. I know that is not what they are known for or what their music is all about, but could a little more power do them damage? OK, I'll admit it that I love this kind of music as much as any heavy over the top album out there, but The Moody Blues could rock, they had depth to their sound, and we just didn't seem to get much energy spread over album after album of ballads. There were diversions of course, and also of course these were their masterpieces. In case you didn't know, The Moodies reformed after this album and though the start was sluggish it yielded a new period of creative brilliance on The Present, Other Side Of Life, Sur La Mer, and some of Long Distance Voyager. So technically it wasn't over for them on this album, but their most striking and rewarding period met its peak in the early 70s and manifested itself majestically on this record. Truth be told, even if I don't give it the full 5 stars any album by the Moodies from In Search Of The Lost Chord through this one is at least a NEAR MASTERPIECE. Definitely one to pick up, and an album with special meaning for me.
Report this review (#94026)
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A great Prog/Rock masterpiece of the 20th century.

This is a review of the Mobile Fdelity Ultradisc II version of this album.

In a nutshell, Seventh Sojourn has retained a place as one of my absolute favorite albums continuously now for over thirty years. Though I find it is one of the few pieces of rock music that always uplifts me spiritually, I can understand how some might find it depressing.

IMHO, this is a prog album without flaw. Though not clearly identifiable as a concept album, it flows smoothly both musically and lyrically from start to finish. The lyrics and thematic content of each song is timeless and can be related to very strongly in either a positive or negative manner. The other of the Moodies original classic seven albums, though musical masterpieces each in their own right, have not aged as well overall I believe.

There is a "wall of sound" kind of aspect to the production overall. However, it is a very fluid and effective "wall of sound" thanks to Michael Pinder's unique simply gorgeous mellotron/keyboard effects. Justin's Hayward's electric guitar solos and playing on this album in particular is absolute world class....not necessarily virtuosic but simply gorgeus and inspiring throughout, perhaps in particular because the electric guitar is prominent in many places on this album compared to earlier works and delivered in a purely symbiotic manner throughout along with the aforementioned mellotron, keyboards or whatever Pinder used on this particular album ( I think I read once that Pinder used a newer technology keyboard, not technically a mellotron on this album. I am not a electronic keyboard expert. All know is thatwhatever is used it sounds very good to me).

There is nothing else like the tapestry of mellotron/keyboard, guitar and vocals on this album, in all of music, IMHO. A few examples that pop into mind are the guitar solo towards the end of "New Horizons" (breathtakingly soaring) and the guitar/keyboard accompaniment during the chorus sections of "Land Of Make Believe". JH's electric guitar playing (exceptional on this album) and usual excellent vocals on his songs are some of the highest points...however there are continuous and juicy fluorishes delivered by all the Moodies throughout.

To me this album is to rock music what Mahler's Third Symphony is to classical music. It will take you through a truly "Moody" journey from some somber but poignent lows to the most exhuberant of highs. Then it ends with an exhuberant "shrug" to it all as the Moodies resignedly belt out their final statement of this era: "I'm Just A Singer in a ROck and Roll Band".

The Moodies are I suppose just "Singers in a Rock and Roll Band". However, the message of their music, soberly delivered over much of their discography, is in my optinion, the most universal one, a message which many respond to, yes, in a decidely "spiritual" manner. There is no cynicism with the Moodies, as there was to some extent even with the Beatles. Just the purest of universal messages: peace and love and sadness expressed when these ideals are out of reach or not achieved often enough by many in the real world.

Report this review (#96707)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I didn't care much for this album when it came out in November 1972 so I immediately shelved it. Now, almost 35 years later, I decided to give it a fresh go 'round and listen to it with unbiased ears. I'm sorry to report that it hasn't gotten any better with age. I'm still sticking with my assessment that the Moody Blues hit their peak with "A Question of Balance" in 1970 and went into a steep decline afterwards. Their creative well had run dry.

For a band that always seemed to know how to get their records off to a rousing, dynamic start this one is a big disappointment in that department. The Al Green-like soul beat laid down by drummer Graeme Edge is promising in its own semi-funky way but once the music to Mike Pinder's lame "Lost in a Lost World" begins all hope is. lost. Surely someone in the control room could have mentioned the too-obvious fact that Pinder's voice and the backing harmonies are off key but maybe internal political detente prevented that from happening. What a shame. It's an awful way to start an album. Usually I can look forward to Justin Hayward's songs to save the day on their projects but in this case his syrupy, uninspired "New Horizons" does nothing for me despite his usual charismatic singing. Overall it's a let down but it gets worse.

The unpredictable Ray Thomas delivers what sounds like a folksy sea shanty in "For My Lady," complete with salty recorders and accordion. Ray's tunes are more often than not a bit on the corny side but when the swarthy tars on deck start singing la-las in a yo-ho-ho pirate style at the end I have to shake my head in disbelief. If it was done as a joke it would be one thing but it's not. It's just silly. John Lodge's "Isn't Life Strange" is next and the Bee Gees influence on the verse is blatant in its mimicry. It's also at this juncture that I really start to miss the unmistakable sound of the good ol' Mellotron. I know they were experimenting with a new symphonic keyboard called the Chamberlin at the time but the thin sound it produces is no match for its predecessor. I know a lot of their fans love this song but to me the chorus is needlessly overwrought and the high harmony part is off just enough to make your spine cringe. It's almost as if they're not paying attention to the necessary details.

"You and Me" is finally a welcome improvement and the apex of the album. This up-tempo song from the writing combo of Hayward and Edge features a much tighter rhythm track and the best melody on the record. Justin's fat guitar tone and tasteful layering really make the tune stand out. Hayward's "Land of Make Believe" follows but once again I feel that it falls below his usual high standards. It's as if his heart just isn't into it anymore so he overproduced the cut to compensate. Yet it's a Grammy winner in comparison to Pinder's dismal "When You're a Free Man." Mike's shaky warbling is all over the place as he sings flat and sharp repeatedly through this mess of a tune. I have no desire to disparage it more than that so I'll move on like it didn't happen. Lodge's "I'm Just a Singer (in a rock and roll band)" serves as the caboose on this slow train and, while it's not a great song by any means, it ain't half bad. It definitely has a full, distinctive sound and the band's enthusiastic outburst at the end displays more emotion than all the tracks put together.

And maybe the boisterous finale was fitting because that noticeable expression of relief marked the beginning of a five-year-long vacation that the Moody Blues obviously needed to take from each other. (In fact, Pinder never came back from his sabbatical.) They had milked their patented formula for all it was worth and they were stuck in a rut that the music world had long since moved forward from. The internal stresses and conflicts of the band could no longer be overcome and the quality of their art was suffering as is exemplified here on "Seventh Sojourn." It's just not very good and their loyal followers deserved better. 1.5 stars.

Report this review (#130119)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The last MOODY BLUES album before an extended break (of more than five years, the equivalent to the whole existence of the Classic Seven phase), it encapsulated some of the strengths and all of the faults of THE MOODY BLUES.

The band relied on journeyman JOHN LODGE for both the singles, the extraordinarily unlikely 'Isn't Life Strange?' and 'I'm Just a Singer'. Of the former, the best I can say is that it's certainly true to its title. Strange indeed. Whereas most MOODIES songs flow with a gentle assuredness, this stutters from start to drawn-out finish. That it made the US top 40 is entirely attributable to the 'pull-up' effect of the appearance of 'Nights In White Satin' on the charts at #2. The second single from the album is a standard LODGE rocker, albeit developed a little further than his charming song fragments from albums like the magnificent 'To Our Children's ...'

I've started by talking about the singles rather than the album because this is not an organic whole like the preceding six MOODY BLUES albums. Each songs fades to silence, and has no relationship to the one following. There are no first and second parts, no song fragments, no intoxicating mixture of styles, none of that which made THE MOODY BLUES a producer of outstanding albums. This is no more than a collection of songs.

Of these songs, 'New Horizons' demonstrates yet again just what a supreme talent JUSTIN HAYWARD is, underlined to a lesser extent by 'The Land of Make Believe'. If you can stomach the saccharine sentiments you will find one of the world's great pop sensibilities. And there's his voice: he could sing words from an H.G. Wells novel and it would sell a million. What's that? He did? Doesn't surprise me.

I really want to hate RAY THOMAS'S 'For My Lady'. Cloying lyrics and the most twee of tunes. Ugh. But I like it. Sorry. I'm embarrassed by this, and I'm happy to be locked up in the prison for those with bad taste. Of the rest, PINDER'S two tracks are a continuation of his Messiah complex, preaching transcendental love as the salvation of the world over some of the most morose music ever performed. Didn't anyone tell him how unconvincing this sounds? By now he'd certainly lost the inspiration that had led to 'Have You Heard' and 'Out and In' from previous albums. I suppose the tepid 'When You're a Free Man' is OK. 'You and Me' whistles past in a blink of forgettable mediocrity.

So there it is, the great period of 1967-72, five years when the five lads comprising THE MOODY BLUES put together some of the most intriguing, promising and frustrating albums you'll find on the murky borders of progressive rock. A couple were truly great, a few were simply outstanding, and the rest merely good. This one falls into the latter category. Time for a rest, lads.

Report this review (#141583)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I quite like this album. Lots of beautiful vocal harmonies, as well as powerful melodies sit on this "Seven Sojourn".

The first two songs are very well crafted, and when you listen to "New Horizons", you immediately know where a band like BJH took their source of inspiration for several of their albums. This song conveys a joyful mood and is not far from previous great songs of theirs.

Of course, you need to accept the Moodies for what they are and what they do best : to write nice ballads, at times orchestrated (which I have not always liked, I mean the orchestrations). This album might sound a bit too much of the same. A tranquil and melancholic sound throughout this good album. In this aspect, "Isn't Life Strange" might either please or irritate you. I belong to the former category. A bit sad but so sweet.

To break this feeling, a more upbeat "You & Me". Oh, don't expect a wild number of course. Just some nice psychedelia for a while.

But still, a song as "When You're a Free Man" is not bad at all. Somewhat "Melancholy Man" inspired, it is another catchy and tranquil song from a tranquil album. Perfect to cool down while sitting in the traffic jams. Do try, believe me!

The band is also flirting with a rocking song, but I have to say that to add the brass section was not a great idea. It is the least appealing song as far as I am concerned. Still this album is a good one.

Three stars.

Some nostalgia as well since this was the last album of their classical period and a looooooong break will follow.

Report this review (#165855)
Posted Sunday, April 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Way back in the seventies The Moody Blues was just a good band for me, with two great tracks from the superb 'Days of future passed' album (of course Tuesday afternoon and Nights in white satin). For the rest I was not interested. Until a class mate of mine pointed out that the Moodies' new album would be my piece of cake since I liked 'I'm just a singer in a rock 'n roll band'. I have never understood how he figured out that I might like the album since that hit single is so heavily in contrast with the rest. But right he was: for me 'Seventh sojourn' is the best album they made.

The album starts off with the gentle, subtle and very atmospheric 'Lost in a lost world'. The melody, Pinders singing and the overall orchestral arrangement just work brilliantly. The drums and bass lay a very firm basis without being dominant. It sets the mood for the rest of the album (except the last track in which the listener is totally blown off track). It is followed by what I reckon as the best track the Moodies ever recorded: 'New horizons'. It is the summum of romanticism in my ears, beautifully sung by Hayward with good lyrics, splendid yet modest guitar work and immaculate use of the mellotron. Absolutely brilliant. 'For my lady' is a song I had to get used to. At first I disliked it, couldn't discern the beauty of the folkish melody. Maybe the song suffered from the fact that it followed 'New horizons' of that I first heard it as the B-side of 'I'm just a singer'. But after all these years I like it more and more. It is so simple yet effective, with the use of accordeon Superb, albeit that the lyrics are below parr. The first Lodge song is the worst on the album since his singing is just too much, too forced. It looks as if he tries so hard to sing as beautiful as he can, yet with a melody that is simply a bit too difficult or out of tune for him. The arrangement of this very slow ballad is beautiful though. 'You and me' and 'The land of make believe' are two outstanding songs that fit into the album perfectly. They show the more rockier side of the Moodies, especially 'You and me', with good guitar soloing and, of course, beautiful melodies again and great percussion. They form quite a contrast with 'Isn't life strange' which brings about a good balance on the album. 'The land of make believe' has the atmosphere of a fairy tale and that works remarkably well, with the use of flute, great mellotron, electric guitar on the background and the driven bass that takes up the song and finishes it. The chorus is absolute fabulous and gives me the shivers. 'When you're a free man' is not my favourite but it is good, yet of lower attractiveness than the Hayward songs. It is also a bit too long, perhaps. The finishing track is not only wellknown since it was a big hit in many countries, it is also a worthy finisher. It illustrates that the Moodies can rock, that they can play with a cacophony of instruments, that they know how to use a bass guitar. Great song, great album, great band.

'Seventh sojourn' was the road to get to know the Moody Blues for me and may serve so for many more to come! I'd like to give it 4,5 star.

Report this review (#166070)
Posted Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album signified the closure of The Moody Blues' golden age, and what a closure it was. While the band's major asset was the good songwriting by its individual members melted in a unified vision for every album's repertoire, as opposed to pyrotechnics display (ELP), hyper-melodic expansions (Yes, genesis) or radical avantgarde (Henry Cow et al.), it didn't really need to create complex compositions in order to provide a pertinent portrait of their musical vision and exercice an important influence on a fraction of melodic prog bands (BJH being their most notorious pupil). Having said all that, Seventh Sojourn is one of their most elaborated albums, although this is not due to a reiteration of the sonic experiments tried on their master opus To Our Children's Children's Children, but a well-ordained smplification of the melodic ideas comprised in each track: therefore, the approach of the 5 Moodies at the creation of this album is closer in spirit to A Question of Balance. Regarding the compositional approach itself, this album reflects a further exploration of the spiritual candor exposed in Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. The fact that the Cahmberlaine replaces the mellotron explains why the keyboard orchestrations sound louder than ever before. The album kicks off with the pacifist anthem 'Lost in a Lost World', a mid-tempo tune that finds Pinder once again expressing his deepest concerns about the fate of mankind. The keyboard layers, the piano chords and the soprano sax and guitar washes are combined in a crucial atmosphere for the voca ldeliveries. As emotionally driven as the opening track but more seated on the romantic side of things, 'New Horizons' is your typical Hayward-penned ballad, actually one of his most brilliant compositions: the amalgamation of lead guitar and Chamberlain is a proper instrumental extension for the moving emotion inspired by Hayward's lyrics and singing. 'For My Lady' keeps on with the romantic vibe, only this time with a Celtic basis; the harmonium and tenor chorale bring things closer to a pirate song's structure. Ray Thomas really nailed it with this delicate, high-spirited love song.The album's first half ends with 'Isn't Life Strange?', arguably the best Lodge song ever: majestic and contempaltive, Lodge shows that Pinder is not the only spokesman for TMB's reflective facet. The clever use of flute and cello (augmented by jeyboards, of course) signals the colors for the verses, while choruses are effectively enhanced by the lead guitar phrases. The album's second half is not as great, but it also shows the Moodies' competencies as writers and performers. 'You and Me' is a pop-rock song whose uplifting mood seems to hide the seriousness of its anti-Vietnam war lyrics, while 'The Land of Make- Believe' brings a more naive aura, a manifestation of candorous hope and joi de vivre (the flute and celesta lines set the mood, as do the sweet vocal arrangements). 'When You're a Free Man' brings back Pinder's pessimistic view of the world (this time the subject being political prisoners): this is more greyish than the opening song, including an eerie multi-keyboard coda that stands in a sort of permanent fade- out. From this fade-out emerges the drum intro to 'I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock'n'Roll Band)', the catchy Lodge-penned single that had been released before this album but was including as its closing track. The rocking climax is a proper ending for this album, to be promoted on a long tour that would last until early 1974 (Japan gigs included).
Report this review (#166246)
Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9.0/10 Incredible

Well this album is the ultimate bittersweet end, but doesn't end sweet really, just bitter. The entire album is great, until the final track which I highly dislike and see the real commerciality that the band is capable of engaging with. This album should have ended with When You're A Free Man, another great Pinder effort. But seriously, the album as a whole is still fantastic because the band is still together, despite their internal issues at the time they still managed to bang out mostly incredible tracks. New Horizons? Incredible. Isn't Life Strange? Despite its commerciality, it is an absolutely beautiful song that will bring you to tears if it hasn't already....on par with Question. The Land of Make Believe is my next favorite track and I would say I am not too crazy about everything else. I have to appreciate the fact that the band was in termoil and would disband soon after. The last track really does set the word: the Moody Blues will be crap very soon after this album. Well, they followed suite and became complete sell-out garbage. Despite this, the album still holds true with some incredible songs, thus keeping it an incredible addition.

Report this review (#170119)
Posted Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
5 stars While the Moodys were often accused of conceptual preciousness and pretentiousness, and their spoken introductions advanced as proof of this quality, it would seem like they had tongue firmly in cheek rather than foot in mouth. By all accounts, "Seventh Sojourn" was done at a time when the band weren't having much fun at all, and they probably had little taste for faux pomposity. But the many critics who have savaged the Moody Blues over the years have already had their say, and now it's my turn. Whether the group was going thru the motions or not by this point, it remains that the last of the seven classic albums is yet another magnificent team effort.

The album is launched by a brief fade in, into one of Michael Pinder's most lushly depressive movements, "Lost in a Lost World". While lacking the range and degree of experimentation of "My Song" and the clarity of expression of "Melancholy Man", it remains a powerful opening. New Horizons is one of Hayward's most enduring melodies, a near perfect ballad with a touching chorus and a gripping solo, all awash in mellotron(Chamberlain). Ray Thomas is probably my least favourite vocalist and composer from the Moodys, but "For My Lady" is a pretty folk song without some of the trifling embellishments that characterize many of his contributions. The accordion and the imaginative backing vocals at the finish are among the highlights. The two hits on the album are both written by John Lodge and feature real strings, but are otherwise dramatically different. "Isn't Life Strange" is a slightly twee gently orchestrated tune that is highlighted by the band's trademark harmonies in the chorus, while "I'm Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band" is an incessant rocker that hints at some of the pressures and disillusionment that Lodge and his bandmates may have been experiencing. It seems clear to me that Electric Light Orchestra, for all their Beatle-esque pretensions, were heavily influenced by this song, but let's not hold that against the Moodys.

Elsewhere, Hayward and Edge combine for a more melodic uptempo number, "You and Me", which bests similar tunes like It's Up to You that had appeared earlier, while "Land of Make Believe" pushes beyond it's sing songy verses into a variety of exercises that would seem to have formed the blueprint for the Bluejays (Hayward and Lodge) album. "When You're a Free Man" is another morose Pinder song that aches with longing and nearly abandoned hope.

While "Seventh Sojourn" clearly represents the end of the road of sorts, in adversity the Moodys produced one of their finest and most cohesive soundscapes, even if this seems less of a concept album than any of the prior six. It could be argued that the band's legacy would have been better served if this album had remained the group's final resting place.

Report this review (#191684)
Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Moody.

Often considered the last of the classic Moody Blues albums, this one really is a classic. While tensions and depressions were mounting within the band the music seemed to be wildly affected by it. The band, more often known for their happy, somewhat manic songwriting, would create a very moody opus with this album - more emotional and erking than anything they had done before. People who fear the band and their orchestral ''rompage'' of Days Of Future Past will find themselves highly surprised at just how dark and solemn the album is while still maintaining the Moody Blues sound.

The album does still maintain an uplifting quality to it, somehow. Even if right off the top of the album you're hit with a darker side of the Blues. Lost In A Lost World immediately rewrites what most people know about the band, and like most other songs on the album it's dark and engaging, the music becoming an ethereal vortex that sucks the listener in, but in a much different way than was done on previous albums. More 'upbeat' songs do exist on the album, although they're really just as happy as the darkest songs on some of the band's other works. For My Lady is a more subtle tune that uses some of the more orchestral elements of the band's previous albums without actually having to use an orchestra. Some wonderful, almost sea-worthy instrumental breaks turn this one into a tune to remember. The Land Of Make-Believe is another song in very much the same style, this one a little bit longer. It's almost dreamy in its approach and makes the best of voicing with more subtle instrumentation.

To make a good comparison as to the style of this album take this into consideration (for those who have heard Days Of Future Past): Imagine the entire album being done in the same style of Twilight Time, only without the orchestra. What you're left with is simply dark and emotional music. I keep stressing this point because it's simply amazing how good the album is if you're into this kind of music and may have been turned off by previous albums. Of course, the album also contains the hit I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band) which is the last song on the album and probably the least representative of the style. It is, however, a scorching track that is well appreciated at the end of the album - some good hard rocking to end of an otherwise mellow and somewhat dreary (tone wise) album.

Highly recommended, this is an album for people who don't fancy themselves as fans of the classic Blues era. 4 barren landscapes out of 5 for an excellent album that has incredible potential to surprise. It's a shame that the band had their first breakup immediately afterward, because they were really good in this state - although it was obviously a necessary move for the sanity of the band members.

Report this review (#204571)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Seventh Sojourn is the eight full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act The Moody Blues. It´s the last of what is generally considered the classic albums by The Moody Blues. The group went into a hiatus after the tour supporting the album. This was originally announced as a permanent break-up though. During the summer of 1975 Mike Pinder tried to get the band together again but the others didn´t seem interested at the time according to Pinder. So it was not until 1977 that the band ( still in the classic lineup) got together again to record their next album Octave. In the meantime the band members had been involved in various solo projects.

The music on Seventh Sojourn is unmistakably the sound of The Moody Blues. The mellotron has been replaced by a Chamberlin, but as that instrument has about the same sound it´s actually not that audible ( at least not to me, but don´t take my word for it. I´m not a keyboard/ synth expert). The music is still what I would characterize as easy listening progressive pop/ rock but I actually enjoy this album more than most of the band´s output. Songs like Lost In A Lost World, Isn´t Life Strange and When You´re a Free Man sound pretty good to me without ever reaching excellent though. The only song I kind of dislike is the Ray Thomas penned For My Lady. I´m not too fond of the mood in that song. I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band) also makes me smile a bit. It´s actually a pretty good song but it´s the title of the song which I find a bit funny because if there´s something this band definitely isn´t, It´s a rock´n´roll band.

The musicianship is really of high standard as usual. Note the use of more electric guitar than on any other release from the band.

The production is warm and pleasant. House producer Tony Clarke has made another professional sound for a Moody Blues album.

Seventh Sojourn is one of the better Moody Blues albums IMO and if you´re curious about the band I´d recommend starting here. A 3 star rating is deserved.

Report this review (#212991)
Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars That wasteland on the cover looks pretty dry; unfortunately, that's how I describe the music here on SEVENTH SOJOURN. I fully understand that many a progster will like the seemingly softer sound on this album as about 60% of this album is very quiet and soft musically. However, my tastes demand more energy and drive than what SEVENTH SOJOURN can give me; that is why I take much solace in ''I'm Just a Singer'', the only time there's some punch on the album aside from a couple of other songs like ''Lost in a Lost World''.

Songs like ''When You're a Free Man'' and ''Isn't Life Strange'' put me to sleep; if I am awake during these songs, I feel too compelled to make snoring noises to prevent boredom. I understand this is more of a personal complaint. Those that enjoy quiet, soft prog might increase the star rating here to 3 or 4. For progsters like myself that prefer a harder, jumpier tone in their prog, this is not a great investment on the whole. Possibly worth it for ''I'm Just a Singer'', but earlier Moody Blues albums like IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD have much more of a punch to them that keep me interested.

Report this review (#252340)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars On Seventh Sojourn the band matured a lot and wrote some very inspiring material. Maybe because they were touring for a long time they were starting to wear down and maybe miss their families or something. Although the last album lacked inspiration, possibly because they were avoiding these problems, in 1972 they dealt with these problems and delivered what is quite possibly their best album. Admittedly when I first heard this album I hated it. It's very melancholy, the first four songs all make a reference to crying, and although this is brought to a stop by the rocker 'you and me babe', it's not long before they segue back into introspective melancholy.

What's really good about this album is that the songs are very well written. The versus and choruses are long and have complex, twisting, turning but beautiful melodies that slowly build up to a climax, a climax that stays around for a while and subsides slowly. The fact that there was only room for eight songs is a testament to that. The musical arrangements are also very well thought out and add to the overall meaning. And the guys are just laying everything on the line here, emotionally. There's no holding back. Four Stars, No doubt

Report this review (#322163)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album seems to be misunderstood by many listeners. Some find it depressing, whilst others find it sublime. It sometimes has a slight bittersweet feel and is possibly the moodiest of all the Moody Blues albums. Perhaps that sound has something to do with the mounting tensions in the band at that time. Despite the troubles behind the scenes, Seventh Sojurn also has a many magical and spiritually uplifting moments.

The work from the Chamberlin (a keyboard instrument that provides the sound of a string orchestra in the background) is quite stunning and adds some lovely textures to the songs in the same way the mellotron did on the band's previous albums. "Lost in a Lost World" is about the brutality of revolution and racial tension, so it has a very moody feel while the following "New Horizons" is more beautiful and very gentle. The folky "For My Lady" is also nice and really dreamy.

"Isn't Life Strange" has an odd beauty that somehow always captured my attention. When I saw the "Moodies" play it live backed by a full orchestra it was even more majestic and brought tears to my eyes. I can't explain it. I must have looked ridiculous as I'm also quite a big man, but this is how powerful this music can be for some listeners. Even Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" is a very touching piece but has never affected me in the same way.

"The Land of Make-Believe" is another special piece that simply describes a perfect world, a place where "heartaches can turn into joy". It's very in touch with the peace and love our world sadly lacks. It's wonderfully layered with both acoustic and electric guitars as well as the chamberlin and Thomas' flute. "When You're A Free Man" is another cracking although slightly bitter sounding song. "I'm Just a Singer" (In a Rock and Roll Band) provides the close. It's a very upbeat song that feels somewhat out of place coming after the more mellow tracks but is still a cool song.

This marked a wonderful end to the band's psychedelic era. In my opinion the band did come up with some good music later on, but certainly not as spellbinding as the group's earlier releases like this one. Highly recommended indeed.

Report this review (#385941)
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes, the Seventh Sojourn album..

This is for me one of the best Moody albums. The sound is great, the songs are great, the cover match the music. The first thing I noticed was a change in the keyboard department. Pinder had changed from Mellotron to Chamberlin. The Chamberlin sounds GREAT, and he uses it perfectly in every single song. It is rumored that a Mellotron is also used on the album, but I cant really tell in which songs.

"Lost in a lost world" has got good lyrics & great Chamberlin playing. They ALMOST sound like Genesis on this one.

"New horizons" is just beautiful, and again outstandig Chamberlin playing. Pinder's got a real good ear for melody and how to orchestrate things. Really good vocals here from Hayward, lots of emotion.

"Isn't life strange" is an epic song. The only thing I dont like about it is the drums are too low in the mix.

"Land of make-believe" and "When your'e a free man" are very good, melancholic songs. Again great keyboards.

There are some cheesy moments on the album though, like "For my lady" and in "I'm just a singer", and some lame lyrics here & there but the album fuctions well as a whole. That's also why I'm only giving it a 4 star rating.

It may not be prog, but an essetial album if you're a Moody Blues fan. I love it.

Report this review (#458398)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars It is always a pleasure to listen back to such a relaxing innovative band as The Moody Blues. "Seventh Sojourn" is really a less discussed album than some of the earlier material perhaps as it does not have the creative consistency of previous albums. However, there is enough on this to warrant serious consideration. It begins with a melodic reflective piece 'Lost In A Lost World' with Mike Pinder soothing on vocals, the band searching for the answer as always, and accompanied by flute passages and uplifting harmonies.

'New Horizons' is full of beauty, generated by sweeping violins and very soft vocals with a romantic flavour. 'For My Lady' is a single and always one of my favourites with a lovely melody and memorable happy woodwind. Justin Hayward has golden tones on these ballads. The medieval sounds are strong and it has some of the more poetic lyrics of the album. It is more like the Jane Eyre period of the 1800s in feel then anything else on the album. The romantic flutes are simply gorgeous; best song on the album easily.

'Isn't Life Strange' is another very popular song gracing many compilations with the previous song. Personally I tire of this easily and can't stand the monotony of the tune and that warbling vocal is mush to my ears. 'You And Me' is better with a rockier beat and some nice orchestra. The guitar riff is rather heavy for The Moody Blues and the violins are majestic throughout.

'The Land Of Make-believe' is an acoustic and flute-driven quiet piece. It sounds rather dated due to the lyrics and overall style. A real flower power throwback that is a throwaway, only saved by Hayward's uplifting vocals and moving orchestral arrangements. A genuine album track found on this release alone. 'When You're A Free Man' is another song only found on this album for good reason. It is forgettable lush.

'I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)' ends the album on a high point. It rocks hard and is perhaps as heavy as the band gets. It works on all levels, vocally, melodically and lyrically. The song was a live staple for The Moodies and often is found on compilations.

Here once again is an inconsistent album that will be the hallmark of most of The Moody Blues albums following. Parts are excellent and parts are okay, but it is nevertheless full of beauty and some of the Moodies best songs. After this it all went belly up and the band became a top 20 singles pop group, with hit and miss tracks; the albums usually with only about 3 tracks of any significance.

Report this review (#613199)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I continue my The Moody Blues journey and come to their eight record: "Seventh Sojourn" from 1972. It was their last record before a break of some years before more record by the band. "Seventh Sojourn" has a pleasant cover picture of a rocky landscape, perhaps Rocky Mountains or something similar. It features the same musicians as before with Hayward, Lodge, Pinder, Thomas and Edge which seem to be very fit together. Those men have certainly refined their sound becuase now they sounded as good as ever. I'd consider this record as good or a little bit better than the last one.

"Lost in a lost world" is a perfect introduction, a quite noisy track with both orchestral feeling, nice melody and richness(8/10). "I'm just a singer(in a rock and roll band)" is the album's best song. It is furious and beautiful and very clever(8/10). Also "The land of make-believe" reaches the same level(8/10); it's a very dramatic track. "When you're a free man" is also dramatic and I like it(7/10) as well as the sheer "For my lady"(7/10) which sounds very old has fine harmonium and "New Horizons" which is an über-neat track(7/10). "You and me" has heavy and good guitar(7/10) and "Isn't life strange" also works, it's rich and expressive(6/10). As before I do hear the professionality and the richness in The Moddy Blues' pop-prog even if it's not my favourite prog. As earlier records this is very even and it's worth its listening time. My rating will be 3,625= Four stars!

A recommended album from one of those bands who existed when prog wasn't really defined. Many bands those days tried to play rock music in a new more challenging way, and The Moody Blues did, as well as King Crimson or Yes. But it feels like The Moody Blues wasn't that lucky that Yes' was and they didn't define the prog in the same way. But it's an exciting band to follow and next album for me will be a live record!

Report this review (#1112361)
Posted Saturday, January 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Moody Blues had steadily edged their way into the 70's, having formed eight years prior. Seventh Sojourn, ironically enough the band's eighth album, was the last before a short hiatus the 'Blues took before re-emerging in 1977. Touted in their early days as a skillful art-rock band, Seventh Sojourn is an album that encompasses the classical influence from their earlier days, as well as more of a Simon-Garfunkelian style. Many of the songs on the album are in the vein of dreary-orchestral rock songs, with Hayward singing his breathy vocals with echoing melodies accompanying him.

Seventh Sojourn is very heavy on boisterous, climactic pieces, and from start to finish is a ride for the senses. From 'Lost In A Lost World', the choral-rock piece with lovely violin work as well as the bass riffs by Ledge, to the fast paced break-neck closer 'I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)' that evens ends with clapping as if this album was just a giant spectacle with the world as it's audience. The only problem the album suffers is this level of symphonic power does sort of lose it's edge while going through a full listen. Don't get the wrong impression though, because such an experience is still highly recommended in the long-run. If you are a fan of the band or just that more loosely- interpreted side of prog, then this album is for you. One of the best albums I've heard in a while.

Report this review (#1557694)
Posted Saturday, April 30, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm not the greatest Moodies fan. Tuesday Afternoon and Nights In White Satin are wonderful songs but do they need the full orchestral treatment on Days Of Future Passed? House Of Four Doors on In Search Of The Lost Chord is an interesting atmospheric piece but do we need the dreary Timothy Leary Is Dead dividing the two sections of it? In The Threshold Of A Dream starts well with In The Beginning and Lovely To See You, but then gets bogged down with songs like Dear Diary until we get to the back end of the album where the really good stuff is (Dream and Have You Heard?). The Apollo Moon landing was technologically breathtaking. However, songs like Floating and Candle Of Life on To Our Children's Children's Children appear not to break any songwriting ground. A Question Of Balance and Every Boy Deserves A Favour are one song albums.

Which brings us to the Moody Blues album Seventh Sojourn, which is by far their best. According to the notes on the album sleeve the band members remember it as their most unpleasant recording experience. If that's the case I wish they had had more unpleasant previous recording experiences.

The opener, Lost In A Lost World is dark and atmospheric. Mike Pinder introduces an instrument called a Chamberlain, a type of mellotron, which makes it's presence felt in the middle section. New Horizons is a beautiful acoustic ballad from Justin Hayward in top form. The lushly orchestrated Thomas composition For My Lady is a sweet lullaby. Lodge chips in with the haunting Isn't Life Strange. You And Me speeds the tempo up with some nice bass work from John Lodge. The Land Of Make-Believe is another beautiful acoustic ballad from Justin Hayward. More Chamberlain and acoustic guitar on the Pinder number, When You're A Free Man is followed by the best composition Lodge ever wrote, I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band).

Romantic and melodic with the best rocking number the band came up with, Seventh Sojourn is a fantastic album which never lets up. With a six year hiatus before the band recorded again they should have got better. Mike Pinder exits the band and the great Patrick Moraz take over the keys. That they didn't, I don't know the answer.

Report this review (#2308796)
Posted Thursday, January 23, 2020 | Review Permalink

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