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Hayward & Lodge - Blue Jays CD (album) cover

BLUE JAYS

Hayward & Lodge

 

Crossover Prog

4.15 | 92 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 325

"Blue Jays" is a studio album recorded in 1974 and released in 1975 by Justin Hayward and John Lodge, two of The Moody Blues' members. The album was recorded and released during The Moody Blues' hiatus of five years. Between 1972 and 1978, after the release of their album "Seventh Sojourn", The Moody Blues took a break from recording together and the band's members improved to release their solo albums. So, it was in this context that Hayward and Lodge joined together and released "Blue Jays". The album had originally been a project of Hayward and Michael Pinder but as soon as Pinder left, Lodge entered. For many people "Blue Jays" is the lost The Moody Blues' album. Despite the absence of the other three band's members, it has the distinctive marks of an album released by the band.

At least in terms of sound, Hayward and Lodge have created with "Blue Jays" the ultimate The Moody Blues' album. It has the same sound that established the band's mass popularity in 1968 with their album "Days Of Future Passed". Basic rock instrumentation heavily overlaid with mellotron or string orchestra, and vocals treated as instruments in the Wagnerian manner. In strictly musical terms, however, The Moody Blues are far from Wagnerian. Simple and melodic themes are elongated to accommodate a dramatic and emotional swelling orchestration and a gargantuan crescendo.

The line up on the album is Justin Hayward (vocals and guitar) and John Lodge (vocals and bass). The album had also the participation, as guest musicians, of Jim Cockney (violin), Kirk Duncan (piano), Tom Tompkins (viola), Tim Tompkins (cello), Graham Deakin (drums), Mark Singer (drums) and Del Newman on the orchestral arrangements, too.

"Blue Jays" has ten tracks. The first track "This Morning" written by Hayward is a fantastic opener. It's one of the best songs on the album and I think it's also one of the best compositions of Hayward. This is a very beautiful song with a very emotional melody and it's also a song with a very complex musical structure. It's really a great track. The second track "Remember Me (My Friend)" written by Hayward and Lodge is the first song on the album co-written by both musicians. It's a very good song with a nice lovely melody and also with a great and beautiful chorus work. The third track "My Brother" written by Hayward is a nice and soft ballad, very melodic with fine arrangements and nice vocals too. It's another song with a wonderful melody. The fourth track "You" written by Lodge is another beautiful and soft ballad on the album. It's a typical Lodge's song, very pleasant and with a strong melodic sound and also with a great orchestration, as happen in the whole album. The fifth track "Nights Winters Tales" written by Hayward is a very beautiful and powerful ballad very well orchestrated. It's an exceptional classic piece of music that reminds us the soundtrack of a real film. The sixth track "Saved By The Music" written by Lodge is a nice and agreeable song with good guitar, flute and cello works and especially with a fantastic memorable chorus. The seventh track "I Dreamed Last Night" written by Hayward is another beautiful song completely in the vein of The Moody Blues' music. It's a fantastic song with a very strong melody, acoustic guitars and once more with great harmony in the chorus work. The eighth track "Who Are You Now" written by Hayward is essentially an acoustic song very melodic and beautiful. It's a short song, but despite that, is in my humble opinion, the most beautiful song on the album and it's one of my favourites too. This is really a very beautiful song. The ninth track "Maybe" written by Lodge is another song superiorly orchestrated. It's another soft song with a beautiful and calm melody and also with some good instrumentation. This is my favourite Lodge's song on the album. The tenth track "When You Wake Up" written by Hayward and Lodge is the other song co-written by both musicians. It's the song which was the B side of the single "Blue Guitar". This is a nice song with a strong melody, very beautifully played with good guitar work and also with a good work on the chorus. Finally we have the last song on the album, the bonus track and the A side of the single, "Blue Guitar", written by Hayward. This is a very short track, but it's a song with a nice and melodic guitar work. Despite be a good song and finishes quite well the album, I have the sensation that this is, somehow, a different song and in some way it doesn't belongs to "Blue Jays".

Conclusion: "Blue Jays" is a fantastic album, is the most romantic and the most successful album released by any The Moody Blues' members in their hiatus. In my humble opinion, "Blue Jays" proves three things. First, if this album had been released by the group would be one of their best works. Second, once again it was demonstrated how good this duo of composers is. Third, how a simple musical work can be an excellent album with a superior orchestration. So, and in short, the harmonies are probably the most notable characteristic of the songs on this album. Hayward and Lodge have always harmonized well and those harmonies are exploited for full effect on this album. These two artists are masters of the mellow rock. If you are looking for listening simple music, turn out the lights and listen to this, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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