The Moody Blues album by album thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Glenn Christense, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    so you enjoyed it then....? lol

    I know exactly what you mean - and the 'sexing up' of a band of old men (who as young men back in the sixties were NEVER sexy pop stars at all - quite the opposite !!) is just plain ghastly...and such a joke !

    Clearly a 'corporate' move to appear to be mega 'modern', 'happening now', 'oh so valid and contemporary (yawn) - when once upon a time first and foremost it was their music that was 'the traveller crossing our world meeting so many people bridging the seas...'

    Justin is utterly 'wooden' re anything like that onstage 'dancey about' stuff and is always a musician and singer, so 'sexing him up' never works even if some (presumably mainly female) fans get off on idolising him...

    John in his tight black pants and open shirt doing his 'moves' just makes me cringe it's so deeply silly....

    Graeme emerged from behind his drumkit in a concert I watched (a regular feature I guess) to do a kind of 'sailors jig' with adoring female backup singers around him - it was hilarious...but also just SAD !! (it looked like a diminutive drunken sailor had appeared onstage....)

    Ray at least seemed to retain some sense of dignity and 'distanced himself' from the 'sexing up' but really by then was a token figure bashing an unheard tambourine just adding a rather basic flute (by his own standards) as time went on, clearly 'winding down' in the latter years

    I bet Mike Pinder was glad he'd left to look for that Lost Chord...

    being an original sixties fan it was rather painful to watch - tho' 'Red Rocks' certainly wasn't as bad as it later got...
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  2. Lostchord

    Lostchord Dr. Livingstone, I presume

    Poznań, Poland
    some excellent points

    while on the Montreux video I found Ray's flute a very welcome link to the glorious past, on the Red Rocks his parts were - exactly, by his own standards - quite disappointing to me, especially in the context of the neat playing of the orchestra guys

    yes, unfortunately I've seen Graeme's Higher and Higher dance on YT... :(

    I must say though, that on Red Rocks, he seemed to be the most convincing out of the four as far as stage presence was concerned: the choruses of Question and especially of Nights, when he appears to be singing aloud along with Justin behind his back, are quite endearing, easily my favourite moments on the video
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  3. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    here is Graeme Edge doing his jig

    reminds me of that traditional olde sea shanty;
    'What shall we do with the drunken drummer...?'

    it's a bit like when your 75 year old grandfather gets up at the wedding reception and tries to dance all modern....and you just don't want to be there !

    sorry but for me Graeme is NO Mike Pinder when it comes to narration !

    I note the youtube replies were almost all positive except for just the one who felt they ruined a great song !!

    subtle, atmospheric, and thought Ain't !
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  4. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    now on the other hand just compare that performance with this;

    to me the latter still sounds stunning, the former like a tribute band !

    what was that about 'GO NOW' ??
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
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  5. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Nashville, TN
    I had the original Red Rocks CD as a kid, I was maybe 13 or so when I got it. Now I understand the beauty of the original recordings, but at the time, I enjoyed the liveliness and heavier sound of the versions on this album, particularly the 80's tunes. It's not essential, but I think the restored complete version of this concert is a really enjoyable addition to the Moodies catalog, particularly since they'd never properly documented or released an (authorized) live gig at any point up til then.
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  6. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block Thread Starter

    I wonder, is it just a coincidence that during Graeme's dance Justin is turned away the entire time, looking at his amp or similar ? :D

    Maybe it embarrasses him also!
  7. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, OH
    It's summer, it's an outside concert, everyone's having fun..!
    C'mon, remember what James Brown said...
    Give the drummer some.
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  8. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block Thread Starter

    I've played with James Brown's drummer and I don't recall him wanting to do any silly dances . :D
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  9. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    yes Justin Hayward clearly wants no part of watching the debacle and looks away throughout while it doesn't help at 4.57 into the YT posting when Graeme after 'shakin his ass' grabs at his groin (right in front of the young lady) and does a 'monkey walk' either !!! lol

    'In Search of The Lost Nuts' ?

    they should have let the pretty young lady with the tambourine do the main up front dancing about - at least she has got a sense of rhythm, the right moves and the body for it...!

    For the sake of dignity and respect it's high time they retired the famous band name and both Justin and John became solo artists, I feel that all they are doing now is milking a 'cash cow' by playing on the group name.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  10. Johnny Reb

    Johnny Reb Résident du forum

    Sorry guys, now I'm really behind! I was away all week, but I took the CDs of The Present and The Other Side of Life that I got from the library with me, and gave them both a serious listen. My thoughts:
    The Present is a worthy follow-up to Long Distance Voyager. It's not as good, but it's not bad and has some great tracks (like "Blue World"). In fact, while the high points aren't spectacular, the low points don't really show up at all. Solid. Wish I could say the same about The Other Side of Life; it's just not good. On Long Distance Voyager and The Present, the Moodies did a great job mixing 80's sound with their music, but that goes totally awry here. All out 80's combined with their weakest set of songs yet. That's not to say it's unlistenable, because it's not. It's The Moody Blues, so I'd enjoy just about anything, and this is no exception. And I did like it while I was playing it! About five of the songs were filler, but "Your Wildest Dreams" is pretty good, and the title track and a couple others are okay. I give it 3 stars.

    Going forward, I picked up Strange Times and Keys Of The Kingdom from the library, but Sur La Mer hasn't come in yet, so I've opted to wait and go in order.

    Edit: if anyone has duplicate Moodies CDs, PM me and I'd be happy to take them off your hands - we can work something out, I have Paypal and all. They'll be going to a good cause! :laugh:
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  11. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block Thread Starter



    Track listing
    1. "English Sunset" (Justin Hayward) — 5:05
    2. "Haunted" (Hayward) — 4:31
    3. "Sooner or Later (Walkin' on Air)" (Hayward, John Lodge) — 3:49
    4. "Wherever You Are" (Lodge) — 3:35
    5. "Foolish Love" (Hayward) — 3:56
    6. "Love Don't Come Easy" (Lodge) — 4:33
    7. "All That Is Real Is You" (Hayward) — 3:33
    8. "Strange Times" (Hayward, Lodge) — 4:29
    9. "Words You Say" (Lodge) — 5:31
    10. "My Little Lovely" (Ray Thomas) — 1:45
    11. "Forever Now" (Lodge) — 4:37
    12. "The One" (Hayward, Lodge) — 3:39
    13. "The Swallow" (Hayward) — 4:58
    14. "Nothing Changes" (Graeme Edge) — 3:32
    Additional personnel
    Released 17 August 1999
    Recorded December 1997 – June 1999
    Studio Mulinetti, Recco, Italy

    Length 57:33
    Label Universal Records
    Producer The Moody Blues
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  12. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block Thread Starter

    I like the album more now than when it was released. The reason is.. I had read an interview with Justin plugging the album just before the album was released and he talked about how they went back to the more organic way of recording, playing together in the room etc., or somesuch.

    So, I pick the up the album and the very first song"English Sunset" is slathered with synths and that faceless techno sound like many of the songs on their previous couple of albums, so it turned me right off of the album. False advertising from Justin. :D

    I like Justin's songs but I really dislike John's songs on the album, especially"Words You Say" and "Forever Love" . I don't need things to RAWWK but his wimpy, breathy, over vibrato-ed vocals and mawkish lyrics really make those songs unlistenable for me. They make Air Supply sound like Led Zeppelin in comparison. :D

    Ray's song" My Little Lovely" is great, it sounds like it could fit right in on any of the core 7 albums.

    I think the album is oddly sequenced. "The Swallow" is a nice low key song, kind of Justin's "Blackbird". To have that song followed by Graeme's "Nothing Changes" to end the album though kind of doesn't send the listener off with a strong listening experience IMO.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  13. gojikranz

    gojikranz Forum Resident

    I've fallen way behind. but figured I would mention other side of life was my first moody blues album. got it because I was a big yes fan so was looking into things band members did outside of yes and found it for a buck. relayer it was not! actually somewhat surprised I persisted and did finally get the wonderful long distance voyager which really made me a fan.
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  14. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    Yeah I agree they should perhaps have swapped 'The One' and 'The Swallow' around in the running order to contrast er 'moods' (!) better and boost the latter part of the album more as it does rather tail off in terms of the 'album dynamic' which is a pity

    For me this was a much stronger set of songs only marred by that 80's style obsession with synths and sequencing (yuk !) that rather dates it badly in places - it's from as late as 1999 yet could be from ten years earlier re production techniques here ! (a case of 'old dog old tricks' I suppose...) - BOY did they need a FIRM producer to succeed Tony Clarke, not just pander to Justin and John but make them play to their strengths re the album's production

    song wise it's big improvement, I actually DO like John's ballads (!) - shades of 'Maybe' from 'Blue Jays' and others - you either love 'em or loathe 'em and I far prefer his ballads to his 'non Moodies-ish' uptempo efforts like R & R OY , Weekend, Magic etc

    Ray's flute makes a very welcome return to the fore as well, on John's 'Forever Now' and other tracks

    Justin is on strong form here - 'Haunted' is quite superb, 'ATIRIY' sounds a little 'laboured' meandering and low key but is a lovely song nevertheless, 'The Swallow' is another gem that just grows and grows over the years, I also like the brisk 'Foolish Love' while Justin plays some really great guitarwork on the album that is not so apparent at first but over repeated plays comes more to your attention

    the title track is pretty decent and I really enjoy the alternating leads of John, Ray and in places a multi tracked Justin on 'Sooner or Later (Walking On Air)' which oozed a sense of full band unity or at least the impression of it...!

    Ray's delightful swansong to his grandson (now over 20 !) 'My Little Lovely' was a charming if all too brief closing piece from the Moodies co-founder

    Justin's opener 'English Sunset' despite very dated production has grown on me, I love that repeated guitar hook and Ray's vocal cameo was amusing too, it's a good opening number

    Graeme returns as a contributor and here sounds as if he now has dentures on his narration of a welcome poem/song to close - 'Nothing Changes'....with a great first acoustic then electric guitar by Justin on this thought provoking item

    how fitting Graeme closed the album, Ray's recording career with the band - and effectively the very likely final 'proper' Moodies album in their catalogue of original new songs - with his piece re an affirmation of core values and the times with a last line duly quoting Mike Pinder from way back in 1968;

    '....and life is still A Simple Game'

    so very apt !

    curious how both Mike Pinder and Patrick Moraz respective 'shadows' could be felt upon the group here which was a positive thing...and the vocal harmonies sound much richer, tighter and so very distinctive

    the biggest problem was of course the almost a decade between the rather disjointed KOTK from as long ago as 1991 and this end of the decade set - in the meantime some older Moodies fans had long given up on them, some had passed away no doubt...while at least a portion of Justin's much heralded 80's era fans seem to have 'forgotten' them too as the album was an undeserved failure in terms of sales at least by their standards - and very likely caused the Corporate Musak industry to henceforth class them as nothing more than a nostalgia act (thus the next studio album was only a Christmas market set sold with a 'Very Best of...' compilation !)

    Strange Times Strange Times....

    but this WAS a return to form album albeit with some dated production, the sheer length of time between the studio albums at least ensured that NO dreaded blatant 'fillers' were included, each song had some notable strength and sounded like a later but recognisable Moody Blues !

    While not perhaps in the top league of their best earlier album works I do still play it quite a bit, it flows well as a 'proper' album set, has no terrible tracks, 'solo' numbers, or badly out of place songs on it (for me), and it still grows on me more and more....a notable 'core seven' strength !
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  15. Lonesurf

    Lonesurf Forum Resident

    Philadelphia, Pa
    I agree with the previous reviews that Strange Times was a nice step in the right direction. Justin's contributions were mostly strong (especially the sublime The Swallow), and it was good to hear from both Ray & Graeme. I too had had my fill of John's breathy (& interminable) ballads at this point. I rarely listen to them now if I flip through the disc.

    The shared lead vocals on Sooner Or Later were a treat. And English Sunset rocked just enough to satisfy this older fan.

    All in all, a fairly solid return to (at least early 80's) form for the fellas.
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  16. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block Thread Starter

    Now that I've listened to the album again for the first time in years to refresh my memory of it, I'll give it some listening time again once in awhile , but I'll just skip over the tracks that I don't like.
  17. MikeVielhaber

    MikeVielhaber Forum Resident

    Cypress, TX
    This may have happened, I never heard of it, but it was initially and is still today sold on its own.
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  18. MikeVielhaber

    MikeVielhaber Forum Resident

    Cypress, TX
    Strange Times was the first new album for me after I had become a new fan. I got into them a year earlier in the fall of 1998. So I anxiously awaited the new album. I remember asking my mom to go pick it up for me on the day it came out which happened to coincide with my first day of 9th grade. I was a few weeks shy of my 14th birthday. Mom must have forgotten that day or something because I ended up getting the following day. When I came home from school that day I sat down on the couch with my dad (they were his favorite band when he was in college in the early 70s) and we listened to the whole thing straight through. Would be pretty odd these days as I rarely (or never) ever just sit and listen to music without some visual stimuli or driving.

    I've always liked it. Probably their best overall album since at least The Present. I don't mind John's ballads and each one individually I'm fine with, but there are just too many of them. All of his solo compositions are ballads and they all follow the same chorus pattern of repeated the same line 3 times. I wish Ray had more than 1:45 on this album that is nearly 60 minutes long. It's a bit too long. Justin's songs are pretty strong. "Haunted", "The Swallow" are highlights. "All That is Real is You" always reminded me of "Away in a Manger". My dad's favorite was "Foolish Love".

    I saw them on this tour a couple months after the album came out. They played with an orchestra. This was my first concert and I went with my dad. They played 5 or 6 songs from Strange Times including Graeme's song. I saw them again in 2001 promoting the Hall of Fame live album. This was my second concert. That time without an orchestra but still, a year and a half later, essentially the same set with only one difference. They switched out one of the ST songs for "The Actor".

    It sucks that this ended being that last proper studio album when I had only just gotten into them.
  19. OldJohnRobertson

    OldJohnRobertson Martyr for Even Less

    Durham, NC
    I honestly think Strange Times was a fantastic album and was a real return to form for The Moodies. I think it's inarguably their best since The Present.
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  20. gorangers

    gorangers Well-Known Member

    New Haven area
    My favorite song too. I have a early pressing of this lp that is unbelievably hot. On Question I have to remember to turn the volume down because the horns are so loud.
  21. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    the christmas album was sold together with 'Very Best of...' in the UK and also it has been twinned with a compilation titled; 'Ballads' too - this might not have been the case in the USA

    it seems over here that not much sales potential was seen in just a 'new' album of Christmas themed songs hence both the 'Best of' and 'Ballads' sets were added to boost it's sales chances
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  22. roman.p

    roman.p Forum Resident

    This is the tray inlay card that greeted me when I opened my copy of Strange Times 18 years ago. It didn't make a good first impression. I don't think I have another CD like this. I mean, what were they thinking? Surely they realized that within a year or two, the card would be obsolete — yet the shameless hucksterism would endure for decades.
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  23. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    I do recall on Mike Pinder's old forum Mike once said something about how when they regrouped for 'Octave' the 'vibe wasn't right' and how some of the guys had changed...

    I'm guessing but I think Mike noticed that times and some people certainly had changed a lot - and that the 'corporate business' side of the music industry was by then taking evermore firm control and possibly a number of the group members were now 'businessmen' besides being musicians and artists

    True The Moodies had earlier done this themselves by forming Threshold etc but that was supposedly to GET AWAY from the business suits and have artistic freedom (the old Apple dream)

    of course life is strange, people change over time, and sadly it is a Simple game ...of cash !!

    I suspect that was an underlying reason besides not being prepared to tour again (and putting his family first) that Mike dropped out as clearly things were not as in the past

    over time I suspect Ray got disillusioned too...

    over the 80's into the 90's the band became evermore a 'corporate' concern (however their music went) firmly playing on their sixties/early seventies classic songs in the concerts ( songs people wanted to hear of course) but besides whatever creativity there was you also got a TON of 'product' thrown at you - I've heard disgruntled fans complain re these 'Moody Blues Cruises' that after paying out a lot they got scant chance to speak with the band members....

    at a (now long gone) Threshold Record Shop 'meet and greet' in Cobham Surrey with The Moodies present a few years back (filmed by a fan and posted online) it was noticeable after the initial 'presentation' and speech that Justin could be seen very swiftly walking off out the back of the shop away from any no great enthusiasm from him to meet the fans for any longer than absolutely necessary - while that 'Moody Blues Attitude' website have reported how access to band members is increasingly very hard these days it appears...and more a group of personnel stand between fans and their stars (perhaps that is inevitable tho')

    so it seems over time more and more the music took something of a back seat and 'corporate product' became more and more the promoted aspect, hence these cruises and the items advertised in that 'Strange Times' CD tray
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  24. RicZ

    RicZ Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    Been eight years since "Keys of The Kingdom" and I had, not forgotten about the Moody Blues, but not thinking we would be getting another album.
    Till one day I noticed an unknown Moody Blues cd in their section,
    indeed the inlay kind of put me off a bit.
    It got me confussed, looked like some commercial release, a best of put out by the record company, not a a real new Moody Blues album.
    Still, investigating furture, yes indeed it was a new Moody Blues album.

    Fortunately the music didn't take a back seat as this was The Moody Blues back in great form.
    Easily their best album since "The Present".
    I just listened to the album again.
    I heard more of Ray's flute playing then I remembered.
    Some really wonderfull moments on "Sooner or Later" .
    And it's great to hear Justin, John and Ray trading lines on the song.

    Shivers down my spine while listening to "My Little Lovely"
    Such a beautiful song, Ray was back.
    Tho the song is really short and I wish we had another Ray song included.
    Some flute flourishes also on "The Swallow", albeit again to short.
    But that song in my opnion is a later day Moody Blues classic.

    I am not a big fan of the so called rock songs by John from the more recent albums.
    The last good one was "Sitting at the Wheel".
    But "The One" is great, it is a co write with Justin ofcourse, but still a John rock song mostly.
    The trademark Moody Blues backing vocals are back,
    and all in all the song is a step up from "Magic" from the previous album and certainly much better then "Here Comes The Weekend".
    Till this day thought I still don't know who the song is about.
    Some Beatle references, if you count the lines about the "Helter Skelter" ride into "Yesterday".
    Maybe a long stretch but he is also singing about "Across The Universe" on "Forever Now".

    Speaking of which, I like most of John's ballads on here, but I agree with Mike that there are to many on here.
    "Forever Now" might be the best one on here.
    Lovely to hear more of Ray on this.
    The one I don't care for though is "Words You Say".

    "Foolish Love" is another highpoint for me.
    Another classic song.
    And "Strange Times" together with "English Sunset" are among the best and stongest songs since "The Voice" on "Long Distance Voyager".

    Almost forgot.
    Some shivers down the spine moments on "Nothing Changes".
    Justin's guitar playing and then when his vocals come in,
    some fantastic moments.
    And Graeme isn't bad as narrator of his poem, whatever you might think of the poem itself.

    After a false and confusing start, looking at the inlay, which is now containing a ticket stub from their concert in the HMH Amsterdam from 2004.
    I can fortunatly say "Strange Times" is a great return to form.
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  25. Lostchord

    Lostchord Dr. Livingstone, I presume

    Poznań, Poland
    I was quite hesitant to buy this one, and when I did, the only song I really liked was The Swallow. It's still my favourite track on the album.

    After much effort and many listenings (which I wouldn't have probably given any other band) I learned to like the whole album. It's largely "acquired liking", so to say, but to such an extent that it's difficult for me to pick up the weakest track on it - it would be Haunted or Forever Now, but I'd call neither of them "bad".

    That said, there are three points of praise I have to mention:

    1) for the first time since 1983 (or is it 1978?) the songs are stylistically and lyrically adequate to the age of the band members and their musical legacy
    2) the plastic disappeared from the arrangements almost entirely - good riddance
    3) now I can honestly say that there isn't any song on the album I wouldn't like (first time since Blue Jays and even then I'd choose both Haunted and Forever Now over Maybe)

    Still, I have some major issues with the songs. While most of the bad things are gone, I 'm not quite satisfied with the goods here.

    First of all, I'm not entirely convinced by the songwriting level on this one. As for John, I learned to like his ballads, but I definitely agree that there is one too many, and there aren't enough hooks for all the four of them. Wherever You Are has a simplistic chorus, which could have been replaced by some better moments of Forever Now. Love Don't Come Easy is better than these ones, but still not 'deep' enough for me. I like Words You Say most, that's probably as close to "Blue Jays 2" as we could get.

    As for Justin, he's a bit uneven on this one, I'd say. I learned not to notice the techno beat on English Sunset, but it still disqualifies this otherwise very good song in the long run. I have some problems with Haunted too, it should have been a great song, but it sounds flat to me, possibly badly arranged. Conversely, All That Is Real Is You is superbly arranged, but it's a very simple melody built on a trite chord progression (and the instrumental break in a different key is odd to me). OK, Foolish Love is really a grower, and the title track is very good - melodically complex and fantastically sung. But I'd say that his songs on The View From the Hill were overall better (though this album is marred by the two non-Hayward-penned tracks and much slicker production). Better and more convincing... I dunno... emotionally?

    Which leads me to my perhaps biggest issue with Strange Times. It seems to me to be lacking in this elusively Moody quality. I don't know what I'd have liked a 1999 Moody Blues album to sound, but I know that the strongest tracks on The View From the Hill (like It's Not Too Late or The Way of the World with the synth emulating mellotron bends) have much more of this "Moodiness" than Strange Times does. This is perhaps confirmed by my then girlfriend who used to say that ST was her favourite MB album because of its restrained quality, she used to find the other ones too overwhelming. Perhaps that's the thing - I'd love to have been more overwhelmed by this one.

    The "Moodiest" moments on Strange Times for me would be the harmonies on The One (on the other songs the harmonies strike me as somewhat thin) and the sung part of Nothing Changes. Oh yes, the latter is very moving, and a fitting closure to the Ray Thomas era in the band (even if he might not be on this track) and a great nod to the "classic" line-up.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017

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