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
    Re 'The One' - I don't think it's actually aimed at any particular individual like a nasty 'attack' on anybody who has upset the writer(s) as such but is more an observation of a general life situation of someone wanting to be 'THE One' etc, a comment on all the negative vibes that go with that kind of self seeking that seems so much a part of the entertainment industry, be it in music, acting etc...being 'The One' in the public eye etc

    Ray's flute is great on several tracks, I love his intro to John's 'Forever Now' and indeed his work on 'The Swallow'

    'Nothing Changes' is a terrific poem/song, very thought provoking - it's just hearing Graeme's voice sounding so elderly (compared to say 'Departure' etc) is rather sobering....almost a lifetime on, while Justin's acoustic then electric guitarwork is superb
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  2. roman.p

    roman.p Forum Resident

    Okay, so after I got over the sinfully commercial CD tray, I found the first Moodies disc worth my time since The Present. I’m with you, Glenn, about the Lodge ballads. Four is definitely at least two too many. But I used to have a CD player that you could program to delete certain songs — and it would remember the next time you put in the disc. For me, Strange Times was a much-improved, more manageable album without the Lodge ballads. But listening today, I just find them inoffensive, and I probably agree, Lostchord, that I might take them over “Maybe”.

    Production-wise, this was a huge improvement over the preceding three albums. But the programming is still there, although much more subtle. I hear lots of keyboard bass, synthesized orchestration and programmed percussion. And I wonder if any of the flute sounds audible on various tracks is actually Thomas — they sound fake to me. I contend that if actual humans were playing, this album could have been so much stronger, and more enduring.

    Highlights: “Sooner or Later”, a summery, feel-good classic with a cool vocal arrangement (I love how they gave technophobe Thomas the line “Send a message on your online”), the title track, “The One”, “Foolish Love”, “Nothing Changes” and especially “The Swallow”. What a lovely little tune. Hayward gets in some supercool guitar licks, like the one at 3:14. I do wish “My Little Lovely” had been developed a little more. But it was nice to hear a Thomas tune — although I wonder how much he participated in the album.

    Still, overall, at least they left us with something worthy of their legacy.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  3. MikeVielhaber

    MikeVielhaber Forum Resident

    Cypress, TX
    And it shows through the clear spine. Always hated how that looked.
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  4. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    in my email today is a message plugging various corporate Moodies products re the 50th DOFP anniversary.....'Nothing Changes'
  5. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Nashville, TN
    Re: Strange Times. It's 4 songs and 15 minutes too long, but there's some really nice stuff on it, and since it's likely to be the last Moodies record (Christmas crap doesn't count), it's at least a far better way to end the journey than Keys Of The Kingdom.

    The title track is a top 10 Moodies tune for me. It (probably unintentionally) sounds a lot like something Oasis would've been doing at the time, which doesn't hurt. "English Sunset" is a great Hayward pop tune, even if the electronica-lite production hasn't aged particularly well. Kind of wish they'd given it one more shot in the studio, but alas.
    Glenn Christense likes this.
  6. Johnny Reb

    Johnny Reb Résident du forum

    Still catching up, sorry for the quick derailment...
    I picked up Sur La Mer and the next two from the library the other day. The librarian said, "The Moody Blues! Love them!... Aren't you a little young?" :laugh: I should have said that "good music isn't hindered by age", but I didn't. :cool:

    Sur La Mer is a bit of a return to form after The Other Side Of Life. Although the production is still the overblown 80's sound, it somehow suits the songs here. It helps that the 10 songs here are a big step up from the 9 on the previous album, with some great songs like "I Know You're Out There Somewhere", "Breaking Point", "No More Lies", and "I Want To Be With You". Lodge's songs are also a step up, and I love how "Here Comes The Weekend" sounds like a matter of life and death until you hear the lyrics! The melodies that were lacking in TOSOL are back in force. All in all, pretty solid and worthy to be remembered.

    I find the liner notes funny though, about that these songs will be considered as important today as their ones from Days Of Future Passed, etc. While they're not remembered as much as they should be (imo), that's overly optimistic! Also I guess I fit into the "fourth" generation of Moodies fans, which proves that their music is enduring (I guess).

    Wish I could praise Keys Of The Kingdom, but I can't. The songs again are weak and not up to the standards of The Present or Sur La Mer at all. Not only that, but the production is lousy - unlike the previous 80's albums, the clean 80's sound is gone in favor of chaotic cacophonous loudness. Not a fan. A couple of the songs are good, but it's nothing to write home about, and it's certainly not one I'll be pulling out often. Maybe I'm being too harsh, because it wasn't horrible, but bring on Strange Times, sounds like that one will be better!

    Edit: Just wanted to throw in a few things about the artwork. I think the artwork of the classic seven + the next three are all really great, and fit the music perfectly. The Other Side Of Life's artwork fits the music although it's not that good of a cover. Then comes Sur La Mer and Keys Of The Kingdom, which are both lousy covers imo. Sur La Mer's doesn't fit the music at all, and Keys Of The Kingdom's does, and it's not a good cover. I like Strange Times' better though.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  7. Johnny Reb

    Johnny Reb Résident du forum

    And now to get caught up! Strange Times is an excellent return to form from the band; while a little long, it includes some of the strongest tunes since Long Distance Voyager. The production is so much better than Keys Of The Kingdom, and, while a little too punchy, it fits the music well. Songs like "The Swallow", "Sooner Or Later", and "Foolish Love" are a fun listen, and it's great to have Thomas back with the captivatingly whimsical "My Little Lovely". Edge's spoken-word ending is great too and hearkens back to Days Of Future Passed. Plus, the artwork is great and a huge step up from KOTK and Sur La Mer. Good stuff! (Although register me one of the disapproving of the tray artwork - what on earth were they thinking?!)
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  8. bhazen

    bhazen Binaural-Curious

    Newcastle, WA
    Got nuffink to add, 'cept that I really like "English Sunset". :) Actually, the whole deal is pretty strong, and refreshingly free of Eighties production excesses. (Thank the Maker.) Best one since, I dunno, Long Distance Voyager. By which I mean, not much filler; each of the four gets in some songs; and there's even a few Mellotron samples(!!)

    Anybody know when the Days concert that's been playing on PBS will be released on DVD ...?
    Glenn Christense likes this.
  9. Defrance

    Defrance A Northern Soul

    Calgary, AB
    Given this is the end of their (non-Christmas) studio albums, here's my tracklist for:

    This Is The Moody Blues 2 (79:59)

    Side A (19:33)
    The Voice
    Meet Me Halfway
    Hope And Pray

    Side B (21:06)
    Talking Out Of Turn
    Your Wildest Dreams
    Blue World (Single Edit)
    No More Lies

    Side C (18:42)
    Veteran Cosmic Rocker
    English Sunset
    I Know You're Out There Somewhere
    Had To Fall In Love

    Side D (20:38)
    The Day We Meet Again
    In My World

    Tracks by Album:
    O - 3
    LDV - 4
    TP - 2
    TOSOL - 1
    SLM - 3
    KOTK - 1
    ST - 1

    - The whole thing fits on a CD (just barely). Of course, if I had the masters there'd be crossfades and that would take a bunch of time out of it :)
    - When sequencing this, I noticed that 11 of the 15 tracks are side openers/closers (only "Meet Me Halfway", "Talking Out Of Turn", "No More Lies", and "Had To Fall In Love" are not).
    - The last spot on the comp was a toss up between "Gemini Dream", "I'm Your Man", and "No More Lies", which won out
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  10. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    where's 'Running Water' ? - but aside from that far too much Hayward overall for me, a few Lodge and Thomas songs such as 'Sitting At The Wheel', 'Survival', 'Sorry', 'Celtic Sonant' would be required to make it a more 'Balanced' Moodies set

    and it's A Question of...'
  11. Defrance

    Defrance A Northern Soul

    Calgary, AB
    I went with good songs as opposed to balance :p

    True, though, he does dominate the set I put together.
    Glenn Christense likes this.
  12. Glenn Christense

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



    Track listing
    1. "Don't Need a Reindeer" (Justin Hayward) – 3:59
    2. "December Snow" (Hayward) – 5:11
    3. "In the Quiet of Christmas Morning (Bach 147)" (Bach, Hayward, John Lodge) – 2:51
    4. "On This Christmas Day" (Lodge) – 3:40
    5. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" (John Lennon, Yoko Ono) – 2:37
    6. "A Winter's Tale" (Mike Batt, Tim Rice) – 4:28
    7. "The Spirit of Christmas" (Lodge) – 4:52
    8. "Yes I Believe" (Hayward) – 4:21
    9. "When a Child Is Born" (Zacar, Fred Jay) – 3:34
    10. "White Christmas" (Irving Berlin) – 3:08
    11. "In the Bleak Midwinter" (Holst, Rossetti) – 3:21
    Additional personnel
    Released 28 October 2003
    Recorded November 2002 – August 2003
    Mulinetti Studios, Italy

    Length 42:08
    Label Universal Records
    Producer Justin Hayward & John Lodge
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  13. rushed again

    rushed again Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    I enjoy this album and play it every holiday season. The originals are good and A Winter's Tale is a fine fit. It's not perfect, but very good & happy to have it.

    ps..this thread reminds me that I need to listen to Strange Times again as these two consecutive releases were a step to the positive for me after 3 real struggles in a row.
    bhazen likes this.
  14. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    I wonder why they left off Graeme's song 'Coconut Christmas' ?
    - he wasn't too happy about it and the album's hardly overlong running time wise clocking in at just over 42 minutes when compared to 'Strange Times' etc...

    Graeme was still 'miffed' years later and said he wanted 'White Christmas' taken OFF the album..! (a cover too far in my view tho' apparently they were forced to do Bing's old hit by the record company - how times had changed since they opted NOT to do the 'New World Symphony' but DOFP instead....strange times, strange times)

    'December Snow' was great, and they did a lovely cover of 'A Winter's Tale' - but for me that as an Xmas single would be enough...

    the rest is rather weak fillers plus a few uninspired covers, and the fact they were doing covers suggests not only record company interference but maybe a positive lack of songwriting effort by this time (??)

    - odd that one song is titled 'The Spirit of Christmas'...then the following song opens with, yes you guessed it; 'the Spirit of Christmas'

    - However, re covers I did think they could have done a great cover of Greg Lake's solo hit; 'I Believe in Father Christmas'

    ...Justin could sing that song really well, but it's a rather cynical song so maybe that would not be deemed correct for the album's style (?)

    I left off 'White Christmas' - and added at the start 'This is The Moment' (ie 'birth of Christ' as opposed to world cup football ! lol) and even threw in Ray's 'My Little Lovely' before the final track to at least create some sense of a fuller band effort, it sounded nice with those two added and Bing's song dropped (yuk I hate that cover)...but of course while pleasant it's a once a year seasonal listen...

    Hardly the 'famed for their albums' group signing off their studio album career in a major style tho' was it ?
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  15. MikeVielhaber

    MikeVielhaber Forum Resident

    Cypress, TX
    Yes, for a Christmas CD I do enjoy it. I pull it out every year and listen to it few times. Sometimes I wonder if John is on some of Justin's songs. The harmonies aren't there anymore. I remember leading up to this there was an interview with Graeme where he said he wrote a song for it. It never showed up. We'll probably never hear it.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  16. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    perhaps Santa failed to deliver it...
  17. MikeVielhaber

    MikeVielhaber Forum Resident

    Cypress, TX
    It's interesting how many bands or artists who have seemingly ceased making albums ended with a Christmas album. There are quite a few of them.
  18. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Southern England
    I suspect that is down to the record companies trying to get a few bucks out of the always lucrative Christmas market from a (assumed by them to be) fast fading 'name' group

    Slade's 'Christmas Cracker' album stills aptly cracks me up...! lol
  19. roman.p

    roman.p Forum Resident

    A dismal trend. Who are some others?
  20. Johnny Reb

    Johnny Reb Résident du forum

    Jethro Tull... And it's excellent!
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  21. roman.p

    roman.p Forum Resident

    "Days of future passed" makes it into another lyric in "Yes I Believe". Actually, that's one of the few tolerable tracks on here. I don't mind the first two tracks (well, if I overlook the lyrics to "Don't Need a Reindeer"). There's some decent guitar work, and the Mellotron samples in "December Snow" at least provide a bridge to the classic Moodies sound. As for the rest of it . . . ick. The band hits rock bottom with "White Christmas". What a pathetic end to their recording career.
    To be fair, I can't think of many Christmas albums worth listening to. Bruce Cockburn's comes to mind, since it avoids most of the cliches, and the Motown and Phil Spector albums are fun in their way.
  22. MikeVielhaber

    MikeVielhaber Forum Resident

    Cypress, TX
    Jethro Tull is one as has been mentioned. Hall and Oates is another. There are some others that aren't coming to me off the top of my head. I'll come back to it.
    Jeremy Holiday likes this.
  23. Ronm1

    Ronm1 Forum Resident

    As I mentioned before
    Merry Axemas vol 1&2
    Chicago Xmas - a real fav
    Jewel great voice
    Enya good holiday spin
  24. Lonesurf

    Lonesurf Forum Resident

    Philadelphia, Pa

    December is fine for what it is. As it's a holiday release, I tend play it about once a year & always like it enough to wish it wasn't their last album together.

    I like Justin's take on In The Bleak Midwinter. His plaintive vocal is a perfect fit.
  25. Glenn Christense

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

    You know guys, since I started this thread almost three months ago (yikes!) I've listened to almost nothing EXCEPT the Moody Blues for those three months. That is really unusual for me because I usually get restless after listening to any one group for more than a day or two .

    That being said, this has been a wonderful experience for me .
    Instead of getting sick of listening to the band almost non stop, it has actually reinforced my love for their music.

    I have even found many strong songs from later albums that I had originally dismissed out of hand .

    One epiphany I had listening to their entire catalog album by album is this:
    I can't think of one other songwriter/ singer that has written so many very similar songs as Justin Hayward, yet I absolutely love almost all of them.

    Most of them have the same "vibe", same wistful, melancholy approach, and same vocal style but they are all so strong in their own way that I don't get tired of the style. The guy is a beautiful melody machine.
    Most of his songs are similar, yet different , if that makes sense . :p

    That kind of amazes me that he can mine the same sort of narrow area of music, yet I don't get that "this sounds like every other song of his" feeling . He's written so many beautiful melodies that he might be the worlds most underappreciated songwriter , IMO.

    Folks, with December that wraps up the studio albums from the band .
    I want to say thanks to everyone that has participated in the thread. It's been
    lots of fun and I've enjoyed every post and the spirit of shared love of the band in the thread.
    Good job guys ! :wave:

    I'll probably add the Blue Jays album in a few days because it's essentially the first Hayward/Lodge Moody Blues album , but judging by the drop off of interest in the thread after the core seven albums I don't think there is enough interest to go through the other solo albums.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
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