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Subject: Post a rave review of your fave album(s) ........

Written By: Green Lantern on 10/26/07 at 11:32 pm

I accidentally stumbled across this site ....  http://www.johnmcferrinmusicreviews.org/mb.html    whilst looking for a larger image of the Moody Blues ' A night at Red Rock, with the Colorado symphony orchestra' DVD (to post in 'The person below me' thread.  Went on to find a review there that waxes lyrical re MY most highly regarded album ever ( ??? no, not MINE .. theirs ... if you know what I mean  :P ).

So, I present that review here (below). Now, see if you can find a review that's as glowing re YOUR fave album (s) ... and post it here !


http://static.rateyourmusic.com/album_images/s10903.jpg


*To Our Children's Children's Children - 1969 Threshold*


Best song: Gypsy (and Higher and Higher, and Eyes of a Child, and ...)

Every personal "best albums" list, no matter how closely in line with general consensus, should contain what I would call a "personal" favorite. That is, there should be an album or two or five on the list that could easily be considered good but goofy and moderately underwhelming from one very arguable point of view, and absolutely breathtakingly amazing from another. For many, for instance, this slot is taken up by Forever Changes, an album I've grown to like overall but which still bothers me with its low degree of stylistic variation throughout. For me, that album is this; I can see lots of people shaking their heads confusedly at the idea of me giving an album like this a perfect score, but to me, this album is absolutely AWESOME, with a sound and a vibe and melodies that are close to my idea of perfection. Cosmic artsy lush universal love-pop, that's what this is, and no matter how much additional music I hear this grabs hold of my heart like few things can.

It's another concept album, more or less based around space travel (appropriate, seeing as this was the year when Man landed on the moon), the passage of time into the eternities, and those of us who are along for the ride. Of course, specific details in interpretations may vary, but that's not what's most important. What is important is that this album, to my ears, is a collection of some of the most overwhelmingly moving, beautiful, and powerful songs ever written, and is certainly the best final product that the group ever comitted to tape.

We kick off with the usual poem, entitled Higher and Higher, but even if you aren't a fan of Edge's verse style, there are plenty of other things that can make one enjoy this; we start with an explosion, some grandiose harmonies in the background, with the effect of emulating a manned rocket launch, and then this great electric guitar driven rock song takes over, with Pinder pronouncing Man's fate with his best voice of God imitation. And that chorus, "Higher and higher, now we've learned to play with fire, we go higher and higher and higher," is phenomenal! It simply rules, and easily falls into my list of Top Ten Moodies songs. As the opening fury dies away, a lovely harp leads us into the simply gorgeous Eyes of a Child, with some of Lodge's best writing ever and beautiful group harmonies. And that clarinet part in the beginning is simply perfect. And we've only just begun!

Thomas' Floating, an ode to the joys of moonwalking, has perhaps the catchiest melody he's ever written, and that "come flooooooating" part ... wow. And as the "you'd liiiike it" fades out, we get Eyes of a Child II, which RULES! It doesn't exactly 'rock,' but it's fast, and Lodge's clever and memorable lyrical images are cemented in by simply amazing harmonies and a great melody. Oh, by the way, we're not even a third through the album. Next, we get a beautiful, majestic acoustic number from Hayward, with those angelic vocals we've come to expect, entitled I Never Thought I'd Live to be a Hundred. It's gorgeous, and begins the 'passage of time' stretch of the concept. But don't go anywhere, because we get ANOTHER great song from Edge (two in one album? Amazing!), the 'cosmic' instrumental Beyond. Alternating soaring, heavenly Mellotron sounds with a rough, almost really rocking passages, this track certainly carries the listener into space or time or whatever it is as well as one could expect from such a piece. And finally, we get Pinder's soothing Mellotron-soaked mantraesque atmosphere piece, the wonderful Out and In. Oddly enough, I once somewhat disliked this number, but now I'm not really sure what was wrong with me. All I know now is that it sucks you in, mellows you out, and all of those great things that it so obviously wants to do.

Amazingly, though, side two is even better. I think it would perfectly reasonable to say that Hayward's Gypsy, Thomas' Eternity Road, and Lodge's Candle of Life are the best three song stretch that can be found on any Moody Blues album. The first is one of the group's signature songs (although it hasn't been so this decade, it was their regular concert opener for several years), a fast rocker with a really dark Mellotron ambience surrounding the fast strumming of the acoustic guitar. The second is another one of Thomas' great songs, with some lovely Hayward harmonies, a great melody, and some lovely flute at the end. Finally, Candle of Life, regardless of the ridiculous chorus, is beeeeeyooooooooooootiful, as Hayward and Lodge each take half of the verse parts and Pinder's piano part is as gorgeous as can be. Simply phenomenal.

Pinder's next song, The Sun is Still Shining, isn't any worse than the masterpieces which preceded it, although it's somewhat odd to be getting such a cheerful song from Mike (especially when the last three tracks had all been so dark). It's cool, and you'll be perfectly happy to hear it when it comes on. Anyways, as we head down the home stretch, we get the Hayward reprise I Never Thought I'd Live to be a Million, which helps bring the concept(s) of the album to a completion. Before we leave, though, we get one final dose of Justin's voice in the Hayward-Thomas composition Watching and Waiting. It's a little weaker than the other tracks on side two, mainly because it's so obvious that they were trying very hard to make another Nights in White Satin (Justin has said in many interviews since that the pressure to do so was enormous, and that they were extremely dissappointed when W&W failed to be a smash). It's pretty, though, and it seems to be a cry of loneliness from a planet with no friends or human inhabitants. Or something pretentious like that. Still lovely stuff.

In short, if I haven't yet convinced you to have this album, I say only this; side two is the best side of Moodies music ever, and side one is the second best.
Plus, the overall 'atmosphere' of this work completely and totally defies description - it is like nothing I have ever heard or encountered before, nor do I imagine that this will change in the future. While it doesn't have quite the death grip on me that it once did (I once held this as my second favorite album overall, behind only Revolver), it is still certainly one of my ten favorite albums of all time, and given how much my collection has grown since I first heard this, that says something. This is THE essential album to own for a Moody Blues fan, especially since you will never hear any of the songs on the radio, anywhere. A pity, this is.

Send me your thoughts

Dave H. (omni45@verizon.net)

Ok, here I am again. I thot side one was a bit rag-tag. I thot the quiet beginning of "Eyes of a Child" was a bit too quiet...it sounds weak until the chorus comes in. Not that it is a bad song; it is great...I just wish it had been recorded more fully...and I am not sure what "Beyond" tried to accomplish...it gets a good groove going, and then just kinda wallows in murky sound, a la "The Voyage"....Still...the songs THEMSELVES are wonderful; like you, I thot "Candle of Life" was just so gorgeous...I don't think they were trying for another "Nights in White Satin" on "Watching and Waiting"...the song...it is heartfelt...desolate...as our hero is trapped inside himself, hoping that someone, anyone, notices...As rag-tag as side 1 is, side two is extremely solid...(I think perhaps "Beyond" would have worked better on side 2, with one of side 2's songs brought over to side 1...I think one thing must be addressed: The moody blues were recording an awful lot of albums in a VERY short time...and the way the record is put together, there might not have been sufficient TIME to fuss over a song lineup. This was the hardest Early Moody blues album for me to get into...not sure why....but a lot of it is very very very good. Like you, I really dig "Higher and higher". By the way, cool website, dude. Dave

Clarke Sammons (SammonsCJ@c-b.com)

I am completely enjoying reading your reviews on the Bloody Dudes. I can actually trace being a fan all the way back to, say, 8 or 9 years old (I'm 31 now). The reason I say that is because my Dad listened to this stuff on his old turntable, which was in a long, rectangular piece of cabinetry and also held a long row of albums. I distinctly remember staring at the bizarre album covers, listening to the music coming out of that bass-heavy dinosaur and thinking this is what music is all about.

TOCCC is what truly sticks out. Especially the ***BLAM!!!!*** beginning of 'Higher and Higher'. Scared the youth out of me.

This album is their standout, no question. It does not have my favorite Moody songs on it, but the entire atmosphere is what comes off so well. You take off, you're on the journey, and you slowwwwwwwly come back down at the end of 'Watching and Waiting'.

I agree with you on 'Candle of Life'. Please, Pinder, don't slam me in the face with "So loooove everybody, and make them your friennnnd'. Bleh. Yuck. Song would have done fine without that chorus.

Thank you for the site and the chance to respond.

"Fernando H. Canto" (sirmustapha@ig.com.br) (2/26/03)

must have listened to this one album some good 8 times at one week. It was darned difficult to collect it on Kazaa (I never thought a 33 second track would take so long to find), but I made it. Unfortunately, the album didn't have any strong impact at me. I felt it was clumsy, broken and shabby. For some reason. Of course, the songs were fine. But not 'Godlike' as you seem to think. But then... something happened, and this album has grown unbelivably in me. This is probably one of the very few albums (along with Dark Side Of The Moon, that is) that I could listen to 10 times in a row and don't get tired. The general sound of the piece has captured my heart, and I learned to love each and every song.

One of my big favourites here is Floating. Man, what a darned catchy and exciting song, this one. That chorus makes me so excited I feel like jumping around like a little kid. How can one resist that "o-o-oh you'd like it"?? The catchiest song I have heard so far, I can say. Another song I'm very, very fond of is Sun Is Still Shining. THIS is how you make a happy song. Happy, not cheesey. The sitars and the fun rhythm truly make the song, and the chorus is the greatest 13 seconds of music these guys can deliver me. Ooh, and Out And In, too. Very beautiful and athmospheric. Gotta love those Mellotrons. And that intro? Ooh, I wish it was longer, actually.

These are the big three to me, but of course, we have the rest of the songs. That "3 song stretch" you mentioned is truly worth mentioning. Gypsy is damn good. Not my favourite, but great nonetheless. Eternity Road is very fun. Gotta love that coda. And Candle Of Life? Great, very great. And I don't have anything about that chorus, anyway. Actually, I get a bit creeped out when I hear a lonely man telling me to love everybody so I won't end lonely like him. Sheez, that's some interpretation. Oh, and Watching And Waiting is creepy as hell, too. Indeed, they tried to make it a smash single like Nights In White Satin, yeah, but it's still beautiful. What about that final verse? "Watching and waiting for someone to understand me, I hope it won't be long." Heartwrenching as hell.

Anyway, this was an album very worth getting. An album I'd buy even already having it with me. Just because the guys deserve the money. But that's for the future.

Trfesok@aol.com (5/12/04)

Their most densely produced and sophsitcated release yet. I really have to hear the remaster, though, because the LP sounds a bit murky, as if they were biting off a bit more than they could chew with all those overdubs. That notwithstanding, some great songs. I totally agree about the "Gypsy"/"Eternity Road"/"Candle of Life" sequence. Edge's competence at actually writing music is suprisingly impressive -- these are great mood-setters! Lodge's voice is well suited for both sections of "Eyes of a Child". The weakest track for me is "Sun is Still Shining" -- the mellotron is really monotonous. And "Watching and Waiting" is� overrated - -it's nice, but by no means is it even close to the best song that Hayward or Thomas ever did. In fact, all of their other songs on the album are better. I wouldn't say that this is their best album, but I can see why a lot of people think so.

� Bob









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