Monday, February 1, 2016

The Moody Blues - 1974 [1989] "This Is The Moody Blues"

This Is The Moody Blues is a two LP (later two CDs) compilation album by The Moody Blues, released in late 1974 while the band was on a self-imposed sabbatical. Though all of the songs were previously released on albums (with the exception of "A Simple Game" which was a 1968 B-side), several of them are heard here in distinctly-different mixes.
This Is the Moody Blues was a commercial and critical success, reaching #14 in the United Kingdom and #11 in the United States before 1974 was out.

It might surprise those coming in late to their story that the original double-LP version of this album from 1974 was the first compilation devoted to the Moody Blues' work. That's seven years after their switch from R&B-based British Invasion rock & roll to psychedelic music, and ten years into their overall history, an awfully long time for a successful band to avoid the compilation route. That fact alone speaks volumes for how healthy their album sales were -- only the group's decision to take a hiatus seems to have prompted the assembling of this collection. The Moody Blues had actually had enough hits and charting singles between England and America since 1967 so that a good best-of could have been assembled, but the makers went far beyond that, encompassing LP tracks that had become favorites on FM radio between 1967 and 1973 and also ignoring the actual release order of anything here. So instead of a tour through their history, listeners get a kind of collage of most of their best work, the songs nicely representative of the various members' most important contributions to the group's work. That said, however, it should also be pointed out that so much of the band's music is connected, conceptually and thematically, with the surrounding songs on their albums that inevitably the listener will feel rushed through some of this history; additionally, there is one excellent number left off for every three that are included. The CD reissue was impressive sonically for its recompiled and remastered tape sources, and the new annotation by digital producer John Tracy was a good bonus feature. To some degree, this collection has been supplanted by the more fully programmed double-CD Gold collection from 2005. Unless all you're looking for is an overview of the group's classic years, in which case one can add a half-star to the rating of This Is the Moody Blues.

This album came out in 1974 during the band's hiatus and was put together by the band's producer Tony Clarke. He went back to the master tapes and put together this wonderful collection remixing and editing the release so that all the songs flow in and out of each other. The nice thing about this is that it doesn't seem like a standard "hits" collection thrown together by the record company to cash in on a band's fan base like most of these albums do, but rather carefully chosen and assembled to fit together well giving all the members room to shine. It's a shame given the fact that there are so many bogus rip-off Moody Blues "hits" collections out there and yet this one which is the best put together is the one that is currently out of print on cd. I should mention that this also was a big hit when it was released sending several songs back into heavy rotation on FM radio.

Tracks Listing

CD 1:
1. Question (5:39)
2. The actor (4:08)
3. The word (poem) (0:51)
4. Eyes of a child (2:35)
5. Dear diary (3:46)
6. Legend of a mind (6:35)
7. In the beginning (2:04)
8. Lovely to see you (2:34)
9. Never comes the day (4:39)
10. Isn't life strange (5:32)
11. The dream (poem) (0:51)
12. Have you heard? Part 1 (1:21)
13. The voyage (4:09)
14. Have you heard? Part 2 (2:09)

CD 2:
1. Ride my see-saw (3:32)
2. Tuesday afternoon (4:01)
3. And the tide rushes in (2:56)
4. New horizons (5:05)
5. A simple game (3:18)
6. Watching and waiting (4:16)
7. I'm just a singer (in a rock and roll band) (4:10)
8. For my lady (3:57)
9. The story in your eyes (2:44)
10. Melancholy man (5:05)
11. Nights in white satin (4:32)
12. Late lament (2:36)

Total Time: 93:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Justin Hayward / guitars, vocals
- John Lodge / bass guitar, vocals
- Michael Pinder / keyboards, vocals
- Ray Thomas / harmonica, flute, vocals
- Graeme Edge / drums, percussion

2 comments:

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  2. Thank you for this and for all of your great posts!

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