There was a brief announcement a few days ago about a Sur la Mer II Moody Blues Cruise, which John (via Kristian) has made clear they are not part of. There are no Moody Blues dates listed on their website. I would imagine at least Justin will keep touring (indeed he has dates posted through June). But I wonder….
I was very excited to see, much to my surprise, that the upcoming live concert release from the Days of Future Passed Live tour will include a vinyl release. (Amazon here). I was holding out a little bit of hope the video would see a 4k/UHD release as previous Eagle Rock titles had been out ahead of the Blu-Ray HD wave with the Lovely to See You title, but that’s ok.
It made me think that there’s a curious vinyl gap in the Moodies catalog. Over the last few years, new items have seen LP releases, including the Isle of Wight (clear vinyl!) and Collected releases. There have been a number of re-releases as well, including a million of Days (to varying degrees of quality) and even The Other Side of Life.
But after Keys of the Kingdom, vinyl fell out of favor, leaving what to me are three obvious gaps in the catalog of major releases:
- Live at Red Rocks
- Strange Times
I’ve skipped a pair of other live albums, specifically: Hall of Fame and Lovely to See You as they weren’t as “big” as Red Rocks although HoF did get the PBS treatment.
Even Keys was a limited international release, but by now if you really wanted one, you probably were able to secure a copy. So why not new releases of these catalog items on vinyl? Especially Strange Times – arguably the only complete studio album of original material never to see vinyl. Even as I hate to suggest it, a massive box set of Moodies albums on vinyl that had these 3 titles as exclusives would make me go out any buy it. Others are selling these massive catalog sets to great success, like Weird Al’s sold-out Squeeze Box.
Now that I think of it… HoF, unlike LTSY was missing a number of songs we knew were performed such as Strange Times which has never seen an official live release. So let’s get the whole Hall of Fame show as a an extended edition, too!
It seems like the Rock Hall induction might be a great opportunity to promote such an item… just sayin’.
I intend to keep this post somewhat up to date with new or upcoming releases of interest that can be had new and are not the standard usual catalog items, or are new enough folks might not be aware of them. There were definitely times in the past where I let things go by assuming I’d pick them up later – usually due to being a poor student – and then either couldn’t find them again or only by paying a lot more for them. As long as they remain available as new items they may stay on this page. Some won’t stay around for long!
New Live Album
Filmed in Toronto over two nights (I was at one of them and can just barely be spotted!)
Long Distance Voyagers – The Story of The Moody Blues Volume 1 (1965 – 1979) – by Marc Cushman
Norda’s Second Solo Album
Has been announced – not available yet
New single from Denny Laine
An appearance by Justin
Burt Bacharach: Life in Song – Justin performs What the World Needs Now
John’s Live Album
Live From Birmingham: The 10,000 Light Years Tour – While the Pledge Music site is no longer available, the album and video are available via Amazon
My 9th grade english teacher told me, way back when, that some day, The Moody Blues would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band was still churning out the occasional new album back then, and it seemed more relevant. I’ve visited the museum in the past and it really is a pretty cool place. I was totally surprised that they were put on the list right around the same time as the 50th anniversary of DoFP, but I was so much more surprised when they were listed as an inductee. I’m happy for them, for everyone, and that’s one more off the future lists of “why on earth aren’t they in the Hall?” With luck, I’ll be there to see it happen, mostly because the whole thing sounds like a fun experience and won’t really conflict in my mind with what I think was my last Moodies concert in 2017. This isn’t a Moodies concert, it’s something else.
But I don’t believe it’s actually fair in the end to omit Patrick Moraz from the inducted lineup. It made sense to me when Denny was not initially listed. The Hall had selected a particular lineup, and if one had to select just one lineup, they had the obvious one. Including Denny, however, means a broader view of who made the Moodies the Moodies. I’m all for it, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s right to include Denny. But I also think it would then be right to include Patrick. He had a lot to do with their sound from Long Distance Voyager through Keys. In particular the sound of the band that “relaunched” them (for the second, third, time?) both in LDV and The Other Side of Life. If you don’t think he was a big influence I encourage you to listen to his solo works prior to joining the band. You’ll hear it, all the way down to specific synth types. I suppose one could argue that Denny helped to set up the lineup that they selected, and the Hall is ignoring the work after Seventh Sojourn. (I’m doubting you say yes to Octave if you’re the Hall but not LDV). Or, maybe it’s the nasty lawsuit. Of course, Mike has sued as well but it didn’t seem to have the same animosity from the outside. I would hope the Hall would actually sit outside the politics of any band, though. So I’m guessing it’s the former and not the later. Which I think neglects not just a large portion of the band’s output, but some of it’s most famous and endearing, depending upon your age.
Just over a month ago, I saw a post that Denny Laine would be performing in my hometown of Pittsburgh. I was super excited, and also maybe a bit hesitant. I knew for sure I wanted to see him perform. I knew certainly enough that I was standing in an airport in New Orleans when I booked my tickets on my phone as they went on sale to reserve a table at the Hard Rock.
But was I just collecting? Denny is the last living Moody Blue I’d never seen live. (I was born in 1978 and as far as I can tell never had a chance to see Clink Warwick play). I like a lot about the “Mark 1” Moody Blues (Denny/Clint/Mike/Ray/Graeme). The first (45) records are mostly covers as they found their way. But what I think many pass over are the fantastic songs the Mark 1 Moodies made towards the end of that period, before Denny and Clint left. I have ALWAYS liked This Is My House and Boulevard de la Madeleine. When I finally got a copy of the French EP with People Gotta Go (before it ever saw a CD release) I loved that song even more. Denny and Mike were writing some great songs. Even though Denny left, the band was starting to find its songwriting talent, (as was Denny), and that carried into the “Mark 2” Moodies as they recorded about a half dozen songs before Days of Future Passed.
I have more than a few of Denny’s solo albums (and I admit, only two Wings albums on vinyl). I can’t explain why, but his Reborn album always stuck with me as a favorite. That’s sometimes the thing about music; it finds you at the right time in your life.
So why was I hesitant? I wondered what the show would be like. Plain and simple. I don’t think I’ve heard even a recording of Denny in the last 10 years. Well – I am so glad to have been there I can hardly express it.
Denny and his band (after an opening act) began by playing Band On The Run in it entirety, and in a casual bar setting, it was perfect. Lots of joining in was encouraged by the band, and plenty of fun banter from the stage. It really had an energy I wasn’t expecting. Denny joked at one point that he had written two parts of a song, Paul had written the in between, so of course, it’s credited to “Lennon/McCartney” most of the time. “Get it right!” He told the story behind Picasso’s Last Words starting with “Paul had a Picasso on the wall…. because when you’re a Beatle, you have a Picasso on the wall…” I really can’t say enough about how great the performance was. His harmonica on Bye Bye Bird was I think as good as I’ve ever seen on videos from the 60s. My date had a real blast with this one!
If you get to see this show, don’t miss it for anything. Sir Paul won’t give you the entire album. And of course if you’re a Moodies fan like me, you’ll never hear The Original Singer perform FOUR of the songs from “Moodies #1”. Deep in my soul I’d loved to have heard one of his co-compositions with Pinder, but now I’m really hoping beyond hope!
The other two Moodies songs they performed were Go Now and Can’t Nobody Love You
After the show, Denny came out to do a signing. Apparently this is common knowledge and people showed up with LPs. I didn’t know, and I didn’t know what the Hard Rock would let me walk in with, so I came with a 45 and a CD tucked into my jacket.
Denny was so friendly and chatted with people as they went by. I put down my Moodies EP (People Gotta Go) which he happily signed, then, the CD of Reborn. He was suddenly excited “I haven’t seen this in so long!” He took the sleeve from me and showed his girlfriend how he appeared in two ways on each page, once as “modern” and once as a ghost – I asked him “Is that you, too, in costume?” and he said “Yes! As an old composer, you know? Reborn?” He signed that as well.
And here is my People Gotta Go EP. Being signed. Is this for authenticity? No. This will never be for sale!
The band have just concluded the current run of 50th Anniversary dates (including the latest 2018 cruise)
Full honesty up front. I was at the web premiere of The Wind of Heaven as a video. I wasn’t very moved at first viewing. It could have been the interview around it, who knows. I watched it once or twice after and it didn’t grab me. Today my copy of All The Way arrived so I was afforded the opportunity to sit back and just listen to this more than seven minute journey. I also looked up more information and found this synopsis of the film it (strikingly well) represents:
“The Wind of Heaven is about a veteran that comes back home from Afghanistan and really loses himself, can’t pick up the life he had before he left. Eventually, he gets work on a ranch and he finds that he has kind of a communion with the wild horses and he finds himself through horses.”
In addition, one should know:
“The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears” – Arabian Proverb
So, with both of those in mind, I listened again, without the video. It starts very much in the area of despair, and the chorus arrives and lifts us slightly out of it before the song goes back into the sadness. But again, the chorus “rescues” us. The cycle repeats, and the length of the song gives it time to do so over and over. Thrust back into dark, lifted back out of it. Incredibly lifelike. It took me repeated listens, though, to notice how each time the chorus visits us, it is more uplifting than the previous, and by the end the keyboards are practically giddy before the end.
It is not just a beautiful song, the structure of it has made me really love it.
In some ways it’s a little too easy to collect Moody Blues items in the internet era. Finding an official pressing of Moving Mountains was once a little tricky and meant digging around. Now of course you can take your pick of a number of them on eBay. But I don’t mind at all – some things that would have been out of reach or hard to find simply wouldn’t have come my way.
I watched the Nights In White Satin documentary (thank you, internet, for pointing me to the DVD release) and it was the first I heard of the story about the Patricia version of the song being out ahead of their own! Some quick eBay looking for a very reasonable price, a 45 was on its way from France to my door. It arrived with a post-it note signed “bonjour de France”. A simple pleasure in connecting with another music lover in another part of the world.
More often than not now the Moodies items I find worth my interest come from abroad – France, Japan, Australia, of course, the UK. I definitely get an added smile when something comes with a nice little note of thanks or sharing of an interest!
When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to meet Mike Pinder and spend about an hour with him doing an interview for our local cable station. I’m going to look into posting the video shortly, even though I find it hard to watch!
Two days later, he did a signing at a local Borders book store and I was able to hang out with Mike and Tara over the course of the evening.