Vinyl Gap

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
  • December

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 and 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’.

Remembering Ray Thomas

Note to reader: I’ve been thinking a long while about this post.  It’s difficult, I think, to write about someone you only met through photo ops (in this case a charity auction), but who has been “in your life” as an artist since before you can really recall anymore.  My first Moody Blues concert was in 1986; I was 8.  But I’d already been wrapped up in Moodies music. I’ve decided that for my own remembering, I’m going to work backwards.  This is not a formal sort of thing – it’s just for me.

Mostly, I think about Ray through his music, and I start with The Trouble With Memories.  I know it’s not the actual last recording he was a part of, but it was the last one that hit me square in the heart. I actually can’t comment further without getting really personal, just, this was a really moving song to me.

In a more general way, We Need Love hits me hard sometimes, too.

In 2017 my paternal grandfather passed away.  He loved to sail ships.  I posted a video of Celtic Sonant and then asked Lee if that was alright that I did so.  After her reply that music should be shared, I felt embarrassed that I’d even asked, but also ever so grateful.

Ray’s last Moodies album contribution, as far as I know, was My Little Lovely.  Although I knew very well he’d written this for a grandchild, my girlfriend at the time and I were such big fans, I called her my little lovely, and she knew I’d won a backstage pass.  So we made up a t-shirt that I wore backstage that read “I go to Moody Blues concerts with my little lovely“.  Ray seemed so happy that, to this day, I like to believe I made him smile at least a little.  This was all an amazing experience while I was in college.

While I was in college, my maternal grandfather passed away.  That experience, in my life, attached another song of Ray’s: The Last Dream. I still think of my grandfather when I hear this song.

In 1996 we actually held a big family reunion, and the song I chose to open it all: Love is the Key of From Mighty Oaks.  This was the ‘anthem’ of our reunion.

I Am/Sorry  was such a curious set of songs to me growing up.  It felt like someone telling me to watch out about corporate interests, while all wrapped up in a song.  Could you do that?  I was very impressionable and I’m sure I took some intended and unintended meanings from those songs.

By the way… VCR was my absolute favorite as I was learning to love music.  I knew it was different, unique, and in the end, so full of meaning, even if that meaning was and is only partially in my grasp, that I loved the whole suite.

Dear Diary was not only a beautiful song, but it let all of us add on our own endings.  The Moody Bluegrass folks did that on their version, but I think all of us who “felt” that song, wrote on our own endings.

I’m not going to work my way through everything.  I was tempted but I’ll stop.  Suffice it to say that at every point in my life, I had many songs to be there for me.  There were songs of all sorts.  There were Moody Blues songs.  There were also Ray Thomas songs.  There is not rating or ranking.  It is simply that all of these have shaped me and I cannot be more grateful or thankful.

I may keep changing, adding, editing this post, but it’s time it goes up.

I miss Ray. I’m so glad to have his music. Maybe… that’s enough.

Get It While It’s New

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

Days of Future Passed Live [video] [CD] [LP]

Filmed in Toronto over two nights (I was at one of them and can just barely be spotted!)

New Book

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

Meant to Be / Over the Horizon

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