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.