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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Moody Blues

The Magnificent Moodies

Review by Gary Hill

For the fiftieth anniversary of the release of this album, it’s been reissued with a lot of bonus tracks. This disc has always been sort of forgotten in terms of the Moody Blues catalog. That’s because it doesn’t really fit that well. For one thing, it’s clearly not the progressive rock that one expects from the Moodies. We still include it under prog here at MSJ because the band are a prog band. The album has a much different lineup than the bulk of their catalog. For one thing, Denny Laine was part of the Moody Blues at this time. John Lodge and Justin Hayward were not. Graeme Edge, Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder were on board during this period, though. The fifth member on this album was Clint Warwick. The thing is, as odd as this is, there are plenty of things here that do show connections to the later Moody Blues sound. This is well worth having for the archival value, but it’s also fun to spin. Just don’t expect to hear the kind of symphonic prog one expects from the Moodies.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I'll Go Crazy

There is a great 1960s vibe here. It has a lot of old time rock and roll with some blues mixed into it. This is definitely not the kind of thing one expects from The Moody Blues, but it’s a good rocker.

Something You Got
This is a soulful rocker that feels a bit like something that would have come out of Motown.
Go Now
Somehow, I’ve always loved this old time rocker. The vocal harmonies are great, and while the song isn’t Earth shattering in its originality, it works. There are, to my ears, some hints of what was to come from this band here. The piano solo section is particularly effective.
Can't Nobody Love You
A bluesy, slower 1950s rocker, this is not all that spectacular, but it has its moments.
I Don't Mind
Somehow, this makes me think of The Animals just a small bit. It’s another solid cut. While it’s not a huge change, it’s one of my favorites here. It kind of reminds me of “Go Now,” really.
I've Got a Dream
This one, with a different arrangement, feels like something the band would do later. It’s one of the better cuts here. I like the flute.
Let Me Go
I love the vocal arrangement on this number. It’s a bouncy rocker. Again, it’s not that far removed in some ways from the kind of stuff the group would do after their remake.
Stop
An old-school pop rock song, this isn’t bad. The vocal arrangement is the best part of it, though. It’s just kind of pedestrian.
Thank You Baby
Here’s another pretty standard rocker. It’s not bad, but nothing really great.
It Ain't Necessarily So
This old school rocker is a step above somehow.
True Story
With a bit of a Bo Diddley beat, this is one of the better tunes here.
Bye Bye Bird
Harmonica adds a lot to this high energy, but bluesy 50s styled rocker.
Bonus Tracks
   
Lose Your Money (But Don't Lose Your Mind)

There is almost a country vibe to the rhythm section on this little rocker. It’s another that makes me think of The Animals. Still, it has a lot in common with early Rolling Stones and Yardbirds.

Steal Your Heart Away
Although this isn’t a huge departure, it’s a pretty good tune.
Go Now! (First Version)
This is less developed and more of a pretty basic rocker than the final version was. I like it, though.
It's Easy Child
The piano works well here. The guitar has a bit of a honky tonk edge at times. Overall, though, this is pretty average.
I Don't Want to Go on Without You
Not really all that special, this is good, just not great.
Time Is on My Side
This is probably best known as recorded by The Stones. This version is a little less edgy than that one, but pretty good, nonetheless.
From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)
More of a folk rock song, this one also has some things that aren’t far removed from what would later be the sound of this group.
And My Baby's Gone
This little rocker feels a lot like the Beatles to me. 
Everyday
Mix the sound of the Association with what the Moody Blues would later be known for doing. You’ll be pretty close to this number.
You Don't (All the Time)
This is more of a folk rocker. It’s got a similar mix of sounds to the previous piece. This is good stuff. It’s one of my favorites here.
Boulevard De Madeleine
World music and folk prog merge with pop music here. This is another strong one.
This Is My House (But Nobody Calls)
Although this is more of a standard rock and roller, there are elements of the later Moodies sound. This is quite a strong piece in a lot of ways.
People Gotta Go
This bouncy little number has a bit of a Motown vibe to it.
Life's Not Life
The old time rock and roll vibe on this is pretty cool.
He Can Win
This has kind of a creative vocal arrangement and a bouncy structure.
 
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