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Pinder, Mike: The Promise / Among the Stars

As most of you probably know Mike Pinder is best known as a founding member and keyboard player for The Moody Blues. His Mellotron playing on those early albums is second to none. During a break from the band he released his first solo album The Promise in 1976. In 1978 Pinder left the band but didn't release his second album Among the Stars until 1994. This box set, lovingly put together by Esoteric Recordings, contains re-mastered versions of both albums and a bonus DVD.

I was quite delighted to receive this one in the mail as I am a huge fan of Pinder's work but have never heard either record.

The Promise is a lovely record and of course there is a Moody Blues feel permeating these tracks. "Free As A Dove" is a nice easy going tune filled with acoustic strumming and Pinder's pleasantly catchy vocals. "You'll Make It Through" is more somber with melancholic piano and subtle orchestrations. The tempo picks up with rollicking piano and some nice slide guitar. "I Only Want To Love You" is a pretty ballad with swirling harp adding an extra coating of dreaminess while the title track has an incredibly lush arrangement featuring some fine Mellotron.

Among the Stars is maybe a little more catchy with a decided pop rock approach but the Mellotron is more prominent creating lush layers of sound throughout the album's thirteen tracks. Songs like "Hurry On Home" and "The Power Of Love" are catchy pop tunes and Pinder's voice is still warm and inviting. The breezy "When You're Sleepy" and the tender "You Can't Take Love Away" are nice ballads while the dreamy "Fantasy Flight" is another hook laden pop ditty. The original album ended with the uplifting pop of "The World Today" with lush Mellotron drenched soundscapes drifting about like leaves on the breeze. The three bonus tracks fit well with the original tunes. I particularly dig the vocal harmonies in the addictive "If She Came Back". Although this is far removed from progressive music, Among the Stars is as well-crafted an album as they come.

The DVD contains an in depth interview of Pinder from 2012 where he covers a wide range of topics from The Moody Blues to his family life. It is both insightful and rewarding and any fan of the Moody Blues will want to have this. Also included is an interview from 2008.

The set includes individual cardboard cases for all three discs, a couple of postcards, an informative booklet with photos and lyrics, all packaged in a lavish cardboard box with the psychedelic inspired artwork of the original Promise album. It is a nice package which is exactly what I have come to expect with Esoteric Recordings.

I highly enjoyed this box set and if you are a fan of The Moody Blues these records should find a place in your heart and on your shelf.

Track Listing:
CD 1
Michael Pinder: The Promise
1. Free As A Dove
2. You'll Make It Through
3. I Only Want To Love You
4. Someone To Believe In
5. Carry On
6. Air
7. Message
8. The Seed

9. The Promise

CD 2
Mike Pinder: Among The Stars
1. The Power Of Love (Can Survive)
2. You Can't Take Love Away
3. The Best Things In Life
4. Hurry On Home
5. When You're Sleeping
6. Fantasy Flight
7. Among The Stars
8. Upside Down
9. Waters Beneath The Bridge
10. The World Today
Bonus Tracks
11. If She Came Back
12. Waves Crash
13. Empty Streets

Interview June 2012
1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three
4. Part Four
5. Part Five
a. Go Now
b. Tony's Bench
c. In Conversation 2008

Added: July 18th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1220
Language: english

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