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Moody Blues; The: The Magnificent Moodies - 50th Anniversary Remaster Edition

For any band to be in existence long enough to still be treading the boards (and very well too) as their debut album receives a 50th Anniversary makeover is reason to celebrate. So Esoteric Records have done just that with a 50+ track double disc remaster of The Magnificent Moodies by The Moody Blues. A set which exhaustively gathers together the original album, rare EP tracks, singles only songs, an unreleased second album and other recording sessions alongside radio broadcasts and even a short radio interview; it's a more than fitting tribute. At the time the band featured Denny Laine (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Ray Thomas (vocals, harmonica, flute), Mike Pinder (keyboards, vocals), Clint Warwick (bass, vocals) and Graeme Edge (drums), their eyes set quite firmly on a Pop/Rock sound that was perfect for the day (although only Edge, Pinder and Thomas would survive alongside Justin Hayward and John Lodge as the band reconfigured for their most successful, pioneering Progressive period).

Opening with the wonderful album itself, the mega-smash hit "Go Now" still stands up to scrutiny even today, even if in this remastered setting the production undoubtedly feels amazingly primitive. While "Stop", "Let Me Go" and "Bye Bye Bird" also joyously take you back to a time of long ago, although in terms of arrangements and execution this version of the Moodies really were an impressive outfit for their day. Sound wise we couldn't be further removed from the likes of the Days Of Future Passed, In Search Of The Lost Chord, or To Our Children's Children albums and yet the class is still obvious to be found.

However for most the real draw here is the plethora of bonus and rare cuts and while repetition is almost inevitable in this sort of set, even having four versions of the ever so familiar "Go Now" doesn't become over bearing. Instead the opportunity to hear how the song evolved from a stripped back affair to the lush harmonied vehicle it became, is extremely rewarding. The remainder of disc one gathers together standalone a and b sides, as well as the likes of the extremely rare "People Gotta Go", which was only released on a French EP. Nearly all of these tracks undoubtedly sound like a band competing with early Beatles (the Moodies spent time on the road with the Fab Four) and even The Monkees, however keeping that in mind the standard of "Time Is On My Side", or "Everyday" is undeniable.

Disc two on the other hand opens with a host of radio and studio collections of album, single and various other tracks recorded for broadcast - DJ introductions punctuating a few selections, while the "Coca Cola Radio Commercial 1965" is an excellent little inclusion, although the odd, jaunty reworking of the "23rd Psalm" makes for uncomfortable listening. The short radio interview with Ray Thomas and Graeme Edge is revealing as the pair discuss the ridiculous schedule the band were undertaking at the time in terms of live dates, recording sessions and promotional appearances and while the duo are in fine fettle, the wear and tear of the Pop life is plain in their answers.

The closing nine numbers are from the previously unreleased Denny Cordell 1966 sessions, which were originally planned for the Moodies second album, with "How Can We Hang Onto A Dream" and "Jago And Jilly" finding a more mature, adventurous direction that would have made for an interesting direction. However what would happen next is that The Moody Blues would splinter and then regroup in a different figuration and go on to hit a twelve year purple patch which secured their impressive longevity. However what Esoteric have presented here is a loving and carefully compiled collection of where it all began and while it may not contain the sound that would make this band 1970s household names, it does still find a young hungry outfit recording some excellent music and in "Go Now" one of The Moodies 60s most enduring hits.

The Magnificent Moodies 50th Anniversary Remaster is also available in a 15 track single disc edition, however in truth the rarities and radio/studio sessions on the full 56 track double discer makes it the last word on early Moody Blues. As such it's essential for followers of the band, and indeed those with a passion for 60 Pop and Rock.

Track Listing
Disc One

1. I'll Go Crazy
2. Something You Got
3. Go Now
4. Can't Nobody Love You
5. I Don't Mind
6. I've Got a Dream
7. Let Me Go
8. Stop
9. Thank You Baby
10. It Ain't Necessarily So
11. True Story
12. Bye Bye Bird
Bonus tracks:
13. Lose Your Money (But Don't Lose Your Mind) (Laine / Pinder)
14. Steal Your Heart Away (Parker)
A & B-side of single Released in September 1964
15. Go Now! (first version)
Recorded at Olympic Studios on 24th July 1964 Previously unreleased
16. It's Easy Child (Sandler / Bennett / Redd)
B-side of single Released as November 1964
17. I Don't Want to Go On Without You (Berns / Wexler)
18. Time is on My Side (Meade / Norman)
A & B-side of single Released as in February 1965
19. From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You) (Laine / Pinder)
20. And My Baby's Gone (Laine / Pinder)
A & B-side of single Released as in May 1965
21. Everyday (Laine / Pinder)
22. You Don't (All the Time) (Laine / Pinder)
A & B-side of single Released in October 1965
23. Boulevard de Madeleine (Laine / Pinder)
24. This is My House (But Nobody Calls) (Laine / Pinder)
A & B-side of single Released in October 1966
25. People Gotta Go (Laine / Pinder)
Taken from the "Boulevard de Madeleine" EP Released in France in October 1966
26. Life's Not Life (Laine / Pinder)
27. He Can Win (Laine / Pinder)
A & B-side of single Released in January 1967

Disc Two Previously unreleased Studio Sessions & BBC Radio Sessions:
1. Go Now! (second version)
2. Lose Your Money (But Don't Lose Your Mind) (early version)
3. Steal Your Heart Away (first version)
4. I'll Go Crazy (first version)
5. You Better Move On
6. Can't Nobody Love You (first version)
7. 23rd Psalm
Recorded and mixed at Olympic Studios on 24th July 1964 Produced by Alex Murray
8. Go Now
9. I Don't Want to Go On Without You
10. I'll Go Crazy
"Saturday Club" session - BBC Light Programme Recorded 12th April 1965
11. From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)
12. Jump Back
"Saturday Club" session - BBC Light Programme Recorded 3rd May 1965
13. I've Got a Dream
14. And My Baby's Gone
"Saturday Club" session - BBC Light Programme Recorded 1st June 1965
15. It's Easy Child
16. Stop
17. Everyday
"Saturday Club" session - BBC Light Programme Recorded 21st September 1965
18. Interview with Ray Thomas and Graeme Edge /You Don't (All the Time)
19. I Want You to Know
"Saturday Club" session - BBC Light Programme Recorded 9th November 1965
20. Coca Cola Radio Commercial 1965
The 1966 Denny Cordell sessions Previously unreleased:
21. Sad Song
22. This is My House (But Nobody Calls) (first version)
Recorded at Advision studios - 5th April 1966
23. How Can We Hang on to a Dream (first version)
Recorded at Advision studios - 5th July 1966
24. How Can We Hang on to a Dream (remake)
Recorded at Decca studio No. 2, West Hampstead - 15th July 1966
25. Jago & Jilly
Recorded at Decca studio No. 2, West Hampstead - 18th August 1966
26. We're Broken Recorded at Decca studio No. 2, West Hampstead - 19th August 1966
27. I Really Haven't Got the Time (September 1966 version)
28. Red Wine
29. This is My House (But Nobody Calls) (stereo mix)
Recorded at Decca studio No. 2, West Hampstead - 8th September 1966

Added: May 21st 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Magnificent Moodies at Cherry Red
Hits: 2907
Language: english

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Moody Blues; The: The Magnificent Moodies - 50th Anniversary Remaster Edition
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-05-21 22:55:34
My Score:

When discussing the Moody Blues it always seems to go back to their classic seven albums released from 1967 to 1972. And that is totally understandable as those records make an outstanding run for the band. However, before that there was The Magnificent Moodies, released in 1966. What is really amazing is how the band changed their musical direction in such a short span of time. If you are looking for that classic symphonic Moody sound you will not find it here. This, my friends, is a totally different beast.

This package was put together by Esoteric Antenna as a 50th Anniversary Edition and it should come as no surprise the presentation is pure class. The box set includes the two discs individually housed in cardboard slip cases, card stock photographs, a small poster and an extensive twenty-four page booklet.

Back to the music. If you haven't heard the early Moodies before you might think this would be psychedelic rock but that clearly is not the case. This is mostly pop flavoured rhythm and blues with fine guitar work from Denny Laine, the future Wings' guitarist, and strong lead vocals.

The first disc, The Moody Blues #1, includes The Magnificent Moodies original album and a series of A & B sides. The first track "I'll Go Crazy" features blues soaked piano and shifting stop/start rhythms. "Something You Got" is more of a slow burner while "Can't Nobody Love You" features pretty acoustic guitar and bluesy harmonica. The slow pace continues with "I Don't Mind", a pretty ballad with nice background harmonies.

The album's biggest hit and best track is "Go No", and an excellent slice of '60s pop confection with a strong Beatle's flavour. It has always been one of my favourite Moody tunes.

The second disc features previously unreleased sessions from 1964 to 1966 as well as the Saturday Club and the 1966 Denny Cordell Sessions. Lots of little nuggets to be found including two versions of "Go Now" , the lamenting but catchy "Sad Song", the rousing pop of "This Is My House (But Nobody Calls) and the incredibly moving "How Can We Hang On To A Dream".

Although the band would release the classic Days Of Future Passed in just a few short months, their first album still had that '60s English charm that made the band so endearing to so many. This collection isn't prog but it still contains some fine music from a band that has stood the test of time for so many years.

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