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For those who are not familiar with the Moody Blues and are unsure where to start collecting their individual CDs, get this CD. While not all of their charting singles are here (it omits “Sitting At The Wheel”) it does gives you a nice introduction to the Moody Blues, including the Denny Laine/Clint Warwick period where “Go Now” stems from.
While I totally appreciate all the reviews here, there are some inaccuracies I have to correct. First of all this collection came out five years ago, not more than ten years ago as another reviewer states (he’s refering to the 1989 release “Greatest Hits/Legend Of A Band”, which doesn’t include “Go Now”). Secondly, “Nights In White Satin” is neither the “Days Of Future Past” version nor the single version. Rather, it’s the complete recording WITHOUT the orchestral overdubs (the Moody Blues don’t play on the introduction, nor do they play on “Late Lament”, Mike Pinder’s reading of Graeme Edge’s poem, which was a seperate recording). Thirdly, they don’t play on the orchestral ending/interlude of “Tuesday Afternoon”; this is where the single version faded anyway.
That said, it’s still a fine representation of the Moody Blues (eons ahead of the Millenium Collection). However, if you don’t mind spending the extra dough, get “Anthology” which is an even better collection (as a number of other reviewers allude to).
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Obviously this “The Best of the Moody Blues” CD is aimed at casual/ new fans of these symphonic rockers, and on that level, it does work very well. To ‘paint outside the lines’, the disc contains the memorable Hayward-Lodge tune “Blue Guitar”, as well as the wonderful single mix of “Forever Autumn” which is also not officially a Moodies’ track, but is a must-have, and I think the only other place it’s available on CD is on the “Time Traveller” box set. This disc also contains the pre-1967 hit “Go Now” from when future Wings member Denny Laine was handling lead vocals, and there’s no denying that it sounds joltingly out-of-place in this context. One thing that I feel is worth pointing out is that, apart from “Forever Autumn” and “Go Now”, all the songs on this CD were written by Justin Hayward and/ or John Lodge, and that’s perhaps misleading for people just getting to know the group–it might make them think that the Moodies’ were essentially the Hayward & Lodge band, and although that’s pretty much what it HAS evolved into over the years, that’s certainly not the case with their “Core 7” albums from 1967-1972. Longtime and original member Ray Thomas wrote many songs for the group, including the famous Timothy Leary tribute “Legend Of A Mind” which, somewhat bafflingly, isn’t included here. I don’t think it would have been a bad idea to lose, say, “Voices In The Sky” and “Go Now” to make room for “Legend…”–I mean, “Go Now” really is drastically out-of-place here, and not all that great to begin with, and it would be nice to have at least one quality composition from another member other than Hayward & Lodge.
But like I said at the start, this CD, which contains over 77 minutes of music, does work very well for casual and new fans of the Moodies, so I definitely give the disc a thumbs up. Although Justin Hayward is an inconsistent and at times painfully formulaic songwriter, he has a distinctive epic songwriting style where he links together enough ideas for two or three songs into a single relatively concise composition, and when it works, as on songs like “Question” and “The Voice” (both included here), the effect is magical, unique, and distinctly Justin. Tracks dating from the 1980’s such as “The Voice”, “Gemini Dream”, “Blue World”, and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” are among the best songs the group ever did, and it’s reassuring to see them placed proudly together on this disc with the 1967-1972 material that ‘the fans’ more commonly hail as their classic work.
(Strangely, the version of “The Best of the Moody Blues” that I have has different cover art than what is shown here at Amazon. The liner notes feature an interview with Justin Hayward which is a nice bonus, and the track listing is identical, although there is perhaps a difference in the remastering.)
(P.S. As an additional note, I’d like to comment on the version of “Nights In White Satin” that this disc features–it seems that some listeners are up in arms over this. The version here is by no means a patchwork edit. Yes, it is missing some string overdubs in the last verse, but listen with headphones & you’ll notice the difference between this & the version on each of the two main versions of the “Days of Future Passed” CD (not how it sounded on the original vinyl)–this is a more spacious, less diluted sounding version. For the true original full-length version of “Nights”, including the “Late Lament” poem portion, as it appeared on the original “Days of Future Passed” vinyl, the only place I know for sure you can find it is on the “Time Traveller” box set.)
How do you fit so many Moody Blues songs on one CD? That’s easy…you edit the hell out of them. Nights in White Satin is edited in the very beginning and also has a large portion of the ending cut out. There are others edited as well, including Tuesday Afternoon. If you don’t mind that, this CD offers a good sampling of their great music. I bought it for the song Forever Autumn from War of the Worlds. It’s the single version that was often played on radio. I like the song so much that I wanted both versions. In fact, this may be the only CD, other than War of the Worlds, that has this beautiful song.
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