googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: The Immortal Moody Blues

The Immortal Moody Blues

The Rock & Roll Rehab Blog is concerned with the celebration and preservation of the myths, legends and personal experiences of those who lived life in the Classic Rock Era, roughly the British Invasion of 1964 to the arrival of Disco in 1976. Although it can also involve itself in the New Wave Era of the early 1980s as much of the New Wave scene was a revival of Sixties Rock.

There hasn't been a major rock music trend since Grunge destroyed the burgeoning Heavy Metal scene in the early Nineties. Sure, there was the Alt Rock scene and whatever gave us The Smashing Pumpkins, The Lemonheads and The Gin Blossoms but what lasting effect have these bands had? Green Day, Wilco and The Foo Fighters are still around but whatever scenes these bands came from is long forgotten. But Classic Rock lives on.

Rock Cellar Magazine recently had an interview with Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues who has a new solo CD coming out as well as a new tour with the Moodies who are now down to a trio. I've seen the Moody Blues more than a few times in concert and one thing that I always liked about them is how human they sound live. Listening to their albums they seem ethereal, complex, multi-layered and orchestrated but live they sound like a rock band. The first thing I noticed and was impressed by was how good and powerful Graham Edge, their drummer, is. On the records the drums are mixed back and subtle but live the drums are mixed almost at Metal levels.

The last time I saw the Moody Blues was at the Hollywood Bowl when Ray Thomas was still with the band and they were accompanied by a full symphony orchestra. On the songs where they played with the orchestra the drums were mixed way down but on the tunes without the orchestra the drums were up and hot. My saying the Moody Blues sound human live means that they're not perfect live. They have intricate four part harmonies that sometimes aren't exactly right-on live, the flute is a very delicate instrument and Ray Thomas doesn't play bad notes but if the playing isn't real precise flute music can get a bit funky and the Moody Blues have their sloppy moments. Oddly enough, any minor imperfections during a live Moody Blues show actually endears them to me rather than make me appreciate them less. After all, they are trying to reproduce extremely difficult music that is often times very soft and other times very hard rock and their dynamics alone make playing to a huge audience in a sports arena very difficult.

I once decided that since I consider Justin Hayward the "voice" of the Moody Blues and the songwriter of most of their biggest hits then a CD of all Justin Hayward songs would be the ultimate Moodies album, But after burning an all Justin Hayward CD from my very complete collection of Moody Blues CDs I discovered that an all Justin Hayward CD didn't sound like a Moody Blues album but like a Justin Hayward album. Ray Thomas and John Lodge's songs add as much to the vibe of the Moody Blues as Justin Hayward's. Justin may contribute the band's romantic vibe but John adds the wistful quality and it is actually flautist Ray Thomas' songs that most seem to understand and exploit the band's ethereal and spiritual image. Ray's songs also add the most (all) of the humor to be found in Moody Blues songs.

On the Rock Cellar interview with Justin is a great video of the band playing at the Isle of Wright concert in the 70s. Check it out.


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