Saturday, March 28, 2015

CD Review: Cherry Red Records Celebrates 50 Years Of "The Magnificent Moodies" With New Box Set

Many music fans know The Moody Blues by their grand, orchestrated rock sound as displayed in their biggest hit single, "Nights In White Satin," but it was their earlier sound that helped shape the sixties R&B sound in England. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the debut album from The Moody Blues ("The Magnificent Moodies") Cherry Red Records recently released a two-disc box set which contains the remastered album along with tons of extra studio tracks.

The first disc begins with the original twelve song album remastered from the original tapes, which featured the top ten hit single "Go Now" along with other R&B covers and a handful of originals thrown in. Following the release of this album, singer/guitarist Denny Laine (Wings) and bassist Clint Warwick left the band, making this album the only one with this classic line-up. This box set features almost every recording The Moody Blues made during these 1964 and 1965 studio sessions. Following the songs from the album, the rest of the disc includes the mono versions of the A & B sides to six of the singles released during this time with also a rare "first version" of "Go Now" and "People Gotta Go" from the French only EP "Boulevard de Madeleine."

The real treasure of this box set is on the second disc beginning with the previously unreleased recording sessions 1964-1965, which includes many early version of songs from the album. It's great hearing this band working in the studio and hearing how songs like "Go Now" and "I'll Go Crazy" got formed from these early takes. Also featured on this disc are all of the BBC "Saturday Club" Sessions recorded between April 1965 to November 1965. Many of the songs showcased during these sessions are live, in-studio renditions of their singles, but also included are rare covers of Rufus Thomas' "Jump Back" and "I Want You To Know" from Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. The second disc closes with the 1966 Denny Cordell produced sessions for the band's follow-up album and singles, before Laine and replacement bassist Rod Clark parted ways with the band. All of the songs included in this box set help paint a picture of how hectic things were for The Moody Blues for two straight years, before becoming platinum selling artists with the album "Days Of Future Passed."

This box set was already released earlier this year on the Esoteric Recordings label and has garnished rave reviews from fans. Apart from the two CDs, the box set contains a full color booklet, poster and three re-printed fan club cards. To find out more about "The Magnificent Moodies" box set, please visit cherryred.co.uk and the Facebook page facebook.com/TheMagnificentMoodies.

Also new from English rock musician John Lodge is his new solo album "10,000 Light Years Ago" on May 4th through Cherry Red Records. Lodge may be better known as the singer, songwriter and bassist for The Moody Blues since 1966. His latest short, eight-song release begins with the grand progressive rock-like entrance of "In My Mind." John's voice is timeless on the upbeat, adult contemporary rock feel of "Those Days In Birmingham," before showing his softer side on the simply amazing acoustic touch of "Simply Magic." John changes gears for a moment with the slow jazzy waltz of "Love Passed Me By," then picks the tempo back up with the rockabilly rhythm of "Crazy," before closing with the symphonic rock of the title song "10,000 Light Years Ago," which sounds like it came off the latest Moody Blues album. To find out more about the latest release from John Lodge, please visit his Facebook at facebook.com/johnlodgemusic.

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