Friday, 1 June 2018

Guest Review: Supertramp 'Some Things Never Change' (1997) by Kenny Brown


Dear readers, I am always eager to have guest posts from any of you with a favourite (or even a least favourite) record that isn’t covered by our site. Kenny Brown has already written one excellent review for The Skids album ‘Joy’ (available to read at https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/guest-post-skids-joy-1981.html ) and has kindly followed it up with another good one for this under-rated album from 1997



Track listing: It’s A Hard World/You Win I Lose/Get Your Act Together/Live To Love You/Some Things Never Change/Listen To Me Please/Sooner Or Later/Help Me Down That Road/And The Light/Give Me A Change/C’est What?/Where There’s A Will



Supertramp - Some Things Never Change

(Guest Review by Kenny Brown)



With a recorded history of over eleven studio albums, Supertramp produced a varied output of melodic inventive rock. They were best remembered for the breakthrough album ‘Crime of the Century’ and finally hit the big time with ‘Breakfast in America’. Their template was the two differing writing styles of Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies, which somehow fused together to make coherent albums, aided by superb musicianship and fine production. It was a winning combination that lasted until Hodgson left the band in 1983.



The politics of Hodgson’s leaving are for another time, but without him and his melodic gift the next four Supertramp albums failed to match the sales of earlier years. It’s a shame that these albums have been largely disregarded, as each had their moments and with ‘Some Things Never Change’ released in 1997, they made an album that is comparable to anything the band made previously with Hodgson.



Following 1987’s ‘Free As A Bird’, the band had been on hiatus for nine years and Davies had considered making a solo album, but having conscripted fellow ‘Tramps John Halliwell and Bob Siebenburg to help, a reunion was more realistic to the record company. It also coincided with former Supertramp touring musician Mark Hart having spare time due to Crowded House splitting up and he willingly joined in the sessions. ‘Some Things Never Change’ was recorded between 1996/97 with the group largely together in the studio at the same time. Production was shared between Jack Douglas and Fred Mandel, who had previously helped the band during the Famous Last Words sessions in 1982.



Like many albums of the day Some Things Never Change was released on CD with a substantial running length of over 65 minutes, but it manages to keep a coherence enough to allow for an uninterrupted listen.



Across the 12 tracks the songs fall into two categories. The shorter songs from the album seem to have been pre-written and would have fitted well into Davies’s solo album if it had gotten off the ground. The second category are songs that are longer in length, more free in structure and could be interpreted as having been formed from studio jams that allow the instrumentalists a showcase.



The album starts with ‘It’s a Hard World’, a dark brooding piece that over its nearly 10 minutes length captures some of the prog rock spirit of earlier albums. It is a bit of a sonic tour de force with each instrument clearly defined. Davies’ almost spoken intro is stunning and the interplay with the other vocalists adds to the tone. Spanish guitar and brass help propel the song along and it builds to a climax with added layers of instrumentation.



The obvious single from the album was ‘You Win I Lose’ and it had some good sales but in limited markets. A video was made with US model Anna Nicolle Smith for TV promotion, but no band members were in it. It’s a slight throwaway kind of song which doesn’t overstay its welcome.



‘Live to Love You’ is a song for Davies’s wife and a response to critics. It has a doo-wop vibe and is the most straightforward song on the album. The organ of Mark Hart is reminiscent of his Crowded House work and a lovely John Helliwell clarinet solo lifts it to another level.



The title track takes us back to the opening song, with its emphasis on atmosphere more than song structure. It has funky rock solid drumming with some wonderful bass guitar underpinning the whole song. The instruments are never overplayed and it would’ve been a great number to play live. Davies seems to let rip at the end with honky tonk piano as the song plays out.



When Mark Hart initially joined Supertramp it was as a multi instrumentalist to help with the live showsand to provide lead vocals on the Roger Hodgson songs. On this album he helpfully provides a counter balance to Davies with two vocal performances of songs that he co-wrote with him.



‘Sooner or Later’ has a steady rhythm and like the other songs on the album allows a degree of jamming from the band across its six-minute length. Hart’s  other song is ‘Give Me A Chance’, which could’ve been a song from Crowded House. It has a traditional song structure and in the context of the album helps with some contrast both vocally and melodically.



‘And The Light’ is a slow ballad showcasing Davies’s ability to craft a song around a lyric on the theme of friendship. John Helliwell brings a tender saxophone solo to the song and its one of the finer songs on the album. If it had ended there is would have been perfect but the album closed off by ‘C’est What’ and ‘Where There’s a Will’, which are decent songs but are more like filler than thriller.



Supertramp have been highly regarded in audiophile circles for their album productions, particularly on ‘Crime of the Century’ and the ‘Live in Paris’ double album. I would suggest that this is not only a sonic equal of those albums, but musically too.



Many won’t listen to Supertramp albums without Hodgson but they are missing out and on this album the Rick Davies-led band really matched much of the earlier band’s output and it comes highly recommended.



Kenny Brown

@kennybrown131

Monday, 28 May 2018

The Searchers Essay: It's All Been A Dream




Everybody who writes about the early to mid 1960s music scene tends nowadays to see it through the filter of history as a race between the two bands that would end up as the biggest stars by decade’s end: The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. That wasn’t true though, at least until the second half of 1965, as for a time there it was two other bands everyone saw as being the fab four’s rivals. The Hollies were an obvious choice (the whole Manchester-Liverpool fight made for good copy and their records sold heavily across 1963-1964), but so too were The Searchers, who were signed so hot on the heels of The Beatles that they quickly caught up and were level pegging in terms of number one hits and the amount of hit albums released until somewhere around the first half of 1965. Various things got in the way to conspire against what may well be – alongside Badfinger - the unluckiest band in music who actually made it and scored hits (there are lots of unluckier bands who fell apart before we ever had a chance to hear of them while Mersey giants The Big Three, nearly-rans The Swinging Blue Jeans and The Escorts were knocking on the door to name but three and poor old Terry Reid had to pull out of two bands who became big including Led Zeppelin before finally finding cult status). Even so, The Searchers were a band who really deserved to be at the forefront of music for much longer: they had the stars, the songs, the distinctive sound and the ability to change with the times, the thing that tended to scupper most ‘overnight successes’ back in the 1960s. So what went wrong? Here is our glimpse into several possible futures that The Searchers might have had if things had worked out just a little differently…

1)   That The Searchers came to Germany too late

Here’s one alternative scenario for you dear readers: Tony Sheridan and the Searching Brothers! The Beatles probably didn’t feel that lucky when they were ‘conned’ into playing a seedy strip-club in Hamburg in 1960 for a ridiculously pitiful amount to play several hours a night. They were probably resentful that *they* had to go through this wretched show business arrangements while their rivals back home were filling up their precious Cavern Club. But in the end it worked out brilliantly for them: they may have lost a bassist (Stuart Sutcliffe staying behind to paint) and several pounds in weight, but they gained an impressive musical ability and repertoire, a whole new look (thanks to German friends who gave them dark leather clothes and possibly the famous Beatle haircut over the forehead) and became tighter than any band could possibly be. By the time The Beatles were deported back home (George for being under-age, Paul and Pete Best for suspected arson) and met up again to play in Liverpool they knocked audience away with how tight and telepathic they had become. Most of all, though, they had a chance to make a record – a not very great record as it happened backing up a fading star and rocking up an old sea shanty and they weren’t even allowed their ‘real’ name on the cover. However ‘My Bonnie’ would play a huge role in their future.
The Searchers had no such luck. Or rather they did, but too late, being employed to play The Beatles’ old haunt at The Star Club for half the year, but only from July 1962 (by which stage The Beatles back home beat them to a record contract and a first single). It could have been very different if, say, Allan Williams had walked in on the Iron Door Club down the other end of town (The Searchers’ local) rather than The Cavern Club in town. The Searchers’ record collection and repertoire was more or less the same as The Beatles’ back then and both bands were performing, say, [22] ‘Twist and Shout’ [16] ‘Money’ and [25] ‘Some Other Guy’. If anything The Searchers were better equipped to deal with the need to fill out multiple hours of jam sessions in a noisy club as they were back then slightly more versatile: they already had the folk element of their sound that The Beatles wouldn’t really pioneer until 1964 and a whole number of ballads. The Searchers Star Club tape that exists (made as illegally and informally as The Beatles’) also suggests that they were more than up for a bit of improvisation to stretch songs past breaking point: just check out the extended versions on tape of showstoppers [9] ‘Ain’t That Just Like Me?’ and [44] ‘What’d I Say?’ Hamburg was wowed over because they’d never heard any band do this sort of material – it could just as easily have been The Searchers doing it.
This will also have a knock-on impact for the band. Brian Epstein discovered The Beatles because a fan in his NEMS store asked him for their German recording and mentioned that they were playing ‘down the road’ that lunchtime, piquing his interest enough to go looking. The NEMS store really wasn’t far away from The Cavern Club at all (sadly the shop went long ago – and is now an Ann Summers sex shop, something Brian Epstein is probably chortling about up there even now!) – would Brian have made the effort if he had to go down to the ‘other’ end of town to the Wirral to see The Searchers play ‘The Iron Door Club’? And how would he ever have discovered The Searchers without a single, even one performing drunken versions of ‘My Bonnie’ and ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ behind a fading 1950s singer? (Original Searchers vocalist Johnny Sandon, incidentally, sounded much like Tony Sheridan!) The Beatles got lucky – The Searchers got unlucky. Had they been born in the ‘opposite’ end of town I like to think that The Searchers would have blown people’s socks off the way The Beatles did on their Hamburg return, that a fan would have nagged Brian into getting a copy of, say, [30] ‘Saints and Searchers’ and he would have seen them at The Cavern (where they did sometimes play) instead of which they were stuck in flipping Hamburg wondering why their audiences kept telling them they were just copying some other Johnny Foreigners with an insect based name!

2)   The Searchers retained their original singer

Poor Johnny Sandon. There are few people in the music world unluckier than The Searchers themselves, but their singer is surely one of them. Loyal to the band through thick and thin since joining them in 1959, many fans who were lucky enough to be there in the early days reckoned Sandon was the Searcher with the biggest display of talent. The few recordings he made in later years bear this out too – while his material and backing bands tend to be abysmal, he himself possessed a gorgeous voice, a rich tenor with a wobble that would have matched Mike Pender for emotion, Chris Curtis for power and Tony Jackson for commercial appeal. However The Searchers were struggling to hit the big time, based as they were on the ‘wrong’ side of town, and he had an offer he couldn’t refuse from ‘The Remo Four’ to become their lead singer. An established act, with a recording contract, the decision made perfect commercial sense, but alas Brian took over The Remo Four and poached them to be a backing band to another singer he was promoting, Tommy Quickly, with Johnny pushed out of the band. Could Sandon have done as well with The Searchers as Tony? Well, it speaks volumes that during Johnny’s time in the band ‘Black Jake’ Jackson only got one or two songs at the most (to be fair he was learning how to play bass and sing simultaneously, which is quite an art form) while Sandon was the undisputed lead singer despite joining the band after the other four. Could he have coped with the material as well as Tony? Possibly not, but by the same token Tony’s high falsetto was so tied in with 1963 era Merseybeat that it meant The Searchers suddenly seemed like an anachronism to a lot of fans in 1964. Johnny’s solo recordings doesn’t suggest any great ambition, but he does do a great job on [54] ‘Magic Potion’ a year before Chris sang it with the band and he might well have progressed or adopted his tones even more than Tony did. The Searchers were unlucky to lose him – and he was horribly unlucky to lose them. In some parallel universe he would have sounded good singing the folk-rock songs like [53] ‘Needles and Pins’ too.

3)   They sign with Brian Epstein

The Beatles got Brian, a man who would do anything for his young charges, who kept fighting when any sensible businessman would have given up and who had a contacts book to die for. The Searchers got Tito Burns: he worked them hard, told them what to do without negotiation and had no real personal interest in the music business except how to make money out of it. Which one do you think ended up with the biggest success story? Oh and for the record for anyone doubting whether Brian would have liked The Searchers he tried endlessly to sign them as an act – as late as the day he died in 1967 he was due to meet them to discuss their future because he loved their sound (and he even told the press he considered [78] ‘When You Walk In The Room’ a ‘perfect’ single and expected it to be a #1 hit, which sadly it wasn’t). It really does look as if The Beatles just got lucky by being ‘first’. Maybe though The Beatles’ leather trousers would have swung it for him!

4)   The Searchers sign with EMI not Pye

Another brilliantly lucky day for The Beatles, which probably seemed horrifically unlucky at the time, was when they failed their audition with Decca and were beaten by Brian Poole and The Tremeloes. EMI were a young hungry artist’s dream: they had enough money for promotion, had realistic ideas of how many records their young charges could make (not like Capitol who demanded five LPs a year from The Beach Boys!) and supported them enough to leave them alone with the right people while sticking up for them where possible. To lose your contract with EMI you had to have done one of a small handful of things: bring yourself into disrepute or have endless flops in a row over a period of years. They were the label who gave The Beatles to George Martin, allowed Pink Floyd to grow and stayed loyal to The Hollies in the 1974-1981 period when they scored no top ten singles at all. Plus their records sounded so good, with a fat bass, space for harmonies and a crystal clear production: nobody else quite ‘got’ how to record rock and roll in the 1960s except EMI.
The Searchers ended up with Pye. Their records, while not as bad as the poor bands who ended up at Decca, were muddy and muffled and only started sounding good when they were re-mastered for CD (even then the first album sounds ropey and tinny, amongst the lightest sounding of all Merseybeat records). Instead of a sensitive man like George Martin who instinctively saw talent and wanted to encourage it, they ended up with Tony Hatch. This is the man who thought that [11] ‘Sweets For My Sweet’ was a stupid idea for a song to be recorded in as much of a rush as possible. When the song became a UK #1, rather than giving the band their head and assuming they knew what they were doing as Brian would have done, Hatch made up a ‘story’ about how he’d found their sequel from a nightclub act named Fred Nightingale and they had to record it or else. Effectively he conned them, writing the song himself and cashing in on a certain hit – not behaviour that Brian would ever have done to ‘his’ boys. Pye’s promotion, too, wasn’t as strong as EMI’s as they didn’t have as much money or indeed as much kudos as EMI. In another world, where The Searchers are on EMI, they have a marketing team with a budget who ‘gets’ them and they keep The Beatles seriously on their toes way into the 1960s.

5)   The Searchers have a hit with [22] ‘Twist and Shout’

There was a pact amongst most 1960s bands: most songs were fair game, but you had to do it *your* way. Somewhere along the way The Searchers and The Beatles both got hold of The Isley Brothers’ middling hit and revved it up into a rock and roll masterclass independently of each other and on the opposite end of town. Oh well, they shrugged when they found out, at least they are both turning their audience on to their favourite songs. Many fans who saw both bands though still claim The Searchers did it better – theirs was longer, slower and even more fabulous. When The Beatles got the chance to make their debut record ‘Please Please Me’ they had the pick of literally hundreds of songs at their disposal thanks to nights playing at Hamburg and throwing everything they could think of into the mix. Did they do a song that only they knew to play? Well yes, actually, no other Liverpudlian group was doing ‘Chains’ or ‘Anna (Go To Him)’. But they did record [22]‘Twist and Shout’ first, turning it into a masterclass of raw precision. The Searchers got their record contract late and recorded their own rushed version of the same song in similarly rushed circumstances. The atmosphere though was very different: nobody had ever sounded like this on record before and The Beatles knew it, with George Martin encouraging the studio engineers to become their ‘audience’ as Lennon stripped to the waist and drank gallons of milk. The Searchers got told to hurry it up please before the cleaners come in. Their resulting version is an embarrassment and they knew it – so did their fans who’d heard the real thing. But they didn’t get a second chance to put on tape how good this song *really* sounded when they played it and they got dismissed for being copycats. This happened again when The Beatles beat them to [16] ‘Money’ by a matter of weeks. The Searchers only had one showstopper left and when they heard The Beatles doing [25] ‘Some Other Guy’ for the radio they quickly recorded their own version and beat them to it. Even so that’s a 2-1 victory to the fab four; had The Searchers had those few precious months head-start it’s entirely possible that we might be looking back through old records and asking ourselves ‘Beatles who? Weren’t they just a Searchers copycat band?’ Would this have made a difference? Maybe…

6)   Here’s the big one: No Sweets For My Sweet

Wishing that a band hadn’t recorded their biggest hit seems like an odd thing to wish. But [22] ‘Sweets For My Sweet’ changed the whole identity of the band at a time when they were at their most fragile. Discovered by the band in Hamburg and given to Tony to sing as it suited his higher cuter voice, it was a pop anomaly in a setlist that was mostly serious and mostly sung by Chris. Fans went made for it, which encouraged them to make it their first single and in context it may well have been the right thing to do (The Searchers might never had the chance to make another). Inevitably, though, everyone around the band wanted them to sound the same on all their follow-ups, turning Tony overnight from the bass player into the star and Chris from the celebrity of Merseyside to just the drummer. It also confused the hell out of their fanbase, with their loyal fans wanting the band to return to their heavier material (more like the second record) and new fans wondering why they didn’t sound like this all the time. It also meant that Pye marketed them badly, as a ‘cuter’ version of The Beatles when an Andrew Loog Oldham figure would have recognised that this sulky argumentative band with hair twice as long as The Beatles’ should have been groomed as the ‘next’ Stones, bad boys from the ‘other’ side of the tracks. They couldn’t, though, in all honesty, keep up that image when singing a song titled ‘Sweets For My Sweet’ or sequel [23] ‘Sugar and Spice’, both of which demand something of a sweet tooth. In an alternative universe it’s The Searchers who sang the suggestive ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ and refused to bow at the end of The London Palladium while newspaper headliners asked ‘would you allow your daughter to go with a Searcher?’ In some alternate universe ‘Sweets For My Sweet’ is a song The Searchers turned down in favour of their own material, the way The Beatles did with ‘How Do You Do It?’ and thirty years later when ‘The Searchers’ anthology’ came out (complete with their own pilled-version of ‘What’s The New Mary Jane?’ but less messing around with outtakes being stuck together artificially) we would have all nodded our heads and said how wise they were.

7)   Here’s the other big one: Songwriting

The Searchers are, to my ears, one of the best songwriting groups in the business. Some of their B-sides are perfection and beat the better known A-sides hands down: [98] ‘Til I Met You’ is a better love song than any Lennon or McCartney ever wrote (at least in the first half of the 1960s). [76] ‘This Feeling Inside’ is as dark and edgy as any song was allowed to be back in 1964 and [102] ‘I’m Never Coming Back’ rocks harder than almost any other Merseybeat song. The Searchers, especially Chris, should be hailed as genius writers because of classy career peak and A-side [99] ‘He’s Got No Love’ alone. So what happened? The Searchers got into writing too late and nobody thought to play this up in the press. The Beatles lit a spark in 1963 partly because they cut out the middle man of Tin Pan Alley and were more direct to their audiences without having to filter their ideas through anyone else. When they wrote a song like ‘Thankyou Girl’, fans knew it was being written for them. The Searchers were late to the party and were never quite forgiven for it. When they did try and write their own rather wonderful songs to keep up (and quicker than most: they were the second most creative band in terms of compositions across 1963 after their Liverpudlian cousins) their marketing team worried that they were untried and untested and buried them as B-sides. The Beatles were allowed to release theirs as A-sides every time. Even ‘Love Me Do’. When The Searchers genuinely become a pioneering creative team turning out songs better than any cover band out there suddenly its 1965 and the opportunity has passed. Why oh why didn’t someone in management realise just how good their material was and encourage them to write more, highlighting it in the press as evidence that they were every bit as wonderful as The Beatles? Would this have made a difference? Hell yeah – if someone had got the band to try it early enough.

8)   Folk-Rock

They say that The Searchers started selling less because they were Merseybeat dinosaurs who couldn’t change with the times. But as anyone whose heard the lesser known third, fourth and especially fifth albums will tell you, that’s patently not true. If anything The Searchers invented the folk-rock craze that was so ‘in’ across 1965 – they just didn’t get the credit for it because their record label were too busy marketing them as a raw rock and roll group long after that particularly bird had flown. Talking of Byrds, that group always said that they were aiming for a halfway house between The Beatles and Bob Dylan. A closer listen to their music (especially the Rickenbacker guitars) suggests that The Searchers should ask for a paternity test. Then there’s the material: The Beatles’ earliest example of folk-rock is on ‘Help!’ where Lennon sings ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’. Around nine months before this, though, The Searchers have already turned Peter Paul and Mary’s ‘What Have They Done To The Rain?’ into a hit single – and you can’t get more folk than Peter Paul and Mary! As early as their first album [23] ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’ can lay claim to being a folk-rock song too, though this was so early in 1963 nobody had even come up with that term yet! All they needed was somebody in the press saying this (again The Beatles got lucky with Derek Taylor who knew exactly what made that band different and special).

9)   Psychedelia

Saying who invented psychedelia is a bold claim, not least because it’s so hard to categorise and every band seemed to adopt it at once. Once though, just for fun, I spent a top ten column trying to work out what the earliest examples in the AAA canon were in terms of feel, mood or instrumentation. Inevitably The Beatles came early with ‘The Word’ in December 1965: it’s a song where ‘the word is love’ sung with acid-tinged knowing and suggestive lyrics about a shared experience that in retrospect is clearly about drugs. The Rolling Stones were hot on their heels with the sitar-fest ‘Paint It Black’.  The Kinks too got there in July 1965 with their jaw-dropping single ‘See My Friends’, played on regular instruments but based on an Indian style raga drone. However one group came out on top by a whole week. [99] ‘He’s Got No Love’ is an astonishing song. The mood is different to anything that anyone had ever done before. This is a tale of depression that sounds heavy (it’s clearly inspired by ‘Ticket To Ride’ and may well have inspired ‘Paint It Black’ – the Stones were bigger fans of The Searchers than many realise and often cite their cover of Jagger-Richards song[104] ‘Take It Or Leave It’ as a favourite). However unlike ‘Ticket To Ride’, which edges towards inventing heavy metal, this is a claustrophobia of a quite different kind. Though the band don’t have the know-how yet it *sounds* like later tracks from 1967 that play backwards, with the song swathed in echo. The Searchers’ ringing Rickenbackers, so much a part of their style, sound so ‘wrong’ here, like a fake grin or a haunting figure from a dark childhood and if that isn’t the sound of psychedelia I don’t know what is. Listen too to the whispered voices at the end of the track that are very Pink Floyd two years before that band even get a recording contract. It’s a tragedy that The Searchers weren’t allowed or encouraged to develop this sound: just think where they might have pushed The Beatles if they’d jumped back to being more or less equal with them? Would this have made a difference? Throw in a few psychedelic sleeves and I’ll buy that!

10)                Record Company Delays on ‘Take Me For What I’m Worth’

For me The Searchers made some of the greatest Merseybeat LPs around: ‘Sugar and Spice’ especially hits hard and the band play tight and rough, but with just finesse to keep things moving. However to my ears its their fifth album ‘Take Me For What It’s Worth’ that’s their masterpiece. By now the band have worked out a whole new identity which takes bits from everywhere – rock, folk, psychedelia and a Spectorish wall of sound echo. They have started writing in earnest and have come up with some of their very best material. With Frank now in the band they have three lead singers (and an occasional fourth with John McNally’s growl) to choose from, adding variety to their vocal sound as well. ‘Worth’ is one of the greatest albums made up to the middle of 1965, with a finesse and sophisticated at one with the changing times. Only the public didn’t get to hear it in the Summer of 1965. In their infinite wisdom Pye rushed the band into finishing it, then decided that as the band’s singles had begun to drop slightly they ought to hold it back for the Christmas market instead when fans were more likely to buy an LP. By that time the world had progressed again, from the land of ‘Help!’ to the all original ‘Rubber Soul’, and I can see why in context ‘Worth’ didn’t sell well. However six months earlier it might have been a very different story and could have restored The Searchers back to the top of their perch (with the right promotion, if they’d finally sorted that out!) Would this made a difference? It was probably too little too late, but without that final nail in the coffin, who knows?

11)                A Delayed Sixth Album

The Searchers were just getting good in 1965. They became great in 1966. They weren’t that badly on the turn in 1967. But did we get a full album so they could prove to the world how good they were? No. Pye decided that it wasn’t financially viable – and yet insisted on keeping the band tied to their contract releasing singles rather than going elsewhere ‘just in case’ one became a hit. This is a tragedy: based on some of those singles ([97] ‘Goodbye My Love’ [99] ‘He’s Got No Love’ [106] ‘Have You Ever Loved Somebody?’ [108] ‘Popcorn Double Feature’ [110] ‘Western Union’ [112] ‘Secondhand Dealer’) this could have been the greatest Searchers album of all, with a more sophisticated, daring sound and a much wider palette of backing musicians. The Searchers, ironically, had more time to make these songs (though an even smaller marketing budget!) and just see how good they could sound when given half a chance! Would an alternate universe Searchers be enjoying the fruits of a more ambitious sixth album? I’d like to think so!

12)                Bye Bye Chris

This is all the more astonishing given that The Searchers lost their driving force in February 1966 when Chris had a nervous breakdown during an Australian band and quit the band in desperation and upset. He was the one who had picked all the band’s material (he even had their next single [106] ‘Have You Ever Loved Somebody?’ ready to go, which became a problem when they both decided to record it!) He was the one who spoke to the press about the band, the one who gave the announcements to the audience and who championed the band when they were feeling low. Without him the other three, plus new drummer John Blunt did incredibly well. With Chris they might have done better yet, bouncing back once their Pye contract was up in 1969 with a whole new sound and material. After all, it wasn’t that Chris wanted to leave – he was a combination of overworked and distraught that his ideas for the band weren’t working, while his mental health was never the most robust. What he really needed was a parental figure, a Brian Epstein to take that weight off his shoulders, to tell him don’t worry we’ll build up the band’s cult status and win them back the long way round, maybe while he stayed at home writing (which is what The Beach Boys did after their leader collapsed on them). Instead the band seem to have had no help at all, any of them. Did this make a difference? Hugely!

1)   More From Those Late 1960s Singles

Some of the best stuff The Searchers ever did came when no one was looking. While without Chris, The Searchers decided to return to being a covers act what covers they are and with the right marketing any of the following could have been a hit: the clever quirky [p118] ‘Umbrella Man’, a top cover of Buffalo Springfield’s [121] ‘For What It’s Worth’ (which didn’t even come out at the time), the classic catchy timeless pop single [123] ‘Desdemona’ and best of all the moving sailor sea shanty [129] ‘Vehevala’, one of the best things The Searchers ever did. However what did we get the biggest push for in this era instead? A re-make of sodding [11] ‘Sweets For My Sweet’! In the late 1960s! Madness!!! Aaaagh!!!!

2)   RCA and Sire

Most people assume The Searchers story stopped in 1965. Instead they’re still going today without a break – along with The Hollies the longest continuously performing AAA band of them all (The Stones are a little younger and The Beach Boys kinda split in the 1990s!) They have, alas, just announced that the next tour will be their last following John’s stroke last year, but I for one remain hopeful that they’ll be talked into staying on just a little bit longer – the UK club circuit would be a much poorer place without them. The Searchers had two extra bites at the cherry after their 1960s heyday, both of which should have led to something. RCA Victor in 1972 should have known just what to do with the band – they had the clout, the marketing, the nostalgia appeal and The Searchers had written a snazzy set of political glam rock songs that were very of their time. So what did they do? They sat on the album and then asked The Searchers if they could re-record some of their biggest hits too, in the end only releasing a handful of their twenty rather good recordings out until the digital re-issue age. It’s a waste: though not the band’s best work The Searchers were contemporary sounding enough to have scored a rogue underground hit and with just a tiny push the band could have been big all over again. RCA lost out as much as The Searchers, but the failure cost them hard. Seven years later they get another chance with Sire, on the back of some new wave bands who talked up how influential their signature Rickenbacker sound had been on their work. Perfect! The band release two albums that nearly hit the spot and fans are eagerly anticipating a third which, when rehearsed openly in concert, is said to have sounded amazing. But nope: Sire ends up becoming amalgamated with another company and suddenly it’s all about figures, with The Searchers too ‘cult’ a band to continue despite some pretty impressive sales figures given another lack of promotion. Surely all Sire had to do, in any case, was to get the band working with somebody, anybody who was currently big in the new wave era who loved their sound and play the link up for all they were worth? (The Cars, XTC, Television, anyone – it’s such a shame The Searchers ‘discovered’ ‘The Records’ too early as it was partly through their cover of [  ] ‘Hearts In Her Eyes’ that that band became a cult favourite at all). Did this make a difference? Probably not, but a third album on Sire particularly wouldn’t have hurt their career prospects and would have given us another cult album to buy!

3)   Bye Bye Mike

And finally, just to rub it in, The Searchers lost their latest de facto ‘leader’ when lead singer Mike Pender quit the band in 1985. You can understand his frustration facing another year down the bottom of the bill on a 1960s package and his need to try to see if he could go solo – but all he ended up doing was hurting both sides by putting together a ‘new’ Searchers who ended up splitting their fanbase in two. It was just bad timing too: had Mike gone solo in 1967, 1972 or 1977 no one really could have blamed him, but a German record company were already interested in the band (their eighth and final record was released as ‘Hungry Hearts’ in 1989) and he was only a few years away from a 1990s ‘nostalgia revival’ which thanks to Britpop made everything British from the 1960s cool again. The result was yet another lost opportunity that saw The Searchers just that too much in disarray to take full advantage of what they had to offer – which is more or less where we came in…
So, if The Searchers had not just made more records but put more original compositions on their records, got the call to Hamburg first and made a record that Brian Esptein might have heard, ended up on EMI and had a management figure soothing enough to help them through the loss of three key players in different periods, would The Searchers have been as big as The Beatles? The short answer is ‘I don’t know’. The longer answer, though, is that I hope so: The Searchers only ended up playing second fiddle to The Beatles because they were ‘discovered’ and signed second; had you asked anyone before Brian Epstein took that trip to the Cavern Club, though, and fans of the Liverpool music scene would have been hard pressed to say which band they thought was most likely to ‘make’ it (chances are they never expected either band to make it as big as they did; famous people came from America back then or at their most exotic London!) The Searchers had a lot to offer: they were harder edged than The Beatles (as best heard on the ‘Sugar and Spice’ record) and specialised in ballads which made them distinctive, especially when they started re-shaping how music could be made with tinges of folk and psychedelia. They were late to the party in the writing stakes but here too wrote a good half dozen songs that compare with the best Lennon/McCartney had to offer and might have written dozens more had they not been cut off in their prime.
Most of all, though, I suspect that The Searchers were so unlucky primarily because of the confusing way they were promoted: were they cute? Or were they streetwise? Pye were never quite sure – and as a result neither were we. In truth perhaps the best way of describing them is as a ‘second Beatles’ who had the potential to do it all. They had the potential to fill the vacuum a world without a ‘first’ Beatles might have been like too. The fact that the Searchers didn’t and largely disappeared just eighteen months in despite the major impact they had on music says more about how the average rock and roll band was treated in the 1960s (and how lucky in retrospect The Beatles were in so many ways) than any shortcomings on their part. A better first record wouldn’t have gone amiss either though! Mike has said in interviews since the 1980s that The Searchers formed through ‘fate’ – he got lucky Tony walked in to a pub just when he and John needed a bass player, that he bumped into old friend Chris at a bus stop just when he needed a drummer and that songs like [53] ‘Needles and Pins’ and [78] ‘When You Walk In The Room’ seemed to fall into their lap. But it’s a tragedy of immense proportions that fate wasn’t just that bit kinder still and could have given the band a Brian Epstein to become really big rather than a Tito Burns to become washed up so soon with so much potential left to simmer on circuit tours and package deals. The Searchers are what music was searching for across the 1960s and we missed it, thanks to bungled management, marketing, recording techniques and a couple of dodgy opening singles, even though it was right under our noses the whole time. Is this alternate future where The Searchers were bigger than The Beatles all just a dream? Probably – and short of a time machine no one will ever know for sure - but it’s fun to speculate!...
Meanwhile, over in the 'real' universe, The Searchers discography looks like this, with all articles available from this website:


'It's The Searchers' (1964) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/its-searchers-1964.html

‘Sounds Like Searchers’ (1965) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-searchers-sounds-like-searchers-1965.html

'Take Me For What I'm Worth' (1965)  
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-5-searchers-take-me-for-what-im.html

'The Searchers' (1979/1980) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/the-searchers-19791980.html

'Play For Today' aka 'Love's Melodies' (1981) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/the-searchers-play-for-today-aka-loves.html

‘Hungry Hearts’ (1988) https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/the-searchers-hungry-hearts-1989.html

Surviving TV Clips  and The Best Unreleased Recordings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-searchers-surviving-tv-clips-1963.html

Solo Recordings 1964-1967 and 1984 
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-searchers-solo-recordings-1964-1967.html

Non-Album Recordings Part One 1963-1967 
 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-searchers-non-album-recordings-part.html  

Non-Album Recordings Part Two  1968-2012 

Live/Solo/Compilation/US LPs/’Re-Recordings In Stereo’ Part One: 1964-1987 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-searchers-livesolocompilationus.html

Live/Solo/Compilation/Rarities Albums Part Two:  1990-2014 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-beach-boys-15-big-ones-1976.html




The Moody Blues: Five Landmark Concerts and Three Key Cover Versions





I don't know about you, dear reader, but so far this book/website has seemed awfully studio-bound: yes there are the odd live albums dotted round in the discographies but a touring life was usually as important if not more so to our AAA artists. Even we can't go through every gig they ever played however, so what we've decided to do instead is bring you five particularly important gigs with a run-down of what was played, where and when and why we consider these gigs so important, along with one particularly good one that summed up the band's setlist during their live peak (or one of them, anyway). Think of these as a sort of 'highlights' covering from first to (in some cases anyway) last, to whet your appetite and to avoid ignoring a band's live work completely! The Moody Blues had a rollercoaster ride with the stage down the years. From early career peaks supporting The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Walker Brothers (in that order) they ended up bottom of the bill in cabaret with a turning point when they nearly gave it all up. Yet somehow they bounced back and only four years later were playing to a then record British audience at the Isle of Wight festival. With only three actual live albums from their heyday (two recorded a mere week apart) it’s sometimes hard to get a glimpse of what this band’s live act was really like, but considering that all they had was a mellotron that kept going off pitch and some late 1960s/early 1970s technology it’s quite a marvel that they got as close to their expressive expensive studio sound as often as they did on stage.

1)  Where: Carlton Ballroom, Birmingham When: May 4th 1964 Why: First Gig Under MB Name Setlist: Unknown but might have included [13]Steal Your Heart Away [1] I’ll Go Crazy [2] Something You Got Baby [5] I Don’t Mind [12] Bye Bye Birdie

The Moody Blues played their first gig just two days after agreeing to form a band together, which must surely be some kind of a record. It made sense however:  they were all good friends after playing many of the same clubs together around Birmingham and were all seen as the city’s next hope without ever quite having got it together. What’s more they were playing very similar material in their different groups: Denny Laine in Denny and the Diplomats joining Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas from El Riot and The Rebels, Graeme Edge of Gary Levene and the Avengers and Clint Warwick of The Dukes. Given that almost all of these band were based in the Erdington end of Birmingham, they met up for a drink at local pub The Moathouse on May 2nd  and passed an audition to become the house band for the up and coming Carlton Ballroom where they played most of their early gigs (which still exists, though the club is now rebranded ‘Mothers’ – it’s also where the live half of Pink Floyd’s ‘Ummagumma’ was taped in 1969). The new quintet didn’t, however, have a name. As the venue was sponsored by the local Mitchell and Butler Breweries they figured it wouldn’t hurt if they called themselves the Mitchell and Butler Five, but were rather stung when the management decided they didn’t want to be associated with a rowdy r and b band and would rather take their chances with alcoholics! Instead the name shrunk to the ‘MB5’ later changing to ‘Moody Blues’ in honour of the Elvis Presley song. We don’t know much more than that alas – the group and venue were too small for any local newspapers to write any reviews and being so new there were few fans who attended the gig to write down what the tracklisting was. It seems likely, though, that the band would have stuck to the r and b cover material they had all been playing in their respective bands and that it would all have sounded not unlike their first LP ‘The Magnificent Moodies’, with Denny the lead vocalist and the band missing many of their signature points such as Ray’s flute (added later in the year) and their own material (which won’t start properly until Denny and Mike get to know each other better). They must have done ok though as only a month later they were going places – Salford University to be exact!

2)  Where: The Fiesta Club, Stockton When: Late September Or Early October 1966 Why: Turning Point Setlist: Unknown

This is – so we think – the source of the oft-told incident where a new-look Justin ‘n’ John era Moody Blues had stapled together a stage act and were playing their second Denny-less gig without much enthusiasm when a man broke into their backstage dressing room to give them a dressing down: ‘I take my wife out every Thursday night, spend two pounds and ten shillings on her and you’re bloody terrible, the worst band I’ve ever seen in my life. You need to ditch the blue suits and R and B and, well, somebody ought to tell you before its too late’. The band were shocked: they’d been on a two year gradual decline from the days of ‘Go Now’ and a disillusioned Denny had already jumped ship in August, but they had been making do: Justin was doing his best impressions of Denny’s lead, Mike was writing more songs and new/old bassist John (who’s also been a ‘rebel’ in his school days) was getting by. But somehow the new line up wasn’t right for the old songs and the music scene had moved on from the R and B covers The Moodies had been doing for years by now. The band knew it, but hadn’t spoken it out loud till someone had said it for them. ‘He’s right, that bloke, you know’ said Graeme after the man had gone – and then and there, in the back of a dressing room, The Moodies began reshaping their future, deciding to throw out the covers, add more original songs and come up with a ‘concept album’ that was all the vogue in late 1966 and which would eventually be ‘Days Of Future Passed’. Without this moment in time The Moodies might have only ever made that one Laine-filled LP, but regrouping from zero gave them a second shot at fame. What we don’t know, what with The Moody Blues being so close to the bottom of the bill on a cabaret show, is what they played that night though the band have referred to playing ‘the same old stuff’ which probably means the ‘Magnificent Moodies’ album with a few of the Laine era singles in there too (oddly their last Laine single ‘Life’s Not Life’ won’t be out in the shops till January – maybe they got some early plugging in? [34] ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ also seems a likely bet). Incidentally, Stockton is Justin’s memory of where the event took place and which has appeared in so many Moodies documentaries many fans take it as sacrosanct, but John has always remembered this event happening after a gig in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. If we ever get that tine machine invented, I’ll let you know who was right!

3)  Where: Isle Of Wight Festival When: August 30th 1970 Why: Biggest Gig? Setlist: [77] Gypsy [41] The Sunset [39] Tuesday Afternoon [88] Minstrel’s Song [66] Never Comes The Day [86] The Tortoise and The Hare [82] Question [90] Melancholy Man [68] Are You Sitting Comfortably? [69] The Dream [70-71] Have You Heard? > The Voyage [43] Nights In White Satin [49] Legend Of A Mind [46] Ride My See-Saw

By contrast, less than four years later and The Moody Blues are one of the biggest acts on the planet, touring the globe in their personalised jet planes and playing sell-out gigs. The audience at the Isle of Wight gig was easily their biggest, though (500,000 or thereabouts) and the band’s only sizeable festival of the period brought them to a whole new audience who’d never heard their music. Almost all the full show (alas four songs had deteriorated beyond repair) has since been released on CD and DVD and reveal a nervy band struggling to cope with their equipment in the open air and worried about the off-stage politics (Ray makes a rare bid for the microphone in between songs to comment on the fans tearing down the burger vans and fences with the cry that ‘music should be free’ with the healing lines that ‘they say it’s all for bread but, Christ, money can’t buy what you give us!’) Fifth album ‘A Question Of Balance’ had just been released three weeks before and many of the night’s songs come from that album, including one of the first performances of the band’s second biggest hit ‘Questions’ and a few songs not heard live after this tour. An album written to be simpler than usual to cater for the band’s biggest tour to date, it’s actually a surprise they didn’t play more songs from it this night, ending with a lengthy suite taken from third album ‘On The Threshold Of A Dream’. The part of the set that got the fans talking, though, was the finale with two of the band’s most popular songs stuck together (‘Nights’ and ‘Legend’), something so popular that for the first time in their career the audience refused to let the band go and demanded an encore (which must have annoyed the heck out of Jethro Tull waiting in the wings to play!) The band chose ‘Ride My See Saw’ and have since stuck to this three-song closing trilogy like a lucky talisman, never varying their set from that day to this. Interestingly many fans regard this as the peak of the band’s ‘democratic’ period of five writers and singers all with their own unique voices working together – surely the perfect approach for a festival of all places – and yet a look at the track listing reveals Justin dominating the band like never before, with six of the fourteen songs his (by contrast John and Mike get three each and Graeme just one).

4)  Where: The Cow Palace, California When: February 4th 1974 Why: Last Gig With Original Members Setlist: Unknown but sample from same tour includes [71] Higher and Higher [76] Out and In [94] The Story In Your Eyes [98] One More Time To Live [39] Tuesday Afternoon [49] Legend Of A Mind [81] Watching and Waiting [78] Eternity Road [90] Melancholy Man [68] Are You Sitting Comfortably? [69] The Dream [70] Have You Heard? > The Voyage [43] Nights In White Satin  [49] Legend Of A Mind  [46] Ride My See-Saw

Though many fans think of 1972 being the last hurrah for the original Moody Blues they continued into early 1974, honouring gigs that had been booked before their decision to stop making new music. Though billed as a ‘Grand Toure’ in many ways it was the opposite, the Moodies playing shorter sets and making less speeches to fans, while there were no songs played from downbeat finale ‘Seventh Sojourn’ meaning that the most recent music here was already three years old. There was though, oddly, a revival of much of the fourth ‘To Our Children’s Children’s Children’ album where the songs of optimism and space travel must have seemed a world away – the band wouldn’t revive the likes of ‘Higher and Higher’ and ‘Eternity Road’ for another three decades, while ‘Out and In’ would be booted out the setlist for good as soon as Mike hangs up his mellotron at the end of the tour. This wasn’t meant to be the end either: the band also had a tour in China booked, which would have been a first for a Western group in 1974, but they decided enough was enough and bought their way out of their contract (which was a shame as it had been arranged by an unlikely source. A big Moody Blues fan had been part of the British table tennis team that had won in China and had been granted a ‘celebration’ in their honour. Asked what music they would like to play, he nominated ‘To Our Children’s Children’s Children’, which went down so well with the crowd that the Moodies were invited on the back of it!) Ironically the last song sung by the ‘classic’ line-up on stage ended up being ‘Ride My See-Saw’, John’s song of hope and optimism at being given a second chance to make his dreams of being in a band come true, now replaced by musical disagreements and general boredom.
5) Where: Cologne Sporthalle, Germany When: October 19th 1978 Why: First Reunion Gig Setlist: Unknown but sample from same tour includes [132] Steppin’ In A Slide Zone [133] Under Moonshine [135] I’ll Be Level With You [136] Driftwood [138] I’m Your Man [139] Survival [141] The Day We Meet Again [94] The Story In Your Eyes [106] Isn’t Life Strange? [91] The Balance [110] I’m Just A Singer In A Rock ‘n’ Roll Band [39] Tuesday Afternoon [49] Legend Of A Mind [43] Nights In White Satin [82] Question [46] Ride My See-Saw
The band reunited in 1978, although it speaks volumes that they were much more nervous of going on tour again than they were making music in the studio, waiting four months until after the release of their eighth LP with the Justin ‘n’ John line-up ‘Octave’ before hitting the road. The trouble was that Mike wasn’t keen on uprooting himself from his American family to travel round the world singing old songs but the band also wanted to promote their album so it was agreed partway through the album that he would stay at home (and indeed drop out of the band). Worried about how they might go down without their founding member and that distinctive mellotron sound on stage (Mike was surely the only musician who ever got a mellotron to play in key on stage – and even he had problems some nights!), the other four Moodies decided to bounce back with some under-publicised shows away from the limelight over in Germany. Their new replacement, learning their old songs in a hurry, is Patrick Moraz of fellow prog rocker’s Yes and his impact  on the band will have a major effect in the years to come. Fans have long disputed whether he was a ‘full’ member or not (not least in the televised court case after he left the band) but it’s worth noting that as early as the shows that follow this concert he’s already on the front of the tour programme. With their new album still freshest in their mind, they took the odd decision to open with an entire set of  the new material (everything barring Justin’s  [134]‘Had To Fall’ and [137] ‘Top Rank Suite’, plus understandably Mike’s [140] ‘One Step Into The Light’) before playing some old friends in the second half. The shows went down very well though, encouraging the band to play a short UK and then a longer US tour soon afterwards. The Moody Blues were back, with a setlist that will be added to over the years but isn’t really all that changed from what they play in concert now.



The musical baton thing works both ways – sometimes younger or contemporary or even older acts hear music that they like and want it in their discography too. The Moody Blues don’t have as many cover versions out there as some of our other bands – all the more so once you’ve skimmed the wide range of teeth-gnashingly slow versions of [43] ‘Nights In White Satin’ there are out there – but there are some good ones out of the many we've heard (and no we haven't heard them all - do you know how many AAA albums out there are out there even without adding cover songs as well?!) There are to date three albums dedicated purely to Moody Blues covers and they’re a mixed bag. ‘Higher and Higher – A Tribute’ is as epic as you’d expect from all things Moody and runs for three discs. That’s at least one too many, possibly two, but there is some good stuff there if you keep the skip button handy (Ryan Guidry sounds just like Justin and revives perhaps his most obscure song, ‘London Is Behind Me’, from his pre Moody days while the suitably named Time Traveller have fun with [167] ‘The Other Side Of This Life’ by wondering what it would be like if it was made in 1966 rather than 1986). There are also no less than two volumes of a ‘Moody Bluegrass’ series which seems to exist mostly for the admittedly pretty funny gag in the title. I’m not sure The Moodies’ complexity really suits hoe-downs, however, while fiddles are no substitutes for flutes (although we have chosen our favourite moment below).  
Tangerine Zoo [37] Another Morning (‘Outside Looking In’ 1969)
Ray’s jolly childlike singalong always sounded like the odd one out on ‘Days Of Future Passed’ without the sense of weight or oppression of much of the rest of the album. That all changes with Tangerine Zoo’s Pink Floydesque interpretation which loses the jolly flute part and swaps it for an eerie claustrophobia and some gorgeous backing ‘ahhhhs’. This idea works less well on the chorus than it does on the verses, but it’s still a good idea and this version from 1969 oddly enough sounds far more in keeping with the main feel of 1967 than the original. Tangerine Zoo made quite a name for themselves ‘rediscovering’ lost nuggets like this and making them weirder and this Massachusetts band are quite a cult amongst psychedelic collectors who wish they’d taken up the invitation to appear at Woodstock instead of turning it down to do some hackneyed TV appearance instead – they deserved to be so much bigger!

1)  Ambrose Slade [27] Fly Me High (‘Ambrose Slade’ 1969)

I never got the appeal of ‘Slade’ when they became popular – to my ears they wasted a perfectly decent guitarist and a pretty excellent vocalist by making them sing inane ditties and where more of the budget went on the clothes than the recordings. But their first aborted incarnation, as a psychedelic band (with an added ‘Ambrose’ to their name) I like a lot. Noddy Holder is, along with The Move and Ozzy Osbourne, the only other big act to come out of the Midlands. As a result he sounds less ‘wrong’ singing the Moody songs with his Brummie tones than most cover acts do and he adds a characteristic grit to Justin’s fun and funky song of optimism. The Moodies’ original was perhaps a little too self-consciously poppy and as beautiful as much of it is, it feels as if it was written for its audience more than it’s performers. With no record contract yet in the offing Slade’s version sounds much more like a Moodies ‘song’ somehow, especially the gorgeous adrenalin rush of instruments 1:40 in which follows the massed harmony section (which Slade also do pretty well I have to say). Forget ‘cum on feel the noize’, I want Slade to come on and re-release their finest if obscurest hour again so other collectors can hear how unexpectedly good they sound with the snarl down low and the weirdness up high.

2)  Dave Harvey and Various Artists [49] Legend Of A Mind (‘Moody Bluegrass’ 2004)

In The Moodies’ original this playful pastiche is like a Catherine wheel with ADD, fizzing and spitting and bouncing all over the place with a whole world to explore. On this cover it’s been quietened down and stabilised. It should sound like a duff firework, but instead you hear the beauty of Ray’s original tune, while the words are more serious than arch given subject matter and psychedelic guru Timothy Leary’s ‘real’ death in 1996. I’m particularly impressed with the ending, which cuts down several minutes of mellotron madness into a gorgeous Pentangle style yearning where the busy mandolin meets the melancholy fiddle head on. The best cover songs always see the world in a new way to the original (or what’s the point of doing them at all?) without betraying what made them special in the first place. This highlight is a great example of that, as different as it can be and yet it still somehow ‘feels’ like the same song. Exquisite! None of the rest of the two volumes compare (though [107] ‘You and Me’ sounds impressively authentic as a bluegrass number!)



A Now Complete List Of Moody Blues Related Articles At Alan’s Album Archives:
'The Magnificent Moodies' (1965) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-moody-blues-magnificent-moodies.html

'Days Of Future Passed' (1967) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/the-moody-blues-days-of-future-passed.html

'In Search Of The Lost Chord' (1968)  http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-22-moody-blues-in-search-of-lost.html

'On The Threshold Of A Dream' (1969) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/news-views-and-music-issue-53-moody.html

'To Our Children's Children's Children' (1969) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-32-moody-blues-to-our-childrens.html

‘A Question Of Balance’ (1970) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-moody-blues-question-of-balance-1970.html

'Every Good Boy Deserves Favour' (1971) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-49moody-blues-every-good-boy.html

'Seventh Sojourn' (1972) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-53-moody-blues-seventh-sojourn.html

'Blue Jays' (Hayward/Lodge) (1976) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-38-blue-jays.html

'Songwriter' (Hayward) (1977) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-112-justin.html


'Long Distance Voyager' (1981) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-moody-blues-long-distance-voyager.html

'The Present' (1983) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/news-views-and-music-issue-98-moody.html

'The Other Side Of This Life' (1986) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/the-moody-blues-other-side-of-life-1986.html

‘Keys To The Kingdom’ (1991) https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/the-moody-blues-keys-to-kingdom-1991.html

'Strange Times' (1999) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/the-moody-blues-strange-times-1999.html

‘December’(2003) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-moody-blues-december-2003.html

Surviving TV Clips 1964-2015: http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-moody-blues-surviving-tv-clips-1964.html

The Best Unreleased Recordings 1961-2009: http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-moody-blues-unreleased-recordings.html

Non-Album Recordings Part One 1964-1967: http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-moody-blues-non-album-recordings.html

Non-Album Recordings Part Two 1968-2009: http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-moody-blues-non-album-recordings_11.html

Solo/Live/Compilation Albums Part One 1969-1977: http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-moody-blues-livesolocompilation.html

Solo/Live/Compilation Albums Part Two: 1979-2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/the-moody-blues-livesolocompilation_25.html

Essay: Why Being A Moodies Fan Means You Can Never Go Home https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/04/moody-blues-essay-why-being-moodies-fan.html