(9 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Last week we discussed On the Threshold of a Dream, and this week the next album by The Moody Blues, To our Children’s Children’s Children.
The band were the same lineup as from their second record, and after being released on 19691121 charted at #2 in the UK and at #14 the next year in the US. This is really a very nice album, although not my favorite Moodies one.
This album follows the trend that The Moody Blues were an album rather than a singles band because the only single from it failed to chart. We discussed this last week and came to the conclusion that the ideas that they were expressing were simply too complex for one or two songs.
Like many bands in the late 1960s and early 1970s, The Moody Blues forms their own record label after the success of “On the Threshold of a Dream”. They never recorded under the Deram label again, but rather under the Threshold label. Although still a subsidiary of Decca in the UK (London in the US), the agreements allowed them more freedom to spend money on expensive album covers. Thus, they were able to commission Phil Travers for the cover art again, as he had for all of their albums since “In Search of the Lost Chord”. Deram had objected to the expense of the art and the gateway covers.
The album opens with a first, and that is the Graeme Edge wrote the entire song rather than just a short verse. However, in keeping with most other Edge material, the words were not sung but rather recited by Mike Pinder. “Higher and Higher” is really outstanding. I chose this particular video because the Apollo 11 moon landing was the inspiration for the album. Once again, I am convinced that Pinder could do anything with a Mellotron, as the rocket blastoff sound is strictly created by him and is not an actual recording of Apollo 11.
John Lodge wrote the next song, “Eyes of a Child I”. It is one of their numbers that I like to use the term “hauntingly beautiful”. In particular the flute work by Ray Thomas and the harp by John Lodge make it so, and the choral work is outstanding. Here is is:
The Thomas song “Floating” is the third track on the record and is very nice. For those who know the band well, this song is instantly recognized as a Thomas number, not only because he sings it, but because of the musical style. Note the I beg to differ with the notes in the embedded video, because I DO think that this song is about psychedelic drugs within the overall theme of space exploration.
The forth track is “Eyes of a Child II”, again by Lodge, but I have not been able to find it. If anyone can, PLEASE add it in the comments!
The extremely introspective Justin Hayward song “I Never Thought I’d Live to be a Hundred” is the fifth track and is, sadly, very short. All acoustic, all Hayward, it is great.
“Beyond” by Edge is back to the classical progressive rock sound of The Moody Blues and is a rare instrumental only. The Mellotron is perfect here.
The seventh and final track from the first side is “Out and In”, was written by Lodge and Pinder in the only known collaboration in songwriting by them. There is some controversy about this, as some critics claim that it was written by Pinder alone. Pinder certainly is the singer. This song also has some significant psychedelic references, even in the title. It is another of the hauntingly beautiful songs.
Side two begins with the Hayward song “Gypsy (Of a Strange and Distant Time)”. This is heavy with Mellotron and is a classic Moodies piece. Thomas’s flute is an outstanding contribution, and the whole song just comes together wonderfully. Hayward’s voice is perfect.
Track two is “Eternity Road”, written and sung by Thomas. Still in keeping with the concept of space and time, it is not one of their top tier songs, but is still very, very nice.
“Candle of Life”, a Lodge song, is the third song on the side. It is another of the highly introspective songs for which the band was famous, and I find it quite sad but inspirational at the same time. The admonition to love everybody should be taken to heart by all.
I really like the sitar in the forth track, “Sun is Still Shining” by Pinder. The Mellotron is also outstanding in it.
“I Never Thought I’d Get to be a Million”, the followup to the similar Hayward song of the first side, is next at track five.
The final track of the record is the brilliant Hayward song “Watching and Waiting”. It is my personal favorite from the album, and it showcases Hayward’s voice perfectly. The entire oneness with nature is a recurrent theme in the psychedelic movement. So was introspection, and this is certainly introspective. This was the single from the album that failed to chart.
Overall, I think that this record is weaker than the previous two. It is still much better than a whole lot of other popular music, but in my opinion is just not up to their standard. Now, taste in music is highly subjective and there are many that consider this album to be their best.
I believe that the reason that I like it less is that it does not seem to have as many songs as joy filled as the previous work, but that could just be me. Please do not get me wrong; I like the album very much. I just like others better. Another part of it is that there are not a couple of songs that really grab me like on the previous two.
That will do it for Popular Culture tonight. Please comment liberally and feel free to add video. Remember, if anyone finds “Eyes of a Child II” please add it in the comments.
On a personal note, my wrist continues to make rapid progress in its recovery. My little finger is almost completely functional now. The only time that I wore the splint was writing this piece, and that is just because it makes it a tad easier. Overall I would estimate that I now have 60% functionality.
Doc, aka Dr. David W. Smith
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