Saturday, November 14, 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: The Moody Blues - "In Search of a Lost Chord"

By John R. Olson

The Moody Blues expanded their songwriting creativity and took us with on a musical songwriting journey with "In Search of a Lost Chord." "In Search of a Lost Chord," is the Moody Blues 3rd album and was released on Deram Records in July 1968. This concept album received its title from the myths many cultures have about a lost chord with incredible powers. It also explored themes of traveling for a quest for spiritual fulfillment, and the different ways you could journey to find this.

The band members chose not to work with an orchestra for this album. In order to get a variety of sounds, Mike Pinder's mellotron is featured as well as 32 other instruments that the band members learned to play themselves. Some of the unusual instruments used included: the sitar (played by Justin Hayward), the tambura (played by Mike Pinder) and the cello (played like a bass guitar by John Lodge). The album was influenced by middle eastern mysticism.

The album opens with "Departure" which is one of their shortest songs at 48 seconds long and features the tambura and a Graeme Edge's poem, recited by Edge. Since most of Edge's poems on their albums are spoken word pieces by Mike Pinder, this is a rare gem. The next song, "Ride My See-Saw", written by John Lodge, was released as a single in October 1968. This song makes the history books since it was one of the first rock 'n roll singles to be recorded on 8 track. "Ride My See-Saw" is a classic rock gem; the song is fun and immediately recognizable when you hear it on the radio.

The third track is "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" is written by Ray Thomas. The fourth and sixth song on Side 1 is "House of Four Doors" which is a 2 part song written and sung by John Lodge. "Legend of a Mind" is the song between the two parts of "House of Four Doors". Legend of a Mind is about Timothy Leary, the LSD guru, is about six and a half minutes long and features a Ray Thomas flute solo.

Side two opens with "Voices in the Sky", written by Justin Hayward and released as a single, before the album in June 1968. The second song, "The Best Way to Travel" is written by Mike Pinder and relays to us how "thinking is the best way to travel."

"Visions of Paradise", the third song on side two, is the first collaboration by Justin Hayward and Ray Thomas. The fourth song is "The Actor" written by Justin Hayward, about a woman's unrequited love for an actor who she only sees on stage.

Side two's fifth song is "The Word" written by Graeme Edge and is a short spoken word piece featuring Mike Pinder at 49 seconds long. The sixth song is "Om" written by Mike Pinder and showcases many instruments, including the sitar, tables, and cello, as well as the Moody Blues usual flute and mellotron.

John is an avid music enthusiast and loves the music from the 60's and 70's. One of the best ways to listen to these artists is on the MFSL platform. The Moody Blues MFSL were one of the few artists that produced multiple records on the gold disc playform.

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