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Jun 30 2012

Popular Culture (Music) 20120629: Live Moody Blues

We shall finish this rather long series with some live material from the canonical work of The Moody Blues.  My aim is to present some of my personal favorites, recorded during the period that they were contemporaneous at the time that they were released.

There is a really nice set of videos on YouTube about the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, but they do not fit into the format for this series because they were excerpted from a documentary about the festival and have lots of talk and not much music.  They are worth checking out, but this in not the venue.  When you do, check out the first on when they have some cameras on the back of the sound system.  Notice that many of those Hiwatt amps are labeled “WHO”, and a few are labeled “TULL”.  Yes, they also played there.  What a concert!

The first video is a very nice and evidently truly live performance of Ray Thomas’s “Legend of a Mind”  from In Search of the Lost Chord.  The video quality is not the greatest, but it has some excellent camera angles of Thomas playing his flute and Mike Pinder playing his Mellotron.  The audio is top notch, though.

Timothy Leary’s dead.

No, no, no, no, He’s outside looking in.

Timothy Leary’s dead.

No, no, no, no, He’s outside looking in.

He’ll fly his astral plane,

Takes you trips around the bay,

Brings you back the same day,

Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.

Timothy Leary’s dead.

No, no, no, no, He’s outside looking in.

Timothy Leary’s dead.

No, no, no, no, He’s outside looking in.

He’ll fly his astral plane,

Takes you trips around the bay,

Brings you back the same day,

Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.

Along the coast you’ll hear them boast

About a light they say that shines so clear.

So raise your glass, we’ll drink a toast

To the little man who sells you thrills along the pier.

He’ll take you up, he’ll bring you down,

He’ll plant your feet back firmly on the ground.

He flies so high, he swoops so low,

He knows exactly which way he’s gonna go.

Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.

He’ll take you up, he’ll bring you down,

He’ll plant your feet back on the ground.

He’ll fly so high, he’ll swoop so low.

Timothy Leary.

He’ll fly his astral plane.

He’ll take you trips around the bay.

He’ll bring you back the same day.

Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.

Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.

Timothy Leary.

I found a nice version of Justin Hayward’s “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)” that is from the Isle of Wight concert.  Remember, most of those Hiwatts belonged to The Who.  The miking on the Mellotron is not perfect, but the video quality is great.  This song originally was released on Days of Future Past.

Tuesday, afternoon,

I’m just beginning to see,

Now I’m on my way,

It doesn’t matter to me,

Chasing the clouds away.

Something, calls to me,

The trees are drawing me near,

I’ve got to find out why

Those gentle voices I hear

Explain it all with a sigh.

I’m looking at myself, reflections of my mind,

It’s just the kind of day to leave myself behind,

So gently swaying thru the fairy-land of love,

If you’ll just come with me and see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, afternoon,

I’m just beginning to see,

Now I’m on my way,

It doesn’t matter to me,

Chasing the clouds away.

Something, calls to me,

The trees are drawing me near,

I’ve got to find out why

Those gentle voices I hear

Explain it all with a sigh.

Mike Pinder’s “Melancholy Man”, also from the Isle of Wight festival, has the Mellotron miked better.  This song was originally from A Question of Balance.

I’m a melancholy man, that’s what I am,

All the world surrounds me, and my feet are on the ground.

I’m a very lonely man, doing what I can,

All the world astounds me and I think I understand

That we’re going to keep growing, wait and see.

When all the stars are falling down

Into the sea and on the ground,

And angry voices carry on the wind,

A beam of light will fill your head

And you’ll remember what’s been said

By all the good men this world’s ever known.

Another man is what you’ll see,

Who looks like you and looks like me,

And yet somehow he will not feel the same,

His life caught up in misery, he doesn’t think like you and me,

‘Cause he can’t see what you and I can see.

Hayward’s wonderful piece “Nights in White Satin” is a true classic, and I think that it, along with other canonical pieces, will be played as long as Bach is appreciated.  It originally appeared on Days of Future Past, and is probably the most popular and recognized (if not the very best) of their works. Once again, the video is a little shaky, but revealing, and the audio is excellent.  This is almost certainly a real, live performance.  I am amazed how well the Mellotron sounds live, and Edge’s drumming in perfectly understated.  He could have never have been the drummer for The Who any more than Moon could have been the drummer for The Moody Blues, but their styles were just perfect for their respective bands.  NEVER sell the drummer short.

Pinder usually wrote the psycedlic songs. This one is quite psychedelic, and I am told that clean psychedelic drugs augment the emotion of love, when it is a total soul experience for both (upon occasion, more) persons.  Of course I would not know about climbing any trees like those.

Nights in white satin,

Never reaching the end,

Letters I’ve written,

Never meaning to send.

Beauty I’d always missed

With these eyes before,

Just what the truth is

I can’t say anymore.

‘Cause I love you,

Yes, I love you,

Oh, how, I love you.

Gazing at people,

Some hand in hand,

Just what I’m going thru

They can understand.

Some try to tell me

Thoughts they cannot defend,

Just what you want to be

You will be in the end,

And I love you,

Yes, I love you,

Oh, how, I love you.

Oh, how, I love you.

Nights in white satin,

Never reaching the end,

Letters I’ve written,

Never meaning to send.

Beauty I’d always missed

With these eyes before,

Just what the truth is

I can’t say anymore.

‘Cause I love you,

Yes, I love you,

Oh, how, I love you.

Oh, how, I love you.

‘Cause I love you,

Yes, I love you,

Oh, how, I love you.

Oh, how, I love you.

I am writing on Thursday evening, and Jace is sort of climbing all over me.  So far I have kept him from hitting the keyboard, but I save and preview often when he is with me!  This is the third night that I have kept him, and not only do I not resent doing it, I LOVE doing it.

Just about my favorite song of theirs is the John Lodge piece, “Ride my Seesaw”.  I am having difficulty finding a real live one, and in particular one that included the opening poem (“Departure”, with some mean Mellotron that sounds like the Enterprise going to warp in 1968, one of the only ones both written and spoken by Edge).  This one is almost certainly mimed, and those of you that are familiar with my series about The Who understand that very obtuse UK union laws and regulations were the cause.  However, this is certainly not the original issued on In Search of the Lost Chord, so I include it.  I think that this is a mimed version (the regulations allowed actual live singing) of a canned piece.  I give only a link since it is not from YouTube.

http://www.use.com/7bd9aea0ad7…

Ride, ride my see-saw,

Take this place

On this trip

Just for me.

Ride, take a free ride,

Take my place

Have my seat

It’s for free.

I worked like a slave for years,

Sweat so hard just to end my fears.

Not to end my life a poor man,

But by now, I know I should have run.

Run, run my last race,

Take my place

Have this number

Of mine.

Run, run like a fire,

Don’t you run in

In the lanes

Run for time.

Left school with a first class pass,

Started work but as second class.

School taught one and one is two.

But right now, that answer just ain’t true.

Ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah

Ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah

My world is spinning around,

Everything is lost that I found.

People run, come ride with me,

Let’s find another place that’s free.

Ride, ride my see-saw,

Take this place

On this trip

Just for me.

Ride, take a free ride,

Take my place

Have my seat

It’s for free.

Ride, my see-saw.

Ride, ride, ride, my see-saw.

Ride, my see-saw…

If anyone can find a video that is not mimed of this, perhaps my favorite song of theirs, I would very much appreciate seeing it in the comments.  I have been looking low and high but I’ve still not found what I’m looking for.  OK, Seekers, here is a chance to answer the riddle with three marvelous bands, one of which were not musical.  I just made late 1960s and early 1970s references.  Who can identify all three, and the connexions betwixt them?

The earliest live version (audio only) that I could find of Hayward’s “The Story in Your Eyes” is from 1981.  It was originally from Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.  Pinder and the Mellotron were long gone, being replaced by Patrick Moraz and a synthesizer.  It is just not the same.

I’ve been thinking about our fortune

And I’ve decided that we’re really not to blame

For the love that’s deep inside us now

Is still the same

And the sounds we make together

Is the music to the story in your eyes

It’s been shining down upon me now

I realize

Listen to the tide slowly turning

Wash all our heartaches away

We’re part of the fire that is burning

And from the ashes we can build another day

But I’m frightened for your children

That the live that we are living is in vain

And the sunshine we’ve been waiting for

Will turn to rain

Listen to the tide slowly turning

Wash all our heartaches away

We’re part of the fire that is burning

And from the ashes we can build another day

But I’m frightened for the children

That the live that we are living is in vain

And the sunshine we’ve been waiting for

Will turn to rain

When the final line is over

It’s certain that the curtain’s gonna fall

I can hide inside your sweet sweet love

For ever more

Here is a very nice live version of Hayward’s “Never Comes the Day” from On the Threshold of a Dream recorded in 1970.  Now, don’t you think that the Mellotron sounds better than the synthesizer?

Work away today, work away tomorrow.

Never comes the day for my love and me.

I feel her gently sighing as the evening slips away.

If only you knew what’s inside of me now

You wouldn’t want to know me somehow,

But

You will love me tonight,

We alone will be alright,

In the end.

Give just a little bit more

Take a little bit less

From each other tonight

Admit what you’re feeling

And see what’s in front of you,

It’s never out of your sight.

You know it’s true,

We all know that it’s true.

Work away today, think about tomorrow

Never comes the day for my love and me.

I feel her gently sighing as the evening slips away.

If only you knew what’s inside of me now

You wouldn’t want to know me somehow,

But

You will love me tonight,

We alone will be alright,

In the end.

Give just a little bit more

Take a little bit less

From each other tonight

Admit what you’re feeling

And see what’s in front of you,

It’s never out of your sight.

You know it’s true,

We all know that it’s true.

Although obviously mimed, it is still cool to watch them pretend to play Hayward’s “Question” (from A Question of Balance).  This looks like some of the material that The Who had to produce, the instruments prerecorded with live vocals.  There were union rules in the UK at the time that were quite arcane and made this necessary for several years.

Why do we never get an answer

When we’re knocking at the door

With a thousand million questions

About hate and death and war?

’cause when we stop and look around us

There is nothing that we need.

In a world of persecution that is burning in its greed.

Why do we never get an answer

When we’re knocking at the door?

Because the truth is hard to swallow

That’s what the war of love is for.

It’s not the way that you say it

When you do those things to me.

It’s more the way that you mean it

When you tell me what will be.

And when you stop and think about it

You won’t believe it’s true.

That all the love you’ve been giving

Has all been meant for you.

I’m looking for someone to change my life.

I’m looking for a miracle in my life.

And if you could see what it’s done to me

To lose the love I knew

Could safely lead me through.

Between the silence of the mountains

And the crashing of the sea

There lies a land I once lived in

And she’s waiting there for me.

But in the grey of the morning

My mind becomes confused

Between the dead and the sleeping

And the road that I must choose.

I’m looking for someone to change my life.

I’m looking for a miracle in my life.

And if you could see what it’s done to me

To lose the love I knew

Could safely lead me to

The land that I once knew.

To learn as we grow old

The secrets of our souls.

It’s not the way that you say it

When you do those things to me.

It’s more the way you really mean it

When you tell me what will be.

Why do we never get an answer

When we’re knocking at the door

With a thousand million questions

About hate and death and war?

When we stop and look around us

There is nothing that we need.

In a world of persecution that is burning in its greed.

Here is another version, a truly live one from the Isle of Wight concert.  The audio is horrible, but it IS live.  Audio problems also plagued much of The Who‘s work there, but was finally cleaned up enough to sound pretty good when the CD was released in 1996.

Folks, I am afraid that we are going to have to leave it here.  Compared to The Who there is a dearth of early live material from The Moody Blues.  That puzzled me at first, but then I remembered Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, the management team for The Who early on after they escaped the grasp of the vile Shel Talmy.  They were the difference, and I shall explain why.

When Lambert and Stamp learnt of The Who, they were looking for a young band with stage presence for a documentary film.  They were filmmakers by trade, and recognized the value of recording videotape of performances.  They did a lot of that, and thus a lot of early material by The Who exists.  Even though Lambert gave up film after becoming the producer for The Who, he still was keen on film.  That, my friends, is the difference.

There are LOTS of live videos of The Moody Blues post about 1980, but without Pinder and his Mellotron and Chamberlain they just do not provide the sound that the canonical albums do.  Certainly the songs are still wonderful, but they just do not sound like the real thing.  Only one song after the departure of Pinder has what I consider to be the flavor of the old band, the Hayward song “Your Wildest Dreams” from The Other Side of Life from 1986.

Once upon a time

Once when you were mine

I remember skies

Reflected in your eyes

I wonder where you are

I wonder if you

Think about me

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new

Our bodies felt the morning dew

That greets the brand new day

We couldn’t tear ourselves away

I wonder if you care

I wonder if you still remember

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays

And when the words are

Touched with sorrow

When the music plays

I hear the sound

I had to follow

Once upon a time

Once beneath the stars

The universe was ours

Love was all we knew

And all I knew was you

I wonder if you know

I wonder if you think about it

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays

And when the words are

Touched with sorrow

When the music plays

And when the music plays

I hear the sound

I had to follow

Once upon a time

Once upon a time

Once when you were mine

I remember skies

Mirrored in your eyes

I wonder where you are

I wonder if you

Think about me

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

In your wildest dreams

In your wildest dreams

I can not bear to listen to this extraordinary sad piece about loss and regret, but I have it well enough in memory to know that Moraz kind of sort of got his synthesizer not to sound so much like what I refer to as electronic farting noises.  However, it would have sounded better with Mellotron instead of synthesizer!

That does it for now.  Next week I shall choose a new topic, and probably will not start a new, long music series for a while.  I will do my best to keep you entertained.  As always, I encourage you to comment frequently and to include clips that I might have missed.

Warmest regards,

Doc, aka Dr. David W. Smith

Crossposted at

Daily Kos,

Docudharma, and

firefly-dreaming

1 comment

  1. Translator, aka Dr. David W. Smith

    some rare gems?

    Warmest regards,

    Doc

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