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There you go man, keep as cool as you can.

Face piles

Of trials

With smiles.

It riles them to believe

That you perceive

The web they weave

And keep on thinking free.


The above is from The Beginning/Lovely to See You, by the Moody Blues on their album, On the Threshold of a Dream.  I am fortunate, I think, for I have seen the Moody Blues live twice. 

The entire time I was in high school and the first two years I was in college I played lead guitar in a rock band.  It was the mid and late sixties.  The first song I, and perhaps many ever heard of the Moody Blues was Go Now, circa 1965.  I fell in love with it the first time I heard it and quickly it joined our repertoire; it was the first Moodies song I ever learned to play.  The next one was Nights in White Satin.  That song, though I’ve read was released in the UK in 1967, I don’t think it hit the US until 1971-2…when I heard it first on their album, Days of Future Past.  The first of what would become the Moodies’ signature progressive/theme/concept albums…everyone of which I collected.

That’s Denny Laine of the original Moodies doing the singing on that version of Go Now.  Laine, along with Paul and Linda McCartney later formed Wings.  Though I loved Go Now and Nights in White Satin, it really wasn’t until I heard the In Search of the Lost Chord LP that I became a fan.  My favorite group up until that time was The Beach Boys but after hearing DFP I quickly elevated the Moodies to the BB’s level.  Those two groups are still my favorite groups of all times.

The first time I heard Days of Future Past I was also treated to In Search of the Lost Chord, On the Threshold of a Dream, and To Our Children’s Children’s Children.  We listened to all four, back to back, smoking some crappy Mexican dirt weed.  I was stoned to the gills and speeding my butt off on a prescription diet pill, either Bamadex or Eskatrol, I don’t remember…it doesn’t matter really, both were heavy duty amphetamines and did the trick.  I liked everything about the albums and as soon as I could bought all three of them…and, a short while later, A Question of Balance.  The guy who had the album had also just gotten In Search of the Lost Chord, and we listened to that as well.  Those five albums are still some of my favorites.  The original five of the established Moody Blues band members play on them…Graeme Edge, Mike Pinder, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, and Ray Thomas.

Nights in White Satin with the orchestra back-up…and Ray Thomas’ super flute solo.  It brings back a thousand memories to me.

I’ve said before that I went to college for two years, dropped out for four, and then went back and completed my engineering degree.  During the time I was out of school, I became a hairdresser, and a very good one at that.  While doing that work, the shop I was at hired a British girl named Anne…she had married an Air Force man stationed in England who lived locally and they had moved back to Louisiana after he was discharged from the service.  I had a very good friend named Linda, also a hairdresser, who worked with me.  Linda was a riot, a cute as could be, itty biddy, flame red headed coonass, who was loads and loads of fun to be around.  Linda and I had the nasty habit of getting stoned everyday at lunch and she always had a stash of diet pills.  So, it was a Friday lunch after a joint that she suggested we drop by Anne’s house.  Honestly, I didn’t care much for Anne at this time, but she and Linda were tight.  Anne had taken the Friday off; I didn’t know why and really didn’t care.  Either way, we took a hit of speed and headed off to Anne’s house.

Anne was in a tizzy.  She was baking brownies with grass in them and running around with her head cut off.  I quickly learned that she had taken the day off to bake the brownies because she and a group of others were going to see the Moody Blues in concert in Baton Rouge.  And, one of the group had cancelled out.  It turned out that Anne and her husband, Paul, had bought the tickets and the guy who had cancelled had stuck them with an extra.  Anne wasn’t sure that the girl who was supposed to go with the guy who cancelled could afford the ticket to go.  Linda piped up and said she’d take the ticket from the guy who cancelled…and I quickly said that if the girl didn’t want the other one that I’d take it.  After a phone call, it was official…Linda and I were going to see the Moodies.  By this time, we were way late from taking too long at lunch and too loaded to go back anyhow.  We decided it was way better to ask forgiveness than for permission so the both of us just decided to blow off the afternoon and attempt to explain to our patrons later.  As it ended up, that worked.

An “unplugged version” of The Actor.  Justin Hayward can sing love songs to me for a year of years if he chooses.  Hayward’s been married like since 1970 to the same supermodel…I’m not holding my breath.

Anyway, I don’t remember the exact date, but this had to be in 1972/73 sometimes.  I remember reading later it was one of the last tours that Mike Pinder performed with the group.  And, the concert was simply incredible.  In those days there was no skipping and prancing around the stage like a frog caught in a food processor.  The group was announced…they came on stage to applause…and for the next two hours they stood at the microphones and played perfect music.  It was simply awesome.  It was just like listening to their albums.

The second time I heard them was also in Baton Rouge.  It was in the early 1990s, around 1992/3, during a time when the band performed with a symphony orchestra accompanying them.  Minke Pinder no longer performed with them.  This was also most memorable because most of the Moodies’ songs were highly produced, as complicated as calculus, and almost always accompanied by orchestrated music…in this case, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.  The concert was just as good, though considerably more complex.

All great songs.  Though this is the produced version of The Story in Her Eyes, visit YouTube and one can hear the live versions…all is great music.

And, that brings me to Netflix.  There are two movies on NetFlix that I highly recommend.  One is Lovely to See You Again, which is a 2005 stage concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles which they perform for the first time since 1977 without an orchestra.  This is a great film and is pretty much what the first concert I saw them was like.  The other on NetFlix is The Moody Blues: Classic Artists…much more of a documentary with interviews interspersed with concert clips. 

This was music as it was supposed to be.  Perhaps I’m just getting old, but I listen to contemporary music today and don’t relate.  If you’d like to see the five original Moodies play Lovely to See You Again live…here it is.


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