MOODY BLUES – ” In Search of the Lost Chord ” Released July 26th 1968 50th Anniversary Box Set

Posted: July 27, 2021 in MUSIC

The Moody Blues took a big leap with November 1967’s Days of Future Passed, an ambitious concept album that they made in collaboration with a full orchestra. Eight months later, they took another jump with “In Search of the Lost Chord” perhaps realizing that touring with an orchestra wasn’t practical, they replaced it with Mellotrons played by members Mike Pinder and Justin Hayward, not to mention everything from flutes, saxes and harpsichords to cellos, sitars and tablas. “Although we’d used an orchestra on the previous record, we all felt that we should be self-reliant with our next work,” the group’s John Lodge later said. “So if we wanted to use a particular instrument on a track, one of us would figure out how to play it.”

The resulting album, released on July 26th, 1968—which, like its predecessor, was (in 2018) expanded into a lavish 50th anniversary set—didn’t sit any better with the critics Rolling Stone gave it one-and-a-half stars, where two stars mean recordings that “are failures” and one star signifies LPs that are “wastes of vital resources”.

Maybe that half a century later,  the Moodies have sold 70 million records, are (finally) in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and remain popular enough to have prompted the release of a anniversary box set. That said, the critics got one thing right: some of the lyrics on this concept album—which focuses on spiritual and philosophical concerns—sound dated or downright puerile.

If ever the Moody Blues made an LSD album, this was it. You don’t have to venture beyond the opening lines of the first track to sense that the drug has taken effect: the album begins with a spoken bit about “the sight of a touch or the scent of a sound” that dissolves into stoned laughter. By the second number, the band are inviting you to “take this trip” and, in case you still haven’t caught on by the fifth track (“Legend of a Mind”), it pays tribute to Timothy Leary. (“He’ll take you up, he’ll bring you down…He flies so high, he swoops so low…he’ll bring you back the same day.”)

The good news, is that much of the music is excellent. There are a few brief throwaways, such as the spoken “Departure” and “The Word” as well as “Dr. Livingstone, I Presume.” But Justin Hayward’s vocals on songs like the lilting “Voices in the Sky” are as captivating as his work on the earlier “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin.” The two-part “House of Four Doors” is strong as well.

Songs like these sound better than ever on the album’s new 50th anniversary edition, which contains three CDs, two DVDs and a 76-page book that features notes, credits, period concert reviews, lyrics and photos of the group and assorted memorabilia.

One of the all-time classic albums of ‘60s Psych gets a welcome 50th anniversary makeover with this 5-disc box set. Across the three CDs are new and original stereo mixes of the album, mono ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides of the original Deram-era singles, BBC sessions and bonus tracks including a never-before-heard mono version of ‘Legend Of A Mind’. Meanwhile, DVD1 contains an audio ‘In Search of the Lost Chord’ 96 kHz / 24-bit 5.1 Surround Mix, the new stereo mix plus a re-master of the original stereo mix. Visuals on DVD2 include BBC TV’s ‘Colour Me Pop’ special from 1968 and the previously unreleased French TV’s ‘Ce Soir On Danse’. Comes in a hard box with 76-page book packed with photos and a new essay.

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