The Moody Blues are masters at reissuing previous albums and songs. There is a reason. They sell. This 4-CD box set is for those that either have already too many mixed up Moody Blues compilations or not enough. The previous box set, "Time Traveler" (1994) seemed to have it all, including in some cases, an extra 5th CD containing `live' material from 1992. Further compilations appeared until the magnificent, "Moody Blues Timeless Flight" box set; 2013. This is the ultimate all-inclusive fan collection - almost. The first (7) seven Moody Blues albums (out of print) were re-mastered into 4.1 sound (middle center speaker excluded) from the original quad tapes with extra rare songs. These are my favorites, as with a 5.1 surround sound system, these albums sound like new. But this 4-CD set fills in all the old favorite songs, with some extras to make it all seem like a truly new package. The re-mastering is superb.
The first disc only includes one pre-1967 song, "Love And Beauty", as it is a gem. The remaining (20) twenty songs are culled from, "Days Of Future Passed", "In Search Of The Lost Chord" and "On The Threshold Of A Dream". We are treated to the full version of, "The Actor" and two songs from the 4th side of "Caught Live + Five", "What Am I Doing Here" (alternate mix) and "A Simple Game".
The second disc includes some of the best songs from, "To Our Children's Children's Children", "Question Of Balance", "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" and "Seventh Sojourn". Special delights are, "Question" and "Melancholy Man" in their full lengths. Ton Clarke's submits two versions he produced; "It's Up To You" and "When You're A Free man". These are fantastic mixes and nice additions.
The third disc breaks a little protocol and includes a variety of songs from various albums. "Seventh Sojourn" contributes more including the rare, "Island" and the 1975 Hayward/Lodge "Blue Jays" album is represented by the amazing, "I Dreamed Last Night" and "Blue Guitar". "Octave" gets a few great songs in ("Driftwood is edited - sad for such a wonderful song) but a live song, "Who Are You Now" from that period is presented in full glory. Songs are further culled from, "Long Distance Voyager", "The Present" and "The Other Side Of Life".
Disc four contributes offerings from, "Sur La Mer", "Keys Of The Kingdom", Live At Red Rocks", "Strange Times" and "December". Highlights are definitely, "New Horizons (live)", "Emily's Song" and "Legend Of A Mind" from "Live At Red Rocks". Live versions of "Eternity Road" and "Question" (a real rocker) are great new additions.
The 22-page booklet contains dozens and dozens of photos from 1966 to current years. The booklet, composed by Mark Powell goes into great detail chronicling the Moody Blues travels, concerts, albums, singles and chart positions. Numerous quotes form the band members give an insight into what was going on in their heads and what was going on around them. Every year or every album seemed to bring a new discovery or new insight. There is a great deal of information I had not read in previous selections or articles.
Every song is also listed with great detail. Information comes from the title to the length of the track, whether it was an A or B-side, the album it came from, the date and month it was released, the producer (mostly Tony Clarke), the engineer, assistant, the recording studio and more. Guest musicians are always listed. The entire team from the "Blue Jays" is here along with any artist that participated in that song. Who knew that bassist Herbie Flowers or drummer Barry Morgan played on "Forever Autumn"?
What matters the most about this collection is the sound. It's probably the last re-mastering that will be done to these classics and it shows. I may end up obtaining the huge "Timeless Flight" collection one day, but this four-disc set is a generous amount of quality material.