23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: December (Audio CD)
It may come as a surprise to some that the Moody Blues would release a Christmas album, but they manage to pull it off. Ray Thomas is missing this time and although Graeme Edge is in the liner note photo, his work is not mentioned. The arrangements seem more like a throw back to "Bluejays" (1975), with the heavy orchestration and low key mood pieces. Hayward's three contributions are thoughtful breezy ballads, with great guitar work and magical keyboards. "Don't Need A Reindeer" stands out among the three. Lodge makes two contributions, but as is usually the case, his songs are melancholy and about loneliness and longing. Some of the lyrics seem stilted and forced. It surprising to see no Hayward/Lodge collaborations on this set.
There are several covers on this album and that can always be a tricky endeavor. "In The Quiet Of Christmas Morning (Back 147)" succeeds in maintaining the original mood of the piece. "In The Bleak Midwinter" stays true to its original nineteenth century poetic intent and its simple beauty. Even "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is an acceptable remake keeping John Lennon's spirit alive. The Moody Blues have smoothed it over, without the raw simplicity that Lennon and Ono had with the original children's chorus. Longtime collaborator Mike Batt (with Tim Rice) contributed "A Winter's Tale"; a pleasant holiday song that is pure Tim Rice (written in 1989). Only "White Christmas" rides the fence of uncertainty, but that's only because no one has yet to ever match the Irving Berlin/Bing Crosby classic.
True Moody Blues fans will cherish this set but new comers may be put off. It's not meant to be pretentious or self important, it's just the Moody Blues singing and playing at their best. Time will tell whether this album becomes a Moody Blues classic.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Jul 2011 14:21:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jul 2011 14:25:18 BDT
'White Christmas' is a 'cover version too far' - apparently it was only recorded & included at Record Company insistance - and Moodies' Drummer Graeme Edge evidently HATED doing it & has been quoted as saying he'd STILL like it removed from the album.... (tho' he might be somewhat miffed as his own original song 'Coconut Christmas' was dropped from the not overlong set...which seems a bit strange...!)
I feel 'Moodies sing Bing Crosby' is a totally disasterous mistake....why did they not cut a version of Greg Lake's superb 'I Believe in Father Christmas' which would suit Hayward's voice and their reflective style really well (tho' it's somewhat of a cynical song in truth)
The rest of the album is nice enough...only 'December Snow' is really a Classic Moodies song...but the others are all enjoyable and they make 'A Winter's Tale' and 'When A Child is Born' sound as if written just for them...!
Nice 'Ray Thomas-ish' flute playing by Norda Mullen too...
‹ Previous 1 Next ›