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A Question Of Balance (Expanded Edition)

A Question Of Balance (Expanded Edition)

22 Jun 2008
4.7 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Marty From SF HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 July 2006
Format: Audio CD
"Question Of Balance" was a high-hitter for the Moody Blues and with this set, not only do you get the fantastically crisp sound of SACD, but they have finally released some rare tracks. All the bonus and alternate mix tracks are of fine quality and the difference may be as subtle as additional back-up vocals or extra instruments. Here is the complete list:

Question

How Is It (We Are Here)

And The Tide Rushes In

Don't You Feel Small

Tortoise & The Hare

It's Up To You

Minstrel's Song

Dawning Is The Day

Melancholy Man

Balance

Extra songs:

Mike's Number One (Bonus Track)

Question (Alternate Version) (Bonus Track)

Minstrel's Song (Original Mix) (Bonus Track)

It's Up To You (Original Mix) (Bonus Track)

Don't You Feel Small (Original Mix) (Bonus Track)

Dawning Is The Day (Full Original Mix) (Bonus Track)

No previous Moody Blues album has contained such rare BBC sessions, outtakes and alternate mixes. The differences are subtle but many include backup vocals, new instruments and a different pacing to the songs. One needs no other recording of this classic album. The box is half plastic and half cardboard which might not last as long as a regular CD package. However, the liner package notes are exhaustive with many new pictures and a complete history.

(Note: This is an SACD mix made from the original quadraphonic tapes. The extra songs are the original remastered quadraphonic tapes - not SACD).
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Format: Audio CD
One of a slew of re-released Moody Blues albums (On the SACD surround sound format) that feature alternate versions and mixes of songs already on the albums “A Question Of Balance “ stands out because it contains the only “new” song. Hardcore fans will undoubtedly buy the new version of “A Question Of Balance” for that reason alone but for those who have never heard this album at all or are only aware of a couple of tracks then I’d advise you to buy this album anyway because like all of The Moody Blues material of that period (Late 60,s through to mid 70, s) it’s brilliant.
Every time I review a Moody Blues album I witter on about what an unjustly maligned band they are and how critical re-appraisal is long overdue and yadda yadda. It’s all true of course ,but I’m a bit bored of going on about it so I won’t, except of course I already have and lets just get on with the review shall we?
Originally released in 1970 “A Question Of Balance” saw the band move further away from the more conceptual approach taken with their previous albums and record a more traditional collection of conventional rock songs. The quintessential essence of the bands sound still remained with Justin Hayward’s pristine ringing chords, Mike Pinders ominous mellotron and Ray Thomas .s errr flute. There is still the pondering on the nature of existence , the universe etc and still a fair amount of cod-philosophy but as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews the band are so patently sincere that it’s not half as irritating as it might be in more pompous hands. (Hello U2)
The songs.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I have been a Moody Blues fan for years and have made a point of buying their albums, wearing the vinyl out in some cases. CD's helped eliminate that problem. Now, SACD allows us to hear this great group as they were meant to be heard...or does it?The sound quality disappointed me. I saw the sticker on the front of the digipak (I prefer jewel boxes) which touted a 5.1 mix within. So I popped it into my SACD player and got not 5.1 sound, but 4.0! That's right; no center channel, no subwoofer. They stayed perfectly true to the original quadraphonic master tape and did nothing more to the mix. If you look even at the listing here on Amazon, it says the album is in 5.1. Can't fault Amazon; they just print what they're told by the record company. So who is at fault here? I'd say it's Universal. They should have been more truthful. And what of the other SACD reissues? Are they going to be 4.0 as well? The surround mix also sounded so compressed, I thought I was listening to it on the radio! NO dynamics at all! The bonus tracks were also not available on the multichannel SACD layer. I had to go to a CD player to hear them. This is not the treatment the Moody Blues deserve.
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Format: Audio CD
'A Question of Balance', the fifth album released by the Moody Blues during their first string of releases, often suffers from an unjustifiable volume of criticism from those who felt the band lost their way somewhat with this work. Certainly, it's not their greatest or most consistent release, but if one looks at it as a separate work in its own right rather than what it followed ('Days of Future Passed') and what was yet to come ('Seventh Sojourn') then it still proves capable of standing the test of time.
With their previous release ('To Our Children's Children's Children') the Moody Blues had fallen into a trap which many bands find themselves unable to escape - that of increasing lush, even extravagant production and instrumentation - a sound that proved both difficult to reproduce live and also left the band wondering if they could outdo themselves with the next 'epic' in the sequence. Rather than bow to this pressure which would come to bear on so many prog-rock bands of the ensuing decade, the band chose to stand still, even step back to allow a more clear-cut sound to emerge. Not only that, but they managed to do so without losing either their definitive sound or sense of musicianship.
The result might not have been to all tastes, but even the harshest critics can't deny the quality exuded by tracks such as 'Question' (cruelly denied a UK No 1 by a combination of the BBC and England's World Cup squad) and 'Melancholy Man' which hold their own against anything ever recorded by the band. Sure, some of the songs (How Is It, Tortoise and the Hare, Minstrel's Song) suffer against these two by comparison, but so would many tracks from their other releases. And as a package, A Question of Balance achieves exactly that in terms of the way it flows as a whole album.
A worthwhile purchase, if you're a keen fan of their work. If not, perhaps you'd be better off with a Best Of package anyway...
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