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VINE VOICEon 9 June 2009
With future Wings man Denny Laine on guitar and lead vocals and the late Clint Warwick on bass, the first incarnation of MBs were a part of the first British blues boom. Though not as effective as the Stones, Animals, etc, they were clearly one of the most musically proficient bands of the era. By the time they made this album (1965/6), most of the band were in their mid-twenties and had done their bit around Hamburg.

Most of these recordings seem to utilise Mike Pinder's piano as the focal point, especially their sole major hit, 'Go Now'. There are a handful of Laine/Pinder songs on the album, plus several more among the fourteen bonus tracks culled from single releases. While the album is quite strong, especially 'I'll Go Crazy', 'I Don't Mind', 'Let Me Go' and 'Go Now', the bonus tracks are mostly bland. It isn't hard to see why they needed a makeover. What isn't in doubt is the quality of the recordings or the band's performances. Worth a listen if you like the genre.
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The Moody Blues' first album The Magnificent Moodies has been released on CD a number of times over the years but Amazon has grouped together the reviews for all of the various versions here – any review dated before December 2014 will NOT refer to the Esoteric Recordings release! If you are unfamiliar with Mark Powell's label I would recommend reading the Wikipedia article headed Esoteric Recordings to get an idea of the company's ethos – it is a superb label!

This release from Esoteric comes in two versions – I have the two CD version – the single disc is a little cheaper and features just the first disc of the double set. This disc consists of the Magnificent Moodies album, the UK release, along with single A & B sides, EP tracks and an unreleased version of Go Now! The second disc in the double set features previously unreleased material along with BBC recordings and some Denny Cordell sessions from 1966 and is one for the real fans of the band. Whether you purchase the one or two disc CD version you will ONLY get the first disc via AutoRip to your Amazon music library – this is not made clear in the Product Description!

One of Amazon's best music reviewers, Mark Barry, has written one of his highly detailed reviews for this album so I will not duplicate all that information here but recommend checking the review from December 2014. The Magnificent Moodies is not like the band's later work but is just a decent mid-sixties album – the singles featured here are much stronger material even though not big sellers at the time. Who knows what this line-up may have achieved with a couple more hits – but that could have meant we would never have had the band's Mark 2 catalogue and I'm sure most of us wouldn't want to change that!

A big thank you to Mark Powell and the team at Esoteric for giving us what is now the definitive version of the Moody Blues first album. This package has been prepared with love and dedication and is offered to us at a very fair price for the work involved – the best release I have yet seen from the label and that is high praise indeed!
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*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 50th Anniversary 2CD BOX SET VERSION ***

Even if their 1965 debut album doesn't musically come anywhere near reflecting the sound THE MOODY BLUES acquired circa 1967's "Days Of Future Passed" (and stayed with for the whole of their lengthy career) - you have to admire Esoteric Recordings and their full-throated reissue of their Sixties Pop debut - it's properly gorgeous and then some. If only some of the major labels would pay attention to the superlative presentation that's on offer here...

Housed in a glossy 5" Mini Box Set, it features top-class remasters from original 4-track master tapes (including rare STEREO versions on Disc 2), a monstrous 43 bonus tracks (29 of which are Previously Unreleased), a lavishly annotated 24-page booklet, three black and white postcards with fan-club info on the rear and even a foldout colour poster rammed on the flip side with a memorabilia montage that will thrill fans to their little cotton socks. Both CDs are picture discs housed in different card artwork - and it doesn't cost £49.99 but twelve quid - wow!

There's tons of material to get through here - so onwards towards that dreamy Threshold (if you know what I mean)... UK released 15 December 2014 (January 2015 in the USA) - "The Magnificent Moodies" is an 'Official 50th Anniversary 2CD Edition' on Esoteric Records ECLEC 22473 (Barcode 5013929457348) and breaks down as follows (all songs are MONO except Tracks 21 to 29 on Disc 2 which are in STEREO):

Disc 1 (74:41 minutes):
1. I'll Go Crazy
2. Something You Got
3. Go Now
4. Can't Nobody Love You
5. I Don't Mind
6. I've Got A Dream
7. Let Me Go [Side 2]
8. Stop
9. Thank You Baby
10. It Ain't Necessarily So
11. True Story
12. Bye Bye Bird
Tracks 1 to 12 are their debut LP "The Magnificent Moodies" released July 1965 in the UK (in Mono only) on Decca Records LK 4711

The album was issued in the USA (also in Mono only) on London Records PS 428 entitled "Go Now - Moody Blues No.1" with an entirely different track running order. Fans can sequence the American LP using the following song numbers on Disc 1:
Side 1: I'll Go Crazy [1], And My Baby's Gone [14], Go Now [3], It's Easy Child [16], Can't Nobody Love You [4] and I Had A Dream [6]
Side 2: Let Me Go [7], I Don't Want To Go On Without You [17], True Story [11], It Ain't Necessarily So [10], Bye Bye Bird [12] and From The Bottom Of My Heart [19]

BONUS TRACKS:
13. Lose Your Money (But Don't Lose Your Mind)
14. Steal Your Heart Away (tracks 14 and 13 are the A&B-sides of their debut UK 45 released September 1964 on Decca F 11971)
15. Go Now! (First Version) (Previously Unreleased - Recorded 24 July 1964)
16. It's Easy Child (non-album track, B-side to "Go Now!" released as a UK 7" single in November 1964 on Decca F 12022)
17. I Don't Want To Go On Without You (see US album run above)
18. Time Is On My Side (tracks 17 and 18 are also the A&B-sides of their 3rd UK 7" single released February 1965 on Decca F 12095)
19. From The Bottom Of My Heart (I Love You)
20. And My Baby's Gone (tracks 19 and 20 are on the US album (see above) and are their 4th UK 7" single released May 1965 on Decca F 12166)
21. Everyday
22. You Don't (All The Time) (tracks 21 and 22 are non-album, their 5th UK 7" single released October 1965 on Decca F 12266)
23. Boulevard De Madeleine
24. This Is My House (But Nobody Calls) (tracks 23 and 24 are non-album, their 6th UK 7" single released October 1966 on Decca F 12498)
25. People Gotta Go (non-album track, taken from the French "Boulevard De Madeleine EP" released January 1967 on Decca 457117)
26. Life's Not Life
27. He Can Win (tracks 26 and 27 are non-album, their 7th UK 7" single released January 1967 on Decca F 12543)

Disc 2 (77:06 minutes):
Previously Unreleased Sessions 1964-1966
1. Go Now! (Second Version)
2. Lose Your Money (But Don't Lose Your Mind) (Early Version)
3. Steal Your Heart Away (First Version)
4. I'll Go Crazy (First Version)
5. You Better Move On
6. Can't Nobody Love You (First Version)
7. 23rd Psalm
8. Go Now
9. I Don't Want To Go On Without You
10. I'll Go Crazy ("Saturday Club" Session - BBC Light Programme Recorded 12 April 1965)
11. From The Bottom Of My Heart (I Love You)
12. Jump Back (tracks 10 and 11 "Saturday Club" Sessions - Recorded 3 May 1965)
13. I've Got A Dream
14. And My Baby's Gone (tracks 13 and 14 "Saturday Club" Sessions - Recorded 1 June 1965)
15. It's Easy Child
16. Stop
17. Everyday (tracks 15 to 17 are "Saturday Club" Sessions - Recorded 21 September 1965)
18. Interview With Ray Thomas and Graham Edge/You Don't (All The Time)
19. I Want You To Know (tracks 18 and 19 are "Saturday Club" Sessions - Recorded 9 November 1965)

20. Coca Cola Radio Commercial 1965

The 1966 Denny Cordell Sessions (In Stereo):
21. Sad Song
22. This Is My House (But Nobody Calls) (First Version)
23. How Can We Hang On To A Dream (First Version)
24. How Can We Hang On To A Dream (Remake)
25. Jago & Jilly
26. We're Broken
27. I Really Haven't Got The Time (September 1966 Version)
28. Red Wine
29. This Is My House (But Nobody Calls) (Stereo Mix)

The line-up for the debut consisted of - DENNY LAINE on Vocals, Guitar and Harmonica, MIKE PINDER on Piano and Vocals, RAY THOMAS on Flute, Maraccas, Harmonica, Tambourine and Vocals, CLINT WARWICK on Bass and Vocals with GRAHAM EDGE on Drums.

It should be noted right from the word go that if you're looking for dreamy Mellotron soundscapes (their trademark sound) - then look elsewhere because this is Beatles influenced Sixties Pop. Having said that large chunks of it are shockingly good - and the number of Laine/Pinder original compositions on Disc 1 alone comes to an impressive 14 - and this is back in a time where whole albums were composed of American cover versions because many of the British R&B bands hadn't developed writing chops from the outset.

As you can see from the photos I've provided - the booklet with MARK POWELL liner notes and general presentation are top notch. The only minor thing I find odd about it is that neither of the inner card sleeves boasts the actual UK album artwork (which is left to the outer box). But quite apart from the lovely presentation - the first thing that hits you is the quality of the remaster - clean, punchy and sounding alive like never before. PASCHAL BYRNE and BEN WISEMAN - both names familiar to many collectors (hundreds of Universal and Esoteric reissues) - have carried out the transfers and both may be standing at award ceremonies soon - stunning job done.

The album is dominated by their first bona fide hit "Go Now" which hit the coveted Number 1 Slot in the UK charts in December 1964. "I Got A Dream" is pure Brill building sweetheart Pop - better is a Bluesy cover of the Gershwin standard "It Ain't Necessarily So". The boys go harmony Hollies with "Thank You Baby" and gritty Animals with "True Story" (both impressive Laine/Pinder originals). We get Rolling Stones R&B on the excellent harmonica driven "Lose Your Money (But Don't Lose Your Mine)" - and identikit melodrama with "Time Is On My Side". A genuine collector's prize is the funky Sixties pop of "People Gotta Go" exclusive to the rare "Boulevard De Madeleine EP" on Decca France.

Disc 2 opens with a winner - in-studio chatter as the engineer tells Denny Laine to slow the vocal intro to "Go Now!" and they launch into what has all the hallmarks of a hit (even in rough form). Their cover of Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" is new and worthy of inclusion - but their Sixties slow version of the "23rd Psalm" that then goes into a Gospel boogie - is just plain misplaced. Some of the BBC stuff like "I Don't Want To Go On Without You" is preceded by fab and groovy DJ intro while they sound accomplished on "I'll Go Crazy" and real collector's prizes are the two recently discovered outtakes Mike Pinder's "I Really Haven't Got The Time" and the Laine/Pinder "Red Wine" - both aired here for the first time in 50 years. There's even an interview two days after Denny Laine "packed up and left"...

For sure - musically - fans will be wishing this kind of luxurious 2CD Mini Box set response could be afforded to later albums by THE MOODY BLUES... But as a starter - and as an example of how to do it right - Esoteric Recordings are looking at a reissue of the year 2014 for me...
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Many of the successful British groups of the late '60's early '70's had a R&B skeleton in their closet, SPPOKY TOOTH had THE V.I.P.'s, from 1964-1966 THE MOODY BLUES had "The MAGNIFICENT MOODIES." Most MOODY BLUES fans are familiar with this early iteration's one big hit, a cover of Bessie Banks' "Go Now." Many of the era's "beat groups" looked through hundreds of rare American singles to find that certain track which would propel them to "the topper most of the popper most." Her version made it to #40 on the US R&B charts, theirs reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart late January 1965. In the US, "Go Now!" didn't make a dent in the Billboard Hot 100 until mid-February 1965 where it peaked at #10. It also was a chart hit in many other countries. An interesting side-note; a short film clip used to promote the single used a striking visual style that pre-dated Queen's similar "Bohemian Rhapsody" video by a full decade. "THE MAGNIFICENT MOODIES" has been available twice on Germany's Repertoire Records, in 1992 with 19-tracks and a 2006 remaster sporting 27-tracks within a nice digipak. Esoteric Antenna is making their new "50th Anniversary Edition" available as a single disc (with the same tracks as the 2006 Repertoire release except for an added early version of "Go Now") and a deluxe 2CD set containing a slew of unreleased tracks and BBC Sessions. This soulful early line-up featured DENNY LAINE (of WINGS fame) (on Guitar, Vocals, & Harmonica), RAY THOMAS (Vocals, Harmonica & Flute), MIKE PINDER (Keyboards & Vocals), CLINT WARWICK (Bass & Vocals) and GRAEME EDGE (Drums). Tours with THE BEATLES eventually led them to Brian Epstein's management stable. The group continued to release singles and had a few more chart hits in the UK and Europe, before Clint Warwick departed in June 1966, replaced by ROD CLARK. In October it was Denny Laine's turn to explore greener pastures. November found the band re-formed with new members JOHN LODGE (Bass & Vocals) and JUSTIN HAYWARD (Guitar & Vocals) who was recommended by THE ANIMALS' Eric Burdon. With the blues and R&B boom over, the band had no choice but to reinvent themselves stylistically, choosing to only record band compositions from then on. Introduced to Decca staff producer Tony Clarke, the group issued a few singles, that while garnering radio airplay and favourable reviews, failed to chart. Their new progressive leanings however, featuring the sounds of the Mike Pinder's nascent Mellotron and Ray Thomas' flute, began to establish their new identity. The resulting second album, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and it's hit single "Nights In White Satin" catapulted them to fame and established them as one of the most influential progressive bands of the era, which is another story for another review......

Both the single disc and Deluxe Edition sport sympathetic remastered sound, taken for the first time from first generation tapes. There is also fully restored artwork with previously unseen photos and a new essay by project chief Mark Powell. Here's the wealth of material to explore, found within these new releases......

DISC ONE (both versions):
"THE MAGNIFICENT MOODIES" REMASTERED:
1. I'LL GO CRAZY
2. SOMETHING YOU GOT
3. GO NOW
4. CAN'T NOBODY LOVE YOU
5. I DON'T MIND
6. I'VE GOT A DREAM
7. LET ME GO
8. STOP
9. THANK YOU BABY
10. IT AIN'T NECESSARILY SO
11. TRUE STORY
12. BYE BYE BIRD
BONUS TRACKS:
13. LOSE YOUR MONEY (BUT DON'T LOSE YOUR MIND)
14. STEAL YOUR HEART AWAY
15. GO NOW! (FIRST VERSION) (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)
16. IT'S EASY CHILD
17. I DON'T WANT TO GO ON WITHOUT YOU
18. TIME IS ON MY SIDE
19. FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART (I LOVE YOU)
20. AND MY BABY'S GONE
21. EVERYDAY
22. YOU DON'T (ALL THE TIME)
23. BOULEVARD DE MADELEINE
24. THIS IS MY HOUSE (BUT NOBODY CALLS)
25. PEOPLE GOTTA GO
26. LIFE'S NOT LIFE
27. HE CAN WIN

DISC TWO (Deluxe Edition only), PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED SESSIONS 1964-1966:
THE JULY 1964 OLYMPIC STUDIOS SESSIONS:
1. GO NOW! (SECOND VERSION)
2. LOSE YOUR MONEY (BUT DON'T LOSE YOUR MIND) (EARLY VERSION)
3. STEAL YOUR HEART AWAY (FIRST VERSION)
4. I'LL GO CRAZY (FIRST VERSION)
5. YOU BETTER MOVE ON
6. CAN'T NOBODY LOVE YOU (FIRST VERSION)
7. 23RD PSALM
THE 1965 "SATURDAY CLUB" SESSIONS for the BBC LIGHT PROGRAMME
RECORDED 12TH APRIL 1965:
8. GO NOW
9. I DON'T WANT TO GO ON WITHOUT YOU
10. I'LL GO CRAZY
RECORDED 3RD MAY 1965:
11. FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART (I LOVE YOU)
12. JUMP BACK
RECORDED 1ST JUNE 1965:
13. I'VE GOT A DREAM
14. AND MY BABY'S GONE
RECORDED 21ST SEPTEMBER 1965:
15. IT'S EASY CHILD
16. STOP
17. EVERYDAY
RECORDED 9TH NOVEMBER 1965:
18. YOU DON'T (ALL THE TIME)
19. I WANT YOU TO KNOW
The 1966 DENNY CORDELL SESSIONS (for an aborted second album):
20. SAD SONG
21. THIS IS MY HOUSE BUT NOBODY CALLS (FIRST VERSION)
22. CAN WE HANG ON TO A DREAM (FIRST VERSION)
23. HOW CAN WE HANG ON TO A DREAM (REMAKE)
24. JAGO & JILLY
25. WE'RE BROKEN
26. I REALLY HAVEN'T GOT THE TIME (SEPTEMBER 1966 VERSION)
27. RED WINE
28. THIS IS MY HOUSE BUT NOBODY CALLS (STEREO MIX)
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on 17 July 2012
Anyone expecting "Nights In White Satin" material should steer clear. This is pre-Justin Hayward mod type, mid-60's energy and style.

Although thre weren't in the main league of groups of the time they had a lot of clout just the same. They were all proficient at their music after slogging the usual rounds of clubs and dives that catered for the "Beat Boom" of the time and Denny Laine's underrated vocals let the band soar. They wrote much of their recorded numbers and they could hold their own with the best of the acts of the time. And the had a distinctive look so they stood out visually.

I only found this CD was available recently after searching for the singles for ages. Don't even know how i happened across this but i bought immediately and was not dissapointed.

A friend had the singles in the 60s and we played them to death all of the time and i have'nt heard them since those days until this CD became mine at last. I have an inferior cut of the LP on a CD, minus a couple of tracks so the joy i felt at the acquisition of all of the original line-up's album and singles again was phenomenal to me, especially after all this time. The sound is perfect nand the liner notes are well set out with rare photos that show them, in all their 60's glory.

So, if you want to be reminded of how great the Moodies were before they changed musical direction aqnd became even greater then this CD is a must. It is a gem! Such a shame that their early output isn't held in higher regard. And, in contradiction to a previous reviewer, there are NO duff tracks here.
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on 9 January 2016
Can't knock the music and this remaster improves on the quality of previous releases. However, beware: the original master tapes distort in places (notably the piano on Go Now) and there ain't no way to fix that
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on 18 April 2011
This is pretty much your standard mid-60s Brit-Pop and nothing like what The Moodies did on "Days Of Future Passed" and beyond. The album here consists of a couple of James Brown tunes, A Gershwin song and a few other covers. The rest, including most of the bonus tracks, are all Denny Laine/Mike Pinder songs... many in the R&B vein (including a neat cover version of "I Can't Go On Without You" and "Time Is On My Side") with great harmonies and more than adequate playing. Nothing Earth-shattering but a darn good listen if you're feeling nostalgic for a simpler, more-fun time.

The Repertoire release comes in a digi-pak and includes a 12-page booklet with pictures and info. This early effort from the band gets a lot of flack because it isn't like their later stuff (although the ending of "From The Bottom Of My Heart" sounds suspiciously like "Nights In White Satin")... but for what it is, it's pretty good. A decent effort from a great band that was on it's way to loftier heights.

Anyway, here's what you get:

1. I'll Go Crazy
2. Something You Got
3. Go Now!
4. Can't Nobody Love You
5. I Don't Mind
6. I've Got A Dream
7. Let Me Go
8. Stop
9. Thank You Baby
10. It Ain't Necessarily So
11. True Story
12. Bye Bye Bird

Bonus tracks:
13. People Gotta Go
14. Steal Your Love Away
15. Lose Your Money (But Don't Lose Your Mind)
16. It's Easy Child
17. I Don't Want To Go On Without You
18. Time Is On My Side
19. From The Bottom Of My Heart (I Love You)
20. And My Baby's Gone
21. Everyday
22. You Don't (All The Time)
23. Boulevard De La Madelaine
24. This Is My House (But Nobody Calls)
25. Life's Not Live
26. He Can Win
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on 12 February 2016
In perfect condition and arrived in very good time. I was however disappointed because it didn't have the type of songs that I know they had made a lot of, and it was very much " run of the mill" stuff.
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on 5 October 2015
This is what a remaster should be. Great packageing and some very rare music. Have every Moody Blues record and most of this stuff too, but still have never heard a few of the songs on here. Great mid sixties R and B. Why are these guys not in the Rock Hall? Just look at the changes and diverity of their career.
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VINE VOICEon 17 December 2014
Beware There are two versions of this 50th Anniversary disc this is the abbreviated version, pretty much mirroring the Repertoire version released a few years ago and available on Amazon.

The bonus for this version is this contains an early version of Go Now not on that edition.

Look out for the two disc version if you want the complete Denny Lane Moody blues collection, this version is probably for the more casual fan

A great slice of British beat music from Brum, the music has little in common with the Nights in White satin band of 1967
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