The Moody Blues: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (Shock)

 |   |  1 min read

The Moody Blues: Have You Heard (Parts 1 and 2)
The Moody Blues: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (Shock)

For someone who was never a big fan, I seem to have an unnatural amount of Moody Blues on my shelves: their first six albums from '65 to '70, and the '94 four-disc box set Time Traveller (which actually has a 5th disc I discovered about four minutes!).

To be honest I doubt I had played any of them for a decade, but when I first heard that exceptional Fleet Foxes album last year I thought I could detect some influence of the Moody's more Anglo-folk material in their arrangements. So I hauled out a couple of albums and had a play just for the comparison.

They weren't bad at all -- especially Days of Future Passed ('67) and A Question of Balance ('70) -- and so this live album made its way quickly into the player.

At the time of the Isle of Wight Festival -- headlined by Hendrix with the Who and Doors in the billing -- the Moody's had just released A Question of Balance and their cleverly orchestrated pop-rock with a few psychedelic overtones was mighty impressive. They were among the first of the "album bands" but they still managed to crack a few singles on the charts so they had done some real crossover.

They were always a bit on the earnest side and their quasi-mystic lyrics haven't held up well, and here of course there is a live urgency in places which leaves some of the vocals sounding a bit more breathless than they were on their poised albums.

I suspect this will be an item for Moody completists rather than an essential item in anyone's collection, but there is no denying that their ambitious, often swirling and adventurously arranged pop-rock balladry (with mellotron) was very impressive -- and quite some distance from the noisy rockers they were sharing the Wight stage with. But they hold their own when it comes to sonic punch, although it is in the more delicate (if lyrically florid) songs that they shine.

 

 

 

 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Fat Freddy's Drop: Dr Boondigga and The Big BW (The Drop)

Fat Freddy's Drop: Dr Boondigga and The Big BW (The Drop)

I was among the seven people in the country who wasn't totally besotted with Fat Freddys' debut Based on a True Story (although perhaps a more appropriate title might have been Based on a Best... > Read more

Bruce Springsteen: Wrecking Ball (Sony)

Bruce Springsteen: Wrecking Ball (Sony)

By design and sometimes by chance, Bruce Springsteen has frequently tapped into the emotional state of the American republic. He has documented the lives of outsiders and the dispossessed, the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Tord Gustavsen Ensemble: Restored, Returned (ECM/Ode)

Tord Gustavsen Ensemble: Restored, Returned (ECM/Ode)

The previous album by young ECM pianist Gustavsen at Elsewhere was his trio album Being There which was named a Best of Elsewhere 2007 album. Echoes of that group's delicate beauty and vibrant... > Read more

EIGHT DAYS A WEEK; THE TOURING YEARS, a Beatles doco by RON HOWARD (Universal DVD/BluRay)

EIGHT DAYS A WEEK; THE TOURING YEARS, a Beatles doco by RON HOWARD (Universal DVD/BluRay)

Just as there were predicable howls of disapproval from the jazz elite when Clint Eastwood announced he was making a bio-pix of Charlie Parker (Dirty Harry taking aim at Bird?), so too were... > Read more