Moody Blues bassist John Lodge’s career is celebrated with this release. It is a compilation of songs penned by Lodge reflecting his time both with the Moodies and as a solo artist. They are songs that obviously mean a lot to him and that he describes as being important parts of his life. The album features live recordings, three new recordings, two new remixes and is a selection of tunes from across his career and is a very good reflection of his work.
John’s work with the Moody Blues has definitely reached legendary status now, as they have been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, have Ivor Novello awards and a host of others. Being in such an illustrious band may have eclipsed, and indeed inhibited, John’s solo career which is three studio albums strong now. Where would he have found the time?
For this album Lodge returned to the studio with the 10,000 Light Years Band (his last solo release was 10,000 Light Years Ago in 2015) to recreate Street Café, Time To Get Away and Legend Of A Mind, and also includes the original twenty-four track recordings of Say You Love Me and Summer Breeze, Summer Song in a new spruced up and pristine remixed and remastered condition. And very fine they sound too. All the songs are those written by Lodge himself, with the exception of Legend Of A Mind, which is a doffing of the cap tribute to his friend Ray Thomas. Thomas, who had been a friend of John’s since they were aged fourteen, sadly passed away in 2018.
What strikes you right from the start is the quality of the production. It’s quite pristine, although in a warm way, missing the clinicalism that often highly produced music sometimes falls into. This allows the music itself to be enjoyed, and there’s plenty of opportunity for that. The opening live version of the Moodies I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band) moves at a spritely, lively pace and seems a little more up tempo than other versions I’ve heard. Summer Breeze, Summer Song sounds a little Beatlesque, In My Mind has a little of the Pink Floyd about it, and George Harrison comes to mind when listening to Street Café. These aren’t more than fellow travellers though; it is John himself that is to the fore. There are also outings for live versions of Moodies numbers Gemini Dream, Isn’t Life Strange and Ride My See-Saw, amongst others.
Besides the selection of songs, this is a well compiled compilation. The pacing of the album adds to the listening pleasure by avoiding the strictly chronological story telling that sometimes mars other musicians’ collections. Remixing and remastering some of the tracks has helped with this, as there’s a consistency in the quality of the recordings achieved. Legend Of A Mind fits in well with this collection, and is an excellent version of the song.
John has taken the opportunity to dust off his trusty Fender Precision Bass for this release.
A suitably effective Roger Dean painting adorns the cover too (my, he gets around nowadays!).
One last comment – it’s nice to hear a musician so obviously enjoying himself!
John Lodge remains a busy man and continues to play live with dates in the United States later this year and early next.
Initially released as a CD or Digital Audio, a double vinyl gatefold will be released later in the year.
1. I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band) (Live)
2. Summer Breeze, Summer Song (2019 Remix)
3. In My Mind
4. Street Café (2019)
5. (Evening) Time To Get Away (2019)
6. Saved By The Music (Live)
7. Legend Of A Mind (2019)
8. Say You Love Me (2019 Remix)
9. Get Me Out Of Here
10. Gemini Dream (Live)
11. Isn’t Life Strange (Live)
12. Ride My See-Saw (Live)
John Lodge – Bass, 12 string guitar, vocals
Alan Hewitt – keyboards
Duffy King – guitars
Billy Ashbaugh – drums
Jason Charboneau – Cello
Production – John Lodge and Alan Hewitt
Release date: CD/Digital – Audio 27th September 2019
Vinyl gatefold – November 2019