The Moody Blues - "Seventh Sojourn"


Category: Music

For now, below is an artistic review of this album I did a while back on another site.

I'll try to get a review of the various recordings sound quality in soon.

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"A great Prog/Rock masterpiece of the 20th century.

This is a review of the Mobile Fdelity Ultradisc II version of this album.

In a nutshell, Seventh Sojourn has retained a place as one of my absolute favorite albums continuously now for over thirty years. Though I find it is one of the few pieces of rock music that always uplifts me spiritually, I can understand how some might find it depressing.

IMHO, this is a prog album without flaw. Though not clearly identifiable as a concept album, it flows smoothly both musically and lyrically from start to finish. The lyrics and thematic content of each song is timeless and can be related to very strongly in either a positive or negative manner. The other of the Moodies original classic seven albums, though musical masterpieces each in their own right, have not aged as well overall I believe.

There is a "wall of sound" kind of aspect to the production overall. However, it is a very fluid and effective "wall of sound" thanks to Michael Pinder's unique simply gorgeous mellotron/keyboard effects. Justin's Hayward's electric guitar solos and playing on this album in particular is absolute world class....not necessarily virtuosic but simply gorgeus and inspiring throughout, perhaps in particular because the electric guitar is prominent in many places on this album compared to earlier works and delivered in a purely symbiotic manner throughout along with the aforementioned mellotron, keyboards or whatever Pinder used on this particular album ( I think I read once that Pinder used a newer technology keyboard, not technically a mellotron on this album. I am not a electronic keyboard expert. All know is thatwhatever is used it sounds very good to me).

There is nothing else like the tapestry of mellotron/keyboard, guitar and vocals on this album, in all of music, IMHO. A few examples that pop into mind are the guitar solo towards the end of "New Horizons" (breathtakingly soaring) and the guitar/keyboard accompaniment during the chorus sections of "Land Of Make Believe". JH's electric guitar playing (exceptional on this album) and usual excellent vocals on his songs are some of the highest points...however there are continuous and juicy fluorishes delivered by all the Moodies throughout.

To me this album is to rock music what Mahler's Third Symphony is to classical music. It will take you through a truly "Moody" journey from some somber but poignent lows to the most exhuberant of highs. Then it ends with an exhuberant "shrug" to it all as the Moodies resignedly belt out their final statement of this era: "I'm Just A Singer in a ROck and Roll Band".

The Moodies are I suppose just "Singers in a Rock and Roll Band". However, the message of their music, soberly delivered over much of their discography, is in my optinion, the most universal one, a message which many respond to, yes, in a decidely "spiritual" manner. There is no cynicism with the Moodies, as there was to some extent even with the Beatles. Just the purest of universal messages: peace and love and sadness expressed when these ideals are out of reach or not achieved often enough by many in the real world."
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Great album although Pinder did contribute to Octave but didn't tour and left the band at that time. patrick Moraz added another dimension to the bands sound with Long Distance Voyager. After that album they just could find their creative juices anymore. Thay still producted a few billboard rated hits but the albums had lost that "theme or concept" status, with Pinder out of the band it became clear that he was the catalyst of the Moody Blue sound. I was a tremendous fan attending concerts, collecting every kind of pressing I could get my hands on, but Hayward and Lodge have a more "pop sound" goal and that really wasn't what the Moody Blues were recognized for. Ray Thomas seemed to bring a little of that sound to the band and Graeme Edge just seemed to desire to become the band's joker guy. He had added a few good songs in the early years on Question of Balance and Every Good Boy but it just wasn't a broad enough contribution. Seventh was a great collection of songs and it seemed as though they really reached the zenith of lyrical and musical creativity which unfortuneatly coincided with their burn out of working with each other. I truely miss the influence of Mike Pinder and I am sure that they do as well. And now with Ray Thomas gone I really think they will fade away as a Las Vegas show band. Sadley the good albums are no more. All just MHO of course
I've seen the Moodys live 5 different times (1st was the Octave show) and most recently the tour from a couple of years back captured on the recent release video "Lovely To See You".

Check the online reviews of that performance. Many consider it their best. And these guys are well into their 60's at this point, and arguably sounding better than ever on tour. They tour continuously almost every year and have really honed in their sound over the years. Their body of work and consistency over so many years as a live act makes them a true musical treasure in my mind.

On the flip side, there is a good bit of decent material post Seventh Sojourn, but that album was surely their peak. "The Present" is a largely unknown release from the early 80's that is very good from start to finish. Strange Times from 1999 was a return to form with many good tunes and is a very solid work from start to end that can be recommended.

One of my favorite Moody tunes is Ray Thomas' "Never Blame the Rainbow for the Rain" from the more uneven (but still very good)early 90's release "Keys To The Kingdom".

Even Sur La Mer has a few good tunes on it and can be had for a pittance these days.
Does anyone know if Pinder still makes music? I was surprised to see that R. Thomas had left. He made the concerts so much better. I saw them twicw with him and both were well played shows. Now its all JH and JL who are great but that is not the real Moody Blues.

In 1997 I saw JH play a 40 minute acoustic set for free at a Borders store in Phoenix. THere were about 40 people present. It was really great to see. He was hawking a solo CD at the time.
Love them Moody Blues seen them just last year for the second time with out Ray Thomas. Have been a big fan since way back in the late 60s. Have seen them in tack i mean the original group on several occasions. My favorite is Children but 7Th is right there with the rest and i like all of them.

I have the MFSL LP version of 7Th as well as the Threshold LP.

We are all just singers in a rock and roll band i think.
They made some great and memorable music. True songmasters. I've got to put on some of their albums over the weekend and revisit it. Seventh Sojourn was my first Moody's record, way back when. I think I own most of them now - you can pick them up for a buck or two at used record stores. Some of the best music for very little coin.

Enjoy,
Bob