This is the second major reissue of the classic 1967 Moody Blues album in 28 months, in yet another configuration and format; Polydor's European division had done a double-disc SACD/CD hybrid "Deluxe Edition" in the late winter of 2006, which garnered significant sales in America as a direct import. Apparently, the powers that -be at Polydor have decided that the American market can't support a double-disc edition of this album; or that the Super-Audio market is mostly a European/Japanese phenomenon best supported over there, so there is no SACD multi-channel mix of the album on this release. Essentially, this disc is comprised of the remastered CD layer from the latter release, augmented with some (but not all) of the mono singles that preceded and accompanied the original LP (strangely enough, the mono mix of "Nights in White Satin" -- the one single track overlapping directly with this album, which was included among the double-disc set's bonus tracks -- is absent here). There were complaints from some quarters about the remastered sound on the double-disc set, which this reviewer did not agree with, and the opinion here hasn't changed -- the producers have done a very good job of bringing out details in the mix, especially very subtle elements of the guitar and bass work, and the true, lush majesty of the orchestra, that were only suggested and hinted at in prior editions. They may have sacrificed some dynamic variation in the process, but the listener has gained a good deal, including a fresh appreciation for the backup singing throughout this record. The bonus tracks include those chronologically related singles, which are mostly more lighthearted than the material off the album, but not dissimilar in style; this reviewer likes the remastered sound they offer here, especially on "Cities," a B-side that always seemed harsh and compressed on the original single. Also present is the most interesting rarity of all those associated with this album, the Moodies' rendition of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" as done for the BBC (oddly enough, a song whose history points to a biographical footnote on the Moody Blues, as guitarist/singer Justin Hayward got to the Moodies by way of his response to a blind ad originally placed by the Animals, who had already found their replacement guitarist); and the same four alternate takes and mixes that were on the double-disc hybrid set's second platter. The latter will delight the true fans of the group and this album, though it is difficult to imagine that too many of them wouldn't already have purchased the double-disc edition long before this CD showed up. The annotation is full and thorough, and for the latecomer to the band this is a good successor to the '90s remastered edition, though those who preferred the dynamics of the latter should probably hold onto the latter. [The CD was also released with bonus tracks.] Bruce Eder, Rovi
- Psychedelic/Garage, Pop/Rock, Art-Rock/Experimental
- British Psychedelia, Psychedelic
- July 15, 2008
- The Moody Blues
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