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Old 11-24-2016, 04:38 AM   #91 (permalink)
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Good to have you back - look forward to reading some more of those thesis sized reviews.
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:50 AM   #92 (permalink)
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Good to have you back - look forward to reading some more of those thesis sized reviews.
Thanks. The reviews here will all be small (by my standards) as there is so much to get through, but if you're looking for reviews that come beautifully bound in a collectable set of volumes, check my two new journals, soon to surface, one on Heavy Metal and one on Prog.
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Old 11-25-2016, 10:33 AM   #93 (permalink)
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Album title: On the Threshold of a Dream
Artiste: The Moody Blues
Nationality: British
Label: Deram
Year: 1969
Grade: A
Landmark value: Another concept album, making the Moodies perhaps the first band to release three different concept albums in a row, this gave them their first experience of the number one slot and also broke them in the USA. Oddly, for such a successful album, it had no hit singles. Not a one. This album should not be confused with the classic from The Mad Scot, On the Threshold of a Dram. Sorry.
Track Listing: In the beginning/ Lovely to see you/ Dear diary/ Send me no wine/ To share our love/ So deep within you/ Never comes the day/ Lazy day/ Are you sitting comfortably?/ The dream/ Have you heard (part 1)/ The voyage/ Have you heard (part 2)
Comments: The concept for the first (real) album was a single day, the second travelling. This third one concentrates on the world of dreams, so it's no surprise that there's a dark, atmospheric synth lead in, then a spoken piece before some jarring effects which eventually takes off into a very late-sixties rock tune, uptempo and bouncy as we move into “Lovely to see you”, one of only three tracks on which Justin Hayward takes lead vocals. Nice, but nothing terribly special and certainly nothing proggy, not to me. Early days yet though, or to put it in the context of the album, the dream has but begun. More laidback and bluesy for “Dear diary”, which has echoes of early ELO: guess Lynne and Wood listened to the Moodies then! Ambles along nicely, sort of like somone taking a leisurely stroll at night through the backstreets of the city. Some nice phased vocals (were there vocoders this early?) with some nice flute from Ray Thomas. Much better, though again not a prog rock song. Almost Country then for “Send me no wine”, more uptempo, then Pinder handles vocals for the next two tracks. The first, “To share your love” is again uptempo pop/rock, not bad but where the hell are the Hammonds and the mellotrons, huh? I'm also not crazy about his rather more raw vocal style, preferring Hayward's more gentle, mellifluous one. The other track is “So deep within you” (ooer!) and it's a total Pinderfest, as he both wrote and sings the song. It's pretty terrible, almost a foray into funk, or disco at least. Urgh. Even the flute doesn't help. Ind of reminds me, in terms of incongruity, of “Waiting for your love” on Toto IV. If that means nothing to you, I can't help you.

Thankfully Hayward is back to save the day with a lovely little ballad that kicks off side two, as “Never comes the day” re-establishes order with some beautiful cello from John Lodge and a soaring, aching vocal from my favourite Moody, who unsurprisingly also wrote this ballad. and was in fact the only single released from the album (I can see why) which completely flopped sadly. Love the harmonica in it too. Ah, and there's the mellotron! Finally! The first song I enjoyed on this album was the Ray-Thomas penned and sung “Dear diary”, so I have high hopes for “Lazy day”, his only other contribution, and I'm not disappointed, though it's certainly Beatlesesque. It has a nice finger-clicking breezy rhythm about it, then morphs into the closest I have yet heard to prog on this album, though it goes back to the original rhythm. Nice use of harmonica again, and more cello. The vocal harmonies are good too.

Hayward returns for the final time, collaborating with Thomas on “Are you sitting comfortably?”, and perhaps predictably it's another ballad, with a really nice bassline and some horns, soft piano, very relaxing. This then takes us into what I believe is known as “The Voyage Suite”, kicking off with “The dream”, in which Mike Pinder narrates (it's barely a minute long) and references the album's title, and then the first of two parts of “Have you heard” opens with a nice acoustic guitar ballad, Pinder running the show now as he wrote and also sings the last three tracks. Well, the penultimate one is an instrumental, showing not only what the Moodies could do but their love of classical music as they rearrange Strauss on “Also spake Zarathustra” (if you're not familiar with the piece, you'd know it as the music that opens the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey) for “The Voyage”, the second-longest track on the album at just under four minutes, before things wrap up with “Have you heard (Part 2)” which basically reprises the first part.

Favourite track(s): Dear Diary, Never comes the day, Lazy day, Are you sitting comfortably? Have you heard (part 1)
Least favourite track(s): So deep within you
Overall impression: Generally I'd have to say side two is better than side one, but while parts of the album show proggy touches, especially the instrumental “The Voyage”, and notwithstanding the proggy title, I am a little disappointed that this album is rather more removed from the precepts of prog than their previous two outings. Good, but more a rock album than a prog rock one.
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:58 AM   #94 (permalink)
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So do any of your sources for this journal mention The Residents? They're one of the first bands that come to mind when I think concept album.
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:05 PM   #95 (permalink)
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So do any of your sources for this journal mention The Residents? They're one of the first bands that come to mind when I think concept album.
Your intentions are not good.
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There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:06 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Your intentions are not good.
Yes and no. Stuff like Demons Dance Alone is pretty accessible.
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:07 PM   #97 (permalink)
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So do any of your sources for this journal mention The Residents? They're one of the first bands that come to mind when I think concept album.
They don't appear on my timeline, but that's not set in stone, so if you think they're worth covering I'll add them in around the time they started making albums (1974, right?)...
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:08 PM   #98 (permalink)
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You're gonna deplore their early stuff. It's up to you.
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:27 PM   #99 (permalink)
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Your intentions are not good.
There are bound to be some pretty out-there bands and albums that I have to suffer through. After all, there'll be a lot of psych, space and art rock, so one more quirky weird band is not going to make a difference, and to be fair to the subgenre, I need to cover as much of the relevant material as I can, whether I like it or not. That's the whole point. I may hate ELP but I can recognise that they had a huge impact on prog rock and so must be covered.

I've just realised that for some reason the timeline does not mention Bowie; must fix that...
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:33 PM   #100 (permalink)
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Don't forget krautrock btw.
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There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
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