Friday, May 1, 2020


If you are a fan of the Moody Blues, frankly, I would, in the words of their best song, (which they didn't even write) , Go Now, my musical mystery being around why? It isn't, of course, ever that simple, and they have had one or two toe-tappers in their repertoire, the featured song being possibly one.


Given the whole song is based around the lack of any answers to the big questions of life and death, and is asking quite why there are no answers to the big questions of life and death, I struggle to fully understand the thrust. So we get the bombastic orchestral faff at the beginning, oohs and aahs resplendent, then the frantic strumming guitars enveloping the questions, followed by the slow interlude of justification, explaining the interrogation being only for the want of someone to understand the inquisitor. And change his life. I think. And then it all goes off again, onward to the fade. It was actually quite a big hit single here in the U.K. and I remember noting this was a bit different, pricking up my ears when they did a turn on chart show, Top of the Pops. And, being the precocious nerd I was (am?), because they were deemed serious and proggy, I decided that I liked it, even. Indeed, for a while, because I had also liked Go Now and, hell, yeah, I loved Nights in White Satin, that perennial last number at innumerable sad school discos, I thought I liked the Moody Blues. A deeper look into their catalogue saw me wisely back away, discovering unforeseen depths of symphonic dreck. (With, actually, NiWS, no different........)

Nights in White Satin

But let's look at the evidence. What was good in this song? Actually, revisiting it as I write, I love the bass, loping nimbly along in the slipstream of the thrashing acoustics. I like, nay admire, the drums, especially when they come tap-tapping at the door. (The drummer, Graeme Edge, also went up in my estimation when he entitled his solo album, Kick Off Your Muddy Boots, Muddy Boots being his play on the band's name. Mine was/is Bloody Moos, not that that adds anything here.) The then keyboard player, Mike Pinder, looked the height of cool, the teenaged me admiring the beard and bald combo that also endeared me, poor idiot that I was, to the 1970s look of Mike Love. I think that's about it. The rest of the band, especially with hindsight, had clearly invested in too much in all that white satin, it encasing their torsos just a tad tighter than history will forgive.

I should really here report some epiphany, some damascene moment of the scales falling from my eyes, the older me of the 2020s belatedly acknowledging the debt modern music owes to their groundbreaking ouvre. But I can't. Still symphonic dreck. And as for the album titles..... But, you know, there is one song that is so wretched I love it. Really love it. Lyrics so crass that even if they were believable, the lumbering arrangement effectively denies the statement any credibility at all, the choral vocals startlingly oxymoronic. Yet, somehow, and I don't understand this, it works. How? Now that, ladies and gentleman, really is the question.....

 I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock'n'Roll Band)


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