Every Good Boy Deserves Favour [Bonus Tracks]

by: The Moody Blues

This upgraded and expanded CD of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is essentially the same disc as the hybrid SACD/CD version put out in Europe in 2007, but without the multi-channel SACD layer on that disc -- instead, it's limited to the remastered CD sound also found on that disc, and which is pretty impressive on its own terms, especially compared with previous CD editions. The volume has been boosted along with the clarity, so that what one ends up with is close to what a lot of this record much have sounded like during recording and playback. And one result of that remastering is that the inherent lyricism is now matched by a big studio sound, giving the record a harder edge than a lot of longtime listeners will have associated with it. The relatively short running time of this expanded edition, which contains but two bonus tracks -- the original live-in-the-studio rendition of "The Story in Your Eyes" and the previously unheard Ray Thomas/Justin Hayward composition "The Dreamer," from the same November 1970 sessions -- also reveals a lot about the strain that lurked just below the surface of the making of this record; a U.S. tour was sandwiched right in the middle and immediately after the sessions for this record, and the members had come into this album with just enough material (with a lot of work on pieces such as "Procession" and "My Song") to fill it up -- in other words, they were losing ground in their creative efforts to stay ahead of demand (a live album would have been a solution to giving them some breathing room, and one heartily wishes that someone within the group or their management, or the Decca label, had thought to tape some of the shows from this period, which were very enthusiastically reviewed, even in the pages of Rolling Stone -- and yes kids, there was a time when the Moody Blues were that cool!). As it happens, the two outtakes are highly worthwhile, with "The Story in Your Eyes" rocking even harder in the alternate take, and "The Dreamer" offering a song that probably could have passed muster on the group's previous album, A Question of Balance, with more of a rock base than was usual for the band, especially in the middle section; it's also a rare look at a work-in-progress that didn't progress. And coupled with the improved sound, this is an essential acquisition, even for casual fans -- among many other virtues, one can now fully appreciate the range of keyboards beyond the Mellotron that Michael Pinder was using, and the craftsmanship that went into melding the lyrical and harder rocking sounds on this record. The imported SACD/CD hybrid version still has its virtues, especially for those set up with a surround-sound system, but this is a good, easier-to-find and less expensive alternative for those so inclined. The annotation by Mark Powell is also thorough and highly informative, as well as entertaining. ~ Bruce Eder

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