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Music Review: The Moody Blues – To Our Children’s Children’s Children

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The Moody Blues returned in November of 1969 with their fourth consecutive concept album. They had explored a day in a life, a spiritual journey, dreams, and now they traveled into space. Apollo 11 had landed on the moon the previous summer and humanity’s venture into space was at its apex. The five members of The Moody Blues would create a cosmic, philosophical, and musical look at mankind’s reaching outward into the unknown.

To Our Children’s Children’s Children may not be the most enjoyable Moody Blues album, but it is one of the most creative and experimental. The songs form a cohesive unit and from track one through thirteen they keep it interesting.

Graeme Edge would again lead off the album. This time, however, it would be through his first full length song as “Higher and Higher” clocks in at over four minutes. The sound of a rocket taking off and the lyrics recited by Mike Pinder introduce the theme. This rock song launches the Moody Blues and the listener into the space age at least from a musical perspective.

I have always thought that the next three songs were some of the most creative that the group would produce. “Eyes Of A Child” by John Lodge is a two part composition that is split by Ray Thomas’s “Floating.” The brilliance is in the simplicity and the beauty. The wonder and hope of the space age is explored through the wonder of a child.

“Out and In” was the only song that Mike Pinder and John Lodge would co-write together, and in some ways is the center piece of the album around which all the other music swirls. Pinder’s mellotron provides a lush backing for this exploration of the universe.

There are a number of other delicacies to be found here. “Gypsy” is an ominous and haunting rocker by Justin Hayward. “Eternity Road,” penned by Ray Thomas, is a wonderful and upbeat lyrical journey that considers space exploration as a continuing journey. Beneath the grandiose music is some of Justin Hayward’s masterful guitar playing. “Candle Of Life” finds John Lodge diverting from his usual rock style and contributing a romantic and lovely song centered around a piano sound.

It’s easy to ignore the two Justin Hayward compositions, “I Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Hundred” and “I Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Million,” as they are very short. It is a looking back at life and opportunities taken and passed over. As you grow older these songs take on new meaning.

To Our Children’s Children’s Children has an artistry to it and fits in well with The Moody Blues catalog of concept albums. It holds up very nicely so put on your ear phones, turn the lights down low, close your eyes, and prepare to leave this world, all courtesy of The Moody Blues.   

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About David Bowling

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    This is the only Moodies album I actually own, outside of the “This is The Moody Blues” collection, and I agree it was probably their most adventurous…there’s not a hit single in sight here. Personally, I spent many a night with the trusty bong listening to this…back when I did such things of course.

    -Glen

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Forgot to add, it was shortly afterwords that I discovered Genesis and the Strawbs, forever ruining my cred as a rock critic. ;>p

    -Glen

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Unlike you Glen, I do own every Moody Blues album on both vinyl and CD. I also own all of their solo work.

    While I grudgingly like this album as a fan, I found it so forgetable as to have to look up the track list (which you should’ve included just a straight list) to see if there were any gems I might’ve forgotten that you’d ignored.

    I’m going to really try hard to forgive you for not mentioning one of my all-time favorites, that I still hum when I’m trying to “mellow out”…

    Track 9-Watching and waiting.

    Of the two leads, I can see you’re more of a John Lodge fan, as I prefer Justin Haywood.

    For not even mentioning track 9, I condemn you to endure 10 billion butterfly sneezes. (he knows what I mean)

  • bliffle

    So, did they ever record James Moodys Blues?

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Which version Blif?

  • JANK

    Jet you call this “forgettable” ???!! C’mon! I totally agree with the gem Watching and Waiting – such a great ending/coda to this masterful journey. This is probably the greatest Moodies album…. !!

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    JANK taste in music is subjective, you have to know that. Your opinion may vary. When you put this CD up against their entire body of work, or even just the few before and the few after, it just doesn’t hold up in comparison.

    that’s my opinion.

    Others would say that German Polka music makes the Moody Blues sound like a yak throwing up, it’s all subjective.

    If I didn’t love the Moodys I wouldn’t have bought their entire catalogue through the years… twice.

  • Matt

    Thanks for writing about one of my sentimental favorite albums.

    There’s a bit of schmaltz here and there, and the album really needs to be listened straight through, yet I’ve enjoyed it from the very first listen until now.

    When I was ten (1976) my brother forgot to take it along when he went to college so I liberated it. I listened to it frequently over the next few years, as I didn’t have ANY albums of my own. The themes of opportunity, hope, not fitting in, doubt, regret, all registered strongly in my pre/early teen brain. As I’ve grown older I find more layers in the lyrics and still enjoy the soaring, then meditative, music.

    Was never a big fan of Graeme Edge’s poetry, but I think his contribution to “Higher and Higher” is excellent, with a dash of humor, too. Butterfly sneezes, indeed.

  • bliffle

    One can find the original James Moodys Blues on youtube, whether the 1949 recorded in Sweden, or the Eddie Jefferson vocal, or the famous King Pleasure version.

    Why settle for less than the original Moodys Blues?