The Moody Blues returned in July of 1971 with the sixth of what would become known as their seven core albums which stretch from Days Of Future Passed to Seventh Sojourn.
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour returned the group to their layered textures and cosmic musical feel that had been abandoned on their stripped down last release, A Question Of Balance. There would, however, be no unifying theme present; instead each song would be a unique creation. Despite veering from their usual unified approach the music would be highly listenable throughout and would reach the number one and two positions on the English and United States charts respectively. The title would be taken from a way to memorize the sonic scales; E, G, B, D, F.
The lyrics would not be as other-worldly as on their past releases but many would be darker in nature. The sonic and inspirational quality of the music would serve as a counterpoint to the words. This would also be the last Moody Blues album in which Mike Pinder’s mellotron would play a significant role as technological advances in the music field would lead toward its ultimate retirement.
The album would begin with the only song in their catalogue that gives writing credit to all five members of the group. “Possession,” which only includes three spoken words, desolation, creation, and communication, is a history of music and the human race if you want to stretch a little and all in just under five minutes. It is a building and complex song and is seventies progressive rock at its most self indulgent and creative.
Justin Hayward’s “The Story In Your Eyes” is the second track and explodes from the speakers. It would become a hit single and a signature song for the group. The dark lyrics are almost overlooked as the mellotron and guitars combine to give the track a high energy rock sound.
One track that breaks up the dark mood is John Lodge’s “Emily’s Song.” The song was written for his baby daughter and while gentle in nature, it has a complexity due to the overdubbing of the instruments. According to the group it was never performed live until 1992 when they had an orchestra behind them to fill in the sounds. I can only wonder what Emily thinks of this song as she approaches forty.
The album contains a number of other highlights. “After You Came” has wonderful flute work by Ray Thomas mixed in with Justin Hayward’s stellar guitar playing. “Nice To Be Here” is the other track that lightens the mood as it is a kind of funny philosophical fairly tale. “You Can Never Go Home” is classic Justin Hayward as the sound soars in this examination of love on several levels.
The album concludes with the six minute opus, “My Song,” written by Mike Pinder. This is The Moody Blues at their cosmic best as the music sweeps the listener away to places unimagined.
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is like a book with a number of short stories that are exrememly entertaining even though they don’t form a continuous story. While it is often overshadowed by some of the Moody Blues more famous albums, it stands the test of time well and still deserves a listen now and then.