B Yond – The Very Best Of
Keeping the Faith, BMG
When rock and roll was born, it was a pastiche of blues, boogie-woogie, and race music that terrified middle America. It bugged the hell out of the rich as well, but the teens and misfits fell in love with it. When rock and roll grew up, it co-opted classical music, folk music, Broadway and jazz to build the complex, pretentious and wonderful progressive rock sound. Ideas echoed between the UK and the USA and out of this rose the bands leading this movement with The Moody Blues as close to a leader as the times allowed.
John Lodge wrote songs and played bass for the Moody’s , and he’s still got it as a writer and performer. There are three new tracks and some remixes here, and all range from Quite Good to Smokin’. Lodge comes out strong with the blazing live mix of “I’m Just A Singer in A Rock and Roll Band.” He sounds self -depreciating but it’s a powerhouse of complex rhythms and chord changes, all in service to a brilliant lead line and lyrics. Grandiose, bombastic and wonderful, and it worth hitting the rewind button a few times to experience it all. As we dive off that cliff face we fall in to an equally strong acoustic ” Summer Breeze, Summer Song” with a new, slightly jazzy remix. Next it’s on to a dark and mysterious “In My Mind” with fuzzy and dark electric notes leading us to a glowing be mountain of spacey lyrics. A new track “Street Café” takes us back to a seaside ambiance and a pleasing love song.
The quality continues with “Legend of a Mind,” that’s the Timothy Leary LSD number. More contemplative numbers include “Isn’t It Strange” and “Say You Love Me. ” They still have the complex texture of the bigger hits, but they give you breather before the big blow out number. “Ride My See-Saw” closes with a more suggestive lyric from the days when groupies came in six packs. As remix / revivals of the classic voices of the 1970’s go, this is the pick of the lot. The music and lyrics hold up, the arrangement are professional Broadway quality compositions and you never think “Why did they bother to do this?” Instead, my thought was: “What took Mr. Lodge this long to give us this musical gift?” Of all 2019’s material this is the one disk that I plan to keep. You’ll need to get your own copy, I’m afraid. But do, it’s a blazing comeback from a great musician who never really left us.