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Seventh Sojourn

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Album Review

This SACD/CD hybrid disc of the final classic original album by the Moody Blues is notable for its remastered sound, but also for a brace of bonus tracks that almost double its length. The Super-Audio layer offers the original album's contents in multi-channel surround sound, in a mix based on producer Tony Clarke's early-'70s quadraphonic masters, for that defunct format — serious fans of the band are in for a treat here, with the separated and isolated instruments to enjoy as well as finding oneself in the center of the array; thought it should also be pointed out that, as the group's most stripped down album, Seventh Sojourn lends itself a little less to this treatment than other of their records do. The remastered CD sound on the other layer of the disc is also worth hearing, boosting the volume and clarity and giving the music here a hard, edgy sound a lot like it must've sounded in the recording and the original playback — this now comes off as a much harder album than it did in 1972. And the bonus tracks are notable for the inclusion of the unedited, eight-minute version of John Lodge's "Isn't Life Strange," featuring far more flourishes by the band (especially Michael Pinder on keyboards) than were heard on the released version; also present are the unmixed backing tracks to "You and Me" and "Lost in a Lost World," which reveal elements of the playing — as well as the full range of Pinder's new keyboard addition to the band's sound, the Chamberlain — that were lost in the final mix of both songs. And for a topper, the producers discovered one surviving track, by Justin Hayward, no less, from the group's aborted eighth album, early in 1973; that song, "Islands," one of Hayward's ballads, deserved to be heard a long time before this, recalling as it does elements of "New Horizons" and anticipating something of the style he would move toward as a solo artist later in the decade, The annotation by Mark Powell is highly informative as well, and the SACD multi-channel sound option makes this a serious option for listeners set up with the right equipment. But in any case, this edition supplants all earlier CD versions of the album, apart from the Mobile Fidelity audiophile disc. [The CD also included bonus tracks.]

Biography

Formed: 1964 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although they're best known today for their lush, lyrically and musically profound (some would say bombastic) psychedelic-era albums, the Moody Blues started out as one of the better R&B-based combos of the British Invasion. The group's history began in Birmingham, England with Ray Thomas (harmonica, vocals) and Mike Pinder (keyboards, vocals), who had played together in El Riot & the Rebels and the Krew Cats. They began recruiting members of some of the best rival groups working in Birmingham, including...
Full bio

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