The Lost Performance

Although the original Moody Blues are often considered right up there with The Beatles among the groups most responsible for the cultivation of ‘60s English progressive rock, there’s been sadly, very little in the way of live performance footage released on DVD so far from the Moodies. As is pointed out in my liner notes of The Moody Blues: The Lost Performance Live In Paris ‘70, during the ‘60s and ‘70s, the five man Moodies lineup of Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge recorded some of the most articulate studio rock ever made on either side of the Atlantic. A rarity and a relic of kaleidoscopic musical dimensions laying dormant in the vaults, this concert was recorded and filmed by French TV on the band’s 1970 European tour. In a bizarre musical twist, Live In Paris ‘70 serves up a fine lineup of tracks in a concert club like setting, yet strangely this made for TV film finds The Moodies singing live on top of and along with what appears to be interwoven audio backing tracks prepared by ‘Classic 7’ producer Tony Clarke. Reflecting on this concert event spotlighting the definitive group line-up, Moody Blues founder Mike Pinder says, “I thought it was very good and represents what the band was like during its peak. I had forgotten we performed it with backing tracks but realized it when I saw the Hammond Organ I was miming my mellotron parts on. Graeme was miming with a really basic kit. Vocals were live over some backing vocals which were intermixed in the backing tapes.” While the band looks fabulous and this DVD on N.J.-based Kultur captures much of the stage presence and charisma of the definitive ‘Classic 7’ line-up, Pinder further speculates, nearly 35 years later, that long time Moodies producer Tony Clark in fact played a part in the history behind the Live In Paris ‘70 shows. Pinder explains, “The fact that we were half way through recording A Question Of Balance, I am pretty sure Tony Clarke was there and I remember that Tony Clarke did prepare the backing tracks. I sent a copy of the DVD to Tony in England. He will enjoy the trip down memory lane as you and I did. I agree it had that raw Cinéma Vérité feel and the sound was good. I think Moody fans will enjoy it.” Cast into a musical time tunnel, The Moody Blues reappear like musical titans from a bygone era, singing their parts on top of Tony Clarke’s perfectly timed studio backing tracks. Coupled with the raw Cinéma Vérité feel captured by the French producers of their TV show (spelling mistakes and all!), the Live In Paris ‘70 DVD creates a mysterious karmic impact of Kubrick-esque dimensions (re: AI) and is a dream-like, welcome cosmic specter from the band that made our planet a much better place way back then. www.mikepinder.com

MWE3.com presents a classic interview
with Moody Blues founder MIKE PINDER

{Five years ago, in late January 2006 my dad passed away and after I returned back to NYC from Florida I produced an interview with Justin Hayward and John Lodge for 20th Century Guitar magazine. While discussing these new Moody Blues interviews with the magazine, to coincide I suggested adding a new interview with Moodies founder Mike Pinder who, while still revered by the early Moody Blues fans, had all but been forgotten and had been dislodged by the very band he started. Turns out during that early 2006 period, Mike was busy producing and working on an album with a new band started by his sons Mike Lee Pinder and Matt Pinder and, that first album by The Pinder Brothers entitled Jupiter Falls was released in the early Spring of 2006. As part of our classic interview series, mwe3.com presents an interview with Mike Pinder from early February 2006. - editor, January 2011}

mwe3: The Moody Blues were huge here in the U.S. in '65 with "Go Now", and I remember Donovan had written the liner notes for your first album. That first Moody Blues album, The Magnificent Moodies, without Justin, sounds better today than when you first made it... Can you say something about the early band with Denny Laine? Also what did you think of Denny Laine as a guitarist and which guitars did he favor? How about videos of the early Moodies?

Mike: I always thought Denny was a good guitarist. He had a different style than Justin. At that time the British music scene was heavily influenced by Motown. “Go Now” was in fact an American R & B song by Bessie Banks. As for guitars, I seem to remember that Denny had a green Gretsch. He played electric mostly. I don’t remember hearing him play acoustic in those days. Justin played a Gibson ES335 on almost everything and I always loved the sound of that guitar. So little video exists of the early Moodies or the re-formed Moodies that I am always happy to see something come to light.

mwe3: It's been nearly ten years since your last rock album, Among The Stars, which is best described as a modern rock masterpiece. It's interesting that album sounds more like the classic 7 Moodies sound, then the group's '80s / early '90s albums! Any plans at all for another new release from you, what about the mellotron album you were planning?

MP: Wow, time flies as they say. I think I am very fortunate that my life has been full of many things and music will always be a big part of it. I have started several projects, but I have deferred them to helping my three sons, all musicians. The oldest Dan, is now a movie music editor. He is currently holed up editing the music for the much awaited Da Vinci Code. Dan is a wonderful bass player and although he won’t admit it he plays a tasty keyboard part also. He favors Alembic basses as does son Matthew. Dan introduced brother Matt to Alembic and Matt, at age 13, special ordered his first guitar. In April, sons Matt and Mike are releasing their 1st CD as the Pinder Brothers titled Goodbye, Say Hello. It is full of highly melodic, catchy tunes. I may get a tron swoop or two into the mix if they don't edit it out. I have a collection of guitars we used on their album. Matt also likes to use the '65 Hofner Beatle Bass for recording. Mike plays and composes on my 70’s Taylor 812-D acoustic and I like to play a ’66 Texan Epiphone. We also have a nice mixture of Strats too. Our favorite Strat mod is an Alembic Stratoblaster. I have always played guitar along with keyboards. I had a beautiful 6-string Martin that got badly warped when I lived in Hawaii. My first stringed instrument was a ukulele, something I shared in common with my friend George Harrison.

mwe3: I asked Justin about the Moody Blues’ Lost Performance DVD and he called it a bootleg.

MP: Hardly a bootleg as we got paid for it and interrupted our Threshold recording sessions to do it. For a band that never had many performances on film, mostly due to bad management, I was very happy to see it had been discovered in the vaults. In fact, The Lost Performance DVD was a club date we did for a French film company, part mime, part live, back in the days that this was pretty standard. I remember we were in the middle of Threshold recording sessions in London and we got the call to do this French TV thing. Tony Clarke, our producer, threw some backing tracks together from the sessions and we hopped on a plane to Paris. Filmed in a smoke filled French night club, it was a typical European venue and an intimate look at the band during the peak of our career. I always introduced the songs and on the film I noticed a cigarette burning on my keyboard. Lucky for my lungs I gave up smoking almost 30 years ago.

mwe3: Funny enough the first song the band played for that French TV show, was Justin's "Lovely To See You" and you're playing guitar. You play guitar. How long have you played and which guitars sound best to you? That classic guitar sound from the '70s lineup is all over your solo albums. Also, which guitarists worked with you on your solo albums?

MP: I have been playing guitar since I was twelve. I love many guitar sounds, and we used Martin and Gibson guitars most of the time for everything. I played mostly 12-string acoustic on Moody albums and The Promise. I used several great guitarists for Among the Stars. Roland Batista, Michael Sembello, Tony Berg, and Alphonso Johnson to name a few. All incredible players. We had a wonderful time at those sessions.

mwe3: What was it about Justin that made you ask him to join The Moody Blues. I forgot to ask Justin about the audition for the Moodies. Anything else stand out in your memory about how Justin joined the band. I think Eric Burdon had something to do with bringing Justin to your attention. Funny enough both The Moody Blues and The Animals were both Birmingham bands.

MP: The Animals were farther north Manchester I think. Eric Burdon gave us Justin's info as he was looking for a guitarist. I picked Justin up at the railway station and Justin played me a song he had put out as a single. His talent was obvious to me and I offered him the job. It was a great fit from the beginning. His songs were perfect for my arrangement ideas. “Nights in White Satin” is an excellent example of his songwriting and my arrangement.

Thanks as always to the great Mike Pinder and Tara Pinder @ www.MikePinder.com

The Shadows Greatest Hits

Probably the most important greatest hits collections to emerge from the British Isles in the early ‘60s and certainly, the last word on the state of the British pop instrumental guitar art form circa 1960, the original 1963 release of The Shadows Greatest Hits was remastered and reissued on CD in June 2004 by EMI Records in England. The most notable collection showcasing all the chart topping singles The Shadows released during those nascent late ‘50s, early ‘60s years, The Shadows Greatest Hits was no doubt, among the key albums many future British guitar rockers were grooving to back in the early ‘60s. EMI’s 32 track, 2004 edition of The Shadows Greatest Hits is notable for a number of reasons none the least of which is that this particular CD features the original 15 track lineup—packed with huge Shadows hits like “Apache”, “Dance On”, “Wonderful Land” and “F.B.I.”—in both their original mono and stereo mixes complete plus a bonus track inclusion of the CD closing “Quartermasters Stores” (originally the b-side to “Apache”). The Shadows’ towering pop singles were quite a different a different kettle of fish compared both to their studio albums and soundtrack work, writing and producing with pop star Cliff Richard. Almost as famous for it's incredibly evocative cover art, The Shadows Greatest Hits is further bolstered by insightful, track by track liner notes by Rob Bradford. By the close of the lynchpin year of 1963 The Beatles would soon take over the British charts—and certainly by the close of ‘64 on charts everywhere else for that matter!—yet, for a period back in 1963, The Shadows Greatest Hits single handedly provided a blueprint for the entire Euro-pop art form that would be further expounded upon in the coming years by countless artists from Mike Oldfield to ABBA. When it rains it pours, and coinciding with the 2004 mono/stereo remaster of The Shadows Greatest Hits, EMI has also reissued a mono/stereo twofer of the December 1965 follow up ‘best-of’ from The Shads. More Hits! assembles another fine non-LP, singles ‘best-of’ collection from Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Brian Bennett and John Rostill. Sixteen Shadows favorites like “Atlantis”, “Geronimo” the Jerry Lordan pop vocal classic “Mary Anne” and “Theme For Young Lovers” (to name a few) are given a fine airing in both their stereo and mono mixes, with the 32 track CD giving long time fans what they’ve long been waiting for. Original art work from the original ‘65 Lp release makes More Hits! yet another essential Shadows remaster on EMI. Topping it all off, EMI has assembled the definitive four CD Shadows singles compilation. Put into perspective with fascinating track by track liner notes by Mr. Bradford, the 80 track Complete Singles 1959-1980 strategically and chronologically compiles all the singles A & B sides that The Shadows recorded for EMI Records, starting with their earliest sides from 1959—when they were still known as The Drifters—all the way to the final singles released at the end of their tenure with EMI in 1980, when they left for Polydor Records. www.emicatalogue.com



Light Ages
(Warner Music)

Originally released on the the Finnish Polarvox label back in 1993, Light Ages was reissued on CD, complete with 24 bit remastering in 2004 on Warner Music in Finland. Back in the late ‘60s and for much of the ‘70s, Wigwam was the premier English singing rock group in Finland, most of Scandinavia and continental Europe for that matter. Although the group scattered at the dawn of the ‘80s following the tragic passing of founding drummer Ronnie Österberg, the nucleus of the mid ‘70s Wigwam Mark II—featuring singer-songerwriter Jim Pembroke, guitar great Pekka Rechardt and producer/bassist Måns Groundströem—raised the flag once again in 1993 for an album still considered by some to be one of their finest. The U.K.-born Pembroke—one of the most underrated singers and songwriters of the 20th Century—is in particularly fine form on Light Ages. Coming up with seven new Wigwam classics, Pembroke balanced the CD with six new covers of classic Wigwam tunes including a remake of the title track to their 1970 classic, Tombstone Valentine. When you think Wigwam, think classic British-flavored Euro-rock along the lines of Procol Harum meets Focus...that’s just how good they were and still are. It would take nearly another ten years for Pembroke and Wigwam to resurface with a new studio album again—as they did in 2002 with the EMI/Harvest CD release of Titans Wheel. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another ten years for a new album of music and magic from Wigwam. http://members.surfeu.fi/mmerilai/wigwam/

Hits,Misses,Thrashers & Crashers
(Fuel 2000)

Featuring the late, great Steve Marriott and the late, great Ronnie Lane, the original Small faces were one of the most incredible British pop bands of the mid ‘60s. Between ‘65 and the end of 1968, Small Faces scored fourteen Top Forty hits in the U.K. although it wouldn’t be until they signed with Andrew Loog Oldham and Immediate Records that they would reach their height of popularity, especially in the U.S. The big boom came with the release of ‘67-68 psychedelic / teenybopper era smashes like the eternally great “Itchycoo Park” and the title track and album of the same name, Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. L.A.-based Fuel 2000 honors the British rockers again on their 36 track 2004 Small Faces compilation. Split into two CDs—Absolutely The Best and Odds And Mods—the double disc Hits, Misses, Thrashers & Crashers takes another definitive look at the band at the start and height of their career. Of course, Marriott went on to huge success with Humble Pie while Lane, drummer Kenney Jones and keyboardist Ian MacLagen went on to form The Faces with Rod (The Mod) Stewart and Ron Wood. Superbly anthologized and featuring rare stereo and mono mixes of ground breaking pop classics and backed up by historic track by track liner notes, Hits, Misses, Thrashers & Crashers puts some of the greatest pop music of the ‘60s into a timely perspective. www.macspages.com / www.Fuel2000.com


Porky's Revenge
(Sony Legacy)

Legacy reissued several fine albums from roots-rocker Dave Edmunds in 2004, however their finest Edmunds-related CD might well be a rockin’ soundtrack album Edmunds produced for the 1985 comedy film Porky’s Revenge. Featuring Edmunds on guitar and vocals backed up by a tight band—including Chuck Leavell (keyboards), Mike Shrieve (drums) and Kenny Aaronson (bass)—Legacy’s Porky’s CD spotlights a number of Edmunds-produced tracks with the great George Harrison (an unreleased Bob Dylan cover of “I Don’t Want To Do It”), Jeff Beck (covering the Santo & Johnny instro “Sleepwalk”) and Clarence Clemons (“The Peter Gunn Theme”). On his cuts, Edmunds & Co. tackle vintage pop chestnuts like “Do You Wanna Dance” and “Queen Of The Hop”. Also on hand are Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Phil Collins, Carl Perkins, Jimmy Vaughan and more, making Porky’s Revenge one of the classic pop CD soundtracks of the ‘80s. Original artwork and fine liner notes adds further historical insight to this essential 2004 reissue. In celebration of rock legend Dave Edmunds turning 60 on April 15, 2004, Legacy puts a new face on certain pop classics with the mid 2004 reissue of two more Edmunds-related titles. The 1980 release of Seconds Of Pleasure by Rockpile found Edmunds joined by Brinsley Schwarz founder Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner on guitar and Terry Williams on drums. Although the Rockpile crew appeared on several of Dave’s solo album’s starting in 1976, the band’s one and only album came in October 1980. Sadly, the band split four months later. Legacy’s 2004 reissue of Seconds Of Pleasure pairs the original album with a number of bonus tracks including live BBC tracks. Legacy also has the good fortune to reissue The Best Of Dave Edmunds. Spanning the years 1970-2002, the sixteen track single disc CD compiles a number of Edmunds classics drawn from various titles released on seven different record labels, including his 1970 classic “I Hear You Knocking” and various tracks taken from his 1982-1987 years on Columbia. www.LegacyRecordings.com/DaveEdmunds

(WSM / Rhino)

For died-in-the-wool Yes fans, the release of the 1980 Yes album Drama was nothing less than dramatic! So dramatic was it that the sessions proved too much for Yes founder Jon Anderson, who left the band along with keyboard guru Rick Wakeman. Wakeman was never completely sold on the intrinsically esoteric side of Yes anyway, so one could almost imagine him bailing again, but Jon Anderson? Anyway, in retrospect, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White teaming up with Buggles Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes wasn’t such a bad idea after all and yielded a different kind of Yes album, although the union of Yes and Horn wouldn’t achieve full lift-off until the 1983 Yes album 90125. Anyway, even if you never gave the Lp a good listen back then, Rhino’s retooled 2004 CD of Drama is worth more than a listen for a several reasons, among which include a number of bonus tracks, including several excellent instrumentals (featuring Howe in full flight) and a rare glimpse into the ‘dramatic’ Drama sessions featuring Anderson and Wakeman before they left, on three tracks including the pop-concious “Friend Of A Friend.” Of course, preceding Drama, Yes released their definitive late ‘80s statement, Tormato in 1978. More rocking and rootsy Yes than say, Tales From Topographic Oceans or Relayer, the album remains one of the most accessible Yes albums and key FM radio classics like “Don’t Kill The Whale” and the brilliant set-closing “On The Silent Wings Of Freedom” insure it’s essential status. An incredible find for long time Yes-aholics, Rhino’s Tormato reissue boasts no less than nine bonus tracks. After the Drama of 1980, Yes revamped their ‘80s sound yet again, losing guitar journeyman Howe to Asia and GTR among other greatness. The resulting 90125 depicted an unusual alliance with Yes and South African guitarist Trevor Rabin, while the quirkiness of the event also delivered keyboard ace Tony Kaye back into the Yes camp. Backed up by Horn’s immensely manifesting production skills, 90125 put Yes back onto the pop charts with a round of chart-topping single tracks and more made for MTV videos. Despite further albums with Rabin and Kaye in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, the trend would eventually lead Howe back into the fold and that’s where it’s at today. However, as far as progressive rock CD reissue classics go, Rhino’s 2004 remasters of Tormato, Drama and 90125 are comprehensive to say the least and are to date, the definitive audio masters of all three. www.nfte.org

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