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In Search of the Lost Chord [US 2008 Bonus Tracks]

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Other albums by The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues 7/15/2008

Review

This is the second expanded edition of this 1968 paean to psychedelia to have appeared in just 28 months -- it was preceded by a "Deluxe Edition" two-disc hybrid SACD/CD edition from Polydor's European division in the late winter of 2006; apparently, those in charge of the label either didn't think the U.S. could support that high-priced package, or that the Super-Audio CD market is purely a European and Japanese phenomenon. Whatever the reason, this edition has shown up here with no multi-channel SACD layer, but with the remastered CD sound from that hybrid release. In Search of the Lost Chord was originally the most poorly-served of all the Moodies' original albums on CD, with a late-'80s edition from Polydor that literally had a crack in the sound on one song. Since then successive remasterings have made it one of the group's more satisfying CDs, as the nuances and layers are brought out -- the original album was done in a spirit of experimentation that was unusual for a pop album, with the members very consciously seeking out the richest, most outre sounds that they could generate in the studio, piling on one exotic instrument after another, along with many layers of voices; they would get better and bolder at this process over the next two albums (until they realized, in 1969, that they'd painted themselves into a corner as far as actually performing their new material on-stage); but beneath the psychedelic sensibilities on numbers like "Voices in the Sky," "The Best Way to Travel," "Legend of a Mind" etc., as one listens to the cleanest, crispest mix the record has yet had on CD (and one should state here that the multi-channel SACD mix on the European Deluxe Edition does outdo it), in the layers of finely nuanced playing, one does get a real sense of five musicians reveling in their own skills (and perhaps a recently ingested controlled substance or two) and the freedom to take them as far as the moment will carry them. That experimental nature has always resided just below the surface of what was otherwise a very pretty and smooth exercise in pop music mysticism ("Visions of Paradise" is still one of the most profoundly beautiful records this reviewer has ever heard from the psychedelic era) -- but here it's a little more up front, amid the enhanced clarity, and one would like to think it could help this album hold and renew its audience for another 40 years. The sound is so good that it's almost a shame that anything was put on here after "Om," the original album closer, but it was obligatory in these times that there be bonus tracks -- and as there was less room here than on the Disc Two of the Deluxe Edition, some decisions had to be made about removing some extras. The released Mike Pinder-sung version and the alternate Justin Hayward-sung take of "A Simple Game" are present, bookending the bonus tracks, whilst the rest includes the Mellotron track for "The Word," the lost Hayward song "What Am I Doing Here," two BBC performances ("Dr. Livingston, I Presume," "Thinking Is the Best Way to Travel"), and extended, unfaded versions of "Om" etc. They would be certain to delight serious fans, except that it's hard to imagine too many of the latter not having already bought them on the Deluxe Edition of this album over the preceding two years. Still, they may open the door to the group's sound a little further for the casually curious. [The 2008 version included bonus tracks.] ~ Bruce Eder
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Departure The Moody Blues 0:45
  3. 2 Ride My See-Saw The Moody Blues 3:39
  4. 3 Dr. Livingstone, I Presume The Moody Blues 2:57
  5. 4 House of Four Doors, Pt. 1 The Moody Blues 4:13
  6. 5 Legend of a Mind The Moody Blues 6:37
  7. 6 House of Four Doors, Pt. 2 The Moody Blues 1:47
  8. 7 Voices in the Sky The Moody Blues 3:29
  9. 8 The Best Way to Travel The Moody Blues 3:14
  10. 9 Visions of Paradise The Moody Blues 4:16
  11. 10 The Actor The Moody Blues 4:39
  12. 11 The Word The Moody Blues 0:49
  13. 12 Om The Moody Blues 5:48
  14. 13 A Simple Game [Justin Hayward Vocal Mix] The Moody Blues 3:26
  15. 14 The Best Way to Travel [Additional Vocal Mix] The Moody Blues 4:3
  16. 15 Visions of Paradise [Instrumental][Mix] The Moody Blues 4:29
  17. 16 What Am I Doing Here? The Moody Blues 3:53
  18. 17 The Word [Mellotron Mix] The Moody Blues 1:1
  19. 18 Om [Extended Version] The Moody Blues 6:7
  20. 19 Doctor Livingstone, I Presume [BBC Radio Session] The Moody Blues 2:59
  21. 20 Thinking Is the Best Way to Travel [BBC Radio Session] The Moody Blues 3:38
  22. 21 A Simple Game [1968 Single B-Side] The Moody Blues 3:45

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