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Author Topic: Justin Hayward solo recommendations  (Read 1610 times)
RobertD
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« on: June 16, 2020, 01:45:42 PM »

I know there are a few Moody Blues fans here and thought I would ask what solo Justin albums you might recommend? Any to stay away from? I only have View From The Hill and Blue Jays (obviously not strictly solo). Thanks in advance
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GubGub (Al)
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 03:06:08 PM »

Hmmm. That's a tricky one. They tend towards patchiness The only one that I would give an unqualified recommendation to is the most recent, Spirits of the Western Sky which is a very strong collection.

After that my favourite is probably Moving Mountains.

Songwriter is highly thought of but I am not that fond of it. It does however contain One Lonely Room which is a classic Hayward song and could easily fit on Blue Jays.

By contrast I rather like the Jeff Wayne collaboration, Night Flight but it is an unashamedly pop album, much of  which he did not write and is unlike any of his other records.

View From The Hill which you already have has some nice songs on it.

On a related note, I highly recommend both of Ray Thomas's solo albums, especially the first one. And I like John Lodge's 10,000 Light Years Ago too, though it is a very short album.
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RobertD
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 03:31:33 PM »

Thanks Al, I think I'll start with Spirits Of The Western Sky first. I've heard little bits of Songwriter in the past. Pretty sure I've never heard Moving Mountains. I've been on a bit of a Moodies kick lately so I think I would like to try Ray's albums as well but I think its safe to say I enjoy what Justin comes up with the most out of all of them. I did play Blue Jays last night for the first time in years and it was wonderful. I think when I bought it initially a long time ago my interest in the Moody Blues was waning and as such found it a little too polished. But listening to it with fresh ears again it is really lovely.
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GubGub (Al)
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2020, 03:42:32 PM »


Thanks Al, I think I'll start with Spirits Of The Western Sky first. I've heard little bits of Songwriter in the past. Pretty sure I've never heard Moving Mountains. I've been on a bit of a Moodies kick lately so I think I would like to try Ray's albums as well but I think its safe to say I enjoy what Justin comes up with the most out of all of them. I did play Blue Jays last night for the first time in years and it was wonderful. I think when I bought it initially a long time ago my interest in the Moody Blues was waning and as such found it a little too polished. But listening to it with fresh ears again it is really lovely.


I think Blue Jays and Ray's first solo album, From Mighty Oaks are right up there with the classic 7 Moodies albums and probably stronger than anything that followed apart from Long Distance Voyager
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RobertD
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2020, 05:08:17 PM »



Thanks Al, I think I'll start with Spirits Of The Western Sky first. I've heard little bits of Songwriter in the past. Pretty sure I've never heard Moving Mountains. I've been on a bit of a Moodies kick lately so I think I would like to try Ray's albums as well but I think its safe to say I enjoy what Justin comes up with the most out of all of them. I did play Blue Jays last night for the first time in years and it was wonderful. I think when I bought it initially a long time ago my interest in the Moody Blues was waning and as such found it a little too polished. But listening to it with fresh ears again it is really lovely.


I think Blue Jays and Ray's first solo album, From Mighty Oaks are right up there with the classic 7 Moodies albums and probably stronger than anything that followed apart from Long Distance Voyager


Think I'll purchase Spirits and From Mighty Oaks and let you know my thoughts.  I think you are right about everything post Long Distance Voyager. Of course I love many songs from the subsequent albums, they are not cohesive, and Ray's absence is felt. I remember hearing he and Tony Visconti did not get on well but such a shame. I love that song Vintage Wine but it should have had Ray's flute! Thanks for the reminder on Ray's stuff
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2020, 06:39:59 PM »

I agree that LDV was their last great album.

I'm a great Moodies fan but TBH I'm not all that keen on much of their solo efforts. To my ears there are a few good songs on most of them, but mainly they remind me that  at their best (the "core 7" + LDV) they were a real band, more than the sum of their parts. The marginalisation of Ray Thomas after "The Future" was, IMHO, a major factor in none of their last 5 albums being worth buying (1 or 2 good songs each.) Patrick Moraz added something, but he was no Mike Pinder, and indeed was never even a full member of the band. And too much synth & drum machine on the Visconti stuff foe me.

Why Ray  Thomas's role in the band declined so much after 1983 has been much discussed by Moodies fans. His poor health was cited by Graham Edge, and he (Ray) certainly fell out with Tony Visconti. Also relations between Ray & Justin appear to have been cool at best - in his last interview before his death in 2017, Ray said that he hadn't spoken to Justin since his last day with the Moodies (c2003?) Sad.

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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2020, 07:15:51 PM »


I agree that LDV was their last great album.

I'm a great Moodies fan but TBH I'm not all that keen on much of their solo efforts. To my ears there are a few good songs on most of them, but mainly they remind me that  at their best (the "core 7" + LDV) they were a real band, more than the sum of their parts. The marginalisation of Ray Thomas after "The Future" was, IMHO, a major factor in none of their last 5 albums being worth buying (1 or 2 good songs each.) Patrick Moraz added something, but he was no Mike Pinder, and indeed was never even a full member of the band. And too much synth & drum machine on the Visconti stuff foe me.

Why Ray  Thomas's role in the band declined so much after 1983 has been much discussed by Moodies fans. His poor health was cited by Graham Edge, and he (Ray) certainly fell out with Tony Visconti. Also relations between Ray & Justin appear to have been cool at best - in his last interview before his death in 2017, Ray said that he hadn't spoken to Justin since his last day with the Moodies (c2003?) Sad.




Angelic though he looks, I get the impression that Hayward is not an easy man to get along with. He seems fairly ruthlessly ambitious on his own behalf.

One caveat to the late run of albums. I do think their last proper album, Strange Times was something of a return to form. Unfortunately it sold zilch.
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RobertD
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 09:00:24 PM »



I agree that LDV was their last great album.

I'm a great Moodies fan but TBH I'm not all that keen on much of their solo efforts. To my ears there are a few good songs on most of them, but mainly they remind me that  at their best (the "core 7" + LDV) they were a real band, more than the sum of their parts. The marginalisation of Ray Thomas after "The Future" was, IMHO, a major factor in none of their last 5 albums being worth buying (1 or 2 good songs each.) Patrick Moraz added something, but he was no Mike Pinder, and indeed was never even a full member of the band. And too much synth & drum machine on the Visconti stuff foe me.

Why Ray  Thomas's role in the band declined so much after 1983 has been much discussed by Moodies fans. His poor health was cited by Graham Edge, and he (Ray) certainly fell out with Tony Visconti. Also relations between Ray & Justin appear to have been cool at best - in his last interview before his death in 2017, Ray said that he hadn't spoken to Justin since his last day with the Moodies (c2003?) Sad.




Angelic though he looks, I get the impression that Hayward is not an easy man to get along with. He seems fairly ruthlessly ambitious on his own behalf.

One caveat to the late run of albums. I do think their last proper album, Strange Times was something of a return to form. Unfortunately it sold zilch.


I have gathered the same thing over the years. You and I have talked about this before and not to let the thread drift but how Moraz lost his litigation I'll never know. Daryl Jones is an 'unofficial official' band member of the Stones if you will. Never seen him credited as being anything other than what he is. Moraz had credits, photos, videos...all of it. I'll just say though that Justin had a lovely photo of him and Ray he posted last year and he had a nice description about people asking him what their relationship was like. His reply was 'it was like this'. So inner squabbles between members aside, I'll just try to remember things like that.
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2020, 09:54:10 PM »

The Moody Blues? They are just a poor man's Barclay James Harvest!  Smiley

I quite like the post Mike Pinder Moodies albums. It's pop rock, for sure, but well done. The songwriting and performances remain top notch, at least for me. I suppose it helps that The Other Side Of Life and Sur La Mer were the first Moodies records I heard.

As far as Justin Hayward's solo work is concerned, I've heard a few and the only one I didn't like at all was Classic Blue which is a pretty wretched covers album where, with the help of Mike Batt and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, he reduces some classic tunes to elevator music. It is the place to find his version of Stairway To Heaven though.  Smiley

I very much like Songwriter & Night Flight, and the recent (ish) Spirits Of The Western Skies is a decent listen too.
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garrypbrooks
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2020, 10:23:48 PM »


The Moody Blues? They are just a poor man's Barclay James Harvest!  Smiley


I saw John Lees' BJH a few years ago. After they finished "Poor Man's Moody blues" someone in the audience shouted out "Nothing like us!". It was Ray Thomas, who John Lees said he knew well from the times when their bands shared a keyboards player and a producer.
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wayne stote
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2020, 10:43:37 PM »



The Moody Blues? They are just a poor man's Barclay James Harvest!  Smiley


I saw John Lees' BJH a few years ago. After they finished "Poor Man's Moody blues" someone in the audience shouted out "Nothing like us!". It was Ray Thomas, who John Lees said he knew well from the times when their bands shared a keyboards player and a producer.


That's a great story!

John Lees' BJH are excellent live and their North album was a fab listen too. I believe they were working on a new one. Don't know whether Covid has put the kibosh on it.
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« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2020, 02:42:29 PM »

I've been a huge Moodies fan since I was a teenager, I must admit that most of the solo stuff is a disappointment. As has already been said, they were best as a band. That said, as far as JH's solo stuff is concerned, I quite liked 'Songwriter' and the latest one 'Spirits Under A Western Sky'. 'Moving Mountains' isn't bad, but not particularly memorable and I only like a couple of songs on 'Night Flight. I remember when they took their hiatus in the mid 70s I put together some 'mix tapes' of what I considered to be the best songs on all their solo albums. Considering there were 2 each from Edge and Thomas, one from Hayward and Lodge together and one each from Hayward, Lodge and Pinder (8 albums in all) in that 6 year period, I found it hard to put together more than two 'albums'.
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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2020, 02:45:40 PM »



Angelic though he looks, I get the impression that Hayward is not an easy man to get along with. He seems fairly ruthlessly ambitious on his own behalf.



I've heard a couple of Justin Hayward interviews in recent years, what stuck me was how driven he sounded, astonishingly so for a man well into his 70s, couldn't wait to get back into the recording studio and on the stage.
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Phil Perry
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2020, 08:45:58 PM »

Unfortunately I only really got into the Moodies really late on and so (with the exception of Gentle Giant !!) they are the only band that I have never seen that I would love to see! I was not best pleased when they did a Days of Future Passed tour in the USA and never brought it over to this side of the Pond. I suspect that they will never play together again now, but would like it if someone here has good reason to contradict me Wink
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