Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — Higher and Higher: A Tribute to the Moody Blues
(Mellow MMP-481-ABC, 2006, 3CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

Higher and Higher: A Tribute to the Moody Blues Cover art

Given their influence on the genre, the Moody Blues are a great subject for progressive bands to cover and I’m surprised something like this hasn’t already been tried. But leave it to Mellow Records to go for it in a big way — 41 tracks spread across three disks. That many groups (or solo musicians in some instances) can’t all be great, though apart from a few exceptions the caliber of performances throughout is high, despite the usual instances of painfully accented vocals. In most cases also the renditions and interpretations are very good, if not downright stellar. Some bands don’t deviate far from the original, as is the case with Ajalon’s energetic take on “You and Me” and Ryan Guidry’s re-creation of “London Is Behind Me” that convincingly recaptures the 1966 period just after Justin Hayward and John Lodge had joined the Moodies. As one might expect, most of this collection — two of the three disks, in fact — covers material from the band’s “core” era spanning the seven albums released between 1967 and 1972. The first disk barely makes it out of 1967 in fact with a great deal of time spent on the band’s first two Hayward / Lodge albums, while the second covers the albums On the Threshold of a Dream to Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. The third CD stands up to the others, though, with some exceptional offerings, including a great live version of “The Other Side of Life” from Time Travelers. Here also is an interesting minimalist synth-pop version of “Words You Say” from Roz Vitalis and a wired, metal guitar extravaganza take on “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” from The Rob Sbar Noesis. In fact, most bands were wise to avoid playing the prog rock card too heavily, apart from inserting Mellotron into some of the 80s material. Even Mikromidas’ bombastic re-working of the sole Denny Laine-era song, “Go Now,” smacks more of Yes’ early cover work than a Genesis-inspired extravagance. I’m not always kind when it comes to Mellow’s multi-artist packages, whether it be tributes like this or their themed releases like the recent Colossus of Rhodes, but with this one they got it right. Moodies fans should definitely check it out.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Ajalon, Farpoint, Flamborough Head, Goad, Hamadryad, Sonic Pulsar, Spirits Burning, Ubi Maior, Quarkspace, Mystery, Rousseau, The Moody Blues, Conqueror, Various Artists, Paul Williams (Church of Hed), Darxtar

More info
http://mellowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/moody-blues-tribute-higher-and-higher-3cd

Latest news

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Non Credo - Impropera – It won’t take more than about twenty seconds of the first track for the listener to know they are in for an unusual treat, one which the remainder of this 60-plus minute epic bears out. Touched...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues