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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Moody Blues

In Search of the Lost Chord

Review by Gary Hill

The third album from The Moody Blues, this came out in 1968. As such, it's more proto-prog than actual prog, since that wasn't really a thing yet. There is a lot of folk music here along with plenty of psychedelia. This is a pretty consistent set that works well from start to finish. Yes, there are some songs that stand taller than others, but nothing here is really weak at all.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Departure

This piece is less than a minute long, and more or less serves as the introduction to "Ride My See Saw." With harp and trippy effects, this is a spoken piece. It's quite dramatic and powerful as rises upward. In fact, this is one of the best of this type of piece from the group. It segues directly into the next cut.

Ride My See-Saw
This quick paced number seems to combine a 1960s sound with the more symphonic progressive rock elements of the Moody Blues. This is a catchy and energized tune. The guitar solo segment on this in particular is full of psychedelic trappings. It’s also quite tasty.
Dr. Livingstone, I Presume
A bouncy cut, this has a lot of folk music and psychedelia in the mix. It's decidedly 1960s oriented. It's a classy number.
House of Four Doors
Dramatic and powerful, this has a psychedelia meets folk vibe to it. It's decidedly proto prog, too. That prog elements is most accurately demonstrated in the complexity of the piece. It works through various sections and movements, getting quite classical at times and more soundtrack-like at other points.
Legend of a Mind
I'm guessing that a lot of people know of this song as "Timothy Leary." It has such a cool trippy arrangement. I love the back and forth of much of the lyrical content. This is early progressive rock at its best. It is also one of the most memorable songs from the Moody Blues. Given their catalog, that says a lot. The cut has quite a few intriguing shifts and movements, making it one of the more complex pieces here.
House of Four Doors (Part 2)
The earlier track gets a reprise, but I bet you figured that out. This is a short piece that is more cohesive and folk music based than the other version of the tune was.
Voices in the Sky
The trippy psychedelic elements are at play right from the start of this cut. The song works to more of a folk rock based thing as it continues.
The Best Way to Travel
Psychedelic folk rock really is the concept here. It's an energetic and soaring tune that has plenty of trippy elements. The shift toward space zones really brings the psychedelia home.
Visions of Paradise
Folky prog with a lot of psychedelia in the mix is the concept of this number. It's an accessible and classy piece.
The Actor
I dig the classic Moody Blues balladic sound that opens this. This has plenty of folk rock along with proto prog built into it. It's accessible and meaty.
The Word
This narration is purely spoken voice. It's quite cool, too.
Om
Starting with a meditative "Om," this works out to a playful kind of folk based piece that has a real tribal element to it. The vocals come in bringing psychedelia with them. This is slow moving and cool. This works out through some intriguing changes with some world music in the mix.
 
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