July 26 – The Moody Blues’ Lost Chord, Found

The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord

As I work my way through the albums of 1968, it is really brought home to me just how diverse the music is despite being under an umbrella of “Rock ‘n’ Roll.”  Though the shift had already begun prior to ’68, we’re now beginning to see significant separation of artists who had the creativity and nerve to explore new sounds on their records from those who did not.  Drugs and the sometimes subsequent shift to spirituality were major causes of this movement, as was the fact that a higher percentage of rock music listeners were making their way into adulthood.

ftcms_8ca7330a-3be1-11e8-bcc8-cebcb81f1f90.jpg

The Moody Blues were part of the vanguard of groups whose music maintained little resemblance to that of just a couple of years earlier.  With their third release, In Search of the Lost Chord, they were well into a string of excellent albums with their unique stamp.  They were among a small number of bands including the Stones, the Who, and the Kinks who formed in the early-mid 1960s and evolved into the 1970s with quality, impactful recordings.  And evolve they did.  Unlike the other bands just listed, the Moody Blues forged a path into a developing sub-genre, Prog.  In just two years they took an enormous leap from the blues-based rock band co-founded by the quickly departed Denny Laine to the progressive, orchestral concept album Days of Future Passed.  And 50 years ago today they followed that up with another concept album, this one based on the theme of quest and discovery.

download.jpg

One major element of the late 60’s shift in rock music was the introduction of instruments new to the genre, including the sitar and various other Indian sounds, as well as the Mellotron.  As with their previous release, these instruments were used heavily on this album.  Additionally, they returned to the use of spoken word.  All told, there are approximately 33 instruments played on the recording, all by the members of the band (as opposed to the addition of an orchestra).  While generally received well by fans and critics, In Search of the Lost Chord doesn’t seem to be considered as strong as its predecessor.  But to me, it’s a continuation of Days of Future Passed with its theme expanding outward as well as inward, from the whimsical Tuesday Afternoon and mysterious Twilight and Nights in White Satin of Days of Future Passed to the mind bending Legend of the Mind (an ode to Timothy Leary) and the cosmic chant Om (which is revealed to be the “lost chord”) of In Search of the Lost Chord.  They’re a great back to back listen on a dark, chilly day.

Tracklist:

Side One:

  1. Departure
  2. Ride My See-Saw
  3. Dr. Livingstone, I Presume
  4. House of Four Doors
  5. Legend of a Mind
  6. House of Four Doors (Pt. 2)

Side Two:

  1. Voices in the Sky
  2. The Best Way to Travel
  3. Visions of Paradise
  4. The Actor
  5. The Word
  6. Om

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Search_of_the_Lost_Chord

https://www.allmusic.com/album/in-search-of-the-lost-chord-mw0000650513

-Stephen