Friday, November 14, 2014

to our children's children's children

The Moody Blues came blasting, billowing, bursting forth with the power of ten billion butterfly sneezes, aching for the warmth of a burning sun in  a strange and distant time for this space age concept album.  

Riding high on the critical and commercial success of their albums 'Days of Future Passed', 'In Search of the Lost Chord', and 'On the Threshold of a Dream'; the band started their own label Threshold Records as a subsidiary of Decca for the recording of their next album 'To Our Children's Children's Children'.  Tony Clarke produced the sessions at Decca Studios in West Hampstead, London that featured Justin Hayward on vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and sitar;  John Lodge on vocals, bass guitar, and harp;  Ray Thomas on vocals, flute, tambourine, bass flute, and oboe;  Graeme Edge on drums and percussion;  and Mike Pinder on vocals, Mellotron, piano, EMS VCS 3, Hammond organ, and celesta.   

Heyward remembers:   "I think actually it was a complicated album because we were getting into territory where we couldn’t play it so easily on stage. Nothing wrong with that, but we were just using unusual instruments. I was starting to play a lot of keyboards. The technique of recording became different. I think that it was a sad time for me. I’d just lost my father. My father had just died and it was a very painful thing for me. But I know that it was really an album, Children’s Children, that our producer, Tony Clarke had been waiting a long time to make. It was really his baby. He wanted to make that album. Not so much man landing on the moon, but just looking a little further and leaving something for our children. He’d had children. He was actually the first to have children within the group of the six of us as it was then. So it was really his baby, but I could empathize with it totally. It was kind of mind expanding, the whole experience. It was a deeper thing, I think then anybody ever tried to do on record before. It was a stranger kind of sound....I think what lead to it was that we were the first real band that Decca had in England that started selling albums. And they were big money earners. Most people then, in England then, as you know, were singles selling bands. Like I said we were their first artist who really started selling albums in big volume, and they gave us this studio, just exclusively for us by the end of ‘68-69. We just said rather arrogantly to them, ‘oh, we’d like it to be stocked with every instrument in the orchestra’, just so that could fiddle around on things. Y’know have some fun, get a bit stoned and do some stuff. And so it was. That’s exactly what they did. I mean they were a wonderful company. This was a company run by real old English gentlemen, that held alot of classical catalogs. Alot of beautiful classics. Y’know the best recordings. And that was their forte. So they just said to us, ‘listen, we don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s great, so just get on with it and whatever you want...’, only we had no interference at all. So they had every instrument of the orchestra there. And then just by fiddling around, we could learn enough on that each instrument to do whatever we wanted. Just for a few bars. Just enough to record it. It would be even quicker now, because you could just do it and sample it, put it on the Pro Tools and tune it up and all that kind of stuff. But then it was real. That’s all we just did. We took little samples of things."

 'To Our Children's Children's Children' reached number fourteen in the US, eleven in Canada, and number two in the UK.

'To Our Children's Children's Children'
full album:

Side One
00:00 "Higher and Higher" (Graeme Edge) - 4:07
04:07 "Eyes of a Child I" (John Lodge) - 3:24
07:31 "Floating" (Ray Thomas) - 3:02
10:30 "Eyes of a Child II" (Lodge) - 1:20
11:54 "I Never Thought I'd Live to Be a Hundred" (Justin Hayward) - 1:06
13:00 "Beyond" (Edge) - 2:59
15:59 "Out and In" (Mike Pinder, Lodge) - 3:50
Side Two
19:49 "Gypsy (Of a Strange and Distant Time)" (Hayward) - 3:33
23:22 "Eternity Road" (Thomas) - 4:19
27:41 "Candle of Life" (Lodge) - 4:15
31:56 "Sun Is Still Shining" (Pinder) - 3:40
35:36 "I Never Thought I'd Live to Be a Million" (Hayward) - 0:34
36:10 "Watching and Waiting" (Hayward, Thomas) - 4:16

Alternative Versions & Out-Takes
14 Gypsy (Alternate Version) 40:31
15 Candle Of Life (Alternate Version) 44:50 
16 Sun Is Still Shining (Alternate Version) 49:49 
BBC Radio Session
17 Have You Heard/The Voyage/Have You Heard 53:56
18 Legend Of A Mind 59:47

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