The Moody Blues

In Search of the Lost Song [Bootleg]

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There aren't many Moody Blues bootlegs, and this may be the only one really worth searching for, containing as it does extremely rare material from the dawn of their career. Side one has rare, pre-Moodies singles by Justin Hayward and the Wilde Three (a mid-'60s group that included Hayward), an unreleased 1963 demo by El Riot & the Rebels (which featured Ray Thomas, John Lodge, and Mike Pinder), and a 1964 demo by the Carpetbaggers (written by then Carpetbagger John Lodge). This material is lightweight but ingratiating in a chipper, very early British Invasion fashion; Hayward's "Day Must Come," and with its ballroom orchestration, strongly hints at the direction the Moodies would take just after he joined the band. The problem with these sides is the fidelity, seemingly taken from an old radio program; the tape hiss is at such a high level as to be distracting, even by bootleg standards, and the speed seems too fast. Couldn't someone at least have located actual copies of the Justin Hayward singles to dub from, instead of tapes of tapes of tapes? The rest of the material, performed by the Moodies as a group, dates from the mid- and late '60s, and is fairly good, comprising Coca-Cola commercials (with both the Denny Laine and Hayward lineups), BBC sessions (including the rare singles "Love and Beauty" and "Leave This Man Alone"), a cover of the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," and TV performances of some of the highlights from Days of Future Passed and Lost Chord. It's not a bad thing to have if you want more Moodies from their prime era; just be aware that there are some severe sonic deficiencies.