Ray Thomas

From Mighty Oaks

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Part of the first wave of solo projects to show up from the Moody Blues during their mid-'70s hiatus, Ray Thomas' From Mighty Oaks was a beautifully produced (some would say over-produced) record. Recorded on a grand scale, complete with orchestral passages that recall the grandest sections of the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed, it offers an extended showcase for Thomas' singing, and a more personal canvas than his work with the group could ever have afforded him. And if it falls a little short as a completely successful album, the production carries it across the finish line in style, and the best songs here -- the highly personal "Adam and I" (about his infant son), the mystical "I Wish We Could Fly," and the '60s-style rocker "High Above My Head" -- are well worth hearing, and owning. Apart from the obvious virtue of filling in the gaps in Thomas' song bag, the album also gives Moody Blues fans a chance to hear the work of Nicky James (who also collaborated with Thomas on the songwriting here), who has always been close to the Moody Blues' orbit going back to their Birmingham days, and also the contributions of Trapeze member John Jones during his stay at the Moodies' Threshold Records. Thomas' own singing lacks the power to carry some of what's here, but it's still an expressive voice, and coupled with some good songs (although obviously many of his better songs had already been used by the group), he more than justifies the effort and the album.

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