[Review] The Moody Blues: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971)

The Moodies continue their winning ways with another album of beautifully arranged ballads and rockers.

Kronomyth 7.0: Sensation, experimentation, replication.

I’ve referred to this album and last two as “the soft middle of the Moodies” because they tended to have one strong single and a lot of midtempo ballads that were gently executed and conceived. Of the three, however, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is the strongest. The band seems even more determined to distance themselves from the underwhelming Children with an opening pair of songs that heralds creation itself (Procession) and then proceeds to sweep you off your feet with the rushing grandness of The Story In Your Eyes. It is the strongest introduction to a Moodies album in years.

I’ll confess that EGBDF wasn’t a favorite of mine as a youth. It, along with the last two albums, seemed formulaic and safe, words I don’t typically use in a progressive rock review. Listening to it again, it really is a remarkably strong record. The first side of music blends one song into the next, making it easier for the listener to be immersed in the Moodies’ world. After their initial gambit, the group settles in with a ballad from Ray Thomas (Our Guessing Game), another from John Lodge (the lovely Emily’s Song, so named for Lodge’s daughter) and a rocker from Graeme Edge (After You Came) that sounds surprisingly like The Who. I’d rank that first side of EGBDF with just about any side of plastic in the Moodies’ canon.

The second side lacks a one-two punch but still makes contact. Lodge’s One More Time To Live returns to the opening theme of desolation/creation and sounds like a cross between David Bowie’s “The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud” and The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset.” Nice To Be Here is one of Thomas’ songs for children as the unofficial Pied Piper in the group. Hayward provides what should have been the album’s closer, the gentle and sweeping You Can Never Go Home, and Mike Pinder ends the album with a twinge of indigestion as he squeezes about two songs’ worth of music into My Song.

Later remasters sounded even better and included two bonus tracks: the original version of The Story In Your Eyes (nearly identical to the elpee version but with different guitar parts and louder synthesizers) and The Dreamer, a driving number sung by Thomas. These songs deserve to be heard in their remastered versions, but the bonus tracks don’t win the album any favors.

Read more Moody Blues reviews

Original elpee version

A1. Procession (Graeme Edge/Justin Hayward/John Lodge/Mike Pinder/Ray Thomas) (4:40)
A2. The Story In Your Eyes (Justin Hayward) (2:57)
A3. Our Guessing Game (Ray Thomas) (3:34)
A4. Emily’s Song (John Lodge) (3:41)
A5. After You Came (Graeme Edge) (4:37)
B1. One More Time To Live (John Lodge) (5:41)
B2. Nice To Be Here (Ray Thomas) (4:24)
B3. You Can Never Go Home (Justin Hayward) (4:14)
B4. My Song (Mike Pinder) (6:20)

CD reissue bonus tracks
10. The Story In Your Eyes (original version) (Justin Hayward) (3:33)
11. The Dreamer (Justin Hayward/Ray Thomas) (3:42)

The Players

Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas. All instruments performed by The Moody Blues. Produced by Tony Clarke; recording engineered by Derek Varnals.

The Pictures

Sleeve art by Phil Travers.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and 8-track on July 23, 1971 in the UK, the US** and Germany (Threshold, THS-5/M/THM/THS-M-24805*), France (Threshold, 278.029), Japan (Threshold, SLC 806) and Thailand (First, FL-2102) with gatefold cover and lyrics innersleeve; reached #1 on the UK charts and #2 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record). *On the 8-tracks, M-24085 was released on London/Threshold, THM-24805 was released on Threshold and THS-M-24805 on Threshold/Ampex. (**The 7/24/71 issue of Billboard gives the US release date as August 1st.)

  1. Re-released on quadrophonic 8-track in 1972 in the US (London/Threshold, THS L 72405).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in Japan (Threshold, THL-3) with gatefold cover.
  3. Re-issued on elpee in Japan (Threshold, LAX-1026) with gatefold cover.
  4. Re-released on remastered elpee in the US (Mobile Fidelity, MFSL-1-232) with gatefold cover.
  5. Re-issued on elpee in 1982 in Japan (Threshold, L20P-1022) with gatefold cover.
  6. Re-issued on compact disc in 1986 in Japan (London, P33L-25007).
  7. Re-issued on elpee in Japan (Threshold, K18P-36) with gatefold cover.
  8. Re-released on remastered 24k gold compact disc on September 12, 1995 in the US (Mobile Fidelity, UDCD-643).
  9. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 1997 in the UK (Threshold, 847 722-2) and the US (Threshold, 4772-2).
  10. Re-released on expanded super high material compact disc on November 23, 2016 in Japan (Threshold, UICY-77992) with 2 bonus tracks.

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