[Review] Voices In The Sky: The Best of The Moody Blues (1984)

A Moody Blues compilation called Voices in the Sky that doesn’t include “Voices in the Sky.”

Kronomyth 14.0: In search of the lost voices in the sky.

You would think this contained the song “Voices in the Sky.” It doesn’t. Maybe someone thought the title was clever. It isn’t. Purporting to be the best of The Moody Blues, listeners deserved better, from the lame cover (it’s blue, I get it) and lack of liner notes to the limp selection. Does anyone except the person who compiled this really think that “Veteran Cosmic Rocker” is a better song that “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday)” or “The Story In Your Eyes?” I like Long Distance Voyager, don’t get me wrong, I just didn’t expect to re-encounter half of it here.

What Voices ends up doing is creating a mottled patchwork of the band’s legacy, mixing synthetics (“Talking Out of Turn”) and psychedelia (“Ride My See-Saw”) with no regard for placement or effect. I wouldn’t presume to tell you that putting together a single-disc Moodies sampler is an easy task. It’s a big world between “Go Now!” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” and any bridge between the two is bound to be bumpy. Putting the music in chronological order would have helped matters immensely.

This Is The Moody Blues did a much better job of things by digging into the albums, just as fans had always done. No one was going to subsist on “After You Came” or “Isn’t Life Strange;” they were pieces of a bigger whole. If you’re new to the Moodies, buy Days of Future Passed, Threshold of a Dream, Lost Chord or even Long Distance Voyager. As for Voices in the Sky, you can build your own Moodies mix and do a damn sight better in the bargain. Unless you buy those songs on iTunes, in which case you can cross out the words “in the bargain” and probably change “damn” to “damned.”

Original LP and Cassette Version

A1. The Voice (Justin Hayward) (4:14)
A2. Question (Justin Hayward) (4:55)
A3. Veteran Cosmic Rocker (Ray Thomas) (3:07)
A4. Isn’t Life Strange (John Lodge) (6:00)
A5. Nights In White Satin (Justin Hayward) (4:26)
B1. Ride My See-Saw (John Lodge) (3:42)
B2. Driftwood (Justin Hayward) (4:29)
B3. Sitting At The Wheel (5:38)
B4. I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band) (John Lodge) (4:16)
B5. Gemini Dream (Justin Hayward/John Lodge) (3:47)

Original CD Version
1. Ride My See-Saw (John Lodge) (3:37)
2. Talking Out of Turn (John Lodge) (4:58)
3. Driftwood (Justin Hayward) (4:31)
4. Never Comes The Day (Justin Hayward) (4:39)
5. I’m Just A Singer (IN A Rock And Roll Band) (John Lodge) (4:16)
6. Gemini Dream (Justin Hayward/John Lodge) (3:46)
7. The Voice (Justin Hayward) (4:16)
8. After You Came (Graeme Edge) (4:35)
9. Question (Justin Hayward) (4:55)
10. Veteran Cosmic Rocker (Ray Thomas) (3:09)
11. Isn’t Life Strange (John Lodge) (6:03)
12. Nights In White Satin (Justin Hayward) (4:25)

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and expanded compact disc on November 22, 1984 in the UK (Decca, SKL/KSKSc 5341), the US (Threshold, 820 155-1/4/2), Canada (Threshold, TRLS-1-2903), Germany (Decca, 625939) and South Africa (Decca, SPL-4008); reached #132 on the US charts. US/CAN version features a different cover.

1 thought on “[Review] Voices In The Sky: The Best of The Moody Blues (1984)

  1. I believe that the “blue” version (the UK vinyl) was the first Moodies album released on CD (the US vinyl was never on CD), and the first after Decca Records was sold to Polygram, so they must have been eager to exploit the Moodies’ catalog. I bought it because I was still unsure where this new CD thing was going (silly me). (I also suspect that nothing from “The Present” was on the album because it bombed in the UK). Yes, alternating four singles from “Long Distance Voyager” with older material makes no sense and sounds like a CD changer set to “shuffle”. “After You Came” and “Veteran Cosmic Rocker” had been B-sides, but one suspects they were included only so Edge and Thomas could net a few royalties. Nowadays, this is only for collectors. It did include the slightly different stereo single mixes of “Nights in White Satin” (first LP appearance), “Ride My See-Saw” and “I’m Just a Singer”. Also on this album are the single edits of “The Voice”, “Question”, “Talking Out of Turn”, “Driftwodod” (as it’s listed on my CD cover!) and “Gemini Dream”. All but the first, as far as I know, were never released again on CD. So, unless you’re a REAL hardcore fan, “This Is The Moody Blues” is THE collection for a beginner, while other collections, such as “Gold”, depict a better view of their whole history.

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