If, like me, you tend to sonic omnivorousness and cram everything you can into your music collection, then the Moody Blues band, tribute discs, and efforts like all those cool Pickin' On releases must hold special places. So let me tell ya that few conflations of those three elements have worked like Moody Bluegrass' first album of years gone by. All and sundry looked forward to that small round piece of heaven when the imminence of its debut portended, later ecstatic upon the issuance, subsequently hungering for even more. In the meantime, there were Moody Bluegrass Live performances, unfortunately not documented, and, Moody Blues and bluegrass fans being what they are, those delectable providences still weren't enuff. Legions wondered: "Would there be more?".
Well, cosmic cowpokes and cowpokettes, the new one's here, and it blows everything else, as good as all that was, out of the water. Yep, you heard me right, Jethro, it's heresy I'm spouting, but I'll stick behind it 100% 'n then some. TWO…Much Love outclasses the classy, and shortly you'll be agreeing (bring that on down to the county seat and bank on it, pard). Not only are the foundation Moody Bluegrassers, Randey Faulkner and David Harley, back, but, this time around, ALL FIVE of the prime period Moodies join in on various cuts: Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge, and, surprise of surprises, the hands-down greatest mellotron player of all time: Mike Pinder. For 65 minutes and 16 cuts, this is where the Crab Nebula meets the Wheat Belt for an Appalachian Harvest Hoedown.
Ah, but we're not even close to done. Vince Gill, Tim May, Peter Rowan, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, and, well, a mean mess o' the best turned up and got down with a will and a way. From the opening cut, I Know You're Out There Somewhere with its zesty arrangement and killer playing, you're going to find your feet dancing and that face o' yours thanking you with a smile that won't quit. Unbelievably, there's even a take on Days of Future Passed's (the LP that started progrock) Dawn is a Feeling that'll make all and sundry gasp, so hill-country orchestral is the intro to it. The selections, though, are unbelievable: Voices in the Sky, Higher and Higher, Dear Diary—did even the hardest-core fan ever think they'd find such unique songs tackled by country/bluegrass stars? Unreal! And when you lay an ear to how readily Send Me No Wine translates to the North 40, well…
I'm hoping to hell this CD gets a bunch of rockers, progheads, and even MOR aficionados into the joys of bluegrass because TWO…with Love is the most perfect bridge ever created for precisely that. The Moodies themselves are already head over heels in love with this outing and have unstintingly stated so. The packaging is a marvelous quadra-fold digipak with an additional 4-page insert, and the entire shebang stands with two unusual other efforts: that righteous Classic Moody Blues Hits from the Frankfurt Rock Orchestra, Mike Sadler, & Shaun Williamsen, and the Mike Batt / Justin Hayward Classic Blue (not a Moody trib' but golden nonetheless). So let me don my Nostramarcus cloak and predict that there'll be a third in the series 'cause this one will be going over like a monster, and the Blues catalogue still has a trove of gems left untouched. Sometimes, life is just too sweet!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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