Live at the BBC: 1967-1970
While not a complete or exhaustive collection of the Moody Blues on Auntie Beeb, this two-disc compilation is a worthy overview of the band's live, in-studio performances. Likewise, as over a dozen tracks are not available elsewhere on CD, BBC Sessions 1967 -- 1970 (2007) perfectly complements the BBC-sourced bonus tracks found on the expanded editions of the Moodies classic back catalog. Taken primarily in a chronological fashion, the anthology kicks off with several post-Denny Laine / Clint Warwick era songs that likewise slightly pre-date the band's Days of Future Passed (1967) incarnation. Recent addition Justin Hayward proves his mettle on the slightly psychedelic "Fly Me High" and the comparatively straightforward "Leave This Man Alone," with the former offered up in two slightly different versions. They join Mike Pinder's "Love and Beauty" and a rare cover of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" -- all of which hail from mid-1967.
The genre-defining Days of Future Passed quickly became an "instant classic" and the Moodies incorporated selections into subsequent BBC excursions. The readings of the mod rocker "Peak Hour," their signature "Nights in White Satin," as well as "Twilight Time (Evening)" are fairly close to the LP arrangements, yet full of subtleties that will perk up the ears of listeners familiar with the respective originals. In Search of the Lost Chord (1968) yielded another batch of promotional stops on popular BBC radio programs such as Top Gear -- where they played "Ride My See-Saw," "The Best Way to Travel," as well as one of the two readings of "Voices in the Sky" and "Dr. Livingston, I Presume." Alternates of those songs from the Dave Symonds show (aka Symonds on Sunday) aired in July of 1968, while updates of "Peak Hour" and "Tuesday Afternoon" were worked into the imaginatively titled October of 1968 Afternoon Pop Show. The Moodies chose to unveil "Lovely to See You," "Never Comes the Day," and "To Share Our Love" from the yet-to-be-issued On the Threshold of a Dream (1969) during a guest spot on Top Gear in February of 1969. They returned to the BBC Radio's Tony Brandon Show in April to launch the LP with "So Deep Within You" and to have a further go at "Lovely to See You."
The audio from a few of the band's television appearances make up a sizable portion of the second disc. From a mid-September 1968 episode of Colour Me Pop come In Search of the Lost Chord cuts "Ride My See Saw," "Dr Livingstone, I Presume,""House of Four Doors,""Voices in the Sky," "The Best Way to Travel," "Visions of Paradise," and "The Actor." The other TV show to be excerpted is from a late August 1970 stint on the Lulu Show, singing the Question of Balance (1970) opener, simply titled "Question." An eight-song mini set from the BBC Live in Concert series find the Moodies in fine form as they wind through a set drawn primarily from In Search of the Lost Chord and Days of Future Passed. Of particular note from the latter is "The Sun Set" and the opener "Gypsy" from their concurrent offering To Our Children's Children's Children (1969).