MOODIES ENHANCER

FOR 28 YEARS,THE MOODY BLUES HAVE GIVEN THEIR FANS SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE. WITH STRINGS ATTACHED.

The lads were rapidly losing touch with the Magic Table, which now resided in the Moody Blues' Surrey garage. If that square piece of wood could've spoken, it would have told them not to enlist the services of Patrick Moraz, the poodle-haired piano man who ruined Yes' Relayer album with his Deodato jazz noodlings. This unfortunate choice, coupled with the advent of digital keyboards, served only to make the Moodies' sound a little colder.

Lodge 'fesses up to the crucial difference: "Because the mellotron is always slightly out of tune, when you put all the notes together, you get a nice, discordant sound. And the problem with digital keyboards is they're so perfect, they don't resonate at all between the notes. You get a lot of notes, but you don't get the big sound." If that's too technical for you to grasp, try imagining the difference between the drone of a common housefly and that of TV's Urkel.

For too many albums and too many years, the band employed sequencers, synths, used drum triggers and downplayed the mellotron. Even Justin Hayward's impeccable lead guitar took a back seat to the new technology. The Moodies' last studio album changed all that; Keys to the Kingdom turned the tide back to the glory days of yore--"it was antisequence and antielectronics," says Lodge. "Trying to get back to what we thought and I thought music is really all about."

Just the band, as nature and the Magic Table intended. Besides, you can't sequence an orchestra.

"It's a nice way to celebrate Moody Blues music," says Lodge of both Time Traveler and the decision to tour with a symphony in every city. "It's how a lot of people want to hear our music."

Moody Blues fans are pretty vocal about how they want to hear their favorite Blues. So, unlike most boxed sets in the marketplace, precious little if anything on Time Traveler has been altered. "We've remixed a few things in the past and gotten angry letters from people saying, 'That drum fill is not on the original, and I don't want it on the remix!'"

Wouldn't a true Moody aficionado rather have two versions than one?
Lodge laughs. "They don't. It's wanted as is.

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