Bruce Eder wrote:Sometimes names and packages are deceptive. Nominally, this release is a Universal "deluxe edition," presumably along similar lines to editions of key albums by Cream, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and other bands like that. But in spirit and aspects of its content, it's actually quite a bit more ambitious, and almost closer to the 30th anniversary edition of Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run. Before going any further, it should be stated that the 1997-vintage remasterings of the Moody Blues' "classic seven" albums, including Days of Future Passed, were just fine. They were a significant improvement over the original late-'80s CD releases from Polygram, which were rushed and, in some instances, badly flawed, and they're rich and rewarding and will continue to please listeners for years to come. That said, midway through listening to the CD layer of this dual-layer (CD/SACD) double-disc "deluxe edition" of Days of Future Passed, this reviewer found himself amazed by what he was hearing, off of an album that he's known intimately for over 35 years. The CD layer on disc one, which presents the original album in its original mix, de-noised and restored, offers playing in some spots that this reviewer never heard before, and nuances elsewhere that were scarcely more than hinted at in the various incarnations of the album up to now -- and not just nuances by the band, but bowings by the orchestra's string section that stand out in relief that were never clearly represented before. And the voices -- they're now in the room with you, they're so close. And the SACD layer on the same disc, in 5.1 Surround Sound, is yet another listening matter entirely, literally putting you right in the middle of the band and also allowing you to hear each instrumental and vocal part separately if one so desires, as though it were coming from a separate corner of the room, with the complete, centered mix comprising a well-nigh perfect representation of the finished album; and, not surprisingly, the entire content of this release was prepared under the supervision of bandmembers Justin Hayward and John Lodge.
By itself, for the first disc alone, this reviewer would have happily paid the 34-dollar asking price for the imported release (a U.S. issue may occur at some future date) -- it's only eight or ten bucks more than Mobile Fidelity was asking for their Ultradisc audiophile version of the album in the early '90s, and this release offers a lot more surprises. And then there's disc two, which constitutes the results of a full-scale raid on the Decca vaults and their holdings of 1966-vintage Moodies tracks, plus a search of the entire session-tape archive from Days of Future Passed, and a retrieval of all of the group's 1967-vintage BBC appearances. So you're treated to the best-sounding editions ever of the single sides "Fly Me High," "Really Haven't Got the Time," "Leave This Man Alone," "Love and Beauty," and others, all in their official released versions, plus BBC versions of those (and several songs off of Days of Future Passed), including the earliest surviving BBC rendition of "Nights in White Satin," which Justin Hayward has always maintained was superior to the official version -- and he's right. There's playing and nuances on Justin Hayward's "Cities" that are new to this listener's experience, and his flanged and phased guitar on "Leave This Man Alone" feels like it's right in your face. And the BBC tracks are even more rewarding, Ray Thomas's flute helping to turn a surprisingly soulful BBC rendition of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (yes, the old Animals hit) sung by Hayward into an odd and pleasing piece of psychedelic-tinged R&B, while those live versions of "Love and Beauty" and "Leave This Man Alone" take this reviewer's nod for the best alternate released renditions of the band's singles. Just for completeness's sake, you also get the failed single efforts "Long Summer Days" and "Please Think About It," from the same chronology.
I'm honestly surprised they still let him write reviews. He's *never* encountered a reissue he hasn't gushed over...moreso than anybody else at allmusic, Eder seems to be the "marketing guy," the guy they pull out to trump that this NEW THING is a GREAT BUY.
That is all.