Artist: Moody Blues
Title: Go Now
Musicians:Denny Laine – guitars, harmonica, vocals, Mike Pinder – piano, organ, vocals, Clint Warwick – bass guitar, vocals, Ray Thomas – percussion, flutes, harmonica, vocals, Graeme Edge – drums, percussion, vocals, Elaine Caswell – percussion
The Moody Blues are an English rock band. They first came to prominence playing rhythm and blues music, but their second album, Days of Future Passed, which was released in 1967, was a fusion of rock with classical music and established them as pioneers in the development of art rock and progressive rock.
This album I picked up is interesting in the fact that it is their debut LP for the US. “The Magnificent Moodies” was the debut LP for the UK, so if you find or have a copy of it, hang on to it. Essentially, the two LPs “Go Now” and Magnificent Moodies” are the same except with four substitute tracks and altered running order. The Magnificent Moodies is the 1965 debut album by The Moody Blues, first released in the UK, and the first and only album featuring their R&B line-up of guitarist Denny Laine, bassist Clint Warwick, keyboardist Mike Pinder, flautist–percussionist Ray Thomas, and drummer Graeme Edge. Lead vocals were shared by Laine, Pinder and Thomas. The album is a collection of R&B and Merseybeat songs, including the cover of “Go Now”. For the U.S. release, on London Records, with the title of Go Now – The Moody Blues #1, four songs were replaced and the tracks re-ordered. A short time later, they would end up going in a more progressive rock trajectory.
Mine is the mono version (which is a good thing in this case). It seems though that it was recorded a little hot and not well mixed. They can’t all be winners folks. This is also one of my thicker records as was often the case with records dating 1965 and before. I suspect it is at least 160 grams.
1. I’ll Go Crazy – “I’ll Go Crazy” is a rhythm and blues song originally recorded by James Brown and The Famous Flames.
2. And My Baby’s Gone – This is also a rhythm and blues flavored song with a dash of early Beatles sound.
3. Go Now – This is a song composed by Larry Banks and Milton Bennett. It was first recorded in January 1964 by Bessie Banks, and later became associated with The Moody Blues. “Go Now!” was made popular internationally later in 1964 when an English beat group from Birmingham named The Moody Blues recorded it, with Denny Laine on guitar and lead vocals. When Denny Laine first heard Bessie Banks’s version, he immediately told the rest of the band that they needed to record the song.
In contrast to other songs from their debut album The Magnificent Moodies, “Go Now!” contained many early elements of what later would become progressive rock, such as the lush instrumentation, the innovative variations of the Fifties Progression, as well as strong baroque elements that would later become hallmarks of prog rock, (*Editor’s note: which we would hear later with Knights In White Satin, Tuesday Afternoon, etc.)
Believe it or not, this hit ballad is my least favorite track on this LP. In fact, I never cared for the song at all.
4. It’s Easy Child – This is one of the four replacement songs on the north American release. This track is standard rhythm and blues again, but has an interesting bridge with piano being played on accented beats bringing a jazz element into the mix.
5. Can’t Nobody Love You – This dull ballad sticks with the same theme of “love you girl” of the LP. It has a slight blues flavor to it.
6. I Had A Dream – This pop song is the first time we hear flute in a Moody Blues song. Too bad the song itself is not all that good.
1. Let Me Go – The vocals are not good in this ballad.
2. I Don’t Want To Go On Without You – This song is a soul ballad written by Bert Berns and Jerry Wexler and produced by Bert Berns for The Drifters in 1964. This is a terrible track. The Moody Blues it seems, may have been trying to sound like The Drifters and failed miserably.
3. True Story – Straight ahead beatles-like rhythm and blues here
It Ain’t Necessarily So – This track is a popular song with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. The song comes from the Gershwins’ opera Porgy and Bess (1935) where it is sung by the character Sportin’ Life, a drug dealer, who expresses his doubt about several statements in the Bible. (*Editor’s note: Do I care? No).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Ain%27t_Necessarily_So The vocals on this track are terrible in my opinion.
4. Bye Bye Bird – This song is a harmonica-driven blues song written by Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson II, originally released in 1963. as expected, this has a strong harmonica start and it the most upbeat song on the LP. In fact, in my opinion this track is solely responsible for the music score I gave alone. It would have been near zero without it.
5. From The Bottom Of My Heart – This closer is nothing special with bad vocals.
I don’t know what was going on with the vocals on this LP, but it is a large part of why I found the overall music and sound a bit rough. Perhaps, it was due to the fact that the group was just starting out and had not fully developed yet? Maybe it was the recording technology of the times? Perhaps it was the engineering? It could have been anything or a combination. Suffice it to say though that with their subsequent LPs they came into their own and went more progressive rock. Had my first taste of the Moody Blues been this LP, I never would have known how interesting and good they got.