Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The End of The Moody Blues Mark One

THE MOODY BLUES- French E.P. 1966 Decca 457.117 (Boulevard De La Madeleine/This Is My House/Life’s Not Life/People Gotta Go)

By August 1966 The Moodies hit parade days were long gone. Bassist Clint Warwick departed and was (briefly) replaced by Rod Clark. This short lived line up can be glimpsed on German TV’s “Beat Club” where the band play and “I Really Haven’t Got The Time” (later to crop up as the B-side to Decca F12607, May ’67, their first 45 w/ Justin Hayward and John Lodge..more on that one next time I promise). The band’s final U.K. 45 with Denny Laine at the helm was “Boulevard De La Madeleine/This Is My House” (Decca F 12498) in October 1966, unlike their previous releases this single failed to achieve any sort of chart placing and Denny Laine left. Never one to miss a cheap quid Decca released two Laine era cuts “Life’s Not Life/He Can Win” (Decca F12543) in January of 1967, only to withdraw it. The world would have to wait a further four months for the debut of The Moody Blues Mark Two.

Across the channel in France before the close of 1966 Decca issued an interesting E.P. comprising of Decca F 12498 and two previously unheard numbers (at this time): “Life’s Not Life” and “People Gotta Go” (which had been cut as “Send The People Away” by The Loose Ends on Decca F12437, more on that one sometime!). “Boulevard De La Madeleine” is an interesting cut. It fits the somber ’66 Moodies mold (which by this point in their career abandoned r&b/soul covers and influences). It’s also interesting that it, like all the tracks on this E.P. was written by Laine and keyboardist Mike Pinder. It’s not a bad song, it’s well..just not that great either. One could easily see the Walker Brothers covering it as a throw-away LP track. “This Is My House” is far more appealing. It’s upbeat, with some gritty licks played by Laine (perhaps on his Rickenbacker 330) and the typical Moodies high backing vocals from Pinder and harmonica player/flutist Ray Thomas with some great chord changes. “Life’s Not Life” is another “throw-away” tune which makes its debut here, previously unavailable anywhere (though it was withdrawn in the UK as mentioned it was released in several places “on the Continent”, notably Holland and Germany), next. The crown jewel of the E.P. for me is “People Gotta Go”. Maybe it’s because it was new to me after 20+ years of hearing every Denny Laine era Moodies cut. Either way it’s a boss track and this E.P. is the only place it turned up (to my knowledge). It’s heavy on the piano with some great breaks and stellar harmonies by Pinder and Thomas while Laine soulfully croons. Why this track never got a U.K. release while Decca were churning out less than stellar Moodies cuts I’ll never know! As a side note the Decca act The Loose Ends issued a version where it was titled "Send The People Away" which was released on U.K. Decca F 12437 in 1966 (backed with a version of "Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore", more on that one someday).

With the exception of the much gushed about “People Gotta Go” all the three cuts from this E.P. turned up on the U.K. CD reissue of their only Laine era LP “Magnificent Moodies” along with other assorted B-sides/EP cuts. “People Gotta Go” surfaced in the mid 90’s on a bootleg CD “Rare Beat Tracks Volume Two”.


trfesok said...

Interestingly, two of these cuts were the first Moodies cuts to be covered by other acts. "People Gotta Go" turned up as a B-side of a single by Short '66 on Decca Holland.

"Boulevard de le Madeleine" also got covered by a Dutch group, Pussycat. Not only that, but the lyrics were translated inot Finnish (!) and covered buy TWO Finnish singers, Pate Mustajärvi and Seija Simola. I wonder if Denny Laine or Mike Pinder ever knew..

Wilthomer said...

Thanks! I'm only familar w/ the Short 66 tune "Buses", interesting. I get the impression that the Moodies were pretty big on the European continent as there seem to be picture sleeve 45's from their non hit 45's released in several countries from the post "Go now" era.