My Record Collection 156

Moby – Only the one album, Play from 1999.   Well, this was another of those albums which were incredibly popular and then seemed to disappear from everyone’s consciousness a short time later.  This is an electronica album which uses samples from blues songs and then adds beats and hooks etc:  I don’t really get it I am afraid.  It is perfectly pleasant but leaves me emotionally unstirred.  An okay album but I really do wonder where music (was then) and still is going.  Best songs are ‘Porcelain’ and ‘Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad’ and ‘Find My Baby’.  But not really a favourite…

MolokoThings To Make And Do is my only album of theirs.  Released in 2000, it was this Sheffield Duo’s third album and received quite a lot of attention and radio play.   Quite pleasant, especially Roisin Murphy’s vocals but not my favourite of this genre; electronica, dancey trip hop – somehow, I find the sound too repetitive and the melodies mostly don’t stay in the brain for long.  Best bits are ‘Sing It Back’ and ‘Pure Pleasure Seeker’.  I haven’t bought any other of their albums.  By the way the band’s name comes from the milk flavoured drink favoured by the droogs in A Clockwork Orange’. 

The Moody Blues – during the 60’s they were just another beat band really, but from the late 60s they moved into making concept albums and were in some ways the respectable face of prog-rock.  I bought a box set of five of their 70’s albums, first of which is 1969s On The Threshold Of A Dream.   There is a charming naivety about this record; the arrangement is quite sparse and the vocals come through clearly.  The songs are simple and unaffected.  Best are ‘Lovely To See You’, ‘Dear Diary’ and ‘Lazy Days’.  But overall there is a certain silliness in the spoken word poems or homilies or whatever they are supposed to be.  Far too precocious to be taken seriously.  Mind you this was 1969, so that may explain things.  Later the same year they released To Our Children’s Children’s Children.   Not so good really, the playing and singing is fine but the songs aren’t so good.  ‘Eyes Of A Child’ and ‘never Thought I’d Live To Be A Hundred’ are okay and the best of the bunch really.  I think that back then bands and artists were really pressurised to keep recording new music to fee the market, resulting in less and less quality in some cases, or just overload and tiredness setting in.  A Question Of Balance came out a year later, not so enthusiastic about this one, I can’t see the connecting thread between a handful of songs of no great merit.   Opener ‘Question’ is okay – but there seem no answers after that.  1971 saw – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour – a bit better, in that the songs are better – but I now know why I never bought these albums back in the Seventies.  Not so bad are ‘The Story In Your eyes’ and ‘My Song’.  Final of this boxset was 1972s Seventh Sojourn.  Not so bad I suppose, three really good tracks; ‘Lost In A lost World’, ‘Isn’t Life Strange’ and ‘I’m Just A Singer In A Rock And Roll Band’ but not so fond of the rest.  A strange fact, my fave prog rock band Barclay James Harvest had a tongue in cheek track title ‘Poor Man’s Moody Blues’ which was how one critic summed them up.  But in my book they were 10 times more creative and better than the Moodys.  Saying that I also have a Very Best Of, which is much better of course.  From early hit ‘Go Now’ to the famous ‘Nights In White Satin’ this is an excellent collection.  It even includes ‘Forever Autumn’ from ‘War of the Worlds’ which was a Justin Hayward solo effort.  

Morcheeba – Now, this is better.  They came out in the mid-nineties at the height of the ‘Dance Music’ scene.  My daughter Laura tipped me off about them and I bought their first few albums – and very enjoyable they are too.  Possibly because of superb vocalist Skye Edwards, but the brothers Godfrey made the music.  Debut album Who Can You Trust (1996) is quite slow in places and some of the tracks are overlong.  Despite that it is still a very accomplished album – best songs are the title track, ‘Moog Island’ and ‘Trigger Hippie’.   Two years later they really broke through with Big Calm.   With its iconic cover and hit singles the album was a winner.  Still a tad overlong in some of the songs – dance music seems to get into a groove which the creators struggle to extricate themselves from.  Still, a very good album (was I beginning to fall under the dance music spell?) best tracks are ‘The Sea’, ‘Shoulder Holster’ and the closing title track where they ventured into Portishead territory (see P).  Fragments of Freedom followed in 2000; the band were simply getting better and better, now incorporating a bit more hip-hop into their music, another excellent album – best tracks – ‘World Looking In’, ‘Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day’ and the title track. Their next was possibly their best Charango; there were a couple of guest singers and a more varied song choice.  Some were brilliant in fact – ‘Sao Paolo’ has possibly their best melody, ‘What New York Couples Fight About’ (sung by Kurt Wagner) and ‘Women Lose Weight’ (a brilliant if politically incorrect song) – but really the whole album just hangs together wonderfully.  But there were obviously tensions as Skye left the band after this album (she rejoined later).  The Antidote was their next in 2005 with a variety of singers.  Not that this seemed to affect the quality of the songs which were pretty good as usual.  It wasn’t as successful commercially but I quite liked it; ‘Wonders never Cease’ and ‘Living hell’ being the best tracks. Dive Deep followed in 2008.  I don’t know why but it seemed a bit dull by comparison; too many slow songs with no real oomph. But the album still sold well and they have carried on without me.  I suppose I just had enough of their stuff already, and besides there are just too many others….

More and more Morcheeba – The Echo