Saturday, November 12, 2016

120. The Moody Blues - A Question of Balance

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This work is based on the painting by Phil Travers and I expanded it to the right to make
a great screensaver. I don't want to put a description on the original painting or my own
 deviation, but it really makes for a great album cover,  which is a bit detached from the 
album title.  After 120 deviations  within a year  and a half of deviating,  I've found that
the symbolism expands when the title is detached from the art.

And then the viewer  enters somewhere in between  and goes down to the music within.

My deviation is based on the front album cover.

And that's not all. The symbolism expands to the art below it.

The gatefold is different. It opens from top to bottom instead of left to right.

Phil Travers originally  included a small  painting of a man named  Blashford Snell  within the collage of A Question of Balance (AqoB)Snell
was a well-known  British  explorer  and  children's advocate,  and the  painting on  AQoB was  inspired by a photograph, which appeared in
National Geographic.  The original album  image was of Snell  wearing a pith helmet,  holding a pistol and pointing it at an elephant. After
the album was released, Snell sued Decca Records and the Moodies over the image,  which he said was "a source of constant embarrassment
over being on the cover." rainblow.glo on Travelling Eternity Road at

Painting by Phil Travers, photos by David Rohl,  photo montage by Mike Goss & David Rohl.  Album produced by Tony Clarke. Threshold 1970.

The Moody Blues' first real attempt at a harder  rock sound still has  some psychedelic elements,  but they're  achieved with an overall leaner
studio sound.  The group was trying to take  stock of itself at this time,  and came up with some  surprisingly strong,  lean numbers (Michael
Pinder's Mellotron is surprisingly restrained until the final number, "The Balance"),  which also embraced politics for the first time ("Question"
seemed to display the dislocation that a lot of younger listeners were feeling during Vietnam).

The surprisingly jagged opening track,  "Question,"  recorded several months earlier,  became a popular concert  number as well as a number
one single.  Graeme Edge's  "Don't You Feel Small"  and Justin Hayward's  "It's Up to You"  both had a great beat,  but the real highlight here is
John Lodge's "Tortoise and the Hare,"  a fast-paced  number that  the band  used to rip  through in  concert with  some searing guitar solos by

Ray Thomas'  "And the Tide Rushes In"  (written in the wake of a fight with his wife)  is one of the prettiest  psychedelic songs ever written, a
sweetly languid  piece with some gorgeous  shimmering  instrumental effects.  The 1997 remastered edition  brings out the guitar sound with
amazing force and clarity, and the notes tell a lot about the turmoil the band was starting to feel after three years of whirlwind success.
The only loss is the absence of the lyrics included in earlier editions. Bruce Eder for AllMusic

(A) Question - How Is It (We Are Here) - And the Tide Rushes In - Don't You Feel Small - Tortoise and the Hare

(2) It's Up to You - Minstrel's Song - Dawning is the Day - Melancholy Man - The Balance

"Melancholy Man" live from Borys W. on YouTube.