Countdown To 50 – A Question Of Balance

Approaching 50 on December 28, I’ll be posting a song each day that has been a part of, influenced, or reminded me of my life.

Fourteen days to 50: The Moody Blues– A Question Of Balance

In August 1972, the family packed up a U-Haul trailer and moved from Chicago to California. Being only seven at the time, all of my friends and everything I had known were in the Windy City suburbs. With a kid my age in nearly every house on the block, summers were spent playing Red Rover, riding bikes with baseball cards in the spokes, and waiting for the ice cream truck to come around. Winters were cold and snowy, and I can still recall walking three blocks to school in knee-deep snow (picking up Lisa Sartore on the way and holding her hand all the way to school, but that’s another story) and the smell of snow melting off of mittens as we laid them by the heater in kindergarten.

moody_question_smThe ’72 Monte Carlo was a deep rust color and featured the peak of in-car hi-fidelity at the time: An 8-track player in the dash. We had three 8-track tapes that I can recall, another of which may make an appearance before this list concludes. This post is about the Moody Blues album A Question Of Balance. Through the years it has always stuck with me for different reasons.

The Moodies were played during the Friday music festivals in C-04 dorm at Lindsay Air Station in 1985. When I moved out during the divorce and had nothing, it was among the first CDs I played during my first night alone (around my 30th birthday). I’d be silly to deny that this album has been like a security blanket for me in times where I needed a friend but had none. My mom will always feel bad for the move from Chicago, but she needs to get over it (I know she’s reading). The album has meaning for me because it’s where my first real memorable life change occurred, and is not a declaration of angst all these years later. It should be thought of as a friend who helped me cross the tedious bridges separating stages of life when there were no hands to hold.

The first track, Question, has been covered by yours truly at karaoke, simply because the melody in the middle is so beautiful, and I like any song by a British group where accents remain intact (Ian Hunter, David Bowie, Marc Bolan – hmm, turns out I like Glam, y’THINK?). I recall during the cross-country trek that my mom liked Minstrel’s Song. If pressed, I may be able to recall at what point in the middle of which song I’d have to change tracks to get to the beginning of the song I wanted to hear.

Barbarians, we were.

The album was released in 1970, a tumultuous era, and the album heavily reflects the times. The content was above me at the time, but I’ve always appreciated notes over lyrics. The Moodies are an exception as often times poetry is spoken during a song, so one cannot help but listen to the clear articulation of thought against a quasi-symphonic gentle wall of music.

The album art was always captivating, and portrays the topical elements of the time. It has been re-created on my left forearm, not like a photocopy, but the basis is there and was expanded upon to suit my personal taste.

I sincerely hope you all listen to the entire album. It’s timeless, like Zeppelin or Beatles, and I’ve admitted this in public before – The Moodies are my second favorite English band behind only Zeppelin.

I’m a Melancholy Man. That’s what I am.


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