John Lodge: Natural Avenue

Remaster and reappraisal for Moodies bassman’s solo spinoff.

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The mid-70s may have signalled a lengthy intermission for the Moody Blues as a group, but its members put the downtime to good use. Justin Hayward and John Lodge had already recharged their batteries with the Blue Jays collaboration before each embarked on solo endeavours, 1977 bringing Hayward’s Songwriter while Lodge delivered this set, now restored by Esoteric with customary precision.

While he employed band producer Tony Clarke and recorded at Threshold, Lodge was free to cast a wider net than in Moodies mode.

Orchestrations were by Brian Rogers, recommended, as Lodge explains in a new note, by Glyn Johns, while Kenney Jones drummed hroughout and Mick Weaver played piano. Chris Spedding guested on electric guitar on some tracks, complementing the frontman’s six and 12-string acoustic and bass.

The results still give off a pleasantly relaxed aura, sometimes touching on Moodies territory on such pieces of superior, whimsical easy listening as Carry Me (A Song For Kristian). Who Could Change is a romantic piano ballad mood with orchestral underpinning, but elsewhere Lodge puts his rocking roots to good use, as on the title track and the autobiographical Children Of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Both sides of the 1980 single Street Café are added for good measure.

Paul Sexton

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.