When the Moody Blues’ John Lodge decided to re-record the group’s “Legend of a Mind” — premiering exclusively below from his new compilation B Yond: The Very Best Of — he decided NOT to include a key element of the song, the late Ray Thomas’ flute part.
“Ray and myself go way back,” Lodge tells Billboard about Thomas, who died in January of 2018, shortly before the Moodys’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. “We were 14 or 15 when we (met) and it’s just my sort of thank you to Ray for being a friend and a musical friend as well. That’s why I didn’t want to use the flute, because that was Ray’s part and I wanted it to stay Ray’s part and Ray’s part alone. I use synthetic sounds instead, and I’ve been doing it on stage and the audience loves it.”
The rest of B Yond, due out Aug. 23, mines Lodge tracks from the Moodys, his Blue Jays project with Justin Hayward and 1977 solo album Natural Avenue. It features new recordings of the Moodys’ “(Evening) Time to Get Away” and “Street Cafe” with Lodge’s current touring band, remixed versions of “Say You Love Me” and “Summer Breeze, Summer Song” and four live tracks. “The whole album sounds exactly like an album,” Lodge says. “I wanted to sort of re-establish who John Lodge is, in a way, and revisit some of these songs that are an important part of my life. And hopefully people will enjoy it.”
Lodge — whose last solo album, 10,000 Light Years Ago, came out in 2015 — recently finished a stint on Yes’ Royal Affair Tour and is booked on the ’70s Rock & Romance Cruise next February. He’s also eyeballing more touring and recording but holds out slim hopes of getting the Moody Blues back in action any time soon. “I can’t seem to get the other guys (Hayward and Graeme Edge) to work,” Lodge says. “I don’t know why. I know Graeme hasn’t been in good health, but if something came up that was fantastic it may encourage the other two to go on the road. I would always go on the road as a Moody Blue. I AM a Moody Blue and still feel part of the Moody Blues.”