A Rare Moment For Hayward
Martin A Hogan | San Francisco, CA. (Hercules) | 10/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Originally released in 1985, just before "The Other Side Of Life" and then again in 1989, this one of Hayward's better albums. "Moving Mountains" seems to be a collection of Hayward's favorite songs from the side. It's not a remarkable album, but there are true inspirational moments in it. Like most Hayward or Moody Blues albums, there is never a moment of high rock (as in the attempt with "Take Your Chances") and many of the songs simply disappear with little notice.However, there are a few gems in this collection. Most notably, "Lost And Found" is without doubt the best song on the set and probably the first pick for a single if one were to be chosen. It is simply a romantically magic and perfectly written song. "One Again" seems like it was written for the "The Other Side Of Life" sessions and it is no surprise that it is the only song produced by Tony Visconti. The title song, "Moving Mountains" contains a clever, infectious mood and original lyrics, forming yet, another strong point in this collection. The entire album is pulled together by a strong emphasis on strings and melancholy keyboards. It almost seems like a flashback to "Bluejays". Like many artists, this album suffers from too many producers (four, in fact), but that's beside the point. If you can find this album and are a fan of Hayward or the Moody Blues, you are set for a great ride."
A Good Solo Effort
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 03/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Justin Hayward has proved he can write incredible songs. "Nights in White Satin" from "Days of Future Passed," "Watching and Waiting," co-written with Ray Thomas, and "Forever Autumn," are but a few of the numerous beautiful songs Justin Hayward has written and sang in his forty plus years in the music business. Justin's biggest problem is that he is inconsistent. He can create a beautiful song one moment and then a mediocre song the next. This 1985 album is typical for Justin, with songs spanning the quality spectrum, but the better moments outweigh the weak.
This CD begins with "Take Your Chances," a song with a pop introduction that tries too hard to feel trendy. This love song about commitment would be forgettable but for the excellent refrain. The lyrics make a stab at being Moody Blues philosophical and could have succeeded, but the rhymes and the use of "we may never pass this way again," famous in a Seals and Crofts song, dulls the shine of the song.
The second song is much better with a solid pop beat and lyrics that skirt poetic. "Is It Just a Game" is about love being a salvation of life, and asking, or perhaps thinking, about the status of a relationship. The music is less than inspired, but catchy. The lyrics are philosophical and while there are a couple of uninspired rhymes there is enough imagery to make you long for a Moody Blues' version of this song.
The next song is as good as the previous, and perhaps even a little better. "One Again" is a song about getting back together. The lyrics are competent and I enjoy the music. Similar to the last song, I think the depth provided by the Moody Blues would have fleshed the music out and turned a good song into a great song.
Justin Hayward can make pretty music, and "Moving Mountains" is a pretty song. The lyrics are generally good, with just a moment or two where they skirt being trite, but most of the time they are poetic and dreamy. It is difficult to criticize a love song about the power of a couple in love. In this case the mild music with the hushed voice in which Justin sings makes this song a cut for your fireplace music mix.
The following track is progressive rock long at more than seven and a half minutes, but is pop with just a touch of New Age. This song is the most ambitious song on the CD with layered vocals and complex music. This is yet another love song, but this time the love is exemplified by the euphemistic focus on "Silverbird," which I take to either be the aircraft that takes his love away, or perhaps he sees his love as a silver bird. In either case, Justin matched his vocals to the words and music to make yet another of the better songs on this CD. One of the composers of this song is Jeff Wayne, who also led the creation of "War of the Worlds" in which Justin's song "Forever Autumn" appeared. This song will please fans of Justin Hayward's much later "View from the Hill."
"Lost and Found" is one of the gems on this CD. This love song describes what happens to many of us when we fall in love, the feeling that we have discovered that other spark of light that makes us whole. Pure pop but sung so beautifully with matching music that makes this song a collectible for those CDs that advertise to be fireplace music or something similar. The music itself is quiet with a lot of strings, and when synthesizers are used they are less intrusive than in some other songs. This song belongs on a "Best of" Justin Hayward.
The next song uses Justin's voice quite well, and is yet another of the gems on this CD. The topic is relationship breakups, and Justin's heartfelt vocals make you feel the pain of disintegration. This song uses synthesizers just a bit too much and would have benefited from more strings. The backing vocals were well done on this song too. Some of the earlier songs, notably "Silverbird," suffer from overdone backing vocals.
"Who Knows" is another relationship song with competent vocals and music, but nothing particularly remarkable.
"The Best Is Yet to Come" is one of those simple songs that make you wonder why Justin Hayward spends time writing anything else. While the strings and the pace of the song may remind you of Dan Fogelberg, Justin's unique voice gives this song a different flavor. It would be interesting to have Justin write a song like this for Barbra Streisand or Celine Dion, or perhaps Dido, though the effect would be different for each. The lyrics of this song remind us all that regardless of how things have been in our relationship to this point, there is better to come. Lovers everywhere must believe this to be true.
My favorite song on this entire CD is the "bonus" selection, "The Lights Are Low." This song has a very catchy pop melody and balanced music that blend to create a song that should have been an Easy Listening hit. The lyrics are about the sometimes surreal feeling that you get in a relationship. The music is slow and again makes perfect use of Justin's voice to vocalize the emotional content of the lyrics. I consider this song to be the standout on this CD, and in combination with several other songs moves this CD from a mediocre effort to a good effort, and one of Justin Hayward's best CDs.
If you are a Justin Hayward fan or have enjoyed his mellow music with the Moody Blues, you will probably like this one. I listen to it regularly and always find that I had forgotten how good the better tracks on this CD are. I am glad this CD is part of my collection.
A splendid album from the Moodies frontman...
Lee Roschen | USA | 03/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hayward's 1985 solo excursion "Moving Mountains" is a vast improvement over his 1980 solo album "Night Flight". The songs here have much better focus and direction, with Hayward sounding much more comfortable with himself, singing music that is more suited for his beautiful, soaring tenor voice. All tracks here are very well done, with the mellow "Lost and Found", the title cut, the gorgeous "Silverbird", along more contemporary numbers like "Take Your Chances" and "Is It Just A Game" with the other cuts falling in between. The bonus cut "The Lights Are Low" features perhaps Hayward's best guitar work on the album with its mysterious, haunting chords.
This album is not very easy to locate. But if you are a devotee to Moody Blues/Justin Hayward music, my advice is to snatch it up before it walks away."