Title - 'Words & Music: Newly Remastered Compilation'
Artist - Ray Thomas
For those not in the know, Words & Music: Newly Remastered Compilation is a brand collection of recordings celebrating the musical life and work of Ray Thomas.
Ray was a founder member of The Moody Blues, a band whose legacy and classic albums need no introduction. When the band went on a hiatus in the mid-'70s, Ray recorded two solo albums for the band's Threshold label: From Mighty Oaks and Hopes, Wishes & Dreams.
Sadly, Ray passed away in January 2018 leaving behind a wonderful legacy of work, including his very last song (co-written and recorded with the Welsh musician Ryland Teifi): 'Dada's Song', a piece which lyrically paid homage to Ray's Welsh ancestry.
This compilation gathers together a collection of songs from the first line-up of the Moody Blues, Ray's solo album and includes the first ever release of 'Dada's Song'.
1. 'It Ain't Necessarily So'
2. 'From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)'
3. 'How Can We Hang on to a Dream'
4. 'I Wish We Could Fly'
5. 'High Above My Head'
6. 'Adam and I'
7. 'Love Is the Key'
8. 'Rock-A-Bye Baby Blues'
10. 'Didn't I'
11. 'Within Your Eyes'
12. 'We Need Love'
13. 'The Last Dream'
14. 'The Trouble with Memories'
15. 'Dada's Song'
Opening with the Magnificent Moodies' slow poke version of 'It Ain't Necessarily So, featuring Thomas on lead vocals (and, for my money, one of their best songs from their R&B years 1964-66), next up is the terrific 'From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)' (which Pinder himself once likened the background vocals on this track to those on 'Nights in White Satin'), and then the delicately beautiful 'How Can We Hang on to a Dream' (which I personally first heard by The Nice with Keith Emerson).
After those opening Moodies songs, we then get Thomas' sweepingly magnificent vocals onward, perhaps nonemoreso than here on 'I Wish We Could Fly,' which is backed by the foot-tappin' High Above My Head' (which bears a canny resemblance to Elton John's 'Elderberry Wine'), the relaxing melodies of 'Adam and I,' and then both the passionate 'Love Is the Key' and the lazy-hazy, overlooked gem 'Rock-A-Bye Baby Blues.'
Next up is the truly beautiful, soaring 'Migration' which is followed by some '70s soul music at its finest within 'Didn't I,' the Folk with a touch of Psychedelia track 'Within Your Eyes,' and then the incredible orchestral arrangement of 'We Need Love.'
This quite magnificent new compilation then rounds out with the piano-led ballad 'The Last Dream,' the yearning of 'The Trouble with Memories,' coming to a righteous close on the aforementioned very last song that Thomas recorded, his beautiful homage to to his homeland of Wales, 'Dada's Song.'
It also includes a bonus DVD (NTSC / Region 0) which features the 5.1 surround sound mix of Ray's 1975 album From Mighty Oaks, the 1975 promotional video of 'High Above My Head' and the new video for 'Dada's Song' exclusively shot for this release.
Words, Pictures & Music From Mighty Oaks - 5.1 Surround Sound Mix
From Mighty Oaks (5.1 Surround Mix)
Hey Mama Life (5.1 Surround Mix)
Play It Again (5.1 Surround Mix)
Rock-a-bye Baby Blues (5.1 Surround Mix)
High Above My Head (5.1 Surround Mix)
Love Is The Key (5.1 Surround Mix)
You Make Me Feel Alright (5.1 Surround Mix)
Adam And I (5.1 Surround Mix)
I Wish We Could Fly (5.1 Surround Mix)
Visual Content: High Above My Head (1975 Promotional Film)
Visual Content: Dada’s Song (Official Video)
The booklet features many tributes from those who worked with him, including former band mates Denny Laine and Mike Pinder.
Official Purchase Link