The follow up to 1991’s Moods appeared the following year and contains a more wide-ranging selection than its predecessor. The concept and compiling are credited to Ashley Abram for Box Music Limited in association with Peter Duckworth of Virgin Records.
The first track is Enya’s Caribbean Blue; floating by on a sea on tranquility. We go back over 20 years for the feather oar blades of Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross. Their 1971 Greatest Hits album remains one of the mainstays of my collection, a wonderful summary of those hazy, early Green years. The Green Manalishi, Oh Well, Rattlesnake Shake, and Dragonfly were licensed from Warner and Man Of The World from Immediate; the others were on Blue Horizon originally. We go to 1973 for the next pair; an edited version of Tubular Bells Part 1 and Genesis’ sublime After The Ordeal, a highlight from Selling England By The Pound. Over to Cynewulf – “Not the longest song of this album, and not the most complex one, but to me perhaps the most beautiful: with its pushing tempo and the classical instruments, played in an apparently ancient style, it evokes wild romantic imagery of England, like driving through the countryside when dark clouds are gathering.”
Captive is a 1986 Anglo-French film loosely based on the experiences of Patty Hearst. Its soundtrack was provided by The Edge and Michael Brook working with Sinead O’Connor. While Heroine is the most well-known track from the album, here we get the haunting Rowena’s Theme, a dazzling & deep mix of guitar and French horn. Next is Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygene (Part 4), his most successful single, a smash in 1977 and picked up by RTE 2 for their Replay ’81-’82-’83-’84 series of sporting highlights. Fred Cogley in the house. Music to listen to when driving on an empty endless road in the middle of the night. And then The Beloved’s The Sun Rising, a sublime dawnbreaker and fabulously uplifting classic. The sample featured is O Euchari sung by Gothic Voices’ Emily Van Evera. Always remember and never forget: “Love is just a state of mind / That we leave behind.”
We Are Detective: the mysterious Codex? provide an instrumental version of their one-off single Morse (He’s A Mystery To Me). Dig those sopranos! The A-Side includes repeated Kevin Whateley samples. In tandem, Christopher Gunning’s Theme From Poirot and some thoughts from Penkima: “The C-section being a mere repetition, prevents this extended version’s competition on the overall music field. Still, it is the pinnacle among TV theme music. The descriptiveness of the mystery thriller genre, the instrumental prowess, the curlicues of musical theory.” Elsewhere Roger Eno’s Through The Blue offers a gorgeous melody, a serene type of intensity and a fantastic way to end a day. Parent album Voices – under the steer of Daniel Lanois – (1985, when else?) is one record that you’ll never forget.
Tonight on Top Gear! Things move in a slightly different direction with the lively Jessica, a fine rock instrumental by The Allman Brothers. And then, back up to date ’92 style with Ronny Jordan’s acidic jazz So What! before Dave Brubeck’s timeless Take Five, not a Northside cover. Keeping the theme, next is the wonderful Theme From Film ’92 – I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free) by Billy Taylor. The ’92 of course is a misnomer. While the track was adopted as an unofficial anthem for the US civil rights movement in the late ’60s, the BBC’s Film show, which started in 1972, also picked up the tune and made the instrumental version into an instantly recognisable classic in Britain. It’s then followed by Miles Davis surprisingly not-horrid cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time.
“Sometimes when I’m playing something, I’m just sort of humming along with it, and that’s got a different vibration than an actual song. So the instrumentals just come from trying to get that form of expression, which is not the same as writing a song.”
Van Morrison’s Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart remains an unsung classic and the title track (No 1) is sublime. Meanwhile Ennio Morricone’s The Mission remains deeply moving – especially its live performance in Belfast back in 2007. It’s followed by the Art Of Noise’s Moments In Love, their third single which came out in 1985. We get the 7″ mix, now a key work in the chill out genre. Finally we conclude with two neat selections – Daniel Caine’s moody theme from Thirtysomething and Roxy Music’s succinct sophisti-pop of Tara.
In 1994, a compilation also named Moods 2 was issued in The Netherlands with a very different sleeve, unlike the first volume. EVA was the label and there is minimal crossover (just Oldfield & Jarre). While some of the the following tracks would appear on Virgin’s Pure Moods, this Dutch release is still worth a purchase given that it offers Enigma – Age Of Loneliness, Deep Forest – Sweet Lullaby, Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, Jan Hammer – Sunset, Brian Eno – Another Green World, Praise – Only You, Alan Parsons Project – The Gold Bug, Jon & Vangelis – I’ll Find My Way Home, Kenny G – Forever In Love, Enigma – Cross Of Changes, Clannad & Bono – In A Lifetime, KTD – The Fine Line, Vangelis – Theme From Blade Runner, Eleanor McEvoy – Not Quite Love, Malcolm McLaren – Aria On Air, Jan Vayne – November Rain. Check it out here.
Roger Eno – Through The Blue
Genesis – After The Ordeal
The Edge – Rowena’s Theme
Lest we forget
Codex? – Morse (He’s A Mystery To Me) (Instrumental)
Excellent overview Paul, I enjoyed reading this, I haven’t thought about this album in over 25 years. My older brother was a collector of these instrumental albums, and the one that remains most memorable for me is a CBS compilation from 1983 entitled Imaginations. This one came packaged with a Vilmos Zsigmond-style soft focus shot of a lady boating on a lake, and while it offered nothing remarkable (among the better cuts were the themes from Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence), the inclusion of Philip Glass’ Facades is largely responsible for the Glassworks in my own CD collection.
But back to Moods, and the selection of tracks is quite eclectic if not wholly successful, the Genesis cut being a real wild card – Steve Hackett’s pastoral guitar piece, Can-Utility and the Coastliners from 1972’s Foxtrot would have made a better inclusion I think…
Rowena’s Theme is a fantastic piece, and it’s probably most widely heard on these types of compilations. Whenever it comes up in conversation, I have to wonder how State of Grace might have turned out had U2 followed through on the promise to compose the soundtrack for Phil Joanau’s film – still Ennio Morricone coming in as their replacement is really nothing to complain about !
Roger Eno’s track is a superb addition, taken from a superb album (shamefully OOP on CD) – the title track from Voices would have made a fine selection too, and was in fact used for Virgin’s 1993 compilation A Brief History Of Ambient Volume 1, which may have been just a little too far out for the Moods audience…
I’m looking forward to reading more entries !
Hi Wes, thanks for your kind words, much appreciated.
I still have a copy of Imaginations; that Philip Glass track was revelatory. The album was a follow-up to Reflections which I have reviewed here – a mainstay from my parents’ collection – the living room description may strike a chord.
Sadly Imaginations never came out on CD which is a pity as those K-Tel LPs are quite unforgiving with this sort of material. It did drive me on to spend wads of cash on lounge & easy listening records in the mid 1990s.
Moods 2 is, as you say, very eclectic. That Foxtrot track would have worked very well too – fine LP. Would love to have been in the National Stadium 1972 when Peter Gabriel wore the foxhead costume for the first time. Love Voices – that Brief History of Ambient album got a bit of play in college; shame it is partially mixed.
State Of Grace – if U2 had become involved – could have been very interesting given the direction they were taking then.
Thanks for this review. I’m looking for a piece of music that was on the “Best Moods Album in the World…Ever!” cassette tape released in the 90s. I think it was associated with this album.
It was instrumental with accordion and cello I think. Any ideas?
Hi, thanks for your comment
Was this a Canadian release? https://www.amazon.ca/Best-Moods-Album-World-Ever/dp/B073DCR884
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