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Title - 'The Promise’ / ‘Among the Stars’ (Esoteric)
Artist - Mike Pinder

So that I get this right, for all you devoted Mike Pinder fans out there, Esoteric Recordings have just released a Deluxe 3 Disc (2-CD & DVD) box-set by the Moody Blues founder and keyboard player Mike Pinder.

Noted for his pioneering use of the Mellotron on the “Classic Seven” albums by the Moody Blues, Mike recorded a solo album, The Promise back in 1976, before departing the Moody Blues during sessions for the Octave album. Settling in California, Mike pursued many interests before releasing a follow-up solo album, Among the Stars in 1994. Originally only available as a private mail order release both those albums are now newly- remastered and contained in this box-set.

The first track is ‘Free As A Dove,’ and one which fairly bounces right off the turntable at you! Yes, yes, I know this is a brand new 2-CD/DVD box-set, but you know what I mean. Based within the musical sensibilities, and therein constraints of the mid-70’s, the original album continues onwards with ‘You’ll Make It Through.’ From there it moves into the flowingly-beautiful ‘I Only Want To Love You,’ before both the harder-strummed guitar work of ‘Someone To Believe In’ (“There’s more to life than TV, you know it’s gonna make you blind”) and then the boisterous folk-pop of ‘Carry On.’

Moving onto the second side - if this were a vinyl album - and we get ‘Air,’ an instrumental track that literally breezes along on the back of some industrious, and light-fingered acoustic guitar work. Next is ‘Message,’ where Pinter tells the tale of a message written to a certain someone he seemingly can’t put his literal finger on. Rounding out the original album are both ‘The Seed‘ (spoken word and ambient vibes) and the album-entitled ‘The Promise.’

The second album (Among The Stars, originally released on One Step Records in 1994) kicks-off in fast-paced, rock-out style with ‘The Power Of Love (Can Survive),’ and is backed by both the lazy, hazy sway of ‘You Can’t Take Love Away’ and the more pop-inspired ‘The Best Things In Life.’ Carrying along with it the pop-sculptured vines of an album created in the mid-90’s, lest we forget it was an era that changed music forever re: Grunge! So, for Pinder to write/create this kind of album shows both bravery and passion for his art back then.

Next is ’Hurry On Home,’ where Pinter is found waiting by the phone to hear someone’s sweet voice and that is backed by both ‘When You’re Sleeping’ and ‘Fantasy Flight.’ Another gorgeous track is ‘Among The Stars,’ which is backed with ‘Upside Down,’ where Pinter relates his thoughts on us being alone, and hopefully / helpfully pointing out the Horizon for us all to take ahold of in times of loneliness.

‘Waters Beneath the Bridge’ is a soaring piano / synth work and is simply just breathtaking to listen to and the original album comes to an end with the storytelling of the times we currently live in, ‘The World Today.’ But that is not the end of this disc as we get three (3) bonus tracks here in this new box-set. First up is ‘If She Came Back,’ a rousing reveal of the Pinder heart, before ‘Waves Crash’ and ‘Empty Streets’ - both by The Pinder Brothers with Ray Thomas on flute.

The entire new box-set (which also comes complete with a lavish booklet - with note by Pinder especially written for its release - together with two collectible postcards) is the actually rounded out by a third disc, albeit this one a DVD! Formatted for NTSC - Region 0 (in case you were wondering) it is an interview done with Mike Pinder back in June of 2012. Broken down into five (5) rather equal parts, it also features the bonus in-studio extras of ‘Go Now’ and ‘Tony’s Bench,’ before wrapping things up with an even earlier interview with Pinder from back in 2008!

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

To purchase: Mike Pinder - 'The Promise / Among The Stars' Deluxe 3-Disc CD & DVD Set: www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=4389

Bill Nelson official website: www.mikepinder.com





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