John Lodge – “The Royal Affair and After”- record review

BY THOMAS S. ORWAT, JR.

Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee John Lodge, bass player, vocalist, songwriter of the legendary, classic-rock band the Moody Blues, released a fantastic live solo record entitled, “The Royal Affair and After,” on January 14, 2022.

This release contains many of the songs that Lodge wrote or co-wrote with the Moody Blues, which he joined in 1966. Also included is the track ‘Saved by the Music,’ which is from the 1975 album ‘Blue Jays’ released by Lodge and The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward during The Moody Blues 5-year hiatus.

The majority of this career spanning, 10-track live record was recorded in 2019 during Lodge’s performance during ‘The Royal Affair Tour’ in Las Vegas, NV. This tour, in addition to Lodge, also included headliners YES, ASIA, and the Carl Palmer’s ELP Experience. Additional tracks from this release were recorded from other USA dates that Lodge performed during his ‘Performs Classic Moody Blues Tour.’

This is Lodge’s second live solo release and features his amazing backing band the ’10,000 Light Years Band,’ which consists of Alan Hewitt (Music Director and Keyboards), Billy Ashbaugh (Drums), Duffy King (Guitars) and Jason Charboneau (Cello). YES vocalist Jon Davison provides lead vocals on “Night in White Satin” and background vocals on the first single from this release, “Ride My See-Saw,” which was originally released 54 years ago.

Lodge’s motivation behind performing solo dates and releasing “The Royal Affair and After,” was his desire to keep the Moody Blues music alive (The Moody Blues stopped performing in 2018). Lodge plays tribute to all his past bandmates in the Moody Blues: Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward, Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas, on this release.

One of the truly unique tracks on ‘The Royal Affair and After’’ is a recording of the poem “Late Lament” written by Moody Blues’ co-founder and drummer Graeme Edge (who recently passed away on November 11, 2021). Originally, “Late Lament” appeared on the breakthrough album ‘Days of Future’ but was narrated by Mike Pinder. Lodge asked Graeme Edge to record it in his own voice to be played on Lodge’s tour, which he agreed to do.

Some more of the many highlights of this release include the incredible guitar work of Detroit veteran musician Duffy King, who really shines with his soaring guitar work on many of the tracks, especially on the opener “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone.” Cellist -Jason Charboneau adds a new dimension to many of the songs, providing a musical element that wasn’t present in the original recordings. Most notable is that Lodge’s bass playing is still outstanding, along with drummer Billy Ashbaugh, they provide a powerful engine behind the songs.

In summary, “The Royal Affair and After,” record is a must have for any music lover that is appreciative of well-crafted songs, classic rock and electrifying live performances. John Lodge and band bring back the magic of the Moody Blues with a record that is both very satisfying to not only to long time fans, but also the younger newer fans. The music of the Moody Blues may be decades old, but Lodge and band give the Moody Blues’ masterpieces a fresh coat of sonic paint.

John Lodge will be embarking on a USA tour starting on March 8, 2022. For complete tour dates please visit www.johnlodge.com

See our exclusive interview with John Lodge below.

Track Listing (CD and Digital)

  1. Steppin’ in a Slide Zone
  2. Saved by the Music
  3. Legend of a Mind
  4. Sunset
  5. Late Lament (with Graeme Edge)
  6. Nights in White Satin (with Jon Davison)
  7. Gemini Dream
  8. Isn’t Life Strange
  9. I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
  10. Ride My See-Saw (with Jon Davison)

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