A deluxe edition of the Moody Blues' groundbreaking album, "To Our Children's Children's Children" has been released as a 4 CD + 1 Blu-ray box set. This special edition of this iconic release pairs the timeless masterpiece with The Royal Albert Hall Concert from December 1969, captivating fans with an unparalleled musical experience.
The set is beautifully packaged in a 1” thick 6” x 8” slip top box featuring the remastered original stereo mix, all new stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes crafted by remixing engineer Stephen W. Tayler. Tayler's expertise also extends to the enthralling live performance recorded by the band at the iconic London venue, which is featured both on CD and Blu-ray in this expanded collection. The forementioned audio is available as 96kHz / 24-bit LPCM in both 5.1 and 2.0, and there is also a DTS 96kHz / 24-bit codec for the 5.1 mix for players that don’t support multi-channel LPCM.
As a side note for devoted vinyl enthusiasts, a separate release features the special vinyl LP edition of the Royal Albert Hall concert, meticulously cut at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. This edition boasts three remarkable new remixes that bring a fresh perspective to the Moody Blues' extraordinary sound.
The CD / Blu-ray boxed set is a treasure trove for fans, with CD1 containing the original mix remastered and CD2 featuring a captivating array of B-sides, alternate versions, and a rare BBC radio concert recorded in December 1969. CD3 showcases the Royal Albert Hall Concert, while CD4 contains the new mix of the album. The set offers a remarkable journey through the band's rich musical legacy, emphasizing their versatility and creativity.
"To Our Children's Children's Children" marked a significant milestone for the Moody Blues as their inaugural release on their own Threshold label. Produced by the esteemed Tony Clarke, the album delved into conceptual themes such as space exploration, inspired by the historic Apollo 11 moon landing that occurred during the sessions at Decca's London studios. Enchanting tracks like "Watching and Waiting," "Gypsy," "Beyond," and "Eternity Road" quickly became fan favorites, propelling the album to No. 2 in the UK and earning gold certification in the US.
Before I considered the surround mix, I was very interested in how the dynamics, transparency, and overall sound quality of the new stereo mix compared to the original 1969 mix. These are all vast improvements with a deepening of the low end and warmth to the midrange and sheen to the upper frequencies. The kick stood out more and the bass was defined with greater punch, while guitars shimmer and vocals warmly fell over the soothing strings. For purists, there are distinct changes to tonal qualities along with modernization of reverb, including light treatments to the acoustic guitars. Still, for me, the new mix is far superior to the original mix and my go to for audiophile stereo listening. Of course, it is also likely that tis is the best mastering of the original mix, but without a vinyl copy on hand, I can only be presumptive in my judgement.
Taylor’s 5.1 surround mix is truly fantastic and represents a wonderful advancement from the quad mix that was previously available on the 2007 SACD. Every song is truly immersive, providing listeners with a real sense of being fully encompassed by the music. A real sense of space is provided and overall I felt the placement of instruments and vocals was well executed. Even the subtle ambience on tracks like “Never Thought I'd Live to be a Hundred” spread across the surroundscape, giving depth to the mix.
Additionally, as one would expect, the spatial nature of the surround mix gives way to easily hearing parts that were muddled and somewhat buried in the stereo mix. I also felt that the dynamics were elevated to higher heights, even when compared to the new stereo mix. Since I am a surround enthusiast, this mix is by far my first choice when listening to this classic album.
The live concert portion of the Blu-ray is nicely cleaned up, yet is somewhat flat, lacking top end sparkle. Still, for a 50+ year old recording, it sounds remarkable and gives fans a true sense of being at the show decades back. While the mix is naturally front centric, it also adds some discrete elements in the rears, specifically strings, along with ambient reflections from the front channels. There is no video, and in general the dynamics are squashed, yet I find this classic concert to be a treat to hear.
It is worthy to be clear that this set contains all new mixes of the album in 5.1 surround and stereo. Long time collectors will likely already have the 2007 quad SACD which producer Tony Clarke remixed back in late 1971. At that time this was the best sounding version since the sound was much clearer, but also sounded different than the original 1969 stereo mix since it was taken from the original 1971 quad mix utilizing alternate equipment. But I digress, the point is this new Blu-ray edition does not include the quad mix.
So, prepare to embark on a musical journey as this extraordinary release breathes new life into the Moody Blues' timeless masterpiece. With its meticulously remastered audio, captivating remixes, and rare bonus content, this deluxe edition of "To Our Children's Children's Children" really is an essential addition to any surround aficionado’s collection.
Released May 12, 2023.
4 CD + 1 Blu-ray with 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround LPCM and DTS all in 96kHz / 24-bit audio. Portions of this release are available on Vinyl. Also available via streaming.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.