Lodge, John

Band members               Related acts

- Mel Collins -- sax

- John Lodge - vocals, bass, guitar

- Kenny Jones -- percussion

- Chris Spedding -- guitar

- Mick Weaver -- keyboards



- The Blue Jays

- The Moody Blues




Genre: pop

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Natural Avenue

Company: London

Catalog: PS-683

Year: 1977

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; lyric insert

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4956

Price: $10.00



With the Moody Blues on an extended recording hiatus, 1977 saw longtime vocalist/bass player John Lodge step into the solo career fray with the release of "Natural Avenue".  Produced by Tony Clark (who'd handled most of the Moodies' catalog), the combination of Lodge's distinctive voice and his breezy and highly orchestrated material made this sound very much like a pseudo-Moody Blues album. If you were a Moody Blues fan that probably wasn't a problem, but if you were hoping for something stylistically different, then you probably weren't all that enthralled with this album.  The good news was that all original material like 'Summer Breeze and 'Carry Me' was pretty and mildly commercial though Lodge's limited voice sounded strained throughout much of the album (check out 'Broken Dreams, Hard Road'). Adding to the problem Brian Roger's heavy handed orchestration frequently all but drown out Lodge's voice.  Another mild complaint - given that Lodge was responsible for many of the Moodies' more rock oriented numbers (think 'I'm Just A Singer In A Rock 'n Roll Band' or 'Ride My See-Saw'), the absence of more rock-oriented material was a disappointment.  Perhaps because it came the closest to a rock stance, the title track was probably the best selection, followed by the bouncy 'Piece of My Heart'.  For comparison purposes, Lodge's earlier collaboration with Justin Hayward on the Blue Jays LP was a far stronger effort, while based on stronger vocals, Hayward's own 1977 solo effort ("Songwriter") was marginally stronger.  Two singles were released from the album, though only 'Children of Rock 'n' Roll' b/w 'Summer Breeze' (London 5N-1072) saw a US release.  'Summer Breeze' b/w 'Rainbow' (Decca catalog F 13717) saw a European release.  In case anyone cares, the album went top-40 in the UK and hit # 121 in the States.  


"Natural Avenue" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Intro to Children of Rock 'n' Roll   (John Lodge) - 1:05

2.) Natural Avenue   (John Lodge) - 3:55

3.) Summer Breeze   (John Lodge) - 5:22

4.) Carry Me   (John Lodge) - 5:46

5.) Who Could Change   (John Lodge) - 6:19


(side 2)
1.) Broken Dreams, Hard Road   (John Lodge) - 4:32

2.) Piece of My Heart   (John Lodge) - 3:55

3.) Rainbow   (John Lodge) - 3:51

4. ) Say You Love Me   (John Lodge) - 6:30

5.) Children of Rock 'n' Roll   (John Lodge) - 4:30



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