If your birth date is after 1960 you likely do not know what a Moog is. Well in 1969 Robert Moog created what most of us old folks would call the original music synthesizer. Sure, there were other electronic gizmos but the Moog was a beast apart. The Mini Moog became a popular weapon with the Prog Rock fraternity, but the real full size Modular Moog was the domain of few musicians. I believe that the number built was in the very small double digits, somewhere between 10 and 12.

The two maestros of this awesome device are unquestionably Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. Although they had very different styles, they produced some of the finest sounds from this Frankenstein device.

For some reason that is yet to be explained, my wife and I got up at ‘dark thirty’ this morning, I looked at the ever growing pile of CD’s that needed reviewing and just could not bring myself to listen to more Metal. Everyone has their breaking point, and I am Metal’d out! Instead I went for some ear candy from the ‘Keep Pile’.

First up was Greg Lake, this is a fabulous album, but, it is missing the Moog, without the Moog Pictures at an Exhibition and Lucky Man just are missing something. I said to my wife Jan, “It’s better with a Moog”. It was lost on her, she likes Country, and to the best of my knowledge no Country artist has ever owned a Moog, and I doubt that a full size Moog has ever appeared at the Grand Ole Opry.

Next up was The Strawbs – Live At Nearfest, another spectacular album, by a spectacular band. I have been a Dave Cousins fan for more years than I care to count. John Hawken is a fine keyboard player, but he is not Rick Wakeman. Once again I told Jan, “It’s better with a Moog”.

I was on a crusade by this time, so Sixty Minutes With Rick Wakeman, found it’s way onto the player. This is a wonderful retrospective album of this gifted musician. I said to Jan, “Now thats a Moog”.

On a roll, I had to listen to the other master of this laboratory experiment, Keith Emerson, who is the owner of one of the very few remaining Modular Moog’s. His Moog is now 37 years old, thats pretty darn old for a piece of electronics. In fact when he tours he travels with two technicians, one just deals with keeping the Moog running, while the other fixes all the stuff that Keith wrecks on stage! Moogfest is a great DVD, and the icing on the cake is Keith Emerson playing his Modular Moog. “Now thats a Moog as well” I explained to my by now exasperated wife.

The poor lady beat me to the punchline when I popped on Dave Cousins latest album Boy In The Sailor Suit when she declared “It’s better with a Moog”!

Simon Barrett


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