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The Moody Blues - Long Distance Voyager CD (album) cover

LONG DISTANCE VOYAGER

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

3.28 | 133 ratings

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Fenrispuppy
4 stars I am not sure why so many people have a "hate on" for this album. There are a couple things to consider when evaluating "Long Distance Voyager". After the commercial and critical disappointment of "Octave", this was quite possibly the last chance for the Moody Blues to become anything other than a nostalgia band. In addition, the year was 1981, and while crossover prog bands like Supertramp and the Alan Parsons Project would continue to have success for a few more years, other more progressive bands such as Yes, Kansas, Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant were in a tailspin, losing their audience or changing their sound...or both.

Surviving this period were bands that were able to take their progressive elements in a new, more pop oriented direction such as Genesis/Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel and...The Moody Blues. Let's not forget that the Moody Blues were participants in the "music business", and once you have played Carnegie Hall, you typically don't want to go back to playing county fairs or small venues. That is not where the money is. Can you really blame musicians for selling out? Perhaps. Is it pointless to play the blame game? Almost certainly. Until you've made the big-time, music can be a difficult life. Once you've made it, it is hard to let go. Bands were...and usually still are...under a good deal of pressure to grow their audience (i.e. their customers) and satisfy their record company (i.e. their investors). For those of you who don't like it, you still have a genre of prog rock just for you, RIO.

With that history and economics lecture behind us, let's assess "Long Distance Voyager", shall we? Yes, the album does have a couple of songs that were crafted to be pop singles ("The Voice" and "Gemini Dream")...very, very good pop singles. Actually, most Moody Blues albums had one or two songs that were inherently pop singles, so this is nothing new and I refuse to hold that against them. The album is also home to the driving, march-like "22,000 Days", the romantic and beautiful "Talking Out of Turn" and the fun, self-deprecating throwbacks to their more psychedelic era "Reflective Smile" and "Veteran Cosmic Rocker". Other highlights include the haunting and beautiful "In My World" and "Meanwhile".

Everything on "Long Distance Voyager" is played with a high level of musicianship and is, from a production standpoint, the best sounding Moody Blues album up to this point in their history. The songs are very well written and as crossover prog, this recording easily holds its own against Supertramp, Alan Parsons and E.L.O. recordings of the era. Is it perfect? No. Is it "Days of Future Passed" or "On the Threshold of a Dream"? No, nor should it be. That era had passed. Music and the Moodies had moved on, even if their hardcore fans hadn't.

Isn't life strange? I somehow got through this entire review without even mentioning Patrick Moraz. ;)

Fenrispuppy | 4/5 |

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