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Geoffrey Downes - The Collection (The New Dance Orchestra) CD (album) cover


Geoffrey Downes

Crossover Prog

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Symphonic Team
2 stars "And you remember the jingles used to go"

The Collection is a compilation album covering the career Geoff Downes, focusing primarily on his "New Dance Orchestra" albums from the 1980's and 90's. The CD opens with the epic instrumental East West from Downes' first and best solo album The Light Program originally released in 1986. Next up is a track from Geoff's collaboration with John Wetton which sounds like a second rate Asia song. Then follows four numbers from 1992's Vox Humana, the second "New Dance Orchestra" album. One of these is a re- recorded version of The Buggles' hit Video Killed The Radio Star with Glenn Hughes on lead vocals. Three numbers are taken from Geoff's cover album Evolution, and even if I hate that album I must admit that he has chosen the least bad tracks from it; The Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin, Procul Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale, and Kansas' Dust In The Wind. Don't Walk Away is a song from Geoff's collaboration with Glenn Hughes, released as The Work Tapes. This one is just awful!

The "Downes solo" is a live recording taken from the Asia album Live Acoustic and The Journey Begins is taken from the Asia album Rare. The latter album is indeed very rare and it doesn't sound at all like an Asia album but is rather much more in line with Downes' solo output making its presence here very fitting. I believe that this instrumental album was initially meant to be released as a Goeff Downes solo album, but since John Payne played on it the record label insisted on releasing it as an Asia album.

Four tracks are taken from 1999's World Service, another all instrumental "New Dance Orchestra" album. Everything up to this point has been previously released and available on other albums, but the final two tracks are rarer and were new to me. One is a very short demo version of You Can Fly From Here, a song that Geoff has written prior to joining Yes in the early 80's and which were performed by Yes then and which many years later became the title track of a Yes album. Finally, there is an instrumental piano version of Video Killed The Radio Star from a Korg Sampler CD. Personally, I think this is the best version of that song and in general it is the instrumentals of this collection that stand out. But like in most cases, you should start with the source albums.

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Posted Sunday, May 22, 2016 | Review Permalink

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