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


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

3.32 | 215 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Continuing my reappraisal of a band whom I had not listened to for many years, I am extremely glad that I have. Long Distance Voyager is an album released in 1981, the first to be released without Mike Pinder, but recorded with the keyboard genius Patrick Moraz, who, regrettably after a massive falling out, was only classed as an "additional keyboardist" on later prints of the album.

Moraz was much more than that. His virtuosity and dynamic approach to music certainly lifted this great old band and most definitely contributed to one of their finest releases. Yep, I did say that, because, as I've stated many times, there was an awful amount of good prog and rock music about in the 1980's, and this is up there as one of the decade's finest, if, again, you can get past the fact that this band were never a "pure" progressive rock band, but, rather, the archetypal (with Supertramp) crossover prog band with very strong pop tendencies.

There is barely a weak moment here. The two most recognisable tracks, The Voice and Gemini Dream, are both joyful and thoroughly deserved to be hit records. They are intelligent pop/rock records with clear prog leanings, and certainly compared to much of the popular dross abound at the time they are pretty much priceless. They were also, if memory serves me right, the first two tracks played when I saw them live for the first time on the following tour.

There are also some extremely strong symphonic tendencies abound, and none more so than on the quite simply excellent Talking Out Of Turn, a track which features some marvellous Lodge vocals (before he lost his voice altogether), swirling Moraz keys, and a quite lovely contribution from The New World Philarmonic Orchestra.

Justin Hayward, though, provides this album's clear highlight. Indeed, In My World is one of the finest tracks the band ever recorded. Mellow, full of emotion, and crackling with repressed energy, this track is an utter joy and well worth the entrance price alone.

22,000 Days is an enjoyable romp, featuring a strong riff backed by some jazzy and exemplary Moraz keys. This is one of those tracks on which Moraz clearly made a massive difference creatively.

Ray Thomas barely features on the album until the seventh track, Nervous, but, boy, what an entrance. A classic Moodies sounding track, full of lush symphonies and clever vocal harmonies. It was worth the wait, and it is he who dominates the closing passages of the album in what are, in my opinion, his most consistently good and pleasing contributions to the band in his career. A lot of it is self depracating, and he was, by this time, very much a Veteran Cosmic Rocker, but all of it is hugely enjoyable stuff.

This is easily a four star album, an excellent addition to the band's canon, and very much enjoyable music 30 years on. Highly recommended as a decent starting point for those who wish to explore the band's music. Go on, enjoy. Ignore those purists!

lazland | 4/5 |


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