The Moody Blues
Long Distance Voyager


3.5
great

Review

by e210013 USER (112 Reviews)
April 1st, 2019 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This isn’t the best album of The Moody Blues. But it’s surely their last truly consistent album.

“Long Distance Voyager” is the tenth studio album of The Moody Blues and was released in 1981. The line up on the album is Justin Hayward, Patrick Moraz, Ray Thomas, John Lodge and Graeme Edge. The album had also the participation of B. J. Cole, Pip Williams, Dave Symonds and The New World Philharmonic Orchestra.


The lengthy career of The Moody Blues has come in two distinct phases. The first from 1964-67, when they were a tough R&B influenced band, and the second from 1967 to the present, performing a blend of melodic prog/rock and pop/rock utilizing symphonic themes which has been given many labels, among them pomp-rock, classical-rock and art-rock. For over thirty years, The Moody Blues have been musical mainstays on concert stages, recordings and the airwaves. The Moody Blues were also one of the pioneers of the progressive rock. They also pioneered the mellotron.

All over the years, almost forty years, The Moody Blues released sixteen studio albums. Their debut album, “Go Now-Moody Blues #1”, aka “The Magnificent Moodies”, aka “The Beginning”, is a pure R&B album, as a lot of English R&B acts in the mid of the 60’s, without have anything to do with their future works. Their second album, “Days Of Future Passed”, is definitely an album with a very important historical significance. It was one of the first conceptual albums, one of the first progressive rock albums, one of the first albums with the fusion of orchestral and rock elements and the first album to have the use of a mellotron. Following this album, The Moody Blues released more six very successful albums of great quality, especially in terms of prog, in the following years, 1968-72. After a hiatus of six years they released another studio album “Octave”, in 1978. It’s generally regarded as a less good album, and regarded, perhaps, as the beginning of the decline of the band. This was also the last album with their original keyboardist Mike Pinder.

It was in this context that appeared “Long Distance Voyager”. It was the group’s first album featuring keyboardist Patrick Moraz, who previously had worked with Refugee and Yes, in place of Pinder. In many respects Pinder had been the spiritual and creative centre of the group. His virtuosity on the mellotron and chamberlain had provided the classical and orchestral sound that had made them famous. But by the other hand, Moraz despite had played with Yes for a short period of time was technically a very competent musician that brought a more modern sound to the band.

“Long Distance Voyager” is partially a conceptual album, as only half of the songs relate to the “voyager” referred to in the album’s title. The opening number, “The Voice”, is a good track filled with great melody and interest. It contains somewhat mystical lyrics, but the sound is very commercial and contained an excellent guitar solo. It was very representative of the early 80’s, yet superior to most of what was being produced then. “Talking Out Of Turn”, unfolds slowly and methodically and maintains its rich arrangements throughout its seven plus minute duration, with heavy orchestral elements. The successful single, “Gemini Dream”, is a fun rocker track that is driven by Moraz’s keyboards. The ballad, “In My World”, features Hayward’s brightly strummed acoustic guitar complemented by a pedal steel by the guest B. J. Cole. “Meanwhile”, is an acoustic track, pleasant like an early 70’s soft rock songs with acoustic guitar and a nice electric piano by Moraz. It’s a good song overall. “22,000 Days”, is a bombastic rock with thoughtful and hopeful lyrics. 22,000 were considered about the number of days in an adult life and the song is focused on how they should be used. “Nervous”, is one of the great lost songs of The Moody Blues’ catalogue. It begins slow and mellow but gradually soars with strings and an orchestral sound. The final three tracks comprise a mini suite that combines themes of carnival jesters and the chaos experienced backstage at a rock show. “Painted Smile” and the wonderful “Veteran Cosmic Rockers”, were connected by a short poem. They used circus imagery and have a childlike quality to them. “Veteran Cosmic Rockers”, would become a part of their stage act and, as time passed and the group aged, it would take on new meaning. The three last tracks give to the album a thematic and a prog feeling and close the album nicely.


Conclusion: “Long Distance Voyager” remains as one of the best and most interesting progressive rock albums to have emerged from the early 80’s. It’s both, powerful and uplifting, serving as a clear statement that The Moody Blues were alive despite the huge difficulties passed by the traditional prog acts, in those times. “Long Distance Voyager” is surely the best album made by the band since their golden era and it’s also the last truly consistent album made by them. It’s true this is not the same band that gave us “Days Of Future Passed” with “Nights In White Satin”, but many of these 80’s songs would no doubt be less frustrating if they were recorded in a different era. If you remove the 80’s production values, I’m absolutely convinced the album could have been considered one of the best albums of the band.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
April 1st 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So, after "Refugee" it's time to present a second album with Patrick Moraz, another album from another great prog band, The Moody Blues. Despite his short passage by the world of prog, he was able to be part of two legendary prog bands, Yes and The Moody Blues. With Yes he only participated on only one studio album "Relayer" but with The Moody Blues he participated on five, even though the paticipation on the last one was only as a guest. Anyway, his participation on the first one, "Long Distance Voyager" is clearly the best. It's true that he didn't sign any of the compositions of the album but his keyboard signature is clearly noticeable all over the album.

I really hope that you can enjoy this album too. It isn't a classic album but it remains a very enjoyable and good album to listen to.



P.S. As happened with some other prog names that passed way in the last years, I dedicate this review to Ray Thomas, the flautist and vocalist of the band. R.I.P. We'll never forget you Ray.

Divaman
April 1st 2019


3463 Comments


Nice choice there, e. Btw, as you're still wrapped up in your Yes series, I hope you get a chance to listen to the brand new Jon Anderson album, "1,000 Hands". I downloaded it last week, and so far I'm liking it a lot. He does some nice little vocal tricks on there. Overall, I find it much more accessible than the album he did in 2017 or so with John Stoltz.

Digging: Kakkmaddafakka - Diplomacy

e210013
April 1st 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, Diva. Yes, I will be in my Yes series until the end of June, I hope.

And thanks by your information about the new album of Jon. It seems that it will be only the first part, according to its title. Once you liked the album, I'm very curious about it. I was very impressed with the huge list of collaborators on the album. It's really very impressive, especially when we are talking about someone that despite be a singer is also a multi-instrumentalist. However, I must confess that I'm not very familiar with all the work of Jon. I'm only very comfortable about "Olias Of Sunhillow", "Song Of Seven", "Animation" and "The More You Know", all albums that I have a copy.

By the way, I was a bit worried because it seems that you disapeared from the site, at least it was my impression, almost for one month. I hope that is everything alright with you, my friend.

Cheers.

Divaman
April 1st 2019


3463 Comments


Thanks e. I've been here, commenting here and there, and making the occasional list. I'm just not reviewing right now.

e210013
April 1st 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok. It's a pity. I always loved your style of reviewing. I hope it as nothing to do with your last review. I hope that you return with your great reviews, soon.

Divaman
April 1st 2019


3463 Comments


Never say never, but I'm not planning on it anytime soon. I haven't had a lot of time, and the time I do have has been focused on my music blog, longislandmusicguy.blogspot.com.

e210013
April 1st 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok. Many luck to your blog. Still, I hope continue with your readings and support on my prog reviews, as long as you can and you want. And we also count with you to the next Friday prog tourney, of course.

TwigTW
April 1st 2019


3707 Comments


Interesting, I didn't realize Patrick Moraz played on this one... I like "The Voice" and "Gemini Dream." This album makes it sound like the band was ready to make a successful transition into the 80s, but it turned out (Unfortunately) not to be true.

Digging: Beth Gibbons and The Polish National Radio Orchestra - Gorecki Symphony No. 3: Symphony of Sorrowful Song

Divaman
April 1st 2019


3463 Comments


Yeah, I'll definitely take part in Friday's prog tourny.

TwigTW
April 1st 2019


3707 Comments


^time to start choosing an album, school is almost over for the year :-)

e210013
April 1st 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"This album makes it sound like the band was ready to make a successful transition into the 80s, but it turned out (Unfortunately) not to be true."

Absolutely true Twig, and it was really a pity. It could be a nice and sucessful begining to the 80's of this great band. But this wasn't an exception. Unfortunatelly that happened with almost the prog bands in the 80's.

Thanks.

e210013
April 1st 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice, Diva. I'm very glad with that. The same to you Twig. I hope you particip too. As you said, school is almost over for the year.

About my choice, I have already some ideas but I'm going to finish my prog journey through the world of Yes (in the end of June), to choose my definitive option.

Divaman
April 1st 2019


3463 Comments


Yeah, I think I have my choice set up too, unless something else overwhelms me. It won't win, but it's an album that I love, and I want to expose it some other people.

Divaman
April 1st 2019


3463 Comments


Re/The Moodys, I know a lot of people might disagree with me, but I liked "The Other Side of Life".

e210013
April 1st 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice that you have your knight already. I'm not sure about mine yet.

About "The Other Side Of Life", I don't have an opinion. I only checked their albums until "The Present". I heard something of them but I haven't a final opinion. So, I have still to check their last five studio albums.

Jethro42
April 1st 2019


15672 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ahhhh mr Moraz is still on the spot...I wasn't aware about his contributions with The Moodies...Album was released the same year of Genesis' Duke, an album that is firmly identified as a prog rock style with a foretaste of commercial music, with the arrival of the 80s and the classic era's prog decline.

Nice review, bro.

I agree with the first comment of Twig, especially about ''The Voice'' and ''Gemini''. These had lots of airplay, but i'm nowhere near to be tired of them.

@Divaman;

i'm shocked to hear that you are on hiatus regarding the review's question. I'm surprised that you're not part of the staff yet. Hopefully you'll be back at it again.

e210013
April 1st 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Jethro, Mr. Moraz is still on the spot, but only for a while.

You're right, both albums have some link points because both are good prog rock albums and both are probably two of the best things that the classic prog bands produced in the 80's, despite the clear airplay of both albums.

Thanks, pal.

Jethro42
April 1st 2019


15672 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agreed, my man.

I didn't mean to be negative about Moraz and my reaction. i've learned to appreciate him as a great prog keyboardist. He's one of a kind and he has his own way to play.

Your review is once again informative, and I like the way you - always - speak of the band and his musicians. I didn't know Pinder is kind of the mastermind of the bunch. Now I know it thanks to your review.

i'm listening to ''22.000 Days'' atm and I forgot how great it is.

Divaman
April 1st 2019


3463 Comments


Well, like I said, never say never, but right now, it's not in my plans.

e210013
April 2nd 2019


2255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm glad that my reviews made you to change your opinion about Moraz, Jethro.

''22.000 Days'' is really a great track, one of the best on the album. I also love the suite of Ray Thomas, the last three tracks on the album. These are probably the most prog parts of the album. Besides, "In My World" is a very beautiful balad.



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