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Thread: The Moody Blues' Long Distance Voyager Revitalized Their Career

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    The Moody Blues' Long Distance Voyager Revitalized Their Career

    The Moody Blues' Long Distance Voyager at 40

    The album starts strongly with its two best songs, "The Voice" and "Talking Out of Turn," and "22,000 Days" is also decent--all surprises when you consider how dreadful the previous album, Octave, was. But "Gemini Dream" should have been shipped off to Jeff Lynne.

    I never realized the Voyager spacecraft appears on the album's cover. Speaking of the spacecraft: Voyager Still Breaking Barriers Decades After Launch

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    Member Koreabruce's Avatar
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    This album marked a strong return to the general public consciousness of the Moody Blues. It's a solid effort with fine songwriting and great production. I seem to recall it was the number 1 album on the U.S. charts for a time. Patrick Moraz brought a welcome change to their sonic palate with his very expressive flourishes and superb keyboard arrangements, which made everything sound almost larger than life. Veteran Cosmic Rocker was the big surprise for me: a fun song, and a very different kind of offering from Ray Thomas. The title was, apparently, a line that some music journalist had used to describe either him or the whole band (?), and Thomas wrote this as a tongue-in-cheek response. I agree with SongForAmerica above about Gemini Dream, though. I got very tired of hearing that on the radio.

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    My favorite track is "In My World"; it's a very unusual song for them, with a long instrumental second half. The first half is a rather simple love song, but it succeeds for me since it doesn't seem cliched or like a retread. And B. J. Cole, a wonderful musician who's played on dozens of prog albums and has some cool solo albums, mixes it up with Hayward. The rest of the album I can take or leave; "The Voice" is pretty good.

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    I was a bit young to be into the Moody's during their early 70's hey day, so "Long Distance Voyager" was where I discovered them. I still think it is a great record and saw them on the tour.

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    I don't think it matches their 1967-72 albums- they've settled into a somewhat more soft-rock sound by this point. The earlier albums had more of an experimental side. But clearly it's a far better album than the bland 'comeback' Octave.

    Aside from the singles I like Thomas' 'Veteran Cosmic Rocker', which is in the tradition of the quirkier songs he contributed to the earlier albums.

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Reminds me of 8th grade. "Gemini Dream" is awful close to 80s ELO, isn't it? "The Voice" is one of their greatest tunes.

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Had caught the Moodies at the very end of their glory days (the classic 7 albums): actually I just missed it and slowly explored them albums as time went on in the 70's.
    While still discovering their earlier stuff, I got rid quickly of Octave (their return from 78), and everything pointed they were a spent force, even their exiting record sleeve confirming.

    So I wasn't expecting anything good when LDV came out.... and despite the promise of Moraz being in, I was quickly confirmed in my opinion. I was appalled they chose to sound like the later-70's ELO.
    To me, while not totally crappy (the 80's way), LDV had the same touch as Asia's first couple of albums. Didn't like the production

    ================

    But I was never that big of a TMB fan either. Even in the classc 7 albums, I only retained Lost Chord , Threshold and TOCCC for a few years (decade or so). When I got rid of a lot of my vinyls in preparing my move to the old world, they all went out shelves permanently - meaning I never had the CD versions either.

    I don't know if I'll make sense to you but...
    While I borrowed the remastered Deluxe CDs (three or four albums only if memory serves) to reasses them (for reviewing purposes in PA), I started thinking they were a good 60's psych/prog band that went on directly to the 80's - somewhat never adapting to the 70's way of making/writing music. I mean even 72's Seventh Sojourn sounds 60's to me.
    Last edited by Trane; 05-27-2021 at 03:48 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  8. #8
    During the MB's 6 year break from 72-78 is when I started to seriously listen to music. Other than occasionally hearing them on radio I really didn't know anything about them. LDV was my first "introduction" to them . by then I had joined my first professional band and we learned "The Voice" and performed it in clubs.
    I'm a big fan of The Fixx and they opened for The Moody Blues in 1986. I was intrigued by the Moodies but didn't really "get" where they were coming from. I started exploring their recorded output and very soon did "get" it and became a big fan.
    LDV was indeed a strong comeback and a WAY better album than the mostly dreadful Octave.

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    Probably the one and only then-current "pop" album that my parents liked as much as I did. IIRC my mother heard The Voice on the radio before I knew about it. She said she had heard a really nice song she thought was called "Back to School" and did I know who sang it. It was indeed a great song and I bought the album, I think without knowing anything about the Moodies past. Based on liking that one so much I heard that the classic was Days of Future Passed. So I bought that too and not surprisingly my parents really liked that as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    I don't know if I'll make sense to you but...
    I started thinking they were a good 60's psych/prog band that went on directly to the 80's - somewhat never adapting to the 70's way of making/writing music. I mean even 72's Seventh Sojourn sounds 60's to me.
    Makes perfect sense and an interesting observation. I agree. In the face of early 1970s hard rock, intricate prog rock and glam, there was just no space for them. The only place they could fit was the "sensitive singer songwriter" genre. Hayward/Lodge tried that with Bluejays, without much commercial success from what I understand.

    Quite a miracle then that with LDV they got to #1 in the USA. We might have to give some credit to Moraz for this, particularly with the synths on Gemini Dream. In the USA they had another huge album with "Other Side of Life" with even more synths. Again maybe Moraz should get credit for this commercial accomplishment.

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    "He's the Veteran Cosmic Rocker!!"

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    The only place they could fit was the "sensitive singer songwriter" genre. Hayward/Lodge tried that with Bluejays, without much commercial success from what I understand.
    Ah, but what a great album.
    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

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    LDV was my gateway into the Moodies and to this day, still a favorite album of mine. I still remember walking into a mall record store at the time and LDV was playing. I picked it up on the spot and then later worked backwards through their catalog.

    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    Quite a miracle then that with LDV they got to #1 in the USA. We might have to give some credit to Moraz for this, particularly with the synths on Gemini Dream. In the USA they had another huge album with "Other Side of Life" with even more synths. Again maybe Moraz should get credit for this commercial accomplishment.
    I totally give Moraz a ton of credit for the updated sounds. It may not have been as challenging music as he was used to, or liked to play, but I think his contributions to the album are fantastic. Still a crime how it all ended up between them - the firing, the lawsuit, and finally the the photoshopping-out of his pics from their catalog.

  13. #13
    NEARfest Officer Emeritus Nearfest2's Avatar
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    I love this album. Easily my favorite Moodies album. I wish it had the 5.1 treatment.
    Chad

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    I was fortunate to have seen this tour at the end of 1981 at the Montreal Forum. Having previously seen them at the "other" Forum in California, this tour and album had all the opposite musical characteristics like it did in the geographical one.
    And I loved this album, it's a total departure from the Octave sounds but even more from the epic sounds of albums like Days of future past and Threshold of a Dream for example. Each with its own merits.

    It indeed was as a welcome new sound for the 80's and I agree with the ELO comparisons, the pop Beatlesque sounds were prominent and were made more evident by the textures added by Patrick Moraz who by then had melded into the new Moody Blues of the new decade. Moraz should have been given more credit like you say but instead soured into legal problems with the band but that is a whole different story from this album that is memorable.

    I would hope that this 40th anniversary gives "Voyager" a boost for an expanded deluxe edition.

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    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    I remember buying this on vinyl when it came out. I was a fan of their 60s/early 70s music but only had the This is the Moody Blues comp at the time (I was 17 -- sue me. ) "The Voice" was getting pretty frequent spins on the radio, plus Patrick Moraz was on board. All signs were looking good, although I have to say after playing it I had a distinct "meh" feeling about it. Sort of like the first time I played the first Asia album. Not that it was bad, but I was hoping for so much more. And I have to believe the production making them sound a LOT like ELO was entirely intentional. Just like Tull trying to sound like Dire Straits on Crest of a Knave.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post

    Makes perfect sense and an interesting observation. I agree. In the face of early 1970s hard rock, intricate prog rock and glam, there was just no space for them. The only place they could fit was the "sensitive singer songwriter" genre. Hayward/Lodge tried that with Bluejays, without much commercial success from what I understand.

    Quite a miracle then that with LDV they got to #1 in the USA. We might have to give some credit to Moraz for this, particularly with the synths on Gemini Dream. In the USA they had another huge album with "Other Side of Life" with even more synths. Again maybe Moraz should get credit for this commercial accomplishment.
    The Blue Jays album sold well in the UK and the non-album 'Blue Guitar' was a hit. There was also Hayward's vocal contribution to War Of The Worlds, 'Forever Autumn'. And really both of these sort of signposted the direction to come. Much 'lighter'.

    The late 70s was a challenging time for these bands, so not an ideal time for their 'comeback' anyway. But Octave sounds particularly bereft. I don't even remember much about it other than '...Slide Zone' and 'Driftwood'! The change of producer probably helped with Long Distance Voyager as much as Moraz. It does at least sound fresher.

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    Makes perfect sense and an interesting observation. I agree. In the face of early 1970s hard rock, intricate prog rock and glam, there was just no space for them. The only place they could fit was the "sensitive singer songwriter" genre. Hayward/Lodge tried that with Bluejays, without much commercial success from what I understand.
    And yet, I was under the impression that those seven albums were massive sellers (at least some were) on both sides of the Atlantic.So they must've had a fair amount of FM airplay.

    Sales enough to have included them in the classic Big5/6/7 prog bands.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    All signs were looking good, although I have to say after playing it I had a distinct "meh" feeling about it. Sort of like the first time I played the first Asia album. Not that it was bad, but I was hoping for so much more. And I have to believe the production making them sound a LOT like ELO was entirely intentional. Just like Tull trying to sound like Dire Straits on Crest of a Knave.
    While I agree that TMB did sound quite a bit to ELO, and it was done on purpose, I don't agree with Jethro Straits or Dire Tull. Knave even had two tracks that made the band sound like ZZ Top's Eliminator/Afterburner era.

    But the "meh-era prog" for me started with UK and A, but the feeling was amplified with Asia and Yes' Drama.
    Last edited by Trane; 05-26-2021 at 12:55 PM.
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    Member Munster's Avatar
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    ^^^ Yes, their sales were huge, but the Moody Blues's most creative period was from 1967 (Days Of Future Passed) to 1972 (Seventh Sojourn), and during this time they were largely seen as a psychedelic band. As arturs says, in "the face of early 1970s hard rock", prog and glam there was no space for them as popular tastes shifted away from psychedelia.
    'There are no certain answers and no time to understand / The goal's a changing paradise, a moment out of date'

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    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Munster View Post
    As arturs says, in "the face of early 1970s hard rock", prog and glam there was no space for them as popular tastes shifted away from psychedelia.
    It was sort of the same thing that happened after Ambrosia's first couple albums. They got away with being both proggy and poppy, but as the 70s dragged on that was no longer tenable so they picked the path of least resistance. Why does that sound familiar?
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Well, since I love me some '80s ELO, I love Gemini Dream. Funny though, I picked up The Other Side of Life when it came out and poured over the credits because I was sure Jeff Lynne had some hand in the writing or production. But then again just about every pop album of the mid '80s was drenched in reverb and gated drum program.

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    Put me down as one who love this album. Iíd go as far as to say itís my favorite Moody Blues album. But Iíd also say I didnít think Octave was that dreadful. At least when it came out I didnít mind it at all. Maybe Iíd have to revisit it. Itís been quite awhile since I listened to it.

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    I would say it's probably their best post classic seven album. I actually prefer it over one or two of those.
    When you list all the qualities that you despise and you realize you're describing yourself.

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    Death of the Moodies

    Yikes. Iím glad to see the positivity for this era of The Moody Blues however, my take on this timeline is radically different.

    The day they hooked up with Patrick Moraz was not a good day. Long Distance Voyager was a poor effort compared to everything before, the songs were cheesy and slapped together. The effort to create hits was over the top from a production and engineering standpoint. Morazí contributions were annoying and his patches werenít his best work, I donít think they were working together and felt to me it was 4 vs 1 right off the bat.

    That didnít stop me from supporting the tour as I saw 3 shows. I donít have anything nice to say about the quality of performance and actually, the only thing memorable about the shows were the fans all around me bitching about the same stuff I was thinking. Every band has an off night and itís happened to me numerous times but from top to bottom, the LDV experience was very disappointing for me.
    The critics liked it and this release did give them a deserved rebirth. For this I am happy. Unfortunately, the package went over my head.

    Patrick Moraz. I own Refugee and to me, this is his best work but thatís it. He was uninterested with Yes. His efforts with the Moodies was lazy. Seems to be a common theme.

    This nature of this subject is touchy to me, Iím new to the community and I donít want to cross the line with my music criticism. Maybe itís not the correct place to call it as I saw it and apologize if this is the case. And as always, I could be mistaken. Letís see where it goes!
    "You are ALL worthy of laudation!
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    Ambrosia

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    It was sort of the same thing that happened after Ambrosia's first couple albums. They got away with being both proggy and poppy, but as the 70s dragged on that was no longer tenable so they picked the path of least resistance. Why does that sound familiar?
    Now here is a band I know something about. Oh no, wrong forum.

    Quickly, when David Pack found god, it really changed the chemistry, not necessarily all for the worst. David felt the band was too secular and I respect his commitment to his career (and even bought all his stuff because my wife adores his work, though not all the lyrics).

    This band was created to be prog and pop. By my ears, they succeeded on all counts. Laugh at the slow love songs if you must but dig in and appreciate the songwriting and intricate stuff going on in the background. Excellent marriage of tone and lyric. Michael McDonald contributed, not just his voice, he reset the bar for Ambrosiaís harmonies and general vocal voicing which IMHO was spot on until I heard the differences.

    Their prog was hot. The shows I attended had a great mix in the crowd and there was a deep appreciation of their ability to go from slow dance stuff to ďTime Waits for No OneĒ.

    2 more things. Ambrosia has commonality with Toto and the like as the band is/was made up of nothing but top notch studio quality players who hooked up. Their songwriting stands up to this. Also, everybody in the band had side stuff so after Road Island (acquired taste), it was a gig here and a gig there, and that was it.

    Burleigh Drummond and his partner Mary Harris formed Tim Drum and is worth a listen, I recommend Real World as it encompasses much of whatís their music is all about.

    I hope I supplied some background concerning the Ambrosia experience and didnít waste your time.

    Oh yes, one more thing. Each and everyone I met through the years connected with Ambrosia is awesome. Every conversation with any one of them feels like weíve known each other forever.

    Nice, Very Nice!
    "You are ALL worthy of laudation!
    Tsh Tsh Tsh"

    "Look out everybody!
    Make way for the BIG SHIP!!"

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    Member psilocyberguy's Avatar
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    One more thing

    In the song ďTime Waits For No OneĒ, concerning that awesome passage in the middle with the claps ... time signature is
    48/8. I had to ask Burleigh.

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