Published Tuesday, January 14, 2014 by with 0 comment

Jeff Wayne - The War Of The Worlds (1978)

Artist:  Jeff Wayne
Title:  The War Of The Worlds
Release:  1978
Format:  2 LP
Label:  CBS Records
Catalog#  96000

Released 40 years after Orson Welles’ infamous radio version of the H.G. Wells tale, Jeff Wayne’s musical version of “War Of The Worlds” straddles old-style radio drama and contemporary orchestrated narratives by Rick Wakeman and David Bedford. And while it lacks the sophisticated arrangements of, say, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, it does boast an impressively odd cast — this may be the only time that a member of Thin Lizzy worked with Richard Burton, and the presence of Julie Covington and the Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward in very attractive singing roles attest to its pop/rock aspirations. It’s Burton’s sonorous tones that sustain this work; his frequent solo narrations are eminently listenable, whereas sections featuring dialogue with other characters often come off as a bit stilted. The music is competent studio rock, and “Horsell Common and the Heat Ray” does strike just the right balance between Burton’s narration and an accompaniment built around a buzzsaw guitar riff. Overall, it’s pleasant as a period piece, and still a fine way to introduce younger listeners to Wells’ classic tale. The album was actually appealing on too many fronts for its own good in many ways — the Justin Hayward-sung ballad “Forever Autumn,” extracted from a much longer piece on the double-LP.

Side one
1.   The Eve of the War   (9:06)
2.   Horsell Common and the Heat Ray   (11:36)

Side two
1.   The Artilleryman and the Fighting Machine   (10:36)
2.   Forever Autumn   (7:43)
3.   Thunder Child   (6:10)

Side three
1.   The Red Weed (Part 1)   (5:55)
2.   Parson Nathaniel   (1:45)
3.   The Spirit of Man   (9:52)
4.   The Red Weed (Part 2)   (6:51)

Side four
1.   Brave New World   (12:13)
2.   Dead London   (8:37)
3.   Wpilogue (Part 1)   (2:42)
4.   Epilogue (Part 2) (NASA)   (2:02)

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