Morse, Neal - Neal Morse

Year of Release: 1999
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: 3984 14278 -2
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:40:00

During our conversation regarding the then new Spock's Beard album Day For Night, Neal Morse had already told me a little secret regarding his solo album. Then he told me about six "poppy" songs plus a magnum opus of no less than 23 minutes in length in pure Spock's Beard tradition. In the end, an extra "poppy" song has been added whilst the magnum opus "A Whole Nother Trip" has had to hand in some of the Spock's Beard trademark, probably due to too much "solo" Neal Morse! Also the working title for this album, Living Out Loud has been scraped in favour of the very original title of ? Neal Morse! Neal had just found out there was a Danny Devito film with the same title, so in order not to have any problems he decided to lend his name as the album's title.

Of course Neal's love for the Beatles is probably the main ingredient on this songwriter's album. From the opening track "Living Out Loud" (so the title has been used after all!), onwards you can clearly hear that Neal loves to compose his songs from behind the piano, which is going to play a very large role here. Neal tries not to lose any impact of his songs so you won't find any of his compositions bathing in over-the-top arrangements. What you get is his voice, piano (or acoustic guitar), a drum track performed by Neal himself (Nick d'Virgilio stood by to watch!) and bits of pieces such as Hammond. In "Lost Cause" Neal grabs his guitar from under the dust whilst you get a folky tune which is never far away from Levellers and/or Jethro Tull. Morse himself sings "I'm A Loser, I'm A Failure," yet I'm convinced this track was written many, many years ago, because Morse is not at all a "Lost Cause," especially if you know that this man has written two (so far unreleased) musicals! Absolutely beautiful and probably a classic in the making is the sober "Everything Is Wrong" with again some spotlights on the piano. Violins are tuned in favour of "Emma," whilst I recognize the greatness of the singer-songwriters from the sixties and seventies in its melody. Neal Morse, the American Al Stewart? And then, the big epic "A Whole Nother Trip" which consists of four individual songs starting out with "Bomb That Can't Explode." where I can hear LTE and some Canterbury (that Fender Rhodes!) ideas. In "The Man Who Would Be King" Morse even tries to put Gloria Estefan out of a job by introducing some salsa. In all a very nice effort from an underrated singer, composer, musician, yet an album which slightly misses what makes Spock's Beard that little more unique!

Living Out Loud (4:31) / Lost Cause (5:01) / Landslide (5:27) / That Which Doesn't Kill Me (4:42) / Everything Is Wrong (5:02) / Nowhere Fast (3:45) / Emma (3:16) / A Whole Nother Trip: a) Bomb That Can't Explode (9:02) b) Mr. Upside Down (4:40) c) The Man Who Would Be King (4:22) d) It's Alright (5:52)

Neal Morse - guitars, keyboards...lots more
Nick D'Virgilio - drums (except 1)
Glenn Caruba - percussion (8)
Chris Carmichael - strings (7, 8)

Spock's Beard - The Light (1991)
Spock's Beard - Beware of Darkness (1995)
Spock's Beard - The Beard Is Out There Live (1995) (cd/vid)
Spock's Beard - Official Live Bootleg (1996)
Spock's Beard - The Kindness of Strangers (1997)
Spock's Beard - From The Vault - 1995-1998 (1998)
Spock's Beard - Day For Night (1999)
Spock's Beard - Live At The Whiskey and NEARfest (1999)
Neal Morse (1999)
Spock's Beard - Don't Try This At Home (2000)
Merry Christmas From The Morse Family (2000)
Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio - Two Separate Gorillas - Live In Europe (2000)
Spock's Beard - V (2000)
Transatlantic - SMPTe (2000)
It's Not Too Late (2001)
Transatlantic - Live In America (2001)
Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever (2001)
Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever - Special Edition (2001)
Spock's Beard - Snow (2002)
Testimony (2003)
One (2004)
Lead Me Lord (Worship Sessions Volume One) (2005)
? (2005)
Morse Portnoy George - Cover To Cover (2006)
Sola Scriptura (2007)
?: Live (2007)
Lifeline (2008)
Testimony Two (2011)
Testimony 2: Live In Los Angeles (CD/DVD) (2011)
Cover 2 Cover (2012)
Momentum (2012)
Neal Morse Band - The Grand Experiment (2015)
Neal Morse Band - Alive Again Tour 2015 (2016)
Neal Morse Band - The Similitude Of A Dream (2016)
Neal Morse Band - Morsefest 2015 (CD/DVD) (2017)
Life & Times (2018)

Transatlantic - Live In America (VID) (2001)
Testimony Live (DVD) (2004)
Sola Scriptura And Beyond (DVD) (2008)
Neal Morse Band - Morsefest 2015 (BR) (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: February 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 827
Language: english


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