Morse, Neal - Merry Christmas From The Morse Family

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Radiant Records
Catalog Number: RA-008
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Last year, instead of the old traditional X-mas card I decided that, on the eve of the year 2000, I needed to do something special. So I gathered some of my songs together, recorded a brand new one with my wife and kids, and asked a friend to press up some CD-Rs, added a picture of the family to the jewel case and sent it off to the special people in my life. And I thought I was original! Then comes this special album by Spock?s Beard frontman Neal Morse in which he admits to have done this since 1984!

Dedicated to his wife Cherie and helped out by his children Wil and Jayda, this album collects thirteen Morse X-mas classics written for the joy of friends and family and now available to whoever wants to delve a little deeper into the private life of Neal. Just like the Beatles flexis in the sixties, these recordings contain a fair bit of humour. So, when listening to this tongue-in-cheek album, don?t expect any of the Spock's Beard magic, but rather a great alternative Christmas disc. So now you can finally chuck out that Bing Crosby album after all.

So Neal got rid of his Spock's and put on his Santa beard and got cracking. "Hallelujah, The King Is Born" is the kind of gospel Aretha Franklin or Patti Labelle could get their teeth into. Also it sports some great sounding organ, although I would have mixed it more upfront; but then again, all glory should go to the vocals here. "Christmas Keeps Calling Me Back" is this year's newie, getting the closest to the Spock's feel, what with Neal attacking drums, guitars and keyboards. Based on the acoustic guitar, "Love Lay In Bethlehem" gets close to the Beatles' "Mother Nature's Son." Neal is joined here by the nice vocals of some-time assistant Colleen Harrison, so who knows, there might be a distant Beatles connection after all!

There's a right knees-up during "The Laughing Christmas Song," where Neal's kids join him, laughing their socks off (or should that read Christmas stockings?). Kind of Billy Crystal on crack here. Morse goes "ole blue eyes" with his "Sinatra Christmas" featuring a big band out of a software box. When Spock's Beard packs it in, there's always a job waiting on a cruiseship for Morse! The Billy Joel feel is to be found all over "'Tis The Season To Be Blue" with its battle between vocals and piano.

In 1994 Morse really went nuts as he recorded various takes of a so called unearthed Elvis song resulting in mistletoe rockabilly. "A Special Kind Of Christmas" is a beautiful ballad which Morse refers to as being very corny. I can't help thinking that I've heard the melody somewhere before though. "Swingin' Holiday" holds the middle ground between Wallstreet Crash and Burt Bacharach and really swings. It's great how Neal incorporates the voices of his kids in the jolly "Kids Love Santa." Probably the most sentimental of them all has to be "Missing You At Christmas Time," which was written way back in 1984 when Neal had to perform in freezing Alaska leaving his wife Cherie all by herself. The various voices Neal recorded on his portastudio come close to the Beach Boys combined with Flying Pickets. The album closes with "Holy Christmas" which is once again a gospel song featuring some nice orchestral arrangements.

This album not only illustrates what a great versatile musician Neal Morse really is, but also what a great father and husband he has to be. Pity he can't be home all of the time ? especially during Christmas Time. Now get that turkey out of the oven.

Hallelujah - The King Is Born / Christmas Keeps Calling / Love Lay In Bethlehem / The Laughing Christmas Song / Sinatra Christmas (My First Christmas With You) / How Peaceful Was The Night / ?Tis The Season To Be Blue / Elvis Christmas (Lovin' Christmas) / A Special Kind Of Christmas / Swingin' Holiday / Kids Love Santa / Missing You At Christmas Time / Holy Christmas

Neal Morse - voice, all instruments
Jayda Morse - vocals on tracks 4 and 11
Wil Morse - vocals on tracks 4 and 11
Colleen Harrison - vocals on track 3
Joey Pippin - background vocals on tracks 1 and 13
Dave Schmidt - background vocals on tracks 1 and 13
Terra Mears - background vocals on tracks 1 and 13
Jessica Mears - background vocals on tracks 1 and 13
Dean Clifford - background vocals on tracks 1 and 13

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: Other

Origin US

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

Artist website:
Hits: 953
Language: english


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