Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Obscure Gems - Number 1 in a Series

This is Neal Morse. Not widely known outside of the “neo-prog” movement of the 90’s. With his band Spock’s Beard and side project Transatlantic he was at forefront of some of the best post 70’s prog I’ve heard. Some die-hard prog fans are quick to point out the fact that these groups wear their influences on their sleeves, and I can’t argue with them. Listening to Spock’s Beard is like the Stars-on-45 version of Yes-Genesis-ELP-Kansas-Gentle Giant-King Crimson medley. That doesn’t bother me the way it bothers Soundsurfr and Xtcfan, because Neal’s songwriting is top-notch and the music is memorable. The arrangements may be derivative, but Neal's melodies are original and quite tuneful. I unapologetically love the prog music of the 70's and this stuff gets close.

Even more obscure than Spock’s Beard is Neal’s solo career. He cut two albums in the 90’s that went nowhere fast. He dabbled in all sorts of music, including pop. Neal has since quit Spock’s Beard to record “Christian” music. He continues to make some pretty good records musically, but I’m just not interested in hearing about his “journey” and how he was “saved.” As a friend of mine once said, “Do Christian carpenters only build churches?”

From his first self-titled solo record, here is Neal Morse playing every instrument but drums (Spock’s own Nick DiVirgilio) on “Nowhere Fast.” This one qualifies as one of The Viscount's Obscure Gems.

Nowhere Fast (listen)
By Neal Morse
From "Neal Morse"

There is this girl I know
She hates my guts I love her so
But I've got a simple mind
It thinks just this: she will be mine
I tell her "I like your dress"
She says I'm sick, disturbed, obsessed
Well I don't know what that's about
She won't say why she won't go out with me

She keeps tellin' me she doesn't need a reason
And all my friends think that I'm bein' outclassed
But I just got to be her first or at least her last
And I'm getting nowhere fast
I'm getting nowhere fast
I'm getting nowhere fast

I had a shirt designed, it has her face pressed into mine
I never wear it, I keep it new
She says she'll kill me if I do
I'm puzzled and perplexed, I'm overwhelmed and under-sexed
And I still can't figure why she says she'd rather die than be with me

She keeps tellin' me she doesn't need reasons
And all my friends think that I'm bein' outclassed
But I just got to be her first or at least her last
And I'm getting nowhere fast
I'm getting nowhere fast
I'm getting nowhere fast

She'd like to see me drown in my own tears
Well that's all right
Even if it takes a hundred years
Well that's all right
Yeah that's all right

She keeps tellin' me she doesn't need reasons
And all my friends think that I'm bein' outclassed
But I just got to be her first or at least her last
And I'm getting nowhere fast
I'm getting nowhere fast
I'm getting nowhere fast
I'm getting nowhere fast
I'm getting nowhere fast
Getting nowhere
I'm getting nowhere fast
Getting nowhere
I'm getting nowhere fast

***

For the prog fans, I’ve posted my favorite “Spock” track – click here to listen to “The Doorway” from the hard to find “Beware of Darkness” album.

***
Don't forget this week's Top 10.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Original prog rock often annoys me, despite Yes's Fragile being an all-time favorite of mine. I grew up with this stuff but was not so impressed as many of my contemporaries.

For a later band to slavishly recreate that sound, as Spock's Beard seems to do in this song, is inexplicable to me. It seems a colossal waste of time.

The solo tune is okay pop. Maybe if I hear it a few more times it will sink in more....

7:43 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

For a later band to slavishly recreate that sound, as Spock's Beard seems to do in this song, is inexplicable to me.

Not just you. Wait 'til Sound weighs in, and he likes the original prog!

I like it.

8:02 AM  
Blogger roxtar said...

Reminds me of Starcastle. Not that that's a bad thing.....

Are you familiar with Crack The Sky? I think you'd enjoy them...very clever, both musically and lyrically.

5:27 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Crack The Sky

Yeah - I loved them when I first heard them (Xtcfan turned me on to them a couple years ago) - some of their tunes wore thin over time. Can't put my finger on why...

7:02 AM  

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