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Neal Morse - It's Not Too Late CD (album) cover


Neal Morse

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4 stars This album...are quite a cool collection of can easely hear the skeleton of Spock beard tunes...with the trimmings coming up ahead.....nice songs ...brilliant tunes..and Nealīs singing abilities to boot.....anyone whoīs into Spockīs...can grap this it is filled to the brim with great Morse compositions.....some might dislike this great album...but i think that they DO NOT GET THE POINT !!! This is the( then) main composer of Spocks Beard...and as such he is great....this album are a good excursion into the musical mind of Mr.Morse and the talent he guys (and gals)you freaks of progmusic....listen to this beautiful album...and then decide.......and progfriend...please turn up the time you hear a record...for reviewing!!!! Have a nice spring all you proglovers!!!


Report this review (#24844)
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars Neal MORSE is a true genius! He's a brilliant songwriter, a strong vocalist and leader of SPOCK'S BEARD, one of today's best progressive rock bands. He's also ž of the all-star super group TRANSATLANTIC, alongside Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER), Pete Trewavas (MARILLION) and Roine Stolt (The FLOWER KINGS). In my opinion he's at his best in these surroundings. Now he's in the news with his second solo album "It's Not Too Late", the follow-up to his debut self-titled solo album from 1999. The new album contains compositions that are absolutely amazing. I don't know how Neal can come up with so much good music. I'm not only thinking of his solo albums, but also SPOCK'S BEARD's and TRANSATLANTIC's releases. He's almost as creative and productive as Roine Stolt of The FLOWER KINGS. Neal's solo albums are in the straightforward singer songwriter tradition, far away from the music he creates with SPOCK'S BEARD and TRANSATLANTIC. It's piano oriented pop music with beautiful harmonies, catchy choruses and it's much better than the main part of the music and bands in this genre. There are reminiscences to BEATLES, EAGLES and JELLYFISH. Although there are some guest musicians on this album, Neal is playing the majority of instruments. Nick D'Virgilio, Neal's band mate from SPOCK'S BEARD, is playing drums on this album. It isn't often you hear such a great pop release, but Neal MORSE has come up with a album that can compete with Paul McCartney "Driving Rain", Prefab Sprout "The Gunman and Other Stories" and Timothy B. Schmit "Feed The Fire" as the best pop album from 2001.
Report this review (#24840)
Posted Friday, January 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars This record is really the worst crime Neal has ever committed in my view. I'm adoring very much the music he's done on "Testimony" and "One" despite the very religious lyrics I'm just ignoring. At least the music on those ones is great. But what we have here is really just a bunch of cheesy and and over sentimental sob stuff in the vein of Bruce Hornsby, Elton John etc.ONLY for very hard die-hard fans!
Report this review (#24843)
Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2005 | Review Permalink

I was initially a little concerned after hearing Neal's self-titled solo debut, and thought that would be it. Just some songs that he had, liked, and thought should be released. Fair enough. Then, when I heard of this, I was even more concerned. But, the fact of the matter is, this album is better than 'Neal Morse'. It's songs have somehow got more feeling to them. 'All The Young Girl's Cry' is a catchy ballad that could do well in any singles chart around the world, and 'Angels Will Remember' is, well, basically the same thing. But, well done Neal for trying something new. However, try and stick to the prog next time, it does you more justice.

Report this review (#24845)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars If you disregard the the rather useless second solo album from Neal Morse, called Merry Christmas From The Morse Family, Itīs Not Too Late is the second serious solo album from Neal Morse.

Neal Morse first solo album was released in 1999 and had a couple of good songs, some mediocre ones, too many bad ones and a long epic that saved the album from oblivion. Mostly the style was in a pop/ rock vein with only a few progressive hints. The same can be said about Itīs Not Too Late except that there are even fewer progressive hints on this album compared to the debut. The songs are very mediocre pop/ rock tunes that wonīt offend anyone. There are a few moments here and there where Nealīs solo music touches the progressive sound of his then main band Spockīs Beard. A good example would be the synth wave during the chorus in Look but mostly this is simple pop/ rock.

Most songs are very well composed but that is no surprise if you know Neal Morse. The man is extremely talented and he has an ear for memorable song lines. His lyrics are a different matter though. Trivial thoughts and a christian outlook on the world is just a bit too lame if you ask me. There is nothing wrong with being a Christian but singing about your faith the way itīs done here makes me kind of embarressed. The worst example here is obviously The Angels will Remember. To make matters worse there is also a kind of gospel choir in the background of this song which makes this a complete failure in my ears. Just terrible. If you want to hear Christian music Saviour Machine and Amaseffer are good examples of how it can be done so even us atheists think itīs great. Neal Morse is simply too much born again for my taste.

Neal Morse is again responsible for the lead vocals, Piano and guitars while he is again helped out by Spockīs Beard Collegue Nick dīVirgilio on drums. There are other session musicians on the album but no one I recognise.

The production is very good, so no problem there.

The cover artwork is very trivial and typical for a solo album with a picture of part of Nealīs face.

I wasnīt too impressed with Neal Morse debut album and Iīll have to say the same thing about this one. This is too nice pop/ rock without any edge and with only a few progressive moments. Iīll still rate it 2 stars though as Neal Morse sure knows the tools of his trade. Even with his eyes closed and writing with his left hand he is able to make professional sounding music. Too bad itīs not to my taste. Iīll recommend you stick to Nealīs work with Spockīs Beard. I understand that his later solo albums should be much more impressive and challenging so Iīll give them a go later on and hope for a revelation.

Report this review (#178740)
Posted Sunday, August 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Who?

While on holiday in California a few years ago, I picked this album up from an electrical goods warehouse for $1.50. Clearly, the name Neil Morse is not widely known outside of progressive music circles, and the store felt that the sole copy they had constituted an overstock. Morse was of course the guiding light (in temporal terms at least!) of Spock's Beard, up to and including their "Snow" album. He was also a member of the prog "supergroup" Transatlantic. This album was recorded while Morse was still a member of Spock's Beard, and released between their "V" and "Snow" albums.

Here we have 13 tracks, most of which were recorded in Nashville with Neil and only drummer Nick D'Virgilio playing on them. Also present is one track ("I am your father") which Neil wrote in 1982, and re-recorded with his old band mates from the 1980's. Finally (although not last on the album) is "The eyes of the world", subtitled "George's song" recorded by Morse alone in is own home. The songs were written by Morse over a long period of time, the oldest going back to 1982.

It is perhaps worth saying up front that this album is not in the vein of the complex prog of Spock's Beard or the ambitious solo projects of more recent times. This is primarily a collection of straight forward rock songs. This is Morse (and d'Virgilio) having a bit of fun; we even get snippets of studio chat on "Leah".

The 6― minute opening title track is about as close as we get to prog, but even here the slightly funky, slightly jazzy interludes disguise a straightforward pop number. Morse even has the nerve to echo Ian Hunter's (Mott the Hoople, "All the young dudes") closing "I've wanted to do this for years" as the track concludes.

The following "All the young girls cry" sounds like it is taken straight from Todd Rundgren's Beatles tribute "Deface the music". Here we have a girlie chorus to emphasise the repetitive, catchy nature of the song. The aforementioned "Leah" would bring a tear to a glass eye, the lyrics seeing a father trying to explain to a daughter why mummy has left home. "Leah, mothers love their daughters, I'm sure that she still cares for you now?. I'll be taking care of you now". Excuse me a minute?..

OK, back again. The bearing the soul type lyrics, which will become a feature of Morse's solo works, are rather in their infancy here. As such they can become somewhat cringe-worthy and grating.

The songs are best described as generally adequate, as are the arrangements which are primarily live in the studio. The occasional embellishment of horns ("So long goodbye blues") or strings ("Something blue") add welcome colours, although to be fair Morse's frequent switching between keyboards (and guitar) for different tracks also helps retain a level of interest.

The highlight for me is Neal's track with his old mates, "I am your father". Sentimental tosh perhaps, but lyrically it hit hits the mark, and Morse's impassioned vocals contribute to a genuinely moving song. Got to say the mellotron and Hammond help a lot too.

In all, an adequate but pretty lightweight album from the man who has done so much to further the cause of prog in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Report this review (#181958)
Posted Sunday, September 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Neal Morse's solo career started with a couple of albums that are quite different from the type of releases that will characterize his solo discography after he left Spock's Beard in 2002. His first solo album, the self-titled album he released in 1999, bore only faint traces of progressive rock, focusing instead on a lighter pop-rock sound that only occasionally veered into prog territories. His follow-up release, 2001's It's Not Too Late, is even less prog-inclined. It is a largely acoustic album, built around simple, singer-songwriter tunes that prefer emotional directness and melodic accessibility over technical wizardry and structural complexity.

Oddly, this is an album that I like and at the same time dislike more than Morse's 1999 solo debut. I like it better than his first album because it feels more honest and authentic. It does not try to strike a balance between Morse's simple pop ambitions and his progressive rock "day job", but it fully embraces his singer-songwriter sensibilities, presenting a collection of acoustic tunes written by Morse between 1980s and the months prior the release of the album. However, among the record's 13 songs, I only find a handful of tunes that I can say I truly like. Most tracks are fairly anonymous and inoffensive light pop numbers that disappear from my musical memory as soon as the album moves on to the next song. Others are fun to listen to, but feel quite derivative and make me almost feel as if I were listening to a bar band rather than to one of the greatest prog rock musicians of our times ("So Long Goodbye Blues", "Ain't Seen Nothing Like Me"). Other tracks are just plain boring, as they lack a strong melody to carry them through ("The Eyes of the World").

The tracks I fully enjoy are few and far in between. "I Am Your Father" is one of them. This is a song Morse had written with his old band from the 1980s, which in fact accompanies the singer on this re-recorded version of the tune. It is a very emotional pop-rock number, driven by Morse's piano and powerful vocal delivery and enriched by some poignant lyrics about fathership. "Something Blue" is the other highlight of the record for me. It's a more uptempo number graced by a gloriously catchy chorus that elevates the song to a different level.

There's not much going on instrumentally throughout the album. Morse's superb piano playing shines in some of the song and Nick D'Virgilio precise and sophisticated drumming is always a pleasure to listen to. But the songs feature intentionally simple and essential arrangements that leave little space for musical showmanship.

In short, there's virtually no prog on this one, just a collection of simple and mostly acoustic tunes that are often pleasant, but rarely extraordinary. Morse is a great player, singer and songwriter, so it is really hard to find parts of his discography that are tout court bad, and It's Not Too Late is no exception. Yet, this is probably among the weakest albums released by the man, and, unless you are a hardcore Morse's fan or a completionist, you may want to skip this one and save your money for one of the other albums in Morse's rich discography.

Report this review (#2571909)
Posted Saturday, June 19, 2021 | Review Permalink

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