Thanks for reminding me about Spock's Beard! Back in 2015, I got The Kindness Of Strangers and The Light (along with some individual tracks from Beware Of Darkness, The Oblivion Particle, Beware The Darkness, Day For Night, and Octane). But I never sat down and listened through them intently--just a brief skim, general approval, and a notion that I'd get to it soon...
Now I've got reason to get back to it.
Lyrics often enhance my enjoyment of a song immeasurably (from the concise poetry of Phil Ochs' "Pleasures Of The Harbor" to the cynicism of Chris Rea's "Road To Hell"). But, like you Geff, I can ignore them when need be. I'm interested in the music, not the personal beliefs of Neal Morse, Roger Waters, Ted Nugent, etc. It's the same way I feel about German Expressionism--it's the art, not the artist, that speaks to me.
I also met Kerry Livgren when I was a college DJ in 76 or 77. No idea what his religion was at that time, but my main memory is all he wanted to talk about for a radio interview was the upcoming "Grand alignment of the planets" which he believed would destroy the solar system. Fortunately, that did not occur!
I agree that Baxters was the Airplane’s finest moment. For me what really makes Crown stand out is Casady’s bass playing. His work on the title track alone sounds like a formation of B-52s coming in for a landing. I also have a special fondness for “Bless Its Pointed Little Head” but I was at the Fillmore East show Side 1 was recorded at so it gets mixed up with memories.
I have heard of Spock’s Beard but not being much for the label Prog-Rock ignored them. Neal seems to have gone down the same road as Kerry Livgren. When I lived in Topeka I used to run into Kerry who, of course, was with Kansas. He quit the band because the rock & roll lifestyle conflicted with his Christianity. A nicer guy you could not hope to meet as well as a brilliant guitar player. As Kansas had toured with pretty much every band under the sun he had some great stories to tell. While I was never a big Kansas fan (a sin if you lived in Topeka which is where the band started) the in 2009 then current line-up staged a homecoming show at the local Washburn College where they shared the stage with the college symphony and brought in former members of the band such as Kerry and Steve Morse. It has been released as “There’s No Place Like Home.” It definitely brings home the point that Kansas was better on stage than in the studio.
But I am going to check out Neal as well as Spocks’s Beard. Again to me this is the real value of Music Talk. There is a lot of good music out there many of us have missed. Sometimes we just need to be nudged a bit.
Hey Thomas, good choices! I rank Crown as tied with Volunteers for their 2nd best album (Baxter's is my fav)
Neal Morse was the leader of a very good but not well known by the mainstream Prog Rock band called Spock's Beard. He found religion & left the band a few years back. He still plays great prog, though I feel the need to ignore his lyrics at times.
You got me with this one. I do not have a clue who Neil Morse is. But you have always been great for turning me onto music I was not familiar with so I do thank you. About the only things I have picked up in the last several moths were better copies of Kantner and Slick’s “Sunfighter”” and the Airplane’s “Crown of Creation” which I snagged primarily because it has the Brumus poster.
Neal Morse - The Great Adventour: Live In BRNO 2019 in 24 bit. Nice live version of his "The Great Adventure" album. I can't find detailed credits, but whoever the lead guitarist is, he really smokes.
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