Cover To Cover is a compilation of cover songs recorded by Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy and Randy George during the recording of the albums Testimony (2003), One (2004) and ? (2005) by Neal Morse. Most of these songs have previously been released on special editions of those albums. Released in 2006. (wikipedia)
When you hear that a member of Dream Theater has launched a side project, it’s understandable to assume that it’s going to be more of the heavy prog metal that they’ve become renowned for. But the 2006 release, Cover to Cover, is a true anomaly. Credited to ex-Spock’s Beard guitarist Neal Morse, Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, and bassist Randy George, the album features covers by the expected suspects (Cream’s “Badge” and the Who’s “I’m Free/Sparks”), as well as a few surprises (Joe Jackson’s “I’m the Man” and Chicago’s “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day”). And with covers of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” and George Harrison’s “What Is Life?” (as well as the aforementioned “Badge,” which was also penned by Harrison), the trio make no bones about being Beatles worshipers. Not exactly a very necessary release (you can probably stroll down to your neighborhood bar and hear a local band play these tunes), but Spock’s Beard and Dream Theater fans who need to own every recorded morsel should enjoy it. (by Greg Prato)
Throughout the recording sessions for Neal Morse’s last three concept albums, he and sidekicks Randy George and Mike Portnoy would drop their serious musical side to play cover versions of their favorite songs. The “Cover To Cover” disc is the end result of what they did during their spare time in the studio.
Compiled from the “?”, “One” and “Testimony” sessions, “Cover To Cover” is an absolute blast to listen to from beginning to end. While the feel is loose and spontaneous, it’s never sloppy or slack. If anything, we are given another prime example of just how well Neal, Mike and Randy play off each other in these songs. You can tell just how much fun they were having especially in the versions of The Monkees “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and Joe Jackson’s “I’m The Man”. The take on Chicago’s “Feeling Stronger Every Day” kicks rear end with a guest horn section and an extended jam outro. Christian rock legend and guitar extraordinaire Phil Keaggy joins the action for George Harrison’s “What is Life?” which sounds uncanningly like a duet between Lennon and McCartney – Neal sounding like John Lennon, Phil sounding much like Paul McCartney. Mike Portnoy shows off his Keith Moon influence in The Who’s “I’m Free/Sparks” while Neal’s trademark progressive side is heard in the closing medley of The Moody Blues “Tuesday Afternoon” and Blind Faith’s “Find My Way Back Home”.
Guaranteed, this is a fantastic album and is great music for driving the vehicle with. For fans of Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy, this is definitely a must. For the casual listener, this is a must for you as well. (Louie Bourland)
My favorite songs are “Can’t Find My Way Home” and “I’m Free/Sparks” … these are killer versions !
Listen and enjoy !
Randy George (bass)
Neal Morse (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Mike Portnoy (drums)
Chris Carmichael (violin, cello, viola)
Jim Hoke (saxophone)
Bill Hubauer (trombone)
Phil Keaggy (vocals)
Neal Rosengarden (trumpet)
01. Where The Streets Have No Name (Bono) (U2) 5.39
02. I’m The Man (Jackson) (Joe Jackson) 4.01
03. What Is Life? (Harrison) (George Harrison) 4.26
04. Badge (Clapton/Harrison) (Cream) 2:51
05. Maybe I’m Amazed (McCartney) (McCartney) 4.05
06. Day After Day (Ham) (Badfinger) 3.27
07. Pleasant Valley Sunday (Goffin/King) (The Monkees) 4.33
08. Tuesday Afternoon (Hayward) (The Moody Blues) 6.33
09. Can’t Find My Way Home (Winwood) (Blind Faith) 6.49
10. I’m Free/Sparks (Townshend) The Who 6.36
11. Where Do The Children Play? (Stevens) (Cat Stevens) 4.41
12. Feelin’ Stronger Every Day (Cetera/Pankow) (Chicago) 4.57
13. Rock And Roll Suicide (Bowie) (David Bowie) 3.13