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Neal Morse: The Dreamer - Joseph - Part One
Neal Morse - The Dreamer - Joseph - Part One Album Art

Neal Morse: The Dreamer - Part One

Melodic Progressive Rock/AOR

More than 50 years ago, lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber introduced us to the rock musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was their first musical to be performed publicly, yet not quite as successful or well-known as their biggest rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.

Neal Morse - Click For Larger Image

Neal Morse

Fast forward to the present where prolific multi-instrumentalist and composer Neal Morse has been creating rock operas based upon Biblical characters: Jesus Christ The Exorcist (Jesus, obviously, 2019) and Sola Gratia (Paul the Apostle, 2020). Now, Morse turns his attention to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament with the first part of The Dreamer - Joseph. Part two will arrive in 2024.

To follow along, get out your Bible, and turn to Genesis 37-50. Joseph's story has all the plot-twisting drama of a Hollywood blockbuster: jealousy, attempted murder, false accusations, imprisonment, redemption, reconciliation, and salvation. The overarching theme turns upon the many dreams that Joseph will have and how they are interpreted, for good or ill. While I don't have the lyrics, for Part One of The Dreamer, I believe Morse tells Joseph's story in Genesis chapter 37 through 40.

This would include receiving the robe of many colors and the first dreams about his family bowing down to him. Which in turn inspires murderous jealousy among his brother. But instead of killing Joseph, they throw him into a pit, then later sell him to Midianite traders on their way to Egypt. There, he is sold to Potiphar, Pharaoh's captain of the guard. Though in slavery, God was with Joseph and prospered him a the overseer of Potiphar's house (which was a big deal).

Plot twist: Potiphar's wife find's Joseph to be a hunky kind of guy and attempts to seduce him, literally pulling his garments from his body. Joseph would have nothing of this. He flees from her, apparently buck naked. Now spurned, the woman is pissed. She falsely accuses Joseph and he gets tossed in the slammer. But God was faithful again: the officers of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners, and he prospered.

This maybe were Part One ends. If not, then this follows:

While in prison, two officers of the Pharaoh are also incarcerated: the cupbearer and the chief baker. They begin to have dreams, more like nightmares, they do not understand. Joseph interprets their dreams: the former will be restored to his position, but the baker will be hanged. That's exactly what happens. However, when the cupbearer found his dreams to be favorable, Joseph asked him to remember him when he returns to Pharaoh's court. But the cupbearer forgot him, and Joseph would languish in prison two more years.

That's a long synopsis, I know and you're likely wondering about the music. Joseph's story is told through Morse's exceptional melodic progressive rock compositions. Which, if you are familiar with his work, is vigorous, creative, varied, and gently complex at times. You're treated to some long expositions of the same at the beginning with The Dreamer Overture and Prologue. But then a succession of short compositions keep Joseph's story flowing in a succinct fashion. Joseph and the rest of the characters voiced by Morse (Joseph) and additional singers. Which allows for some fine vocal arrangements as within I Will Wait Upon The Lord or Heaven In Charge Of Hell.

Overall, Neal Morse's The Dreamer is impressive, a massive achievement of intriguing and entertaining melodic progressive rock from a gifted master of the genre. Easily recommended.

Support the Artist & Dangerdog Music Reviews: This title is available, with unlimited streaming, via an Amazon Music account. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

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The Take Away

Overall, Neal Morse's The Dreamer is impressive, a massive achievement of intriguing and entertaining melodic progressive rock from a gifted master of the genre. Easily recommended.

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