Morse, Portnoy And George-jpg.comSummer Music Releases: Morse, Portnoy & George’s ‘Cover‘ Series, Plus An Anthology

Jul. 9, 2020

FFO: Rock, Classic FM Radio, Hard Rock, Progressive Rock

Cover songs become more than just radio favorites when higher caliber musicians are involved in the project. Besides the artistic professionalism, creative ideas closer to the heart tend to be revealed. The Morse, Portnoy and George recording triumvirate fits the category with Cov3r To Cov3r. Available Jul. 24, 2020, impeccable musicianship and a fondness for memories recalls the soundtrack to a variety of different lives. This is the driving force behind Cov3r To Cov3r. There is more.

In addition to the expected outstanding performances and interpretations, song selection is the reigning theme to Cov3r To Cov3r where Neil Morse, Mike Portnoy and Randy George have created an atmosphere of eagerness for listening enthusiasts across the board. For instance, the group’s rendition of Gerry Rafferty’s 1978 hit “Baker Street” retains the characteristics that render the top-ten selling song memorable, including the striking saxophone work. But this time around, Portnoy brings some extra special drumming to the arrangement. Check out the accompanying YouTube music video, published May 25, 2020.

After “Baker Street,” three weeks later MPG followed with another video on Jun. 19, 2020, the remake of Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy,” filmed in an old movie cinema style mode. Look quicky because that is Mike Portnoy’s daughter, Melody, singing backing vocals.  Morse, Portnoy and George have captured the energy of Ringo’s post-Beatles mega-single, conveying a good time was had by all. Great music is great music. Likewise, Cov3r To Cov3r works on several levels embodying the generational appeal of this particular selection of titles.

Other cuts from the 11-song collection include Jethro Tull’s “Hymn 43,” Squeeze’s “Black Coffee In Bed” and “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” from the late Tom Petty, among others. Fear not, prog-rockers, because the trio takes on King Crimson’s “One More Red Nightmare.” All of this is on Cov3r To Cov3r, the third such project from Morse, Portnoy and George. For afficianados who missed the first two albums, on the same day Cov3r To Cov3r is being released, the band will also drop Cover To Cover Anthology (Vol. 1 – 3) comprising all three albums. The combination of songs is surprising and impressive.    

For more, visit:

Neal Morse

Mike Portnoy

Randy George


Paul Wolfle-jpg.comPaul Wolfle, the publisher of, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.




Riot-jpg.comRiot’s ‘Rock World’ Compilation: A Visit Direct To Reale-Ville

FFO: Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Hard Rock

Guitar-driven songs, propelled by a shared conviction and a true love of music, is only one way to describe the latest album from original heavy metal soldiers Riot, no not Riot V. Another take on the new rarities release, available Mar. 27, 2020, while featuring archive cuts from 1987-1995, points to guitarist and founding member, the late Mark Reale. Though Reale passed in 2012, the musician and producer was present during the current album’s featured years.

On Metal Blade Records, Rock World – Rare & Unreleased 87-95 arguably appeared during the halcyon days of a powerful band which knew how to get the job done, namely New York City’s Riot. Comprised of remastered outtakes, alternate takes and other various highlights, some titles in the anthology surely are familiar to Riot enthusiasts. For instance, this rendition of “Bloodstreets,” from 1988’s Thundersteel, suggests a different ending. Also from Thundersteel, listen for the difference in “Buried Alive (Tell Tale Heart).”Keep in mind Reale, also a songwriter, played guitar and produced the album.

Riot aficionados likely will recognize “Killer,” off 1990’s The Privilege of Power, also produced by Reale. This time the change is in the vocals. Elsewhere in the 15-song assortment the title for “Maryanne” is listed as the “Rough Mix,” but still authentic. Among the additional songs are unreleased recordings meant for 1993’s Nightbreaker. Fear not instrumental disciples: alternatives of “Creep,” “Runaway” and “Instrumental 1994,”the latter made during The Brethren Of The Long House sessions, will be available for the partaking. Except for Reale, the personnel for Rock World – Rare & Unreleased 87 – 95 varies depending on the time frame and the song. Total running time on Amazon for the entire album is 1:16:06.

Rock World – Rare & Unreleased 87 – 95 is available as a download, CD and marbled or traditional black vinyl. The remastering is by Patrick W. Engel; quality sound production is the result. As for visuals, the album artwork is by Jan Meininghaus. Friends and loyalists of the Riot tradition will find Rare & Unreleased has an enticing song selection with winning straightforward performances. Uninitiated fans also can savor the authenticity that has been culled from original cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes and audio snippets. Then there is Mark Reale.

On YouTube, it is a bit confusing how the only vid for Rock World – Rare & Unreleased 87 – 95 is listed under Riot V, the reincarnated group active since 2012 and not the original Riot; at least not yet.

For more please visit Metal Blade Records.


Paul Wolfle-jpg.comPaul Wolfle, the publisher of, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.




Ozzy Osbourne-jpg.comOzzy’s Parkinson’s; ‘Ordinary Man’ Earns No-Yes on Early Songs

FFO: Heavy metal; rock

The announcement of Ozzy Osbourne having Parkinson’s disease surely is tough on family, friends and fans. But Ozzy is coping. Rolling Stone reports the heavy metal legend “Cannot wait to get back on the road.” Meanwhile, life goes on with two tracks from Ordinary Man, the Prince Of Darkness’s first solo album in ten years. The songs – the title cut and “Straight to Hell”— present two different sides of the same artist.

At first, the Ozzy Osbourne-Elton John teaming during “Ordinary Man” did not seem farfetched at all, considering the beautiful piano melody of Black Sabbath Vol. 4’s “Changes.” Notwithstanding the chart success with Post Malone, Ozzy going back to a keyboard mood was a logical idea in trying to rationalize why the “Killing Yourself To Live” singer would join forces with piano-driven mainstream pop rocker Sir Elton. But that whole premise fell apart after listening to the forthcoming solo album’s title track. Released Jan. 10, 2020, despite special guest Slash’s towering upper register guitar leads, with all due respect, “Ordinary Man” lacks the sinister conviction and taboo side of Ozzy’s one-of-a-kind musicianship.

At one point during Ozzy’s growing career, parents of teens were known to forbid Black Sabbath albums from entering their homes. That was probably due to the devil references in the lyrics and often the cover art, including the band’s debut collection and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Solo, the Oz man has previously created exciting songs with an air of something just not being right, like “Crazy Train.” Osbourne has always surrounded himself with great musicians, among them Randy Rhodes and Zak Wild, so recording with EJ might sound good on paper. The expertise of all the terrific players is clearly there on the recording, but just not the sinfulness.

On the other hand, “Straight To Hell,” released in November 2019, restores the murky playing-without-a-full-deck Ozzy that fans have come to know. The accompanying official YouTube video, published Jan. 6, 2020, adds a degree of contemporary depravity portrayed as angry throngs running wild in the streets. For old-time sake, Ozzy throws in a Black Sabbath-ish “All right now.” Coming from Osbourne, lyrics ring with danger and cult-like corruptibility. Rhythmic high gain fret work adds turmoil to an already tumultuous sound. Everything works in restoring Ozzy’s bad boy persona.

Though it may sound somewhat confusing, listening to “Straight to Hell” felt reassuring, where “Ordinary Man” did not have the same effect. The lead single, “Under the Graveyard,” which also came out in November, has a particular self-awareness first cultivated with Sabbath, but not so much the Prince of Darkness. Ordinary Man, the 12th solo album from Ozzy Osbourne, is available Feb. 21, 2020.


Paul Wolfle-jpg.comPaul Wolfle, the publisher of, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.