Friday, July 20, 2018

Lee Michaels - 1968 - Recital

Lee Michaels 

01. If I Lose You 2:30
02. Time Is Over 3:34
03. No Part Of It 2:11
04. Fell In Love Today 1:54
05. Blind 2:53
06. Grocery Soldier 2:32
07. What Can He Do 0:42
08. Basic Knowledge 3:29
09. Gonna Leave 2:24
10. The War 3:15
11. Spare Change 7:25

Bass – Larry Knechtel
Drums – Frank Davis
Drums – John Barbata
Guitar – Drake Levin
Vocals, Piano, Harpsichord, Organ, Bass – Lee Michaels

This is Lee Michaels' second album, and while his debut release, Carnival of Life, remains his strongest effort in my book, this second outing runs a close second. It is most notable for Michaels' expressive vocals and his brilliant overdubbing of various keyboards into each song (ie., Hammond organ, pipe organ, electric piano, grand piano, up-right piano, and harpsichord)to create a "keyboard wall of sound", and all of it without guitars, save the opening track of "If I Lose You", and which is notable for Drake Levin, late of Paul Revere and The Raiders, contributing some excellent licks. Like Carnival of Life, Recital's songs are mired in 60's psychedelica and sentiment, commenting on the Vietnam War, panhandling hippies, and altered states of consciousness. The songs still hold up, despite the dated themes, because of Michaels' inventive arrangements, multi-layered keyboard treatments, and soulful vocals. Highly recommended

Lee Michaels was a bit of a keyboard virtuoso popular in the Late 60's / Early 70's, although maybe a bit more on the fringe rather than part of the mainstream. This Lp features him on Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and briefly Pipe organ. It's somewhat singer songwriter in attitude, but more fuller, melodic and upbeat in a 60's sense. Side 2 is probably the best place to start checking this Lp out. Although I thought overall the whole Lp is great, it was an acquired taste and it took few listens to click. Spare Change" has a fantastic funky keyboard intro, somewhat wasted when it peters off into an oversimplified, overlong extended track...I still love that intro anyway.

A great upbeat track left over "Goodbye Goodbye" (..which really should have been on the Lp) was the B side of "The War" single and is worth hunting down.

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