Wednesday, June 12, 2013

CTFO



Each day I'm trying to grab onto another recorded experience. It's a constant re-validation of my own choices. I make notes on the records so the me of 2053, or the record collector who gets my records, or my future biographer, will know what I thought in that precious 45-minute window when the record commanded my full attention. These little time expenditures are constant mirrors whereby I re-evaluate my relationship with the world.

Lee Michaels is pretty. His lion's mane frames a delicate face atop a lanky figure. The other guy in the band is "Frosty", a big awesome dude. Lee sings and plays organ, piano, and bass; Frosty makes huge funk beats, and someone named Drake Levin plays guitar.

First I was bummed out that it was "blues-rock". Then I was still bummed about that. I played through the pain and it's been worth my time. I'm feeling mellow and chill. The nice sounds sound nice. The voice deepens a little. Little hooks come out and say hey. Shimmering organ says, hey man, come on in, the water's warm. There's a cajuny accordion on the last song.

For the cover, we get Lee and Frosty chilling in the mellow natural hewn wood studio. Frosty's got a cig and he's holding it like a joint. Yeah, man. Right on. They're surrounded by instruments, cause, man, we're musicians, you dig? On the inside of the gatefold we get lots more pics of Lee and Frosty hangin' out in this totally chill forest. It's probably a redwood forest cause, California, you know? In one they're like, just sitting with a bunch of trees. In a few others they're on this totally nice deck. There's one on the deck where Lee's chilling with these two leopards.

Leopards? Whoa. Right on.

Frances said they were cheetahs, so maybe they're cheetahs. She wasn't surprised at all to see them there.



Back to the time slippin' into the future. Lee covers the Bobby Womack song "Games" on this record: "Just give me games to play, and I'll be happy for another day." If you are doing it right (or wrong, or even just "doing it" at all) then you'll make something. Do it with your mind fully engaged in the present. What's the value of the product? I didn't enjoy this record at first, now I love it. Some records I never love.

Lee's voice is full of emotion and soul, deep and gravelly on one side and high and delicate on the other. He produces funky, warm, comfortable arrangements of his occasionally topical, always direct songs. My favorite track on the record is the first one, "Mad Dog", which Allmusic's Matthew Greenwald says has a funky backdrop driven by some things that give it a funky backdrop. Apparently it's about the pigs busting the hippies with excessive force, but I would have never picked that up. I usually have a hard time hearing lyrics - I tend to focus more on the tune and the way it's sung; I hear "Mad dog mad dog, blah da blah da blah da blues rock". After I read that song review I re-listened twice and my mind still drifted away, but I did hear him say something about a "license to kill" in the last verse.

C.T.F.O. Every minute has value if you let it.

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