Since I began blogging I’ve never dedicated a post to the most influential musician in my life. Over the years, he’s taught me (unknowingly) all I ever needed to know regarding the intense emotional aspect of the human voice in the midst of song.
Sounds almost fundamental but believe me, it’s not.
I’ve been in love with this man’s voice ever since I heard “Takin’ it to the Streets” back in the mid seventies.
It’s no mystery to anyone that truly knows me that I’m talking about the one and only Michael McDonald.
Michael holds a coveted title regarding my life; he’s the only person (other than my wife) that could literally steal my heart.
Obviously, it’s all about the music between MM and I.
You have little to no idea about the aching desire I have to simply shake his hand and say, thank you for everything you gave to me, an unknown guy from Boston.
I remember seeing the Doobie Brothers at the Cape Cod Coliseum after the Minute by Minute album came out, a record (showing my age) that was purely McDonald.
I went with my then girlfriend and someday wife, the only human on the planet with more amazing eyes than McDonald.
I wanted to be just like my blue-eyed idol so when I saw him playing a Prophet-5 synth, I had to get one. It was a revolutionary keyboard because it was ‘polyphonic’, 5 notes could be played at once. Minute by Minute was filled with Pro-5 synth as was Steve Winwood’s ‘Arc of the Diver’.
The synth you hear at the beginning of “While you see a chance”, is a Pro-5 in monophonic mode (believe me; I used it all the time for solos back then).
Winwood still uses the sound to this day. (…I think, could be a sample now)
Enough about Winwood, this is Michael’s post.
I’ve had moments over the years going to see him perform.
I had the chance to meet him in the early 90’s when he played the Club Casino at Hampton Beach (in New Hampshire).
I saw him walking on the boardwalk the next day with an entourage of 10+ guys and I totally pussied out because I just couldn’t make an ass out of myself in front of a guy I almost thought of as a God.
I still kick myself to this very day because I didn’t have the nads to walk up to him.
After working in Boston and meeting many different “stars”, from Peter Cetera (Chicago) to Billy Joel, I came to the realization that these people are just that, people.
Hell, we take cigar orders from the actor George Segal; regular people…at least some of them.
I found out that a dear friend of mine has listened to Robert Cray FOREVER.
For Christmas I bought him a CD but removed the liner notes.
I contacted Cray and told him who I was (I’ve waited on him several times at the store—what a peach, too) and asked if he would sign the liner notes for my dear friend.
Needless to say, the liner notes left for California last week.
There are a few Avo Signature Robustos in Robert’s future the next time he’s in the city, compliments of moi. Cray is much like me, a working musician that has paid his dues. The only difference is he could pack any blues club from here to Tucson and his salary makes my musical salary look like a welfare grocery budget.
Does he deserve it?
More importantly, do you even need to ask?
If you’ve never heard Cray and like blues music, buy a CD.
He’s a magical talent.
Back to McDonald;
I could go on and on about the reasons this man’s voice moves me so, but you’d think I was crazy or a semi-queer.
He’s given me multiple goose bumps, profound tears and so many wonderful years of solace that a thank you seems almost insincere and shallow.
Maybe this post would mean a bit more to the man, if he ever had the chance to read it.
This is the @fourth time I’ve written about him and the mere thought that this could once again wind up in some journal disgusts me.
McDonald deserves so much more than that.
For now, I’ll continue to be just another fan and someday I hope to be able to show him I was one of his very best students.