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.



10 thoughts on “Michael

  1. Never heard of Michael McDonald, but you make it sound like I’m the biggest loser if I don’t go buy his CD. Maybe I’m missing something. Is it possible to put a cut of his CD on your blog? In the old days you could go in a record store and ask them to play a record and decide if you wanted it, but those days are gone!
    I may be a grandmother, but I’m drooling over his pic. I enjoy your posts very much. Thanks.

    I’m gobsmacked.
    You’ve never heard of McDonald?
    My, my, my…you need to hear this guy sing. Pure blue-eyed soul and simply amazing.
    Let me know what you think when you finally hear him.
    I may try and put something on the blog…


  2. Michael, Saw Michael McDonald on CMT’s tribute to Ray Charles he got on stage and played the piano and sang “You Don’t Know Me”
    It was to say nothing less than a magical rendition..I don’t know if that is available anywhere on CD but the entire show was magnificent

    McDonald cut his teeth listening to Ray Charles.
    I’d like to find that tune. It must have been wonderful.


  3. I like Michael McDonald. (Dang, there’s a lot of M&Ms in this world!) I’m going to have to sample Robert Cray and NIN now, just because of you! Not that I mind. If you say they’re good, they have to be good.

    You give me way too much credit, Lolly.


  4. To be honest, I don’t understand most of what you wrote – but I do understand one artist’s admiration and respect of another. He is clearly a hero of yours and from a strictly layman’s point of view I’d have to say Michael MacDonald rocks. I love his voice and his music and he’s easy on the eyes too.

    I am in awe of a few folks myself and think ‘gee, if I could just once write like that, it would be amazing.’ And it’s stuff like that that makes you want to press on with your own endeavors and be the best you can be. You my friend, are well on your way in that department.

    Admiration. It’s what this post was all about.
    Very heartfelt comment, Annie. I really appreciate it.
    Thank you.


  5. I got to meet him once at the Portland Jazz Festival back in (I think) 2000 or 2001. He did a small show of about 5 songs.

    With McDonald, sometimes 5 songs is all you really need.
    You met him, huh? Shucks, I jealous…
    Nice to see your name come up in my comment section.
    Thanks, Ash.


  6. Good God, Michael, I feel like an idiot, saying I never heard him. I asked my son if he had heard of him, and he looked at me dumb struck, and said, Mom,,I downloaded a lot of his music on your mp3 player that you listen to every day! Duh! Just didn’t place the name with the songs. My favorite is ‘Second that Emotion’ and On My Own with Patti LaBelle! and Ain’t nothing like the real thing.
    Some of his songs, I even dance to when I’m alone at night, okay, I won’t go there!
    Thanks for the eye-opener!


  7. I’m not much of a pop fan, but I agree with you on this one. He has a remarkable voice. “It Keeps You Runnin'” is one of my favorite songs.

    We’ve once again found something we can both agree on.
    Keeps you Runnin’ is a great song.


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