These 19 songs (one more than Rhino's out of print Collection CD) are drawn from Lee Michaels' first six albums, distilling down what are mostly regarded as the best cuts off of each. As with any compilation or anthology, there's a tradeoff of breadth for convenience, so Michaels' version of Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson's "Murder in My Heart for the Judge" from Barrel isn't here, nor is his personal statement "What Now America," but the other highlights are. On the other hand, the superb core of his debut album is here, and it's easy (and a lot of fun) from there to trace Michaels' growth and the evolution of his music over a period of four years -- the gradual use of overdubbing to embellish his sound with multiple keyboards and the growing sophistication of his arrangements (listening to "Basic Knowledge" off of Recital, one wonders what Michaels might've done in a collaboration with, say, Ray Manzarek). There are no notes, but the sound is excellent and the price is low midline, making this a very attractive CD.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder