Nancy T. Michaels

First Impressions

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Although the timing was right for a singer/songwriter to make an impact with a Reprise album in 1969, and Michaels' album was inoffensive, there just wasn't nearly enough to her songs or voice to make it stick in the mind. More mainstream than Joni Mitchell, not possessed of as strong a voice or repertoire as Linda Ronstadt, not as authentically folk-country as Mary McCaslin -- Michaels fell short of three obvious reference points by a long way. It's an early soft rock album, the romantic introspective songwriting neither silly nor exciting, the arrangements neither arresting nor terminally mellow, the lyrics thoughtful but not brilliant, the melodies unmemorable. On occasion she sounds like a second-division Joni Mitchell acolyte, particularly on "Fantasy," the most ambitious composition. Those seeking an obscure interesting Joni Mitchell-influenced album from the time, however, are much better advised to go for Linda Perhacs' Parallelograms. Michaels' disc, on the other hand, is an LP that is unlikely to ever be reissued; not only do not many people know of its existence, but it's just not the sort of album to generate even retroactive cult interest.