From the Heart
The original version of From The Heart contained two songs which spoke to social justice/injustice and the American way. Michael removed those two songs. They appear on the CD, Flameland. As he added songs to From The Heart, Michael realized that they dealt more with lovers' kinds of love, with romance or love lost. The two songs, "The Worlds' Condemnation" and "Make One More Person Cry" didn't fit in with that theme. Michael realizes that LIFE; THE MUSICAL and Left Where I Write On are eclectic in that they contain a variety of genres and subject matter. The songs on those two CDs don't emphasize one particular aspect of life. However, what inspired Michael to name this CD From The Heart was that it has a kind of "romance" theme and all but the above mentioned two songs lined up perfectly with that theme. Other than having a theme, From The Heart is unique for Michael in three other ways. First, it's the first collection in which he's not the only singer. In the first song, Michael's wonderful wife Tina shares the lead vocal. In songs number two and ten, Michael's good friends Doreen Peri and Kim Chong sing the solo. In fact, Michael doesn't sing at all in songs two and ten although he provides all of the instrumentation. The second and tenth songs are really the second and tenth song. Repeating the same song twice on an album is the second first for Michael. Other artists have done it. Steve Earle begins and ends his powerful collection of songs called The Revolution Starts Now with the title track. By the way, Michael highly recommends not only The Revolution Starts Now, but all of Steve Earle's work. The song which is repeated twice on From The Heart is a song that Michael wrote a while back with the intention of having a friend, Jean Trescott, sing it. Jean, in fact, did sing it when they were briefly in a band together and she sang it magnificently, as she rendered all songs. Michael would love to have still been in contact with her so that she could have sung "I Can't Be Owned" for the CD, but, alas, as with other people he's known in his life, Jean and Michael went their separate ways and haven't been in contact for well over twenty years. This is not to take anything away from the renditions of "I Can't Be Owned" offered on From The Heart by Doreen Peri and Kim Chong. You'll notice the stark difference in the renditions; Doreen's a sultry, sensual presentation; Kim's a bit faster in rhythm and a bit higher in tone but, nonetheless, intriguing and sensual, as well. Michael just couldn't include one of these women on the CD without including the other. You'll agree, they give the song heart and soul. The third first is that Michael actually covers a song. He covers The Ronettes' "Be My Baby", a song that was very big in the early sixties. As Michael's target audience is Baby Boomers who want new Baby Boomer music, he's sure that Baby Boomers will love his version of "Be My Baby". Michael owes a debt of gratitude to ABKCO Records and Mother Bertha Productions for allowing him to cover one of his favorite all time rock n' roll songs. "Be My Baby" was written by Ellie Greenwhich, Jeff Barry and Phil Spector and is still, in Michael's eyes, one of the great all time rock n' roll songs. The rest of the CD is typical Michael, which is to say that there's nothing typical about the rest of the CD. Although Michael makes a valiant attempt at sticking to appealing to Baby Boomers and those who like the music of the Baby Boomer generation, the songs on From The Heart vary from one another, sometimes significantly. The songs vary from the almost symphonic "'Til Flowers Don't Grow" to the Latin inspired "If I Saw You Again (Si Te Viera Otra Vez)", to the Robert Plant inspired "I Need You Near (For What You Are)" to "Susan So Serene", a folk song which was inspired by Crosby, Stills and Nash's alliterative song "Helplessly Hoping". And, for all you Baby Boomers and Baby Boomer music lovers, Michael is hoping that From The Heart will fill a vacuum you may have been experiencing since the re release of LIFE; THE MUSICAL and Left Where I Write On.