Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Album Spotlight- Michael White Self-titled 1987

In 1987 I  was working in a sweltering hellhole in Baltimore City that was a Record Warehouse/distributor. If it sounds like a cool job, It wasn't!. There was no air conditioning, many of the employees belonged in a psych ward (hell, at that point I probably did too!). The customers were often annoying record store owners of some foreign decent,  buying the latest rap 12"s.
The only perk? Free records. One of them I got that some was on Atlantic Records by a guy named Michael White.

On the cover he looked like Robert Plant and sure enough he sounded a lot like Plant!
The album was produced by Mack who produced some big albums for Queen and Billy Squier's biggest album "Don't Say No". He also apparently did some work with Led Zeppelin on their underrated "Presence"album.
Alan St. Jon and Bobby Chouinard from Squier's band are among the musicians on the album. Musically there is definitely a Zepp/solo Robert Plant influence and also traditional AOR like Billy Squier.
The song "One Good Turn" is a great Plant-like ballad. "Psychometry" is a "Kasmir" like- track, sounds like a lost Zep track!

 "Matriarch" is a bit like the funky tunes like "the Crunge" that Zeppelin used to do. I like the album quite a bit and play it once in awhile.

Commercially, the album did nothing, I never heard any songs on rock radio. 
It turns out this guy was in one of the earliest Zep tribute bands ever. After the failure of releasing his own LP, he went back to doing the tribute thing and still does to this day!

His site gets more into his story and has some audio clips

It's funny that Whitesnake would hit it big that summer with a similar sound. The following year Kingdom Come (remember them?) would have some success with an almost identical sound. Also in 1988 Robert Plant himself would release a solo album, "Now and Zen" that he allowed himself to draw more from the sounds of his former band. Maybe Michael was just a bit early or maybe the powers that be did not want to upset the Zeppelin guys who had their label distributed through Atlantic Records. hmmm.

I'm truly shocked that the album is sold digitally thru Itunes!(though they've got the wrong bio)
Try sampling a few tracks!
Michael White 1987 on Itunes 

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