Cosmic Michael – Cosmic Michael (1969)/ After A While (1970; 2012 reissues)

No matter how much research has been expended on Cosmic Michael, he remains an enigmatic figure. But thankfully, the pair of albums he recorded back in the day, which appeared on the Bliss imprint, have survived and have recently been reissued by the Gear Fab label.

Initially released in 1969, Cosmic Michael proposes a compatible marriage of electric blues and acid-fried folk rock. A carefree attitude, spiced with a sense of humor, is visible throughout the songs. Because the album is so loose, spontaneous and intimate, you feel as if you are right there in the studio, observing every single inch of the recording process.

A raw-boned, hippy garage rock stance sits at the forefront on tracks such as “Now That You’ve Found It” and the brash fuzz guitar riffing of “Theme.” An ode to a gig, “People’s Fair” cleverly rhymes Buffy Sainte-Marie with Chuck Berry, while a gutsy female singer struts her stuff on “Mother Earth” and “Heavy Boogie” sounds like a goofy imitation of Canned Heat.

Cosmic Michael relocated to Los Angeles to create his follow-up effort, After A While, which surfaced in 1970. Not quite as immediate as Cosmic Michael, the album still had its moments, particularly the title cut, “Woodstock Nation” and “Fine Spaces Of Time.” Rigged with an acoustic flavored psychedelic bent, After A While sticks hard and fast to Cosmic Michael’s wise philosophy of less is more.

Both Cosmic Michael and After A While weigh in as cool relics bound to tickle the fancy of those who dig honest homegrown music. A freaky edge, partnered with a rather unsettling presence looms large on these discs, leading them to effectively define the era in which they were recorded. Whoever Cosmic Michael is and wherever he may now be, let’s hope he realizes the cracked charm of his albums are appreciated and enjoyed.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.