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Micah - I'm Only One Man CD (album) cover




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4.05 | 22 ratings

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4 stars "Micah" is a very little-known American progressive rock band from early 70s. Their music is a great blend of American hard/psychedelic rock style (like "Ford Theatre") and art/symphonic rock of such British formations like "Cressida", early "Deep Purple", "Beggar's Opera" or "Rare Bird". To be honest British influences seem even stronger in their music, so it was quite a surprise for me when I started to listen to "I'm Only One Man"(their eponymous album). You could swear that they were from UK!

Anyway their sole record is a real treat for people who likes to dig out some forgotten gems. Especially that prog-rock in early 70s wasn't a popular style among American bands. Micah proves that after all USA also had some fantastic progressive music before Kansas was born.

"I'm Only One Man" was constructed with 2 long suites: one lasting 18:30 minutes and another 11:30 minutes (the second one seems to be unfinished in fact). Yes, they have separate titles of shorter songs which they were built from, but as far as I know we should treat it like 2 epic compositions, especially that there are no evident gapes in the middle of them (it's rather difficult to judge when one sub-song is finished and another starts. Maybe if it will be released on CD [right now it's available only on the vinyl], somebody will separate those suites into shorter songs, but I hope they won't do that...).

Let's review the suites:

1. "He's a dreamer / Look around you / So you can see / I'm only one man" - first epic composition starts with promising organ motif in the vein of Jon Lord's work. What follows is a delightful early-prog stuff full of great melodies, catchy rhythms, explosive Hammond riffs and equally good guitars. If I had to draw some similarities, I'd describe it like a mix of early "Deep Purple", "Ford Theatre", "Arcadium", "Cressida", "Live" and "Aardvark" with organ solos a la "The Nice" or "Quatermass". Yeah, you can't go wrong with "Micah", they surely sound fantastic and - what's also important - very professional. Quatermass. As you see 18:30 min. length you might think that the whole suite sounds like some overlong jam session (especially that American prog-rock wasn't quite developed back then), but it's not the case here, 'cause the whole composition is perfectly structured and divided into more song oriented fragments, while great soloing is somehow floating between them perfectly. Take note of the theme which starts about 16:10 min., what a splendid symphonic tune Gary Ohlson is playing there! Superb.

2. "You don't really care / Remembrance of things past / Finale" - 2nd suite is almost equally good. Lyrics are even better here to be honest ("I want to go / way back there / I want to die / Just to live again"; "Gonna lock myself off in my room / Turn off all the lights and drive myself insane / Maybe I die but he would feel the pain" etc.), truly emotion-packed and thought-provoking. Bob Rowe has a really fine vice. Instrumental interludes are long and professional here too. So many maniacal Hammond solos (Vincent Crane meets Keith Emerson sort of thing) and wah-wah guitars that you won't forget this music for a long time my friend. It's only a pity that after 11 minutes and half, it's already over.

And length seems to be the only problem of this magnificent album. But in fact it wasn't a fault of musicians, so let's forget about it and face the fact: "I'm Only One Man" is a lost gem, real classic from the past which deserves wider recognition and CD release! No early-prog collector and Hammond aficionado should omit it. Highly recommended.

Best tracks: well...both of them :-)

Rightfully deserved 4,5 stars from ozzy_tom

ozzy_tom | 4/5 |


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