september 16, 2015

Michael Cassidy - Nature's Secret (1979)

The Hindu visionary Michael Cassidy Michael Cassidy [Mangalananda] was born May 16, 1949 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Michael Cassidy is the common denominator between Golden Avatar and Progress-both on Sudarshan Records. There is a connection to Hansadutta. This record is on Golden Lotus Records(GL-1) Recorded in LA in 1977 falling in between Golden Avatar (1976) and Progress (1978) 10 songs.

In 1971, Michael became an initiated disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the renowned scholar who translated Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the jewel of India’s spiritual wisdom. The combination of studying the teachings of bhakti-yoga and practicing the disciplines became a continuous source of inspiration and enlightenment for Michael.

Early-on he liked the surfing sounds of Dwayne Eddy, the Ventures, and the Safaris. Later his tastes expanded to the finger-styles of Charlie Byrd, Jose Feliciano, and Carlos Jobim. “My Dad’s record collection was mostly jazz and standards from his own generation. Hearing that music influenced the melodic and harmonic aspects of my composition. Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen inspired me to express myself with words.”

The cover photo needs some serious analysis. A man in monk robes sitting peacefully in the woods with a bunny as a doe approaches him. The picture of serenity. Is that Mike in the robes looking like Mr.Spock? Even better their appears to be another pressing with an alternate cover-a painting rather than a photo.

As far as the music goes this may be my favourite of the Michael Cassidy productions. A little less produced than Golden Avatar. Serious keyboard fireworks are busted out on "Spirit of Reason". "Simple Living" is a nice pastoral ode to the good life that morphs into the Maha Mantra dueling with a guitar. The lyrics are full of Krishna imagery and thoughts.

Once again, this is a record you will see listed as "acid folk" or "xian folk", and the cover could get you thinking that, but the music is above average west coast country rock, folk rock.

Side A
A1.  Come Along  (2:44) 
A2.  Golden Avatara  (4:10) 
A3.  Sign Of Surrender  (4:36) 
A4.  Simple Living  (3:33) 
A5.  Spirit Of Reason  (2:56) 

Side B
B1.  Hidden Worlds  (3:24) 
B2.  I'll Never Be Younger Than Today  (3:14) 
B3.  Natures Secret  (3:04) 
B4.  Embodiment Of Bliss  (3:16) 
B5.  Oh Thoughtful Men  (4:23) 

Vocals - Michael Cassidy
Backing Vocals – Lea Harper, Lyn Harper
Banjo – Terry McNelly
Bass – Bill Breland
Cello – Robertleigh H. Barnhart
Drums – Drew Lawrence
Flute – Gerry Peterson
Flute, Clarinet – Glen Garret
Keyboards – Wayne Cook
Lead Guitar – Steve Bartek
Tabla – Peter Peringer
Engineer – Andy Wallace
Engineer [Assistant] – Ken Krabitz
Written-By – Jeffrey Armstrong, Michael Cassidy

Release: 1979
Genre: Folk Rock
Format:  LP
Length: 36:24
Label: Golden Lotus Records
Catalog# GLR-1

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