Bliss 1969 / Out-Sider Music 2015
Rhythm-and-blues vestige from the fringe verge of flower power era – enigmatically tasty.
Nobody seems to know who Cosmic Michael was, whence he came and what became of him. What remained, though, is this slab of a groove – released in a limited run in the Age of Aquarius and reissued, again on vinyl but also as a download, more than four decades later. In such a context, opener “Now That You Found It” sounds rather appropriate to paint the piano-driven panache in retro-futuristic colours and throw a merry, organ-spiked arc to the “Heavy Boogie” finale. The acidic Farfisa informs “Salty Jam” with playful otherworldliness, graced by a guitar rumble, while the female-vocalized “Mother Earth” blues rams the era’s loveable message closer to home.
There’s a nice try of self-mythologising in “Cosmic Michael Theme” where the singer admits to “chemical changes” in his brain over a repetitive riff and a tentative tune, yet “River City” swells with more ivory chords to ripple elegantly and swing wildly. “People’s Fair” reveals a cool, classical-tinctured, spiritual layer to it all before the arrangement allows for a glimpse of psychedelia. An “of its time” kind of record whose pull is undeniable even after all these years.