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    Michael McDonald Live in Concert

    I’ve been a Michael McDonald fan since he was a member of the Doobie Brothers. Michael joined the band in 1974 replacing Tom Johnston whose health was failing. With his addition, the band had a new signature sound, sometimes referred to as “blue-eyed soul.” McDonald also co-wrote many of their best-known songs and played keyboard for the band as well.

    I recently purchased two Michael McDonald DVD’s of concerts. I have several of his CD’s, but I was anxious to watch him perform.

    The first DVD I watched was called “A Gathering of Friends,” and features McDonald singing with Patti LaBelle, Wendy Moten (who I had never heard of), Christopher Cross and Kenny Loggins, one of my favorites. The songs McDonald and Loggins sang (“Heart to Heart” and “This is it”) they had co-written years before.

    The other DVD I got is called “Sound Stage-Live in Concert,” and features McDonald with former Doobie band mates Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons. Simmons is best known for his song “Black Water.” I found myself singing along throughout the song with the lyrics for “Black Water.”

    On the first DVD, the Doobie Brothers came out to sing “Minute by Minute” with McDonald. It brought back a lot of memories of the time.

    Herman tells me he saw the Doobie Brothers with McDonald in concert at SPAC in 1995. They were appearing with Steve Miller at the time. (Do you guys remember the Steve Miller Band?)

    The reason I like McDonald so much is because he really is the essence of soul in his voice quality. He obviously enjoys what he does very much. After I researched with Herman on Amazon, I got a lesser known CD called Blink of an Eye, which Herman tells me has a lot of Biblical connotations. For instance, some of the tracks are: No More Prayin’, East of Eden, Everlasting and the title track “Blink of an Eye.”

    I would say it is a somewhat more reflective album than his upbeat Doobie albums.

    I have two of his CD’s that are Motown covers. It is here that I really think he has found his niche.  It combines the very best of his soulful, smoky voice, Motown lyrics and great rhythm.

    Off his “The Very Best of Michael McDonald,” I am really drawn to “I Keep Forgettin,” “Take it to Heart,” and “Higher Ground” just to name a few.

    Herman is not as big a McDonald fan as I am, though he will sit and listen with me. After all, it’s not as horrifying to him as Barry Manilow (another of my favorites).

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com