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Michael Yonkers - Lovely Gold (1977)





Utilizing original photos and the exact layout and notes of the planned 1977 "Lovely Gold" release, a lost classic at last becomes available. As of late 2009, the legend of Michael Yonkers has taken its place among the great stories of underground rock and roll music. He’d been playing rock and roll for nearly forty years when “Microminiature Love” was finally issued in 2003 (Sire had taken a pass way back in 1968). A thousand noise-rock ears pricked up, as Yonkers, a reclusive Minneapolis dancer-musician with a handful of self-released records over the years, had seminally prefigured proto-punk/metal/noise through his own brand of amped up garage rock. Since the revelation, Michael has picked up where he left off, exploring blown-out frequencies with collaborators around the globe, and his work has claimed a seat next to immortals like The Fugs, Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth and even Jimi Hendrix.

What a lot of folks still don’t know is that Michael put aside his hand-built fuzz boxes and bellowing vocal style in the 1970s to record and self-release some truly curious albums of lilting loner-folk music, including “Grimwood”, “Goodby Sunball” and “Michael Lee Yonkers”. Of this holy trio of albums, only “Grimwood” has yet seen reissue. Throughout this time, Yonkers layered madrigal-like vocals, simple acoustic guitars, and used electricity in only the most subtle of ways - all to serve his sombre, mesmerizing songs.

This brings us to “Lovely Gold”. Planned as the fourth LP in his 70s trilogy, it was never released - a true crime, because it is an exotic work of homespun brilliance. Recorded in 1977 on a four-channel ‘tube type’ tape recorder that Michael built himself by combining parts of other machines, it is perhaps his most multi-faceted solo album. The trademark Yonkers chug appears (though more stripped-down and dreamlike) and even some spraying acidic guitar on the title track, but the sweeping choral voice arrangements on gorgeous hymns like “Will It Be” are entirely unique and indeed lovely creations. What’s more, while digging through his archives Michael located previously lost cuts intended for the album, including the harrowing, near-Krautrock glide of “Nevermore”. (piccadilly records)

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