Band members Related acts
- Allan Dalrymple (RIP 197?) -- keyboards (1971)
- Tommy Gilstrap -- bass (1971)
- Myke Jackson -- guitar (1971)
- Stan Lee -- guitar (1971)
- Mike Neel -- drums, percussion (1971)
- Mychael (aka Myke Jackson) (solo efforts)
- Myke Jackson (solo efforts)
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Country/State: Arab, Alabama
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+
Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)
Catalog ID: SOLD 4920
Price: SOLD $500.00
Given the extensive hype on this one and the big dollars I've seen copies exchange hands for, I'm sure a lot of folks would like to know what the real story is (assuming my opinion is worth anything).
Still in his mid-teens, singer/guitarist Myke Jackson apparently formed Felt in the late 1960s. By the time the band recorded their self-titled 1971 debut, the group was composed of Jackson, keyboardist Allan Dalrymple, bass player Tommy Gilstrap, guitarist Stan Lee and drummer Mike Neel. Signed by the Nashville-based Nasco Records, "Felt" was recorded at Nashville's Woodland Sound Studios with Bob Tubert producing. Personally I'd sure like to know how a 17 year old white head-banger from Alabama got signed to a label like Nasco that was better known for its roster of gospel and blues acts. No matter how the connection was made, with Jackson credited with writing all six tracks (drummer Neel co-wrote two selections), the album was unexpectedly diverse and impressive. The opener 'Look At the Sun' served as an atypical, but gorgeous ballad. It sounds kind of strange but the song actually benefits from Jackson's somewhat quivery vocal performances. Couple with some great lead guitar at the end of the track, it's also the most commercial song on the album. Sporting an anti-drug lyric 'Now She's Gone' starts out with a pseudo-jazzy flavor complete with scat segments before mutating into a bluesy segment and then going back into jazz mode. It probably doesn't sound very promising on paper, but somehow these guys make it one of the album's most entertaining pieces. Musically 'Weepin' Mama Blues' is a pretty standard keyboard and guitar propelled blues workout that sports some killer drum work and a lead guitar and scat vocal combination that won't quit. It may also have Jackson's best vocal performance. He sure doesn't sound like a 17 year old on this one. Clocking in at over ten minutes and going through numerous time changes, 'The Change'' is an entertaining mix of progressive and hard rock moves. As for the two other tracks; 'World' was a decent hard rock number that's knocked down a notch by Jackson's strained falsetto vocal (though part of the problem may explained by a pressing defect that saw the album mastered slightly off center). The final selection 'Destination' was simply bland. All in all a real surprise with great songs, great performances and surprisingly clean and sophisticated production work.
So what else is there to tell you? This seems to be the only thing the group recorded. Jackson supposedly recorded a solo album, though I've never seen any firm information on it. A bunch of references indicate guitarist Stan Lee is the same Stan Lee as in The Dickies. None of The Dickies references I've ever seen have made the connection to this outfit so I'm not sure its true. Anyone know?
So back to the original question ... Is this album, or any album worth $500? Given I don't have a seven digit income, I'd never consider paying that much for a record, however if I had the disposable income that some folks make, this would be one of the few album's I'd at least think about buying.
By the way, here's a picture of the LP flip side cover. Always thought it was kind of cool.
1.) Look At the Sun (Myke Jackson) - 3:18
2.) Now She's Gone (Myke Jackson - Mike Neel) - 5:29
3.) Weepin' Mama Blues (Myke Jackson) - 4:40
4.) World (Myke Jackson - Mike Neel) - 5:36
1.) The Change (Myke Jackson) - 10:10
2.) Destination (Myke Jackson) - 6:43
So I put this brief write up on the web about a year ago and lo and behold, one of the band members stumbled across it and was kind enough to fill in some of the blanks ...
Myke Jackson, Mike Neel and I [Tommy Gilstrap] were high school buddies in Arab, Alabama, a small town of about 5,000 situated 20 miles south of my home town, Huntsville, Alabama. We met at a music festival at an amphitheater atop Monte Sano in Huntsville during the summer of 1970. Myke was 16 at the time and had already written quite a few songs and was looking to put together a band to perform his original material. We sat at a picnic table as he played some of his tunes for me on his Gibson 335. I really liked his stuff so I talked some friends of mine who were playing at the festival into letting us use their equipment and we actually performed for the first time ( 'World' and 'Weepin' Mama Blues' ) after knowing each other for less than an hour! We agreed that we wanted a fuller sound so a few weeks later we added Stan Lee to play rhythm guitar. This quartet rehearsed intensely at Mike Neel's father's upholstery shop after hours and in a couple of months we had about 20 of Myke's original tunes sounding pretty good, with all the band mates contributing to the arrangements. One night a guy who worked at a local TV station [Lynn McCrosky - per Mychael John] was driving by the upholstery shop and happened to hear us rehearsing. He liked what he heard and set up a demo recording session at a small studio in Birmingham [Ed Boutwell's studio] that was owned by a friend of his. We went in for a 3 hour session to cut 3 originals but the engineer was so impressed with our stuff that we were there until the wee hours and came away with 5 songs complete with triple-tracked harmony vocals. Not long after the demo session we met Alan Dalrymple who was a native of Albertville, Alabama and a couple years older than us. He asked to jam with us and his Hammond B-3 really completed the sound we all had in our heads.
gave the resulting demo tape to Myke's uncle, who was a
country fiddler for many of Nashville's biggest stars in the 50's and 60's
and a regular on the Grand Ole Opry. [The tape was sent to my
uncle, D. Roscoe Buttrey, who was president of Third National Bank
(which would later become SunTrust). Third National acquired a
company called Cresent Company, which also included Nashboro Records,
Woodland Studios, and Lookout Music under their umbrella. Anyway, I
met Bob through my uncle.
Bob Tubert thought we had potential
and convinced the powers that be at Nashboro/Nasco to give us a shot. We
recorded the album in two days ( about ten hours a day ) and Bob gave us
an incredible amount of freedom in the studio, considering our youth and
relative lack of knowledge concerning the differences between playing live
and recording. By this time, Myke and Stan were 17, Mike and I were 18 and
Alan was 19. We got a $5,000 advance on the album and thought we were
headed for the big time. [The
advance was actually two advances in the amount of $1,000 each. We
did record the album in two days but mixed it in one day in early
When Myke got out he was going in a different direction philosophically and decided to pursue a career in Christian music, effectively dissolving Felt. Mike Neel would later go on the road with Myron and the VanDells who were a '50's Sha Na Na type group. In the mid '70's Alan died in a car accident. [He was driving his van to see his girlfriend after a concert, fell asleep and died in the resulting accident - per Mychael John]. The last time I saw Stan he was playing jazz and classical guitar in Huntsville back in the early '80's. I'm pretty sure that meek, mild-mannered Stan was not a part of the Dickies. Myke gave me a call out of the blue in 1978 from Nashville asking me to join his new group. He had just been signed to Free Flight, RCA's new Nashville "rock" label. His new album was almost finished but I got there in time to play on 3 tracks. The album was titled "Mychael" and was produced by Cliff Williamson and Mychael for Tree Productions, AHL1-3400 Free Flight. I have one promo copy and have not been able to locate any other copies.
The last time I saw Myke he was a licensed Baptist preacher at a church in Arab with a wife and kids and still recording his own Christian rock. [I left the Baptist movement and turned in my license to pursue more non-denominational efforts. Since then I have ministered in most all Christian movements as worship leader and teacher at times...my concept of it all is "Unity." - per Mychael John] The gig with Myke in Nashville opened a lot of doors for me and I lived there from 1978 through 1982 playing with some great musicians and doing a good bit of studio work. I was in one band called Cor that had as it's lead singer a wailing rocker (think Pat Benatar) soon to be country superstar by the name of Pam Tillis. I also did some work with Al Green, Dobie Gray, Mary Wells, Cecil Womack, Eddie Floyd and others.
I'm currently taking it pretty easy doing resort stuff on the Florida and Georgia coast and some occasional club gigs. I hope this has answered some of your questions and that I didn't ramble too badly. I think it's great that our music is being appreciated more than 35 years after we created it ...
Keepin' it low,
Myke Jackson also stumbled onto my site ... and provided the updates you see above.
I stumbled across the site on Felt, which was mine and Mike Neel's original project. I've since changed my name to Mychael John Thomas (1988), for obvious reasons...NO JOKES PLEASE, that's why I changed it. I thought you might be interested in what I pursued since Felt...
Yes, I did one solo album titled Myke Jackson, ALONE in 1975 where I performed all the instruments and vocals. And from there, of course, I went on to Nashville and eventually signed with RCA/Free Flight...
I've been back in Alabama since October 1987. I was saved on Sept 11, 1987 and worked in youth ministry for 10 years. I am now an independent record producer, musician, and part-time music teacher, & worship leader, among the other 100 hats I wear...lol. Anyway, if you'd like to hear some of what I've been up to:
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