McDonald, Michael

Band members               Related acts

- Michael McDonald -- vocals, keyboards




- The Doobie Brothers

- Steely Dan






Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  That Was Then, The Early Recordings of Michael McDonald

Company: Arista

Catalog: ABM-2006

Year: 1982

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor edge and ring wear, small cut out notch along lower edge

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4134

Price: $50.00

Cost: $1.00


In the wake of Michael McDonald's late-1970s/early-1980s commercial successes with The Doobie Brothers and as a solo act, it probably wasn't a major surprise to see someone trying to exploit the market with a quickie set of pre-fame releases.


Released by Arista Records, 1982's "That Was Then, the Early Recordings of Michael McDonald" served to comply a mix of early 1970s solo sides released while McDonald was signed to Bell Records (and now surprisingly hard to find), along with four previously unreleased selections.  Given that most retrospectives of this nature are pretty lame, this one wasn't all that bad.  McDonald's expressive voice was instantly recognizable throughout which, depending on your perspective, was something you enjoyed, or had about as much appeal as a case of the black plague.  Something that continued to plague McDonald throughout his career, there were way too many heartfelt ballads.  Taken individually tracks like 'Lord I Felt', 'It Don't Matter Now and 'I Think I Love You Again') were all pretty good, but lumped together they started to blend together into a sound-alike collage.  Still most of these 11 tracks were at least mildly entertaining.  So what were the highlights?  The LP kicked off with a kick ass cover of 'Drivin' Wheel' - McDonald's seldom rocked as hard!  Almost as good was the other true rocker - an all too brief cover of The Allman Brothers' 'Midnight Rider'.  Probably not of interest to a casual fan, but it's something most dedicated fans will want to own.  


Interestingly, as an early retrospective the set wasn't exactly complete.  Probably a result of contractual issues, missing in action were McDonald's pre-fame work for RCA Victor, including the 1970 single 'God Knows (I Love My Baby)' b/w 'If You Won't I Will' (RCA Victor catalog number 74-0405).


"That Was Then, The Early Recordings of Michael McDonald" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Drivin' Wheel   (Roosevelt Sykes) - 3:35

2.) Lord I Felt   (Michael McDonald) - 4:08

3.) It Don't Matter Now   (Michael McDonald) - 

4.) When I'm Home   (Michael McDonald) - 4:25

5.) I Think I Love You Again   (Tony Wine - Irwin Levine) - 3:24

6.) Melodic   (Michael McDonald) - 4:56


(side 2)

1.) Midnight Rider   (Gregg Allman) - 3:07

2.) Billy   (Michael McDonald) - 3:10

3.) Dear Me   (Michael McDonald) - 

4.) Where Men Don't Care   (Michael McDonald) - 3:37

5.) A Good Old Time Love Song   (Michael McDonald) - 4:32