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Yonkers, Michael

Michael Lee Yonkers

Drag City
LP $20.85

01/21/2014 781484058014 

DC 580 


There’s yet another musical color revealed on the uber-rare private press, Michael Lee Yonkers, which was home-recorded in 1971–72, while MICHAEL YONKERS was working in an unheated, hundred year-old warehouse. He ran the forklift and drove the truck for the company, hauling extremely heavy loads of industrial surplus and scrap metal. His co-workers almost exclusively listened to country and western music, which inspired him to create and perform an oddly countrified set on weekends, when he would play in coffeehouses and at house parties. Yonkers would do an acoustic set of original “country” and “rock” music for the first part, then he would get out an “electronic music machine” that he had built himself and play “electronic music” (quotes all added by Michael himself). Michael Lee Yonkers is a recording of some of the “country” songs he was doing at the time, as well as a few songs he wrote for the children at the house parties (like “Mrs. Jennings Fruit Fly Farm,” recorded live, where you can hear the kids going nuts). The tracks were recorded on a variety of tube-type, reel-to-reel tape machines, which give them a unique analogue sound that begs comparisons to outsider hillbillies like Peter Grudzien, Holy Modal Rounders and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, as well as beloved longhair outlaws like Townes Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson (ok, even one St. Johnny Cash too). The original art and labels have been faithfully reproduced and, with a discreet remastering touch, the tracks sound better than ever.

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