(All Album Reviews by progladyte)
Most people would have thought that anything played by a Quatro family member would sound very dated and somewhat simplistic compared to what we progsters enjoy. What we have here is a perfect example of how to create the perfect marriage between classical and rock music. Michael is a very talented keyboard player, make no mistake. His arsenal of instruments is very impressive and he plays with as much dexterity as any of the greats. I must confess right here and now to preferring my music to be melodious, symphonic, clever and well conceived. Fiery pyrotechnics are also fine so long as the music is not too discordant or brash.
Side 1 of this album opens with a very lush piece using piano but which is quickly attacked by some amazing guitar courtesy of Rick Derringer who, I recall served some time with blues legends, Edgar and Johhny Winter. Needless to say, the playing here is very tight, well controlled but above all, very well structured and never loses direction. The appeal to me of this release is underpinned by the clever variety and depth of songs together with their various tangential movements that always lead to something equally as interesting. While the classically styled pieces may sound in parts to be slightly syrupy, the overall effect is there for a good reason. The balance between harder edged rock and some stress reducing softness is tastefully done and makes you wonder why more music of this type was not tried before, or even, more often.
Another similar experience can be heard on "Variations on A Theme" which is an unusual interpretation of some of Paganini's work by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This should not scare you off as much as you might think. If you can enjoy some melody in your music without it being too cheezy, then either of these two albums might appeal. Side 2 of this album is not as good as the first; however, the strength of material on side 1 is worth the price of admission alone. You Americans would probably find reasonable cheap second hand copies of his albums in the used bins far more readily than those living in Europe or elsewhere as I know he wasn't heavily promoted outside the good old U.S. of A.. You could safely ignore his other releases as I couldn't detect much similarity to the brilliance demonstrated on I.C.W.T.G. or find anything even remotely interesting.
I am not sure if Michael's music has even been issued on CD but this would make a great re-release to start with, nevertheless. If you were expecting the male equivalent of Suzi, then don't waste your time here. This is ten times better and 100 times more original. This is a minor classic just itching to find its way onto some enterprising label's CD catalogue. Go fetch!