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Thirty Days Out - Miracle Lick (LP)

Thirty Days Out - Miracle Lick (LP)

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Genre: rock
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Miracle Lick
Company: Reprise
Catalog: MS 2085
Year: 1972
Country/State: New York
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: includes lyric insert sheet; textured cover
Available: 2
Catalog ID: 6137
Price: $15.00

Their sophomore release, 1972's "Miracle Lick" tends to get lukewarm reviews from folks. That's unfortunate since I've always found the collection to be quite enjoyable. True, nothing here was particularly original, or earth shaking, but these guys were quite talented and virtually every one of these nine originals (largely penned by vocalist John Micaleff) had at least something going for it. As lead singer Micaleff had a nice voice that was quite versatile, though slightly anonymous. Similarly drummer Phil Lowe and bassist Monte Melnick made for a steady rhythm section, but with the exception of Melniick's amazing work on 'Never Felt Better' they seldom took much of the spotlight. That left lead guitarist Jack Malken as the band's secret weapon. A first rate string bender, his solos were tasteful and concise. Wish he'd been given more spotlight time. Musically the set included nice stabs at pop-oriented tunes ('Honey I Do'), standard rock ('Tupelo'), and an occasional nod to a more progressive sound ('he Sun Keeps Right On Shining'). While it was all listenable, their strengths were best displayed by the more progressive numbers.

- 'Honey I Do' opened the album with the band's most pop-oriented track. A breezy rocker, the song had an infectious melody, some great harmony vocals on the chorus, and a nice Monte Melnick bass line kicking the track along. Easy to picture this one on early-1970s top-40 radio along with the likes of Pablo Cruise and other AOR outfits. rating: *** stars 
- Opening up with some stark church organ chords, 'I Need You' began as a pretty ballad, before morphing into a mid-tempo rocker that sounded a bit like something Three Dog Night might have covered. Micaleff distinguished himself as one of the few rocker singers who could successfully get through a song in a higher register. rating: *** stars.  
- With an upbeat, peppy feel 'Any Other Day' didn't sound anything like the rest of the album. Complete with backing chorus, this one actually sounded like something off of an Up with People album ... cheery and kind of disconcerting. rating: ** stars
- For a bunch of guys from the Northeast, 'Tupelo' ('fine little city') was a pretty good Southern rocker with Micaleff turning in a nice 'redneck' vocal while Malken's lead guitar was as good as many twin lead guitar line-ups. Besides, how could you not like a song that name checked such southern traditions cherry cola ? rating: *** stars  
- Showcasing some subtle mellotron, 'The Sun Keeps Right On Shining' was a pretty mid-tempo rocker with distinct commercial potential. Micaleff turned in one of his best vocals on this one while Malken used the song to showcase his most melodic guitar work. Stunning solo that would have made most of the name competition blush ... The jamming fade out section of the track was also surprisingly good. My pick for standout performance on the album. rating: **** stars  
- Hum, you could be forgiven for thinking a song with a title like 'Everybody's Got to Have A Song' would suck, but this one wasn't half bad - particularly when Maklen's guitar and the orchestration kicked in. Only complaint was the irritating female backing singers. One of the album's best performance ... rating: **** stars
- A straight-ahead rocker, 'Phoenix' showcased the band at its best - great, rockin' melody that showcased Micaleff at his best with Maklen turning in another tasty solo. Grand Funk would have killed to have had a song as good as this one. rating: **** stars
- You don't often encounter a song where bass serves as lead instrument, but that's what happens on 'Never Felt Better'. Melnick simply makes this rocker his own. rating: **** stars
- 'Take A Look At Yourself' ended the album with another nice rocker. The multi-tracked vocals and harmony vocals made this one quite interesting, as did the killer double lead guitar, and the subtle religious message (maybe I read too much into the lyrics). rating: *** stars

Another nice release that simply fell under the radar screen. Even better, you can still find affordable copies.

"Miracle Lick" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Honey I Do (John Micaleff - Jack Malken) - 3:50
2.) I Need You (John Micaleff) - 3:21
3.) Any Other Day (Phil Loew) - 3:12
4.) Tupelo (John Micaleff - Jack Malken) - 2:50
5.) The Sun Keeps Right On Shining (John Micaleff) - 5:36

(side 2)
1.) Everybody's Got to Have A Song (John Micaleff) - 5:24
2.) Phoenix (John Micaleff) - 2:48
3.) Never Felt Better (Jack Malken) - 4:09
4.) Take A Look At Yourself (John Micaleff) - 4:08

So after two albums, one single, and modest success the band called it quits. Melnick found some fame as road manager for The Ramones.  
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