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Everything You See Is Me (Govinda Records) 1978

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RasaThough his father Eugene McDaniels had successes of his own with the 1961 hit “A Hundred Pounds of Clay,” subsequent albums on Atlantic Records (Outlaw; Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse), and penning Roberta Flack’s number one 1974 smash “Feel Like Making Love,” London McDaniels’s entry into the music industry came about of his own accord. Back home in Seattle on summer break from his first year at Berklee College of Music in 1978, seventeen-year-old fledgling guitarist/composer London and his sixteen-year-old brother Chris went to a local Hare Krishna temple to simply take advantage of the open feast on the advice of their mother. But over the course of several visits, a few of the heads of the temple learned of London’s and Chris’s musical abilities and contracted them to compose an album of contemporary Hare Krishna music.

Immediately, the temple went to work setting up a label specifically for the project. Pulling together the chops of stellar session musicians such as bassist Anthony Jackson and trumpeter Randy Brecker, the young McDaniels composed, arranged, produced, and recorded eight songs, with lyrics written by Hare Krishna devotee Andrew Marks, and Chris on vocals and drums. Sold exclusively by devotees at Hare Krishna temples and events around the world, the album was the first non-chanting Hare Krishna record ever produced. With elastic bass lines (“Chanting”) and juicy guitar licks (“When Will the Day Come”) abound, the obvious funk undertones give the record an air of distinction while remaining on par with other pop albums of the period.

Though Alice Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, George Harrison, and Neil Diamond are mentioned on the back cover, none of these artists made any musical contributions to the album. Some, however, made significant financial contributions to the creation of the album and the Hare Krishna movement.

Despite being limited to sale at Hare Krishna temples and events, Everything You See Is Me found its way into record crates of various hip-hop producers over the years. Bits and pieces of the album have been sampled on songs like “Take It EZ” by Common, “Beef” by BDP, “Weed” by High and Mighty, “Can I Live” by Black Rob, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s 2007 comeback single “I Tried,” featuring Akon.

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  1. Prior to reading this post, my only familiarity with this album was having it constantly waved in my face by fast-talking Hare Krishna devotees in Penn Station in the late ’70s, who’d try and get me to buy it by pointing out George Harrison and Stevie Wonder’s names in the not-so-fine print. Interesting to learn that it might actually be good. BTW, the McDaniels brothers later scored a major-label deal as World Sitizenz, and Chris recorded solo as Christopher Max

    – scott

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