Lee Michaels – Same (1969)

LPFrontCover1An eclectic singer, songwriter, and performer, Lee Michaels made music that had the physical impact of hard rock, the creative ambition of psychedelia and progressive rock, and the passion and grit of rhythm & blues, the latter facet reinforced by Michaels’ vocals, which could swing from sweet to soulfully gritty at a moment’s notice. Michaels was also a gifted keyboard player, and often played full concerts at the organ with only a drummer to accompany him. (Michaels was also a sure hand at the piano and harpsichord.) One could argue that Michaels’ wide-ranging sound was one of the reasons he didn’t enjoy greater commercial success despite the loyalty of his audience, though Michaels did enjoy a Top Ten hit in 1971 with “Do You Know What I Mean.”

Lee Eugene Michaels was born on November 24, 1945, in Los Angeles, California. By the mid-’60s, Michaels was already a fixture on the California music scene; he was playing keyboards with the Sentinels, a surf rock band with an R&B influence that also featured John Barbata (who later played with the Turtles), and he wrote a tune that appeared on LeeMichaels04the debut album of the sunshine pop band the Holy Mackerel (featuring songwriter and media personality Paul Williams). Michaels later moved on to play in the band the Strangers, led by future Canned Heat guitarist Joel Scott Hill. Michaels soon bowed out of the Strangers, and his tenure in the Family Tree, a San Francisco band featuring future power pop icon Bob Segarini, was also short-lived, though Michaels opted to stay in the Bay Area. In time, Michaels struck out as a solo artist, and he landed a record deal with A&M Records, which released his debut album, Carnival of Life, in 1968. The psychedelic-influenced effort produced only marginal sales, and Michaels returned with the tougher-sounding Recital before the year was out.

Musically, Michaels hit his stride with his self-titled third album, released in 1969, which paired him with drummer Barry “Frosty” Smith and featured “Heighty Hi,” which became an FM radio staple, and Michaels’ signature cover of “Stormy Monday.” Frosty became Michaels’ on-stage foil, and his super-amped organ setup and Frosty’s drumming LeeMichaels03made for a power duo with enough muscle to share stages with the leading hard rock acts of the day. (by Mark Deming)

One of the masterpieces of the period, Lee Michaels was essentially recorded live in the studio by only Michaels (organ/bass pedals) and Frosty on drums. It’s a fabulous performance and one of the finest R&B/rock sets of the period. The first side is comprised of a medley of soulful workouts that come out sounding not unlike Led Zeppelin. Here, Michaels pulls out all the stops (literally) and showcases the organ as a bona fide rock instrument. Despite the lengthy drum solo, it’s one of the finest sides of Los Angeles rock & roll. Michaels also reprises “My Friends,” a song from his first album, to great effect. Lee Michaels is also home to the good-time, pro-drug anthem “Highty Hi,” as well as an awesome cover of “Stormy Monday.” A true party platter. (by Matthew Greenwald)

LeeMichaels02.jpg

Personnel:
Lee Michaels (keyboards, vocals, bass)
Bartholomew Smith Frost (drums, percussion)

LPBackCover1

Tracklist:
01. Tell Me How Do You Feel (Mayfield/Charles) 5.59
02. (Don’t Want No) Woman (Smith-Frost) 1.57
03. My Friends (Smith-Frost) 5.59
04. Frosty’s + Think I’ll Go Back (Smih-Frost/Michaels) 9.14
05. Stormy Monday (Walker) 5.11
06. Who Could Want More (Michaels) 3.41
07. Want My Baby (Michaels) 2.56
08. Heighty Hi (Michaels) 5.57
+
09. Tell Me How Do You Feel (complete session uncut version) 20.2

LabelB1
*
**

GermanSingle.jpg

Single from Germany (1969)

 

More Lee Michaels:

MoreLeeMichaels

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s