Lee Michaels

Carnival of Life

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Lee Michaels, a veteran of the Los Angeles and San Francisco bar-band scene in the mid-'60s, struck out on his own in 1967 after fronting bands with such illustrious alumni as Joel Scott Hill, Bob Mosley, and John Barbata. Michaels' music was characterized by his soulful vocals and equally soulful organ playing. These awesome talents would be polished on his second and third albums, but his debut, while interesting, falls a bit short. The main problem is that A&M saw Michaels as sort of a psychedelic singer/songwriter/rocker. In reality, he was sort of a California version of Steve Winwood. Carnival of Life has some excellent performances by Michaels and especially drummer Eddie Hoh. Both rock hard on the album's nine cuts, but the material is a bit dated and tends to end up in some hard-rock clich├ęs of the period. Still, it's a promising if quirky start of what would be a fine career.

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