Friday, July 20, 2018

Lee Michaels - 1974 - Tailface

Lee Michaels 

01. Met A Toucan 5:20
02. Politician 3:52
03. Slow Dancin' Rotunda 4:26
04. Roochie Toochie Loochie 2:48
05. Drink The Water 4:26
06. Lovely Lisa 3:38
07. Garbage Gourmet 4:45

Bass – Frank Smith (Rank Frank)
Drums – Bartholemew Eugene Smith-Frost
Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals – Michael Olson

One of the most interesting second-division California psychedelic musicians, keyboardist Lee Michaels was one of the most soulful white vocalists of the late '60s and early '70s. Between 1968 and 1972, he released half a dozen accomplished albums on A&M that encompassed Baroque psychedelic pop and gritty white, sometimes gospel-ish R&B with equal facility. A capable songwriter, Michaels was blessed with an astonishing upper range, occasionally letting loose some thrilling funky wails. In 1971, he landed a surprise Top Ten single with "Do You Know What I Mean," one of the best and funkiest AM hits of the early '70s.

But Michaels was really much more of an album-oriented artist, from the time he began recording in the late '60s. Michaels started playing music in Southern California, where he was in a band with future members of Moby Grape, the Turtles, and Canned Heat. By the time he signed to A&M, however, he'd moved to San Francisco, joining the management stable of Matthew Katz (which also included, at various times, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, and It's a Beautiful Day). Michaels was unusual for a San Francisco act in that he relied mostly on an organ-based sound, especially after the first pair of albums, when for a time he played, live and in the studio, with the mammoth drummer "Frosty" as his only accompanist.

In the 80's, Michaels moved to Hawaii for an extended retirement from the music business; aside from a self-released album in the early '80s, little's been heard from him since.

In context of being a strangely unique later album from an established young musician who most record labels of the time would willingly and even blindly invite into their studio that resulted in producing a future classic album and setsvnew highes in sales. This was a period when the labels knew they had little understanding of what "magic" ingredients makes any record outsell another. One ingredient consistently associated with many successful albums happened with expressing an intense emotional experience any "deep" artist would commonly become fully immersed and proudly suffer the process; especially during a "you ripped my heart out and I don't understand why" period. So, certain artists were allowed endless studio time with full control in hopes a groundbreaking album that sets a new high in sales.r was resresultedexperiment with produce anything they wanted in a top selling album could be repeated that would guarantee sales.guarateewere doing guidelines or rules that could be followed derstood some records became big sellers sold of 70's "whole thing" has a certain charm that 70's music fans and Lee Michaels fans will appreciate. Fans already know the details of Lee Michaels moving from A&M to Columbia and this brief switch from his trademark Hammond to these raunchy guitar riff sounds. The cover is perfectly hilarious, and for me, this cover photo also captures the special charm of this timepiece: Three music dudes livin' for their craft and stopping for a quick snap to visually document the magic of the moment. You then put this on your turntable to be treated to slightly catchy riffs, silly lyrics, and simple rock vocals. The lead guitar work is weak while the rhythm is very, very good. The back photo is Lee playing as he might have live though I don't think this album ever toured (I saw him late seventies and he was all Hammond again). A unique album that did not work. Many will find this album amusing and interesting, and some may even like it for several spins. If it is ever put out on CD I would probably buy it. But, I also like instant coffee....



  2. I couldn't agree more about the guitar on this one. Lame! However, I'm glad I stuck it out to the end, as the last 3 numbers I really enjoy. Not Lee at his best, but fun and funky. Thanks for this. It's a rare one!