Michaels, Lee - Carnival Of Life (CD)




Flawed Gems





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Original release1968
Re-issue 2010 Flawed Gems

Michaels began his career with The Sentinals, a San Luis-based surf group that included drummer Johny Barbata, later of The Turtles, Jefferson Airplane, and Jefferson Starship. Michaels joined Barbata in the Strangers, a group led by Joel Scott Hill, before moving to San Francisco. There he joined an early version of The Family Tree, a band led by Bob Segarini. In 1967, he signed a contract with A&M Records, releasing his debut, Carnival Of Life, later that year. As a session musician, he played with Jimi Hendrix, among others.

Michaels' choice of the Hammond organ as his primary instrument was unusual for the time, as was his bare-bones stage and studio accompaniment: usually just a single drummer, most often a musician known as Frosty (Bartholomew Eugene Smith-Frost) member of Sweathog (band) or with Joel Larson of The Grass Roots. This unorthodox approach attracted a following in San Francisco, and some critical notice, but Michaels did not achieve real commercial success until the release of his fifth album (Fifth), which produced a surprise U.S. Top 10 hit (#6 in the fall of 1971), Do You Know What I Mean, and a Top 40 follow-up, a cover version of the Motown standard, Can I Get A Witness. Michaels recorded two more albums for A&M before signing a contract with Columbia Records in 1973. His Columbia recordings failed to generate much interest, and Michaels went into semi-retirement from the music business by the end of the decade, which was also influenced by his severe hearing loss.