Even if the name Lee Michaels doesn’t ring a bell, I’ll wager that you’d recognize — and sing along to — singer/songwriter/keyboardist’s signature 1971 hit “Do You Know What I Mean.” That’s the most well-known song in his arsenal but a new compilation happily shines a light on more terrific music Michaels was making during that era.
“Heighty Hi: The Best of Lee Michaels” is a 20-track, 75-minute set that features Michaels’ best work during a seven-album stint at A&M Records from 1968-1973. It’s a fantastic career retrospective and leaves me wondering why Michaels wasn’t a bigger star. With a soulful voice and first-rate writing skills, Michaels had it all. But his records in the mid-1970s tanked and Michaels walked away from the music business.
This terrific album serves as a reminder (or an introduction for younger audiences) of how much talent Michaels possessed. And if you check out keepers like “Heighty Hi,” “Hello,” “Keep the Circle Turning,” “Can I Get a Witness,” “Murder in My Heart (For the Judge),” “Stormy Monday,” “What Now America” and “Own Special Way (As Long As),” you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. (Jeffrey Sisk)