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.
"Do You Know What I Mean," ironically, was a throwaway tune that Michaels wrote hurriedly. Though Lee himself didn't think much of it, the song was a first-rate blast of white boy soul; around this time, the gospel influence that had often informed his sound come to the fore. His albums in the mid-'70s for Columbia, however, were both critical and commercial disappointments. 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. (allmusic)
Lee Michaels - Live (1972)