b. 3 September 1945, Carlisle, Cumberland, England. Vocalist/pianist Harrison began his career in the early 60s as a member of local act the Ramrods. In 1965 he joined the V.I.P.s, who later evolved into Art (1967), then Spooky Tooth (1968). In each of these acts Harrison’s distinctive voice was well to the fore, notably on Spooky Tooth’s ‘Sunshine Help Me’ and ‘Better By You, Better Than Me’. Mike Harrison was recorded following this band’s disintegration. Here the singer was supported by Junkyard Angels, a Carlisle-based outfit led by ex-VIPs’ guitarist Frank Kenyon and completed by Ian Herbert (guitar/vocals), Peter Batley (bass) and Ken Iverson (drums). Harrison’s powerful intonation - part Joe Cocker, part Stevie Winwood - raises this rather disappointing set which failed to recreate a personal chemistry between the leader and sidemen. Smokestack Lightning was an excellent collaboration with various Muscle Shoals session musicians, including Barry Beckett (keyboards) and David Hood (bass), both of whom later joined Traffic. In 1972 Harrison joined a re-formed Spooky Tooth - which also featured Ian Herbert - but left again in 1974. The low-key Rainbow Rider ensued before Harrison teamed with former Joe Cocker pianist Chris Stainton. After spending some time in Canada he worked in a warehouse having left music altogether, a sad waste of one of the finest bluesy heavy rock voices the UK has produced, although in 1999 he joined a re-formed Spooky Tooth to record a new album and got together with Mike Maslen and Dave Williams to record Late Starter, an album of little known covers. The production was superb, the playing; ditto, the voice quite magnificent but the pedestrian songs let him down.Portions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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