Services for Lee T. McBee, 63, Lawrence, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, visitation to follow. Mr. McBee died unexpectedly on June 24.
He was born March 23, 1951 in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Taylor R. McBee and Margaret Reece McBee. He spent his early years in Lincoln and Warsaw Missouri before moving to Kansas. Lee married Carla Hamilton Nakata on May 3, 1975 in Leavenworth, Kansas. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include a daughter, Angela Nakata, a son, Gregory Nakata, a grandson, Gregory Fowler and a great grandson, Ethan Fowler. He is also survived by his sisters and brothers in law Leslie Hamilton, Michael and Donna Hamilton and Mary Janine Hamilton, as well as nieces Jessica Hamilton and Rachel Lear. He is also survived by several cousins and a foster sister.
He is preceded in death by his mother and father, a sister, Roberta Mauck, a brother Charles McBee,, his father in law Carl Hamilton, his mother in law Mary E. Hamilton, and a granddaughter, Alicia LeeAnn Fowler.
Lee McBee was an acclaimed musician, singer and songwriter who taught himself to play harmonica and drums while still a teenager. He played in bands around Kansas and Missouri in the 70’s and 80’s. In 1988 he joined the Dallas Texas based “Mike Morgan and the Crawl”. McBee toured with “The Crawl” as a songwriter, lead singer, harmonica player and front man throughout the USA and Europe until 1995. During this time the band released 4 albums with Black Top Records. These include “Raw and Ready”, “Mighty Fine Dancin’”, “Full Moon Over Dallas”, and “Ain’t Worried No More”. In 1995 McBee left “The Crawl” to pursue other musical interests. That year, as “Lee McBee and the Passions” he released “44 Blues” on the Red Hot Records label. Subsequently released in Europe by CRS Records, “44” climbed the German blues charts to #1.
McBee again joined briefly with “The Crawl” in 1998 and the band subsequently released “The Road” in 1998 and “I Like the Way You Work It” in 1999.
In 2000 McBee left “The Crawl” and began work with Pacific Blues Records on his newest release “Soul Deep”.
McBee listed as his influences, “Little Walter” Jacobs, George “Harmonica” Smith, Jimmy Reed, and “Slim” Harpo.
I’ve Got a Good Thing / Take Me Back / Just the Kind of Man I Am / Kiss Be Baby / I Don’t Want You Hangin Round / Full Moon Over Dallas / She’s Takin Me to Heaven / Born to Boogie / I Like the Way You Work It / I Wanna Know / See Me Runnin / Everybody Loves My Baby / 12 Hours From You / Woman Down in Arkansas / Gonna Find My Baby / I Don’t Understand / Your Turn to Cry
(McBee and Morgan)
I’m Worried / You Ain’t Like You Used to Be / Big D Shuffle / Cause I Love You Baby / My Trouble / Jus’ A Little Bit of Your Love / I’m Blue / I Let Her Slip Right Through My Hands / Cold Word / One of a Kind / The Hammer / Face Down in the Dirt
Losin’ Ground (McBee, Kazanoff and Morgan) / Somebody Help Me (McBee, Morgan, R. Innis, W. Campbell) / It’s Gonna B e Alright (lyrics McBee, Music McBee, Angerer, Recob
“Lee McBee, a truly a great musician” B.B. King
“Soul Deep turned out to be one of the best blues releases in a long, long time. McBee of course, is a master at blending blues grit with the beauty of soul. McBee is one of a handful of blues artists who’ve perfected a style that is modern enough to pack the dance floor and yet close enough to the roots to still touch the soul.” Dave Ranney, Blues Access
“What ya have in Soul Deep is simply McBee’s best outing to date, which is saying something. He righteously gets the vocal across in completely his own unique, natural, Soul Deep style.” John “Juke” Logan, Mocombo recording artist; blues radio host, RythmRadio.com
“A truly exceptional vocalist, Lee McBee also happens to be a dynamite harmonica player. One of my all time favorite blues singers….deeply soulful and always “For Real”. His phrasing is impeccable… a master of dynamics and subtle nuance… really puts across the story in his songs. With his song writing talent and his engaging on stage enthusiasm, it is apparent why he is such an asset to the blues in general…Anson Funderburgh says it best when he describes Lee musically as “a natural”.” Hammond Scott, Black Top Records
“Vocalist/harmonica player, Lee McBee taking honors for “Raw and Ready” Billboard Magizine
Musicians and fans may wish to attend a Lee McBee memorial “invitational jam” Sunday 6:00pm to 9:00pm at BB’s Lawnside BBQ, 1205 E. 85th, Kansas City, MO 64131.
The family suggests memorials to the American Heart Association in care of the funeral home 601 Indiana Street, Lawrence Kansas.