LISTEN UP TO GARY....

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 18:35 Bill Buckley Print

gary_lewisGARY LEWIS is the son of zany (and occasionally very serious) US movie actor JERRY LEWIS. In the 60s - encouraged and supported by dad – young GARY broke into the music biz where he was drummer and vocalist in GARY LEWIS AND THE PLAYBOYS. Working with hotshot producer, SNUFF GARRET, the "band" chalked up a remarkable run of chart hits in the US (In actual fact, the recordings featured one PLAYBOY – GARY... the musicians on the tracks were the cream of the then LA session scene).

GARY meant little in the UK till the Northern Soul scene picked up on a couple of his sweet and banal but eminently danceable little ditties – 'This Diamond Ring' and 'My Heart's A Symphony' - and things were going well for our hero till UNCLE SAM beckoned and he was drafted into the Vietnam War.

On leave from the army GARY went into the studio again and recorded a new album with a more sophisticated sound. The LP, 'Listen,' was arranged by the legendary JACK NITZCHE and was described by the label's PR people as "psych pop". Sadly the album bombed ... GARY had to go back to the Army and he eventually became embroiled in legal disputes with the label (Liberty). So, 'Listen' was soon deleted and, of course, has now become an in-demand collectors' item. Now, Now Sounds (a subsidiary of Cherry Red) have made it easy for said collectors by reissuing the album in all its naive psych pop glory. It's certainly not soul – but its pleasing melodies and breezy West Coast optimism might appeal to those who enjoyed the man's two Northern faves. The reissue offers the album in stereo and mono mixes and you can find out more at www.cherryred.co.uk