Singing sticksman Gary Lewis was also the son of comedian Jerry Lewis. By his own admission he wasn’t the greatest singer, and obviously it’s easy to write him off as the son of a rich Hollywood star who used his parents connections to help launch his band to success. No doubt there was some of that going on. But tucked away on his and his Playboys LPs are some real gems. And in fact the whole of one of the LPs, Listen, is an under-the-radar soft-sike delight that deserves far wider acclaim.

For years I would skip by his records never even considering them. I can’t remember why one day I decided to to finally take one home, but I’m glad I did. That LP was the aforementioned Listen, a lush Pet Sounds type masterpiece with a perfectly gentle cover image to match. I then quickly bought all his other LPs for dirt cheap and while none of them lived up to the SoCal glory of Listen, there was enough of interest on each to keep them from being recycled. Plenty of shlock pop too, for sure, but I’m not above keeping a mostly-cheesy LP on my shelf if it also contains one or two tasty little morsels.

So following are four highlights from four late 60s LPs. To borrow from some those albums titles, LISTEN to the NEW DIRECTIONS of NOW and you’ll be on THE RIGHT ROAD…



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