Friday, March 12, 2010

Gary Lewis & The Playboys - The Legendary Masters Series

Original members

Gary Lewis - Drums and vocals

David Walker - Guitar

Allan Ramsay (died in 1985) - Bass

David Costell - Guitar

John West - "Cordovox" (electronic accordion)

The group auditioned for a job at Disneyland, without telling Disneyland employees about Lewis' celebrity father. They were able to do this because they were known then as Gary & The Playboys. They were hired on the spot, audiences at Disneyland quickly accepted them, and the Playboys were soon playing to a full house every night. Band leader Les Brown had known Jerry Lewis for years, and he told record producer Snuff Garrett that the younger Lewis was playing at Disneyland. After listening to the band, Garrett thought using Gary's famous name might sell records. Garrett took them into a recording studio with the song "This Diamond Ring" in a session financed by Jerry Lewis' wife Patti. However, according to Lewis, the Playboys weren’t allowed to play their instruments except on the backing tracks. Garrett wanted to maximize the chances for a hit, so he insisted on using experienced studio musicians for the overdubs, which included guitar and keyboard solos, additional bass and drum overdubs, and timpani. These musicians included Tommy Allsup on guitar, Leon Russell on keyboards, Joe Osborn on bass, and Hal Blaine on drums. Session singer Ron Hicklin did the basic vocal track. Garrett then added Gary’s voice twice, added some of the Playboys and more of Hicklin. "When I got through, he sounded like Mario Lanza," Garrett commented.

Who Gary Lewis is should already be known by many. The son of Jerry Lewis started with a bang with THIS DIAMOND RING, a number one smash at a time were American Rock and Roll was just starting to revitalize itself, (Lovin' Spoonful, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Buckinghams, Association, etc.... Of course, "This Diamond Ring" is usually all radio plays now. This is sad, because "we" children of the sixties do remember his many top ten tunes, all unique, all different, all pure pop.

"Count Me In", "Save Your Heart For Me" (makes you want to swing), "Everybody Loves A Clown" followed in rapid succession, all top 5, and all classic 60's. If a DJ doens't have these, he is not a 60's DJ.

The hits continued, but top ten, as he released "She's Just My Style", "Sure Gonna Miss Her" , "Green Grass" (one of my favorites), " My Heart's Symphony ", "(You Don't Have To) Paint Me A Picture" and "Where Will The Words Come From". THESE ARE ALL EXCELLENT TUNES, and considering the times, this is a substantial string of hits.

Also during this time, his flip sides and other album cuts are a cut above the normal group of the 60's "I Don't Wanna Day Goodnight" and "I Can Read Between The Lines" are excellent flip sides. Then he served time in the Armed Forces. This left him out of the mainstream to long, and his career never fully recovered.

He did have two minor hits with Brian Hylands "Sealed With a Kiss" followed by "Jill". Gary Lewis continues to tour today with oldie shows and is quite popular.

This CD is similar to the others in the Legendary Masters series. with outtakes and background chatter which make it interesting, as well as commericals. For the price, its much better than the other collections. It does miss out on some good album cuts such as "One Track Mind" and "Heart Full of Soul", but overall, is a great buy and for 11 bucks you get more top ten hits then most others.

A "Highly Recommended" CD.

By R. Barnes "Music Collector"

The Legendary Masters Series 1990

1. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - This Diamond Ring (2:14)

2. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Count Me In (2:31)

3. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Little Mis Go-Go (2:56)

4. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Doin' the Flake (3:08)

5. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Save Your Heart For Me (2:03)

6. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Without a Word of Warning (2:28)

7. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Everybody Loves a Clown (2:25)

8. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Time Stands Still (2:02)

9. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - She's Just My Style (3:11)

10. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - I Won't Make That Mistake Again (2:08)

11. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Sure Gonna Miss Her (2:32)

12. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - I Don't Wanna Say Goodnight (2:38)

13. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Face In a Crowd (2:20)

14. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Green Grass (2:15)

15. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - I Can Read Between the Lines (2:24)

16. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Autumn (2:50)

17. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - My Heart's Symphony (3:04)

18. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Tina (2:05)

19. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - (You Don't Have to) Paint Me a Picture (2:34)

20. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Where Will the Words Come From (2:01)

21. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Way Way-Out (2:04)

22. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - The Loser (With a Broken Heart) (2:19)

23. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Girls In Love (2:26)

24. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Jill (2:22)

25. Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Sealed With a Kiss (2:26)

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