A while back, somewhere (exactly where currently escapes me) someone dropped a list of albums that were, if not lost classics, much better than you’d think and decidedly underappreciated.
One of these records was Gary Lewis’s 1967 LP ‘New Directions’. The album proved easy (and cheap) to acquire, and once I’d gotten it under the needle and digimatized, I was very happy indeed.
Though the record is – as a whole – definitely worth hearing, and a little bit more progressive than you’d expect from Gary and the boys* (who’s better known stuff I dig all the same), the track that really drilled its way into my head was ‘Me About You’.
What I didn’t know when I heard it, is that ‘Me About You’, written by Alan Gordon and Gary Bonner (who also penned a number of other tunes on the album) , had been recorded a bunch of times by a bunch of different people, such as Bobby Darin, the Turtles, The Lovin’ Spoonful and the Lettermen.
Naturally, I set out to hear the other versions, and in the end I kept coming back to Gary Lewis.
The song itself is kind of a soft, pretty love song, but the arrangement, by Nick DeCaro is positively haunting, filled with baroque touches that creep on up to the edge of psychedelic without ever really crossing that particular line.
Lewis’s vocal conveys a mix of sadness and yearning that I’d never heard on any of his records, and it kind of blows my mind that a track this good was buried deep on the second side of a fairly obscure album.
It certainly packs enough surprise to make you look at Gary Lewis in a new light, as well as a reminder of what great songwriters Gordon and Bonner were (not that you needed a reminder, but whatever).
It is a sweet, groovy little sound, and you should pour it into your ears gently, and savor it.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you next week.