Miss Pat Lewis
I hope everyone had a good weekend and is sufficiently rested, at least rested enough so that the sudden shock of some outstanding soul music won’t knock you on your ass. Presumptuous? I think not. While combing the crates for the most recent batch of tasty 45s to whip on you via the ole blogspot, I was seized by what the Tenacious D boys refer to as “inspirado”. No matter how many 45s I flipped through, I was repeatedly drawn to some very nice 60’s female soul sides, and thought to myself, “Grogan…” That’s how I refer to myself when engaged in internal dialogue. “You know what you oughtta do?” “Whazzat?” said I. “Pull a grip of these babies, and do a theme week. Lay a new mix on’em on Wednesday and bookend that with a couple of winners on Monday and Friday.” Naturally, considering the source I thought this was a wonderful idea, and got right down to work. The first thing I grabbed was yet another Solid Hit disc (following the unjustly ignored Johnny Goode 45 of roughly a month ago), this time ‘Warning’ b/w ‘I’ll Wait’ by the mighty Pat Lewis. I first encountered the sounds of Pat Lewis a few years back via one of Keb Darge’s comps (Beams Presents the Keb Darge Experience). The tune he included, the absolutely incredible ‘No One To Love’, the third of her four singles for the Solid Hit label. I instantly fell in love with the song, and set out to try and bag my own copy. That is until I found out that when copies of this single turn up, they trade in the vicinity of $1000.00 apiece. Naturally, when I do come across that kind of money, I use it to pay my mortgage, so it was not to be. However, I did keep the name Pat Lewis on my want list and grabbed her – how do you say – “more affordable” sides when I was able to find them. If you are unfamiliar with Lewis, I can assure you that you have definitely heard her voice. She was one of the Andantes, the female backing group that appears on countless Motown 45s, and sang on Isaac Hayes’ ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ LP, providing the signature “Walk on!”s on Hayes’ epic rereading of ‘Walk On By’. In 1966 and 1967 Lewis also laid down several 45s under her own name, including ‘Can’t Shake It Loose’ on Golden World (re-recorded as ‘I Can’t Shake It Loose’ by the Supremes, and the aforementioned 45s for Solid Hit. Lewis had the good fortune to work with the Geo-Si-Mik organization (George Clinton, Sidney Barnes and Mike Terry) during her tenure with those two labels. Clinton co-wrote and produced ‘Can’t Shake It Loose’, eventually rerecording the song with Funkadelic during the sessions to their debut LP (the song remained unreleased until a recent reissue of the LP). Her first 45 for Solid Hit was a fantastic version of the Parliaments tune ‘Look At What I Almost Missed’. Today’s selection(s) appeared on her second 45 for Solid Hit. ‘Warning’ (written by Leon Ware and Mike Terry) is a moody but upbeat number that juxtaposes pounding drums and elegant strings. Lewis delivers the lyrics in her clear soprano against the propulsive instrumental backing. The flip side, the slower, darker ‘I’ll Wait’ was co-written by Clinton and sounds like any number of similar Parliaments numbers (such as ‘All Your Goodies Are Gone’). This number was also re-recorded (as ‘I’ll Stay’) by Funkadelic on their 1974 LP ‘Standing On The Verge of Getting It On’). Lewis would go on to record two more 45s for Solid Hit, making her responsible for a full third of that label’s output. Unfortunately very little of Pat Lewis’ recorded output is currently available. If you pop over to Dusty Groove and search under her name, a few comps containing the aforementioned ‘No One To Love’ show up, but little else.