Archive for August 18th, 2006

Dave Lewis – Mmm Mmm Mmm

August 18, 2006

Example

Mr. Dave Lewis

Example

Listen – Mmm Mmm Mmm MP3″

Good day.

We arrive here at the end of the week, ready – and channeling Foghorn Leghorn, ‘I DO MEAN READY, Son!’ – for the weekend.

This was my first week back at work since the new baby arrived and I have to say that while I’m sure the early-20’s version of my self was temperamentally ill-suited to handle a newborn and a toddler at the same time, on the physical side of things I would have done better than I’m doing now.

Ahh, the “old days” when staying up all night and going right back out the next day seemed not only sane, but run of the mill. Those days are gone my friends. I now guard my precious sleepy time like a wolverine hovering over a warm tasty bunny, and with each passing night, the bunny slips away a little bit more.

This isn’t to say that I’m not having a lot of fun with the baby, just that I wish the drones that program the 200 or so channels on our cable system would put something (anything) on at 3AM besides infomercials and re-runs of right-wing news chat shows. The other night I watched an episode of ‘Band of Brothers’ on the History Channel as I fed the baby, but I ended up wondering if he’d end up in therapy later in life with weird, vestigial memories of Nazis getting blown up by hand grenades and the steady rat-a-tat of machine gun fire.

The good thing (I think) is that I seem to be floating on some kind of ongoing, but fragile, second wind. My brain seems like it’s working OK (for whatever that’s worth), but I’m haunted by the nagging feeling that it’s all going to come crashing down, and my boss will end up having to wake me up at my desk. Let’s hope it doesn’t go that far.

Anyway…

Today’s selection was not on the agenda until the latest in a trickle of promo items found its way through yon mail slot. This time, it was a compilation of the work of one of my long time fave Hammond players, the late, great Dave Lewis. For the skinny on Mr. Lewis, I refer you to the long form piece I did on him in the Funky16Corners web zine a few years back.

The shorter version, is that Lewis was responsible for a grip of fantastic Hammond 45s (and a few LPs) in early to mid 60’s Seattle, that were a big influence on the Pacific Northwest rock scene of the day (i.e. Kingsmen, Sonics, Don & The Goodtimes etc), and also stand quite well on their own merits. Lewis recorded for a number of labels, but the bulk of his best stuff was made for Jerden and associated labels, and much of it has just been reissued on the new comp ‘Dave Lewis: The Godfather of Northwest Rock & The King of Seattle R&B’ (Jerden).

The disc contains many of his finest 45 sides, LP cuts, some live action and a couple of what appear to be unreleased obscurities (I can’t say for sure because the track annotation is practically non-existent).

On first glance, I was disappointed to see my fave Lewis track ‘Mmm Mmm Mmm’, which initially appeared on his Panorama LP ‘High Heel Sneakers’ (and was also released on a Picadilly 45), appeared to have been omitted. Then I played the CD, and when the track ‘Daves Fifth Avenue’ (which was a 1966 Jerden 45) came on, I realized that this was in fact ‘Mmm Mmm Mmm’ with the vocals stripped off. While ‘Daves Fifth Avenue’ is not without its charms, I think when you hear ‘Mmm Mmm Mmm’, which I’ve posted as todays selection, you’ll agree that it’s a much groovier affair with the vocals intact.

Either way, since Lewis’s original vinyl is pretty hard to come by, I’d say that picking up the new CD would be a wise investment for those that dig the groovy organ sound. Also, if you dig the Northwest sound in general, Jerden is also issuing new, CD versions of ‘The History of Northwest Rock’ series. I can’t say for sure if they mirror the late 70’s GNW label comps exactly (which is where I heard Dave Lewis in the first place), but they seem to contain much of the same material.

Oh, one more thing…..

I know it hasn’t got much to do with funk or soul, but I just wrote an appreciation of Arthur Lee of the band Love over at the Uppers site. If the subject interests you, please check it out.