Dave Lewis – Mmm Mmm Mmm


Mr. Dave Lewis


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.


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.

15 Responses to “Dave Lewis – Mmm Mmm Mmm”

  1. Todd Lucas Says:

    Great post, Larry. I’ve wondered about the song “David’s Mood”, which turns up on the b-side of records by The Kingsmen and Jack Ely & the Courtmen. Now I know where it came from. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for Lewis’ records.


  2. funky16corners Says:

    Thanks Todd. I have both of the 45s you mentioned, and Lewis’s tunes (David’s Mood, J.A.J., Little Green Thing and Lip Service) were also covered by the Viceroys, Don & The Goodtimes, and the Dynamics. Another example of a very successful (and influential) regional artist that remains largely unknown.

  3. Todd Lucas Says:

    Agreed, as much as I like the Pacific NW garage bands, I’m surprised that Lewis has eluded me until now. But, you learn something new every day. His records go on the list that I keep in my head.

  4. Marc Bright Says:

    Finally posting after many, many months of enjoying. I always smile when you discuss the aftermath of the birth as I have a 4 year old and a 5 month old and it all rings so true.

    Glad to see you finding as much joy in the little ones as you do in the music and thanks for posting such fantastic, sanity saving, essential tunes.

  5. Ernie K. Doe - Here Come the Girls « Funky16Corners Says:

    […] On a different note, I have started receiving promo CDs and such, and while some of the stuff that falls through the Funky16Corners mail slot is not – how shall we say – to my taste, every now and then (as with the recent Dave Lewis comp) something groovy arrives. This time out, it’s the new LP by the mighty Sam Moore, he of course the Sam of “and Dave” fame, a voice, if not a name that should send shivers up and down your spine, cause sweat to break out on your forehead and set your feet to moving and your hands, or course, to clapping. When I first unwrapped the disc, and saw that Randy “Mr. American Idol with alla that Dawg crap” Jackson was manning the board in the studio, you might forgive me for lifting a skeptical eyebrow. However, some things – like Sam Moore’s voice – cannot be messed with, even at the hands of slickmeisters like Jackson. […]

  6. John Berg Says:

    Lest Dave Lewis get all the credit (though certainly much is due, as he was “the MAN” in Seattle when it came to organ), let us not neglect his guitar-playing mate Joe Johansen, who along with Rich Dangel [Fabulous Wailers] was the template for Seattle guitarists in the early to mid-’60s. Hundreds of local teens sought to emulate these two 6 string wranglers, as heard on countless 45s and album tracks from the era — and even today in certain NW blues players. Joe and Rich subsequently came together in psych-blues band “Floating Bridge” (1 LP on the Vault label, reissued on CD a few years back from the German Repertoire label with liner notes by Chris Welch). This new CD release by Jerry Dennon deserved better liners and track by track annotation that it received (Dick Shurman would have been the perfect scribe to tell the tale, having grown up in Seattle where he heard Lewis and Johansen in person), but at least it is now available, after some years of promises. Please buy this — not to enrich Jerry Dennon but rather to treat yourself to some super music.

  7. Eunice Lewis-Scott Says:

    My name is Eunice J. Lewis. I am Dave’s Lewis twin sister. My mother and I saw your website and reading about my brother was so nice. My mother and I will be ordering David’s records because we would like to have the CD’s. My mother name is Bertha B. Lewis and I also forward this website to my brother Eulysses Lewis. I live in Seattle WA. and my address is 6727 Rainier Ave. So. Apt 328, Seattle WA. 98118. My telephone #206-725-9370.
    Hope to hear from you soon,


    Eunice lewis-scott

  8. Dan Bonow Says:

    Hi Larry,GOOD JOB!! Dan Bonow here. I discovered your site a while back but your post re: Dave Lewis prompted a response. I am a Seattle native, organ player and veteran of the 60’s r&b scene as well as progenator of late 60’s psychafunk. My band ” Jack Horner and the Plums” won the ’66 NW Battle of the Bands. Part of the prize was a recording session with Jerden. These cuts continue to be re-released and are mildly amusing -NW Battle of the Bands vol 2(Ace) & 4(Big Beat), “Who Do You Love” & “Everybody Needs Someboby To Love”
    I also played in “the Bandits” and “the Emergency Exit” in the NW dance hall circuit. My next band would be perhaps more in your pocket…”the Juggernaut”. My idea was to go forward with the ethos of R&B ,add some ‘delic to jazz and stick some SOUL into the happening/concert scene.It worked and was an underground smash, playing shows, clubs, festivals until it blew up in ’69. We played alongside the Floating bridge (I later was singer in Joe Johansen’s band -he hated organ after playing w/ Dave Lewis), Jimi Hendrix came to our pad because the guitar player, Pernell Alexander, and bass player, Butch Snipes, were like his big brothers in the ‘hood. Jimi dedicated a song to us @ his ’68 Seattle Colisseum show and changed his band for the funkier (band o’ Gypsies) adding organ and black people.
    During the 70’s I continued w/ orig funk/soul bands, Rotor International, and the Stars, I also toured as organist w/ Albert Collins. The 80’s had my band VIZZION playing similar material @ shows and clubs. I toured in the 90’s, playing organ behind Apple Gabriel, one of the founders of the reggae gruop Isreal Vibrations. During these times I recorded miles of tape, witch I am digitizing &/or archiving.
    I currently live on Kauai and play as a trio (rock and soul) -UNCO FUNKI.
    Please go to my website http://www.danbonow.com to hear snippets from several decades of underground toil in the trenches (I have more) – click on JUKE BOX, as well as bits from my CD, WISH.
    Let me know what you think, I like your ting!
    I am looking for European, Japanese or ??? distributors, bookers, listeners… I’m on cdbaby and,gasp, myspace (UNCO FUNKI).
    Oh yeah, I went to high school in Nigeria and two of the tracks on the CD were recorded in Lagos a few years back, so I cross categorized it as Afro-Beat…….
    Thanks again for the great site – keep it up!
    Dan Bonow

  9. Dick Shurman Says:

    Nice piece on Dave Lewis and good to see Dan Bonow check in. It’s not “Dave’s Fifith Avenue” which is “Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm” minus the vocal, it’s “#1 Hit.” “Dave’s Fifth Avenue” came out as a single; it always made me wonder if Hendrix didn’t get some of his licks on “Come On” from Joe Johansen, who plays one of his coolest solos on the song.

  10. Mark Owen Says:

    Found this post while doing a search for Dave Lewis (I dig your blog but don’t check it often enough). I noticed in the discography there was no mention of the Seafair Bolo single Candido / Untwistin’, an early work from 1962 that predates the A&M + Jerden stuff. Don’t have the catalog number, passed on a copy the other day as I have it on the Bolo Bash comp lp. “We, at Seafair-Bolo, were among the first to recognize the amazing triple talent of Dave Lewis…the artist, the composer, the arranger.”

    I’ve been thinking about paying some big bucks for the High Heel Sneakers lp recently, it looks like there was a reissue under another name in 1980, but not on Piccadilly (I’m thinking tax-**** label though).

    Good to see Dave’s family found the post too. I went to an event at my high school a couple years back where a book on musicians from Seattle’s Central District was on display, of course there were several pages of Jimi pics, but there was a nice two page spread of Dave Lewis as well.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. funky16corners Says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re digging the blog. I have that Seafair-Bolo 45, but it’s a piano feature (I probably should have mentioned it anyway). I have that reissue (still sealed I think) but I can’t recall the label. I’ll have to check.

  12. Jay Johansen Says:

    Surfin’ ’round looking for pic’s of my brother Joe Johansen and landed here. It is great to see people getting together here and remembering a very special time. I was too young to see Joe play in the hay-day,(late 50’s to early 60’s)but was introduced to his “live” music, when I saw the Floating Bridge for the first time at Eagles auditorium.After that came the,”Seattle Pop festival”, “Sky River”,etc. Later, after Joe came off the road with Dalaney and Bonnie and I was playing with Wayne Marshall with Little Bill and Claude Hammond and Andy Aldrich, We added Joe to the mix and later on Joe Johnson was added on bass. Out of this the Johansen Brothers band was started.We had many different singers,from Little Bill and Wayne Marshall to Dan Bonow and some I cannot remember,Oh, I think Nancy Claire is on that list.Patti Allen too!
    I sure learned alot from all those guys cause I was only 17 or 18 at the time.
    Later on I saw Joe play with Dave Lewis at one of those Rock and Roll revival shows and they showed some of the magic they used to create on a nightly basis.
    A few years ago I had the pleasure of playing a” Tribute ” with my cousin, Buck England, and Rich Dangle and Mike Kinder in the memory of Dave Lewis at a function held by the Tacoma Blues Society. It was truely a highlite of my Playing day’s.
    Got a memory or a picture you want to share ,, Send it along, I am sure it will make my day! jay.johansen@hotmail.com

  13. D'Vonne Lewis Says:

    Hello, my name is D’Vonne Lewis, the grandson of Dave Lewis; and I am a drummer around the Seattle area and am very grateful to learn that alot of people are still asking and digging my grandfathers music. I am currently thinking of putting a show together doing the music of Dave Lewis; and all of his cuts, and wondering if any of you who may read this might be interested in helping me and my dad, Dave Lewis,Jr, in orgaizing it in any way possible.

  14. Catrina Harris Says:

    Hey, looking for photos and recordings of my dad, Larry Harris, drummer for many bands in the Seattle area. Worked with Wayne Marshall, Joe Johansen, Jay Johansen, Pat Chase (guitar slim) Brian Butler, Little Bill, and many many others… if anyone has anything or knows of a great lead, holler at me!
    Catrina Harris

  15. john berg Says:

    Just a quick additional note: the “Candido” side of the Seafair BOLO single by Dave Lewis featured guitar in a Freddy King mode by “Jive Ass Jerry” Jones, a Seattle guitarist who Jerry Miller and others were in awe of in the late ’50s. This is the only recording by Jerry J.A.J. that I am aware of — if anybody has more information, photos, etc. about him we would all love to learn more. (And note that “JAJ” did not refer to Jerry Dennon, though he more than earned that nickname according to those who signed record deals with his bevy of labels!)

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