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Saturday, August 13, 2016

LEWIS FUREY - "Lewis Furey" (A&M Records) Vinyl, 1975

I picked up on this album when shopping at Moby Disc on Ventura Blvd, and it stood out in the cut-out bin.  I was kind of surprised to see something worthwhile in that section of the store - although, now we have sort of the romantic memory of finding gems for 99 cents to $3 in this section, mostly it was a horrible drudge.  Nevertheless, Lewis Furey's eyes spoke to me.  When I flipped over to see the back cover, I was impressed that there was a song on it called "Hustler's Tango."

I sense a glam Velvet Underground vibe, so what the hell, worth the $1.99 or so.  When I got home and played the album, that very instant, it became one of my all-time favorite albums.  The cover and the song title didn't lie.   Here was a guy who has the John Cale genius for arrangements, and seemed to have one foot in the music of the theater world, and the other is .... kind of gay-oriented pop, but with dark overtures to the night world.  There's accordion, piano, banjo - which gives it Brecht/Weil orientation, yet very American sounding.  Which is strange from a musician/songwriter from Quebec Canada, and now lives in France.

The album is co-produced and arranged by John Lissauer who also served the same duties on Leonard Cohen's "New Skin for the Old Ceremony" and "Various Positions" as well as the classic Cohen song "Hallelujah."   There is a strong connection between Furey and Cohen -not only sound wise, but both write songs that are very poetic, yet direct.   For those who love albums or artists who are beautifully orchestrated and arranged, will love this album.  Why, Lewis Furey fell between the cracks here in the U.S. (he's known in France, but also in Japan) is beyond me.  This album needs to be re-released.  Beautiful melodies, stark lyrics, street wise, and witty.

Many years later, after losing most of my vinyl collection due to past economic situations, I was deeply surprised to see his first two albums on CD, displayed in a music store in Tokyo.  Truly one of my happiest moments when I discovered the album again, and just waiting for my hands.   You must Locate, and buy it!