Lenny Dee

In Dee-Mand

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During the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson years, Hammond organist Lenny Dee generated a steady stream of albums girded by the twin pillars of "Hi Fi Organ with a Beat" and "Songs Everybody Knows." Dee's best recordings fall within the first half of his discography, or roughly the first two-dozen albums. Well into the first decade of the 21st century, Jasmine Records took a definite stand regarding the timeless nature of Dee's utterly harmless legacy by releasing two double-disc collections drawn from his early years. Double Dee-Light contained 48 numbers gleaned from his LPs Dee-Most, Dee-Lightful!, Dee-Lirious, and Dee-Licious. In Dee-Mand contains four more LPs' worth of material and eight singles for a whopping total of 57 titles. The cover photo pictures Dee in a big, wide convertible automobile packed with pretty women. It is a cheerier version of the photo used for By Popular Dee-Mand, in which a crowded darker background, a hoisted cowboy hat, and a presidential-looking limo led you to expect the album to be called Live from Dealey Plaza. Perhaps the weirdest photo of all was used as the cover of Lenny Dee Down South, wherein Dee and a small dog perched atop the Hammond were balanced on a platform being towed at high speed alongside a beaming female water skier. In Dee-Mand is crammed with examples of Dee at his fun-loving best. With a playlist that includes "Cincinnati Dancing Pig," "Carolina in the Morning," "Down Home Rag," "If You Knew Susie (Like I Know Susie)," "Walter Winchell Rhumba," "Punxsutawney Boogie," "Little Rock Getaway," and "In the Mood," In Dee-Mand is essential listening for those who take their corny instrumental entertainments seriously. Faced with the problem of whether to choose In Dee-Mand or Double Dee-Light, the solution is obvious: cast caution to the winds and spring for both collections.

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