Gary Lewis & the Playboys

This Diamond Ring/A Session with Gary Lewis & the Playboys [Taragon]

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Gary Lewis & the Playboys have never been taken too seriously by rock historians, which is somewhat a matter of prejudice, growing out of the idea (only partly true) that Lewis had a free ride, thanks to the help of his then superstar entertainer father -- and their status as mid-'60s pop/rock entertainers, without a resident songwriter or a philosophy behind their work. They weren't great stylists, and the closest Lewis ever got to being a great drummer was getting a few pointers from his father's friend Buddy Rich. This two-albums-on-one-CD release shows the unfairness of that neglect. Apart from "This Diamond Ring," a song originally written with the Drifters in mind (who rejected it, as did Bobby Vee) which became a monster debut hit single, there's a lot of worthwhile, breezy pop/rock among the 16 tracks here. Lewis and company -- Dave Walker, Dave Costell, Al Ramsay, and John R. West -- do okay by covers of "Needles and Pins," "Sweet Little Rock 'n Roller," "All Day and All of the Night," "Dream Lover," "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," "Concrete and Clay," etc. Two instrumental rarities, the original B-side off of "This Diamond Ring," "Hard to Find (Leroy's Tune)," and its replacement, "Tijuana Wedding" -- a "La Bamba"/"Hang on Sloopy" piece of nonsense credited to Gary Lewis and producer and musical director Snuff Garrett and Leon Russell -- fill out the CD, and are interesting for showing the band just jamming in the studio, rather than shooting for pop music perfection. The annotation is very thorough, and the sound, from 1998-era transfers, is excellent.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:16
2 02:31
3 01:54
4 02:16
5 02:01
6 01:54
7 01:57
8
02:07
9 02:19
10
02:03
11 03:05
12 02:25
13 02:29
14 02:12
15 02:33
16 02:14
17 02:39
18 01:59
19 02:01
20 02:30
21 02:26
22 02:23
23 02:32
24 02:23
25 02:10
26 02:30
blue highlight denotes track pick