Linda Lewis – 1972 – Lark
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Beautiful and haunting at times, Linda Lewis has the smooth, pop-jazzy sound that is truly unique. As a singer and songwriter Linda Lewis was exceptional. She was a brilliant talent with an uplifting spirituality. Not only did it bring back fond memories, but her voice is, like the album name, as clear as a bird.
Lewis is very much the British equivalent of Minnie Riperton, with her band Ferris Wheel in the place of Riperton’s Rotary Connection. If we’re going to further the comparison, Lark is her Come to My Garden. They really do sound very similar and both vocalists reportedly have the five-octave range, but whatever. This album rules and is really filled with post-Joni Mitchell brightness and arrangements.
One of the best-ever albums by this lovely soulful singer! Linda Lewis had an amazing style that was somewhere in between Minnie Riperton, Joni Mitchell, and Ellen McIlwaine — meaning that she mixes soul, folk, and a bit of jazz into her own unique vibe. This album’s a gem, and is filled with groovy little songs that have a great sweetly jazzy vibe, and some excellent production that keeps things nicely in place. Linda wrote all the tracks, and backing is by a tight little group that mixes guitar, keyboards, and percussion, in kind of an LA small studio combo sort of way.
Reprise Records K 44208
A1 Spring Song (2:08)
A2 Reach For The Truth (4:48)
A3 It’s The Frame (3:38)
A4 Feeling Feeling (3:04)
A5 What Are You Asking Me For (2:50)
A6 Lark (4:31)
B1 Old Smokey (3:21)
B2 Gladly Give My Hand (2:40)
B3 More Than A Fool (3:24)
B4 Been My Best (2:53)
B5 Waterbaby (3:55)
B7 Little Indians (2:53)
London-born Linda Lewis was one of those pleasant new discoveries for myself and my younger brother back in the 1970’s when our musical tastes were starting to expand beyond only what Top 40 ‘hit’ radio was funneling out to the masses. I first learned of this record and this unique artist through reading new album ‘previews’ in the music industry trade journals(which I had direct access to by virtue of working in a public library during my college years). It was at this point that I began actively searching for ‘new’ and exciting fresh sounds from artists who weren’t really in the current mainstream and Linda Lewis has always remained a lifelong personal favorite! I’ve always been drawn towards female vocalists who exhibit an unusual style or sound whereas I’ve tended to listen to(and learn from)mostly the classic male singers, for the most part. When I first learned of this new album release; I was intrigued by what it might possibly contain because; to my knowledge; she hadn’t had any ‘hit’ records on the U.S. charts and her debut album had escaped mostly everyone’s notice on this side of the ‘pond’.
But here is some classic songwriting, performing and production that; for me, remains timeless. Only recently did I learn that this work was available in CD format(as an Import)and I was willing to pay a princely sum just to have a master-quality copy of this album; also purchasing an additional copy to ship to my brother, as well! When we had it in our vinyl collection, we played it only sparingly because of its’ rarity and in the small midwestern city where we grew up, virtually no one else that we knew was even aware of her work, beyond those music store clerks whose tastes were a bit more progressive. So it has always held a special place in both of our contemporary music libraries. There’s not one song on this record that I dislike and it occupies a space in that rare category of albums that have no weak songs in the material(and there aren’t many of those)! Linda Lewis is, for us; unquestionably a true artist of the first caliber and if you can afford the tariff; this is a choice item for your collection and one that you will still find refreshing to listen to long after tiring of the regular ‘dogchow’!
Still Bill “studioratt” (Los Angeles,ca)