Every 4 years or so I become obsessed with Jeff Buckley and then Lewis Taylor. I’ve just finished my 4th round of the Jeff Buckleys and so now I’ve moved onto the Lewis Taylors.
For those that aren’t familiar with Lewis Taylor, he was billed as the alternative blue eyed soul boy, next to Jamiroquai in the 90’s. He released his album ‘Lewis Taylor’ in 96, played Jools, got good reviews, yardah yadah blah blah and then recorded his 2nd album, which his record company refused to release because it wasn’t The Other Jamiroquai’ee enough. Chumps. That’s the gist that I got anyway. There’s not that much information on the internets since he deleted every trace of himself in 2006. He’s so cool.
That very same year (2006) my friend Prod asked me if I’d heard ‘Lewis Taylor’ and sent me Spirit, the a cappella that closes the album. I remember sitting at my desk at work and losing all use of my 4 floppy limbs. The last piece of music that did that to me was How To Disappear Completely – Radiohead. I guess Im just a sucker for beautiful melodies, a strong resolution and voices that feel like they are my heart talking to me from inside my chest – like no one else can hear them except me. I might delete that last line – might be a bit too much.
Anyway. I listened to the rest of the album and to be honest, at first I thought it was SO Swiss Fondue. Prod told me to stick with it. He told me to get past all the ‘baby’s’ (incidentally there are 15 in the first track alone) and to celebrate Taylor’s ability to add syllables to words where there are none (the D in find is not a syllable Taylor), and to make words like ‘headache’ fit over one syllable. The man’s a genius. I pushed through and I grew to love EVERYTHING about the entire record. I know it inside and out.
THEN! In 2012 (or something) my friend Jim asked me if I’d heard ‘Lost’ – The album that never came out! It had come out in 2006! I’d been living in the dark for 6 years! We listened to ‘Lost’ on a road trip, and then I subsequently listened to it every day for about a year. I now know it inside and out, and there is no way I could pick a favourite between them. They are so different.
I think that Taylor’s record company had no idea of his capabilities and no idea of his artistic creativity. I think they just expected him to make the same album again and not grow. It makes me sad that the label didn’t think that this album was worthy of a release. It absolutely was. It’s one of my favourite albums of all time and his story has had a profound effect on me.
Lewis Taylor, will you marry me. I mean I might as well say it. That’s what you are thinking right? That’s the power of music folks, and it’s one that should obviously never be constrained because the people with money don’t think they are going to make money.
WOW! I actually didn’t intend on writing an essay on Lewis Taylor. I must feel very strongly.
I’ve chosen Lucky from his first album as my song of the week. That guitar riff. All those Baby’s.
ps. Lewis – Call me.