Monday, 21 June 2010

LEWIS SISTERS - WAY OUT...FAR (LIBERTY 1959) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve




Helen and Kay Lewis', two sisters from Michigan, names cropped up on Motown albums and some single releases in the '60s, such as Gladys Knight & the Pips' "Just Walk in My Shoes." But their careers didn't begin at Motown, rather, in the '50s as jazz singers and songwriters. After high school, Kay attended Michigan State University and earned a degree in music; Helen graduated from UCLA with the same degree.
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In 1955, Kay, whose primary instrument is guitar, moved to California to join her sister Helen who plays piano. They befriended jazz pianist Les McCann in 1958 and he got them a deal with Liberty Records where they recorded a jazz album entitled Way out...Far. McCann played piano on the session and Paul Horn played alto sax. Next came a few sides for Chess/Checker records, including "Come on Let's Stroll," which found its way onto the Checker LP Hits That Jumped in 1959. A year later they cut what Kay describes as a weird album for Verve Records. The Russ Garcia produced Voices, Strings and Percussions was quite odd, Garcia used the sisters' voices like violins on the 1960 album of Tchaikovsky songs.
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They met Hal Davis in California and through Davis' partner Marc Gordon, got them inked to Motown in 1963 as recording artists, but their only releases as artists came two years later on the company's VIP subsidiary. "He's an Oddball" b/w "By Some Chance" and "You Need Me" b/w "Moonlight on the Beach" were good records, different from their early jazz and voice albums, more mainstream. 11 days before the release on their final single, Kay's daughter Little Lisa emerged on VIP as well with "Hang on Bill" b/w "Puppet on a String" (August 20, 1965). The dynamic sisters appeared with Chris Clark on Clark's November, 1965, single "Do Right Baby, Do Right." Nothing hit with much authority and no more recordings were issued. Helen and Kay's songs were being snapped up mostly as album cuts by other artists including the Miracles' "Baby, Baby" and Edwin Starr and Blinky's LP Just We Two which featured "Can't We Be Strangers Again" and "I See a Rainbow."...[All Music Guide]
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3 comments:

derwent said...

I have never heard of this album. I only know the Lewis sisters went on to record for Motown in the mid 60's. Without success. They were more successful as writers. This is such a rarity. Thankyou

Pete said...

Thanks for this, great site by the way, cheers from Melbourne Australia

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this rare and strange album.