Gary LeMel, The Gary LeMel Album, Vee Jay VJS-1129, 1965
I had never heard of Gary LeMel when I found this record. The liner notes on the back told me that he was 25 years old in 1965, and single. He was a nightclub singer who was born in England but grew up in Arizona. The songs on his album were a mix of pop standards and fairly current hits. There’s not much more information about him online other than he became a hugely successful label executive for Casablanca, Boardwalk, Warner Brothers and Columbia Records.
I certainly did enjoy the record. Not as in I felt moved by his music, but rather than this is literally listening to the worst hotel act ever. Like a serious version of Bill Murray’s Nick The Lounge Singer. There’s the spoken word intro On Broadway, and enough “Hey”s, “Yeah”s and “Whoa”s to keep any mid century modern fan happy.
No, I shelled out 100 pennies for this treasure because it came out on Vee Jay Records. Yes, I bought this for the label. The mint condition inner sleeve didn’t hurt, but I try to buy anything from Vee Jay. They were the small independent Chicago based R&B label that somehow or another had The Four Seasons and The Beatles signed to multi year contracts and managed to screw it all up and go bankrupt. The Gary LeMel Album came out about a year before they turned out the lights, so the inner sleeve promotes the few Four Seasons records they still had the rights to release, but nothing from The Beatles. In fact, their discography shows only 18 albums, mostly greatest hits packages and foreign releases, so it’s pretty obvious that there were problems. But it makes it totally understandable why they would release a record like this.
Cost: $1, $748 Remaining