Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5
Gary Lewis was the leader of the Playboys, a group I have to admit I know absolutely nothing about, but it's clear from this LP that the man knew how to make some great sunshine pop on his solo outing. Lewis' voice belongs to the A-list, the musical side of the songwriting is generally top notch, and the better tracks here rival the work of Curt Boettcher or the Beach Boys. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that the legendary Jack Nitzsche was on hand for the arrangements. That rarefied late 60's L.A. pop-psych production sheen is on full display here as well. It's a shame this album didn't share the charts with folks such as the Mamas and the Papas or Spanky and Our Gang - the chops are certainly present and I'd be willing to say that this is a stronger album than those groups typically managed.
There are many fine tracks present here. A few of my favorites are the opening widescreen pop blast of "Jill," "Look Here Comes the Sun," which managed to rip off the Beatles' title before the Beatles had even written their Abbey Road song, and "Angel on the Corner," which could have fit perfectly onto one of the Beach Boys' late 60's LPs. There's an early attempt at country rock with "Reason to Believe," and a bit of a doo wop vibe on "Young and Carefree." Only the bubblegummy "Happiness" comes across as particularly annoying, and the production sheen almost makes me want to give it a 'get out of jail free' card.
I don't typically see this album trumpeted as an A-list sunshine pop LP, but it really is one of the better ones I've come across. Be prepared for an overdose of happy vibes, but that's almost always a prerequisite for this sort of album anyway. Truly I say unto you... Listen!