Peter Lewis - Peter Lewis - 1995 - Taxim
Possibly one of the more underrated albums of the 1990s, Peter Lewis was the Moby Grape co-founder's first solo effort. According to Lewis, "I stopped giving what I thought were my best songs to Moby Grape at one point. I don't remember when that exactly was, somewhere around 1972, or maybe a little later." What Lewis does here is collect an artful series of cameos that reflect life's ups and downs, as well as a strong feeling for the common touch. There's also the sensitivity of someone who has walked through the fire and lived to tell about it; this is apparent on many of the album's songs. Lewis' fabulous folk baritone/tenor voice is as strong as ever on the album's 12 selections, as is his unique fingerpicking guitar style. This is best illustrated in the album's centerpiece, "If Life Was Just a Game," which has a strong philosophical slant about destiny and mortality. Musically, it welds folk, rock, and even bluegrass with some incredible, interweaving melodic lines and 12-string guitar solos which can only be rivaled by Buffalo Springfield's epic "Bluebird." Produced by Doobie Brothers multi-instrumentalist John McFee, the sound of the record -- while not at all sterile -- is a bit too clean in places and might have the listener yearning for a slightly more raw feel that the songs seem to call for. This, however, is a very minor criticism on an album where the songs are the stars. Lewis' statement of strength of spirit, virtue, and self-awareness is inescapable, making the record a wholly inspiring experience. © Matthew Greenwald © 2012 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/peter-lewis-r610367/review
Jeff Tamarkin said of Moby Grope that "The Grape's saga is one of squandered potential, absurdly misguided decisions, bad luck, blunders and excruciating heartbreak, all set to the tune of some of the greatest rock and roll ever to emerge from San Francisco. Moby Grape could have had it all, but they ended up with nothing, and less." Peter Lewis (born July 15, 1945) was a founding member of the great Moby Grape, who sadly never realised their true potential. MG brilliantly combined folk, blues, country and psychedelic rock. Three of Peter's better known songs with MG are "Fall On You" and "Sitting By The Window" from the self-titled first Moby Grape album and "If You Can't Learn From My Mistakes", from Moby Grape '69. In recent years, in addition to performing Peter has played occasionally with Moby Grape. He also played guitar with the reformed Electric Prunes (2000–2003), and played on their Artifact album. In 2010, Peter appeared with Stu Cook at the SXSW festival, performing with The Explosives. As of 2011, he has been writing songs and performing with poet M.L. Lieber. This s/t album was produced by John McFee (Doobie Brothers, Clover, Southern Pacific) and features veteran musicians like drummer Keith Knudsen, legendary bassist Stu Cook, Randy Meisner and John York on backing vocals, and the late, great saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus. Rolling Stone said "In 1967 the great, ill-fated Moby Grape made one of the truly perfect debut albums in rock. 28 years later...Lewis turns up with an equally exquisite solo bow...rich in luminous vocal harmonies and sweet folk-rock lyricism.“ The mag also gave the album a five star rating. The album is HR by A.O.O.F.C and features melodic, expertly crafted expressive songs with often complex musical arrangements. Listen to Peter's "Live in Bremen" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 110 Mb]
1. Beyond the Storm
2. I Got the Night
3. Black Moon
4. Little Dreamer
5. Milk and Honey
6. Sittin' by the Window
7. Pictures of the Past
9. Fate Full of Shadows
10. In Between the Lines
11. If Life Was Just a Game
12. Changing (Reprise)
All songs composed by Peter Lewis
Peter Lewis - Guitar, Vocals
John McFee - Guitar, Pedal Steel, Mandolin, Violin, Harmonica, Vocals
Shane McFee - Lead Guitar on "If Life Was Just a Game"
Stu Cook - Bass
David West - Mandolin on "In Between the Lines", Banjo on "If Life Was Just a Game"
Guy Allison - Keyboards
Keith Knudsen - Drums
Cornelius Bumpus - Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Alan Hughes - Eulogy on "If Life Was Just a Game"
Billy Darnell, Randy Meisner, Robin Lamble, John York - Backing Vocals on "Changing (Reprise)"
One of the founding members of Moby Grape, Peter Lewis is undoubtedly one of the most underrated musicians and contributors to come out of the '60s rock revolution. Lewis was born into a show business family, and is the son of a renowned actress, the late Loretta Young. While in high school, Lewis played guitar and sang in a pop/rock band called the Cornells, and also rubbed elbows with Ricky Nelson, among others. After attending military school and a brief stint in the Air Force, Lewis was, for a short time, a commercial pilot for Shell Oil. After seeing an early appearance by the Byrds, Lewis was inspired enough to make music his primary focus. "I would have stayed a pilot too if it wasn't for the Byrds. It was at the Long Beach Arena where I went with my girlfriend to see the Rolling Stones that it happened. Being in the pilot's program had completely absorbed me, and I had spent the last two years doing nothing but flying, or studying about flying. Music had been put in the background. It had no pull on me, because in my isolated situation, I still thought the music scene in America was pretty lame. That all changed when the opening band stepped on-stage that night at the Stones concert. Of course, it was the Byrds." It was during this period that Lewis began to develop what was to become his signature fingerpicking guitar style. Although galvanized by Roger McGuinn's playing, Lewis chose to explore the style on the six-string electric, and this set him apart from many other guitarists at the time who were merely imitating McGuinn, utilizing 12-string Rickenbackers. For over a year, Lewis and his new band, Peter & the Wolves, played up and down the West Coast. Sometime in 1966, Lewis began playing with another underestimated musical genius, Joel Scott Hill, and through him, met bassist/vocalist Bob Mosley, and the Moby Grape odyssey began. Lewis' contributions to the band were great and many. Aside from furnishing the band with some of their best and most accessible rockers such as "Fall on You" and "Goin' Down to Texas,", he also had an introspective, psychologically probing and psychedelic ballad style, and this is where his originality and talent truly shine. This is best represented on songs such as "He," "That Lost Horizon," "Horse Out in the Rain," and "Sittin' by the Window" (which be reprised brilliantly on his 1995 self-titled solo album). He also penned the profound "Changes, Circles Spinning," which can be seen as an ode to the end of the '60s, and was part of Joan Baez' late-'60s live repertoire.Between brief Moby Grape reunions in the '70s, Lewis and another Grape co-founder, the late Skip Spence, were instrumental in helping assemble the Doobie Brothers, as well as assisting in getting them signed to Warner Bros. Lewis was rumored to have an offer to join the band early on with Spence, but when his former bandmate decided not to pursue this, Lewis declined as well. In 1995, he released his only solo album to date, Peter Lewis, on the German-based Taxim Records label. Produced by former Doobies guitarist John McFee, the record is a penetrating example of Lewis' unique talent, as well as his musical growth. He has spent the last few years recording tracks for a follow-up album, and still sporadically performs live as a solo artist and occasionally with some of the surviving members of Moby Grape. At his solo shows, as if to bring things full circle, he often performs a brilliant version of Gene Clark's "Set You Free This Time," which was originally on the Byrds' Turn! Turn! Turn! album. © Matthew Greenwald © 2012 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/peter-lewis-p189114/biography