The strange and captivating narrative of that album and it’s seemingly lost/dead creator turned into the heartbeat of one of the best, most moving music documentaries ever made, the Oscar award winning Searching for Sugar Man.
In what now seems a modus operandi for the label, they’ve unearthed another perplexing gem by a mystery man who it turns out, unlike Sixto Rodriguez, is truly, truly lost in the ether.
A mysterious figure who looks like a late 70s Soap Opera star, singer/songwriter Randall Wulff released an album under the name Lewis.
Lewis’ private press record “L’Amour”, was found in a flea market in Edmonton, Alberta and then again in a Calgary record store by friends of the label.
The album with it’s somewhat cheesy black and white photo of a shirtless, blond highlighted actor with slightly beatific blue eyes initially promises laughs but disarms with actual heartbreaking sincerity.
When filtered through the narrative of a sometime con artist who came to LA, and ran up substantial debts staying in fancy hotels, driving cool convertible cars, and dedicating tracks to supermodels…the album is the portrait of a pretender wrestling with his remorse and longing.
From beginning to end, the album is chock a block torch songs that whisper and quiver with soulful sadness that tell as much of the story as the lyrics and the limited puzzle pieces of Randall Wulff’s life in LA.
When trying to describe it, I told a friend it sounded like some “damaged indie Eric Carmen or Paul Williams” to which he replied “AOR Jandek” all of which come close but don’t quite fully encapsulate the feeling of “L’Amour”.
The smoky piano bar meets Vangelis synths in a reverby (no doubt low lit) Silver Lake studio vibes are hard to get a bead on. An excruciatingly naked window into the soul of a man, the album and it’s cover reveal everything and nothing at all.