Album artwork for Lewis Taylor by Lewis Taylor

In 1996, Lewis Taylor released his self-titled masterpiece. A true modern classic, it’s an album that was years ahead of its time. Forget 25 years ago, it could easily have been made in 2021. An effortless blend of neo-soul, sophisticated pop, smart grooves and laid-back white funk, it enjoyed rapturous reviews from critics and music legends alike. But the album never managed to make an impact and given what was likely a token vinyl release at the time, the original records have long since been near-impossible to find. Lewis Taylor’s Lewis Taylor remains a holy relic for some and criminally unknown to most.

Lewis Taylor’s impeccable influences created a dazzling sonic palette: the LP as a whole suggests the visionary brilliance of Prince; the vocal stylings evoke the yearning power of Marvin Gaye; the effortless guitar playing shares the virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix; the haunting tones conjure Tricky; the innovative production and engineering invite comparisons to studio mavericks like Todd Rundgren and Brian Eno; the multi-layered, complex harmonies flash on Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson; the dark, drama is reminiscent of both Scott Walker and Stevie Wonder; the complex arrangements create textures and moods with the feel of Shuggie Otis on Inspiration Information; the bold experimentation is akin to progressive artists like Faust and Tangerine Dream; the atmosphere is in conversation with Jeff Buckley’s Grace… and we could go on. That might all sound like marketing hyperbole, but not as far as Be With is concerned. It is a genuine wonder how an album this good could’ve passed so many people by.

Although you wouldn’t know it from the credits, the album wasn’t the work of Lewis alone. Sabina Smyth gets an executive producer credit on the original sleeve, but in fact she worked with Lewis on the production and arrangements, did a lot of the backing vocals and she co-wrote Track, Song, Lucky and Damn with Lewis.

Typical for the mid-90s, this CD-length album was squeezed onto a single LP for its original vinyl release. Simon Francis’s fresh vinyl mastering now spreads out the ten tracks over a double LP so nothing is compromised. And as usual, the records have been cut by Pete Norman and pressed at Record Industry. The original artwork has been restored at Be With HQ and subtly re-worked to work as a double.

This sprawling psychedelic soul opus really is a forgotten should-be-classic. We know that there are those of you who know, and as for the rest of you, we’re a bit jealous that you’re getting to hear Lewis Taylor for the first time.

Lewis Taylor

Lewis Taylor

Be With Records
Album artwork for Album artwork for Lewis Taylor by Lewis Taylor by Lewis Taylor - Lewis Taylor
Album artwork for Lewis Taylor by Lewis Taylor
LPx2

£29.99

Double 140 Gram Vinyl.

Black
Released 20/08/2021Catalogue Number

BEWITH099LP

Lewis Taylor

Lewis Taylor

Be With Records
Album artwork for Album artwork for Lewis Taylor by Lewis Taylor by Lewis Taylor - Lewis Taylor
Album artwork for Lewis Taylor by Lewis Taylor
LPx2

£29.99

Double 140 Gram Vinyl.

Black
Released 20/08/2021Catalogue Number

BEWITH099LP

In 1996, Lewis Taylor released his self-titled masterpiece. A true modern classic, it’s an album that was years ahead of its time. Forget 25 years ago, it could easily have been made in 2021. An effortless blend of neo-soul, sophisticated pop, smart grooves and laid-back white funk, it enjoyed rapturous reviews from critics and music legends alike. But the album never managed to make an impact and given what was likely a token vinyl release at the time, the original records have long since been near-impossible to find. Lewis Taylor’s Lewis Taylor remains a holy relic for some and criminally unknown to most.

Lewis Taylor’s impeccable influences created a dazzling sonic palette: the LP as a whole suggests the visionary brilliance of Prince; the vocal stylings evoke the yearning power of Marvin Gaye; the effortless guitar playing shares the virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix; the haunting tones conjure Tricky; the innovative production and engineering invite comparisons to studio mavericks like Todd Rundgren and Brian Eno; the multi-layered, complex harmonies flash on Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson; the dark, drama is reminiscent of both Scott Walker and Stevie Wonder; the complex arrangements create textures and moods with the feel of Shuggie Otis on Inspiration Information; the bold experimentation is akin to progressive artists like Faust and Tangerine Dream; the atmosphere is in conversation with Jeff Buckley’s Grace… and we could go on. That might all sound like marketing hyperbole, but not as far as Be With is concerned. It is a genuine wonder how an album this good could’ve passed so many people by.

Although you wouldn’t know it from the credits, the album wasn’t the work of Lewis alone. Sabina Smyth gets an executive producer credit on the original sleeve, but in fact she worked with Lewis on the production and arrangements, did a lot of the backing vocals and she co-wrote Track, Song, Lucky and Damn with Lewis.

Typical for the mid-90s, this CD-length album was squeezed onto a single LP for its original vinyl release. Simon Francis’s fresh vinyl mastering now spreads out the ten tracks over a double LP so nothing is compromised. And as usual, the records have been cut by Pete Norman and pressed at Record Industry. The original artwork has been restored at Be With HQ and subtly re-worked to work as a double.

This sprawling psychedelic soul opus really is a forgotten should-be-classic. We know that there are those of you who know, and as for the rest of you, we’re a bit jealous that you’re getting to hear Lewis Taylor for the first time.