Saturday, May 24, 2014

SPAZ reviews LEWIS' L'Amour album... and gets goosebumps!





This album has such a charming, haunting quality to it that it conjured up something strange within my brain... So, instead of merely writing about the album, I decided to insert the album into a short story.  A story inspired by my desire to explain how this album 'felt' when I listened to it.  Pretentious?  Nah, just having a bit of fun. You can find all the historical details about the artist and album if you click on the link at the bottom of this 'review'. For the record, I love it.  but read on... if you dare!

Imagine this...

You are invited to the reading of your great, great grandmother's will.  Prior to her death, you didn't even know she was still alive because no one in your family ever spoke of her.  But now, you must make the 7 hour drive to a small town that isn't even listed on the map.  But you keep thinking of the words 'will' and 'inheritance' so that gives you the motivation to head out to Crockerville, AZ and find out what she bequeathed you. After driving hundreds of miles, you feel physically and emotionally drained as you pull into the driveway.  There, barely a hundred yards ahead of you is a large house that, in your opinion,  is in dire need of repair.  It is an ominous site, indeed.  Not unlike this...

You drive down the driveway and park in front of the house. There is no one else in sight.  You sit in your car for a moment, and ponder your situation - are you the first one there?  Is this the right address? What if somebody lured you out to this vacant house just to kill you?  After a few moments, you pull out your cell phone to call somebody - anybody - to tell them about your situation just in case something bad happens.  However, there is no signal and you decide to leave.  You turn the key to start the car.... but nothing happens.  You try again. And again.  Nothing.  At this point, you are becoming very worried and you don't know whether to be angry or crap your pants.  You choose the former.  But don't worry, the latter will come later....

You lean back in your seat, frustrated, angry and you feel tears welling up in your eyes. You say a prayer under your breath as you feel a cold chill make its way through the car.  You close your eyes and pray that this is all a dream. And then you drift away into a warm slumber... When you open your eyes, you see that it is dark outside.  For a moment, you start to think that it WAS a dream! However, once your eyes adjust to the darkness, you can see the moonlight reflected off the windows of the old house and fear overtakes your senses yet again.  You try to start the car again but no luck.  You pound your fist into the dashboard in frustration... and then spend the next three minutes regretting that decision as your fist and wrist are engulfed with pain.  Suddenly, a light through one of the windows catches your eye.  Did someone just turn on a light in the house?  Is someone inside?  Maybe they have a phone or can offer help!  You leap out of your car and start shouting...

"Hello?  Is anyone there?"


"Hello?  Can you help me?  My car won't start!"


"Come on, my cell phone doesn't work.  My car doesn't work.  I just want to get the hell out of here!"


Then you see the front door open. Slowly.  But it only opens a few inches.  You walk slowly towards the door, nearly tripping on the three steps up to the doorway.

"Hello?  Anybody there?"


You place your hand against the door and push it open.



You take a step into the house.  Then another step.  You look ahead of you, down a long hall and see a light.  That must be the light you saw from the window.  You slowly walk towards it. You are scared, but hopeful that someone will be able to help you.

"Hello, I need help.  Please, somebody?"

You hear the floorboards creak beneath your feet.

"I'm not going to hurt you.  I need to use your phone"

Then, at that moment, the lights flicker and you hear it.  But what is it?  You stop.  You listen.  Is that music?  You listen more intently.  You hear a beautiful melody being played on the piano.  It is warm, soothing and quite lovely. It calms you.  You take another few steps and stop.  You can still hear the piano, but a soft male voice has begun singing.  You can't understand what he is singing because his words seem mumbled. It is as if he knows he can sing but he isn't confident enough to belt it out.  It reminds you of a shy Nilsson or a less gruff Rod McKuen. The melody is haunting, but not scary.  The beauty is in its simplicity and honesty. You are still concerned about the predicament you are in, but you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, literally and figuratively. The music is so gentle, so hypnotizing... you are transfixed.  After a few minutes, you break out of the music's spell and take a few more steps forward.


Then the music stops.  You freeze in your tracks... you don't want to scare this person, but you do need their help.  But, damn, maybe it's time to just get the hell out of the house? Then, you hear an acoustic guitar start playing another lovely melody and the man's voice drifts softly through the air.  You move closer to the room with the light.  Again, you stop to listen.  The soft and melodic song is captivating.  Your fear starts to subside as the music massages your senses.  You feel your body relax as you lean against the nearest wall.  You are just feet away from the room where the light and music are emanating from. Then the music stops again. You move towards the doorway as you hear the piano begin to play another lovely, lilting melody.  Your heart begins to pound as you hear the man's soft voice, gently singing words you can't understand.  You are just about to enter the room, but the melody stops you in your tracks.  You listen, lost within the music.  After another few minutes, it stops.  You gather your courage and rush into the room, praying that the man at the piano is not startled by your presence.  You are briefly blinded by the light in the room but anxious and excited.  Your eyes adjust a few seconds later and...

The room is empty.

No piano.  No guitar.  No musician.   Only a lamp with a light that occasionally flickers.  And all is quiet.

But then you hear the music start up again.  Yet another haunting melody. Then it occurs to you.

Haunting melody.



It is that exact moment that you unload in your denims.  What you have been listening to is a ghostly spirit playing gorgeous music that you....

Wait.  Isn't that a record player sitting on the floor in the corner?  And look, there's a record playing on it!  You make your way across the room and look down at the spinning record.  You move your head in a small circle, trying to read the record label to see what it is that is playing.  While doing that, you notice that the LP cover is leaning against the wall.  You reach down and grab it.  You've never seen this record before.

Lewis seems to be the artist and L'Amour is the name of the album.  Without hesitating, you lift the needle off the record, pull that record off the turntable and gently slide it into the LP sleeve.  You look around you to make sure that nobody is suddenly watching what you are doing.  You like this record and you are going to take it with you.  It just seems fair, right? After all you've been through?  You turn to leave the room and as you make your way towards the door, it suddenly slams shut in front of you.  And then the light goes out. You suddenly feel coldness wrap around your body as something rubs against your arm. You start to scream as the record is pulled from your hands.  You fall to the floor.  You sense something moving around the room, circling you.  Then suddenly...


As you attempt to crawl towards the door, you hear the needle of the record player drop on a spinning piece of vinyl.  Then you hear the first song begin again.  That lovely melody.  That hushed vocal.  That haunting recording.  And you hear footsteps coming towards you.  And you know that you cannot escape what is going to happen.

The final thought that goes through your mind before you are spirited away into the afterlife is: "I wonder if that album is available on CD?"

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