Lewis

Earlier this year a vinyl recording by an unknown 80’s artist known only as Lewis Baloue became an unlikely Internet hit.

When a recording of Baloue’s 1983 release ‘L’Amour’ surfaced on the Internet it caught the attention of listeners and bloggers who began a bidding war to claim a vinyl copy.

But the collection of soulful, mellow R&B love songs had only sold a handful of copies back in the 80’s. Seeing an opportunity the initial publisher did a vinyl reissue and eventually put the album onto iTunes for download.

With all of the furore around the artist, no one seemed to know anything about him, other than that his stage name was Lewis Baloue.

The album cover was a black and white portrait shot of Lewis, which again gave no clues away.

A global hunt emerged to try and track down Lewis and learn more about the weird, wonderful, barely legible performance on the album.

Then, almost unbelievably, a second album emerged on eBay which had been created as a follow-up to ‘L’Amour’ and once again sold in incredibly low volumes.

Once again, the album was reissued. It seemed too weird to be true, a ‘Search For Sugarman’ style story constructed by a label to create a frenzy perhaps.

But then the label responsible for the reissues said that a friend of the singer had seen the digital hype, got in touch and explained that Lewis (real name Randall Wulff) was alive and well in Canada.

Label bosses travelled to Canada and spent 48 hours searching his neighbourhood before tracking him down to a café (they will not say exactly where).

They released a statement along with an image of the singer now, his infamous face somewhat more withered with age, holding a cup of coffee with a walking stick lent against his leg, reading the cover notes of one of the CD reissues of L’Amour.

“Randy had no idea about the recent interest in his old records and didn’t seem to care in the slightest,” the statement said, “We had a cheque for him but he wasn’t interested. We brought him CDs and LPs of L’Amour. He took a look, impressed (“nice”), and smiled, recalling a number of positive stories from back in the day. Then handed back the CD, saying it was for us and kindly declined keeping it.”

“Randy simply wanted to look forward with both his life and music and had no interest in any celebrity or financial gain having to do with the albums. He told us over and over again, “That was a long time ago” and that we should “have a ball” with the reissues. When we mentioned that we’d been looking for him for years, he was surprised, responding that he’s been right there all along and shops for groceries at his neighbourhood store.”

“After a half hour chatting about his musical past, he signed a couple copies of L’Amour (as “Lewis”) and said, “I wish you guys all the best. I’m not looking back. I’m doing stuff now that’s taken me forty, fifty years to write. I’m not looking into coin. I’m not looking into anything. I’m just strumming my guitar. I just wish you guys all the best in the world.””