via Press Release
A once shocking LP that bore no vocalist’s name for over 50 years reveals its secrets in the 2016 Modern Harmonic reissue. A Big Band singer, a Hollywood photographer, and an LGBT music and history archivist are at the heart of the story behind Love Is A Drag, the 1962 LP of love songs by men, for men, which remained a mystery for over fifty years.
It starts with JD Doyle, a historian and archivist of LGBT music and history that came upon the record, which resonated with him almost immediately. The songs took classic standards like The Man I Love and Mad About That Boy, songs that were intended to be from a woman to a man, and changed it from a man to a man. Doyle had the record in his collection for decades and would play the songs on his radio show, Queer Music Heritage.
The album fascinated Doyle, and he knew these songs were truly before their time. It was because of this, he couldn’t help but be mystified as to why there was not an artist or producer named on the album. A single line of subtext wrote, “For Adult Listeners Only, Sultry Stylings by a Most Unusual Vocalist.”
Most likely, the record would have remained a mystery, until Murray Garrett reached out to Doyle ready to come forward with the truth about the album.
Garrett was a Hollywood photographer through the late 1940s to the 1970s, and photographed stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. Through his photography career, he created a partnership with Gene Howard, a Big Band singer, and the two together worked closely with Jack Ames, the founder of Edison International Records.
When Ames asked Garrett and Howard if they had any ideas for a record that Edison International Records could release, Garrett remembered a performance he saw once in Greenwich Village of a man singing love songs addressed to another man in a serious way. That night was unforgettable as the performers of the day were extremely campy and dramatic.
Despite being straight and married to a woman, Howard agreed to sing on the record with a host of Los Angeles session musicians, and Ames released the record under a “fake” label called Lace Records to avoid Edison International being pigeonholed as a gay record label. The record sold well in Hollywood, and Frank Sinatra, Liberace, and Bob Hope were among some of its biggest advocates.
Now, with the mystery solved, and the masters purchased by Sundazed, Love is a Drag will be reissued by Modern Harmonic, available on gold vinyl, as well as a CD format, with original liner notes, and new notes from JD Doyle just in time for Record Store Day, November 26th.
The track list:
- Lover Man
- He's Funny That Way
- My Man
- The Boy Next Door
- The Man I Love
- Mad About The Boy
- He's My Guy
- Stranger In Paradise
- Can't Help Lovin' That Man