Gary Crawford



Review by Joe Regan Jr.






On Monday, December 20, Gary Crawford with his music director Barry Levitt and three terrific musicians, Jon Burr on bass, Jack Cavari on guitar and Dave Silliman on drums and percussion, appeared on the stage of Don’t Tell Mama with a small but enthusiastic crowd in the audience (there was a police blockade on 46 Street). The title of the show was “Secret Dreams The Barry Levitt Songbook” and every selection was composed by Levitt, many of them with his wife Brenda Levitt on the lyrics, and many, many of them with Crawford on lyrics especially on “trunk” songs that Levitt would find in his music trunk that were either unfinished or with previous lyrics that Levitt did not like.

“Sweet Dreams” opened the show with a lyric about how much in his secret dreams his lover was in love with him and a rocking chorus about flying away and soaring in the heavens. It was loud and brassy and there was, as on every selection, great work from the band.



Barry Levitt, Gary Crawford

A few selections later, there was a song about being an older woman (cougar type) “Little Boy Toy” with lyrics by Sunny Leigh. It’s an Oscar Brown Jr. type song with Crawford rebelling, sadly announcing “I’m not your little boy toy.”

Levitt narrated how Margaret Whiting introduced him to her last husband, Jack Wrangler, and Wrangler, who was making his last porn film, convinced Levitt to compose the theme song sung by Johnny Hartman over the closing credits to “The Devil In Miss Jones.” It’s actually a beautiful song and Crawford sang it very sweetly.


Crawford described how on his first visit to Levitt’s apartment Levitt began to pull lead sheets out of his trunk…and play them for him. Some of the strongest were “Do It,” with a hard pulsating insistence that the lovers do it again and again and go all the way each time (with a great guitar solo), “In Love Again” about not believing he could fall in love again after a series of disastrous love affairs, and “A Moment Ago,” a ballad.

The last two songs in the show also had lyrics by Brenda Levitt. The most beautiful was the closing song, “In Your Smile” about the healing powers of his lover’s smile.

There was a great variety of styles in Levitt’s songs and Crawford certainly educated his audience to a lot of new material.