Various Artists
Said I Had a Vision: Songs and Labels of David Lee, 1960-1988


A1 Yakety Yaks: “Soul Night Pt. 1” 2:24
A2 Ann Sexton: “You’re Letting Me Down” 2:54
A3 The Constellations: “If Everybody” 2:07
A4 Bill Allen: “The Party” 3:21
A5 The Singing Mellerairs: “Ain’t It a Shame” 3:17
A6 Gospel I.Q.’s: “Peace in the Land” 2:51
A7 Brown Sugar Inc.: “Sweet Love of Mine” 3:42
B1 Relations Gospel Singers: “On My Way Up” 2:17
B2 Sensational Gates: “Help Me to Understand” 3:29
B3 Ann Sexton: “You’ve Been Gone Too Long” 2:16
B4 The Constellations: “The Frog” 1:48
B5 Brown Sugar Inc.: “Party Time” 2:43
B6 Joe Brown & The Singing Mellerairs: “Vision” 3:15
B7 David Lee: “I’ll Never Get Over Losing You” 3:57

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Album Info

Paradise of Bachelors is proud to release the first-ever anthology of the eclectic, excellent, and highly collectable music of David Lee. Over the course of three decades beginning in the late 1950s, this unheralded songwriter, musician, producer, and entrepreneur released fourteen 45s and two LPs on his Impel, Washington Sound, and SCOP labels, run out of his Washington Sound record shop in Shelby, North Carolina. He wrote most of the songs himself, including the devastating lament “You’re Letting Me Down,” which he recorded in 1971 with a then-unknown young Greenville, South Carolina soul singer named Ann Sexton. As reissued by Nashville DJ “John R.” Richbourg on his Seventy-Seven imprint, that record became the biggest hit of Mr. Lee’s long and impressive career, though hardly his sole accomplishment.

With a deeply emotive, colorblind songwriting style and eclectic tastes that embraced soul, gospel, rock, pop, and country, he ignored entrenched Southern genre and audience conventions, collaborating with local black and white musicians alike, including pioneering teenage “salt and pepper” combo the Constellations. The fruitful working relationships he developed with an array of legendary but obscure groups from the North/South Carolina borderlands—Joe Brown and the Singing Mellerairs, Brown Sugar Inc., Yakety Yaks, et al.—attest to his tremendous talent, his easy manner, and his tireless work ethic.

  • Collectable NC/SC soul, funk, gospel and more
  • First-ever reissue of 12 of the 14 selections
  • Debut release from Paradise of Bachelors
  • Pressed on virgin 150-gram vinyl
  • Deluxe 8-page booklet with extensive 10,000 word liner notes and photos from personal interviews and ethnographic fieldwork
  • Package contains SCOP Gospel newsletter from 1988
  • Coupon included for free download of entire record (purchases from this site include link for immediate download of the MP3 edition)
  • Two limited editions of 500 copies (first edition sold out)



“Unlike many releases of its kind, this is no revel in obscurity for obscurity’s sake. David Lee made some outstanding records. In fact, with such a slim discography to his name, you could say that nearly all of his records were outstanding — and all of them, of course, have been long out of print until now… Sacred and secular, white and black, it’s all killer and no filler… The Paradise of Bachelors team has left few if any stones unturned in compiling their tribute to David Lee — their extensive liner notes put the triumphs and travails of the Washington Sound principals in fascinating geographic and historical contexts, and what emerges is a charming, complex, and sympathetic portrait of Lee, who will turn 75 this year and who, judging by his reminiscences in the booklet, has no regrets concerning his career. Said I Had a Vision is a labor of love in the great David Lee tradition, and it made for one of this listener’s favorite records of 2010.”

-Nathan Salsburg, for Other Music
Twos & Fews Records; Root Hog, or Die blog; Association for Cultural Equity/Alan Lomax Archive

“Paradise of Bachelors is a brilliant new record company dedicated to releasing under-recognized musical treasures. Brendan Greaves and Jason Perlmutter bring rare vision and talent to our understanding of Southern music.”

William Ferris
Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History; Adjunct Professor in Folklore; Senior Associate Director, the Center for the Study of the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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