Sunday, August 06, 2006

Arthur Lee 1945 - 2006

Sad news about Arthur Lee who died yesterday. I always admired the "Forever Changes" Lp that a friend of mine had back in the 60's but never bought myself. Many years later found this "Love Revisited" on the Elektra label (no date) but imagine it's a compilation of tracks from "Forever Changes" and some other 60's albums on Elektra.

"Lee was a genuine prodigy. Born in Memphis in 1945 and raised in the Crenshaw-Adams district of Los Angeles, he made his first recording at 18 and had formed the initial lineup of Love by the time he was 20. The group was unusual not only because it was multiracial (a real rarity in 1966) but because Lee, an African American and Love's unquestioned leader, was largely uninterested in the more traditional expressions of mid-'60s black musical culture -- namely, soul and rhythm and blues.

The first album, titled, simply, "Love," was an energetic but mostly conventional set of short songs -- one highlight was a taut, punked-out rendition of Burt Bacharach's "My Little Red Book" that would have done credit to the Ramones. Their second disc, "Da Capo," was more venturesome, but marred by one side devoted entirely to the interminable "Revelation," a not-especially-inspired jam session that grew.

And then there was "Forever Changes." As Andrew Hultkrans observes in a 130-page book (one of several published to date) about the record's history: " 'Forever Changes' is notable for its relative sonic austerity, with folk and classical influences dominant and not a Mellotron in ear shot. At its core, the record could be the product of an extremely inventive acoustic duo, with bass, drums, and tasteful orchestration providing unobtrusive but essential support. When a wailing electric guitar arrives, which happens only twice, it cuts across the pastoral-Gothic soundscape like a strafing fighter plane, making its point far more effectively than it would in a typical psych-rock context."

Discover more about Arthur Lee and Love HERE.

Love - My Little Red Book

Love - 7 And 7 Is

Love - She Comes In Colours

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spice-the-cat said...

Another one of the underrated greats passes on to the great stage in the sky.

I was fortunate enough to see the Foreverchanges tour which took place a couple of years ago. I went with no expectations whatsoever and came away having seen one of the best concerts I've ever had the priviledge to attend.

It's also one of my all time favourite albums - Recorded at around the same time as the Beatles Sgt Pepper, it is a triumph of detail, texture, arranging and great songs - and, unlike the Beatles album, rarely resorts to studio trickery to achieve it's greatness.

It should be in everyone's record collection... including yours.

michael said...

I may even have it stashed away somewhere. I make discoveries in my collection all the time as over half of it is in boxes in cupboards and wardrobes!