Monday, June 13, 2005

Love - Love Story 1966-72 (Rhino, 1999)

Love was one of the great psychedelic bands of the 1960's. Based on the West Coast (naturally) and led by the talented but enigmatic Arthur Lee, the group is somewhat forgotten today, despite having a couple of hit albums and singles during their day. Love's music combined folk, blues and a classical sensability along with the ability to rock out like a garage band when the need arose. Combine this with Lee's trippy, acid-tinged lyrics and they made for a formidable group.

Early Love mined both their folk and R&B roots with songs like "Signed D.C." which is one of the most potent and emotional anti-drug songs ever written. The band could rock as well, covering every garage band's favorite "Hey Joe" with reckless abandon. As the band continued to develop, their sound became more and more intricite. Forever Changes is considered a milestone in rock and roll music, combining strings and orchestral arrangements with a framework of rock music to create hybrid compositions like "Stephanie Knows Who" and their top ten hit "7 And 7 Is."

After this triumph, Lee broke up the original incarnation of Love and hired new musicians in search of a heavier, more rocking sound. He found it on the album Four Sail which contained an extended R&B improvisation on "Singing Cowboy." Love stumbled along for a few more years as Lee suffered drug and personal problems that would dog him for many years took hold. Since the band released very few albums during their career, this two disc set is able to capture most of the high points and a few rarites. Also included is a well done booklet with a short history of the band and several photos. This is a well done collection that shines some much needed light on an unjustly forgotten band.

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