Forever Changes Is one of the most important albums of all times. If you’re reading this post, you probably know it by now. If you don’t, I strongly suggest you’ll stop reading now, go to the store and get yourself a copy of this masterpiece by Love.
The first three records by Love documented a fascinating development of a band, that started as a folk-rock/garage, moved to dreamy pop and ended with the explosion of eclectism, in the shape of their masterpiece Forever.
First band to mix blacks and whites, Love wasn’t an ordinary band in any way. Aside from their fast musical growth, they revolved around one Arthur Lee, a controversial guy perhaps, but nevertheless a genius. Love was primary the musicians around Lee, but the importance of his songwriting partner Brian McLean cannot be diminished. Lee’s freaked out personality was a necessity for Love’s songwriting, even if it meant aiming a gun on your neighbor (he did ask Arthur to take down the volume on his stereo system, after all).
After three records, Arthur moved to different directions, experimented less with folk and psych and sticked to hard rock. He assembled a new band under the name Love and released two records Four Sail and false Start. In 1972, he released a solo album called Vindicator and after that released Reel To Reel and Black Beauty.
Before all that, he recorded an album in 1971 called Dear You. It was never released due to contractual issues with Sony/Columbia. Years after, Mark Lin, his agent, recalled the unreleased recordings with the label and asked them to dig their vaults. The tapes were found and 39 years too late, Love Lost, who started as Dear You was released.
Love Lost is Arthur Lee in his Hendrix period. Young Jimmy died not so long before and probably occupied Lee’s thoughts and troubled him to the extent of entering Lee’s album aggressively. Hendrix was not only an influence, he was a true friend. Not only that the songwriting style brings to mind Jimmy’s Band Of Gypsies period, the Love band members are playing like savages, hairy, sweat dripping savages.
Arthur, on the other hand is being Arthur. Turned on, passionate, dangerous, a soft lover and an ugly beast. He screams his heart out and his singing reaches places that I don’t get how he didn’t collapse in the middle of the take. He’s committed to his lyrics and when he sings about ‘everybody gotta live’, the automatic, reasonable thing to do is shout A-MEN!
Unlike Hendrix, Arthur Lee was not the greatest guitarist in the world, but he did have what Hendrix had loads of – terrific songs and soul. No white man had that soul, maybe except for Van Morrison. It’s a dark, wounded and tortured soul that takes Wilson Picket and Charlie Parker, and super gluing it to Eleanor Rigby. Also, both of them were excellent band leaders who knew how to make the best out of their musicians.
Most of the songs in the album eventually found themselves in Vindicator a year later, but Love Lost allows a peek to the songs in their early, less aggressive versions .
It’s a spoiling release, with a beautiful digipack, like all the stuff released by the fantastic Sundazed label, and a must have for any Love fan out there who wants to know the post Forever Arthur Lee.