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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Buffalo Posted - 02/08/2010 : 19:40:43
By: Cody Sokolski
Forever Changes: Arthur Lee & The Book Of Love
By John Einarson
(Jawbone Press)

Arthur Lee was a singular talent. And truthfully, painful as it is to acknowledge, most of his brilliance shone over the first four Love albums on Elektra Records.

Back in the prehistoric days of rock journalism, I believe that it was in Paul Williams Crawdaddy Magazine that Lee’s voice was described as a black man trying to sound like a white man (Jagger, I believe was the inference) trying to sound like a black man. Whether or not the description was fair or even right, it does give one a sense of the confusion surrounding this truly amazing artist.

“Forever Changes: Arthur Lee & The Book Of Love” paints a pretty good picture of an artist in an almost day to day struggle to be himself and with himself.

John Einarson is a well known writer of books on rock ‘n’roll (Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, Flying Burritos Brothers and many more) who does an excellent job of getting the facts - and more importantly, the atmosphere of the times to the printed pages. In “Forever Changes,” Einarson intersperses excerpts from Lee’s own unfinished memoirs. He is very successful in capturing the moments of the early psych Los Angeles music scene and writes in a way that lets the reader feel like everything is happening in the present. Einarson firmly details the music of Lee from the humble beginnings to the rocky ending and every moment is sabotaged by wild mood swings, genius, drugs and a debilitating fear of touring.

The unspoken fear of touring probably owed a great deal to Lee’s sensitivity to the fact that in 1967, being a multi-racial rock ‘n' roll band presented a whole host of issues on the road. And then this would be exacerbated by the cloudy mindset of constant drug usage. Sadly, Lee was one incredibly self-medicating destructive artist. And everyone in Love bought in wholeheartedly to the drug revolution. And, as the book is also the story of the band Love, there are ample quotes from all involved in the band, in particular Lee’s right hand man, guitarist Johnny Echols, as well as, the yin to Arthur’s yang, Bryan MacLean. All the stories are here; Snoopy the drummer, who was apparently always in danger of being tossed out, Ken Forssi, Michael Stuart and the various producers and engineers.

The last third of the book is dedicated to the sad, slow and eventual decline of Arthur Lee. He was generally forgotten, at least in his own country. The drugs, the paranoia, the inability to maintain relationships with musicians (or women), the temper, the records of descending quality, the insecurities and jealousies, the time in prison, the bad decisions and distrust of everyone are all there to see. Sometimes, it is painful to read, because you start to feel how much of a trainwreck Lee’s life and career were.

The one bright spot in the decline of Lee is that, in the last 10 years of his life, due to the caring and respect of several devoted and long-suffering European promoters, he was able to go to Europe and reclaim some semblance of the dignity and respect that was rightfully his due. But even then he still ran the risk of alienating those whose only goal was to help him.

For those of you only vaguely aware of who Love was, “Forever Changes: Arthur Lee & The Book Of Love” would be a great place to start your catch up on this seminal band. However, the real glory will come from the early music of Authur Lee and Love.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Joe Morris Posted - 09/02/2018 : 16:17:44
so Jac took the best of what Arthur had recorded to fulfill his contract with Elektra and missed gems like "I Still Wonder" and "Willow Willow"

Go figure!
Joe Morris Posted - 07/08/2010 : 17:40:17
you know, the first Love album I had was on a cassette, Studio/Live (MCA)

wasn't as brilliant as Forever Changes of course, or side 1 of da capo(Which I was just listening to in mono)
but there are nice songs: Nice to be, Willow Willow; and of course Keith Dion's fave "Singing Cowboy"

So there was something there to make me want to have a friend record his vinyl da capo, and for me to buy a cd of Forever Changes to have another friend record that for me to tape

I think I had the Best of Love cassette for decades, although I doubt if audio cassettes are still even being made
bob f. Posted - 07/08/2010 : 03:31:48
hi, gatemouthmoore, to piggyback on your heroin reference above, I was at one of Arthur and Love's L.A. 2000s shows, and in , " The Red Telephone" , when Arthur sang, " ...the fifth's to fix..." , he pointed to his inner arm (mainline).
I'm not suggesting he shot dope, 'cause I respect his denial of that. Just saying he was making reference to shooting dope, as he did with 'signed dc'. just an observation, 'cause I was there, and thought it meant something.

...what the world needs now...
lemonade kid Posted - 06/08/2010 : 14:57:33
STUDIO/LIVE puts the best of OUT HERE together and edits out the long solos to give us a most enjoyable set...with one of a kind live numbers. I can only think Jac missed some great ones here!

Doggone is a favorite.

Everything you do returns at last to you,
so why don't
-Tom Rapp
Joe Morris Posted - 06/08/2010 : 01:33:28
Yeah, Good Times ... whats up with that?

is that even a Love song

free the love (and Arthur Lee)!
kdion11 Posted - 05/08/2010 : 20:57:47
Originally posted by Joe Morris

Whens the last time you listened to the album

I really don't listen to it much, personally. The only song on it that doesn't have all the juice squeezed out of it is "Nothing"
Maybe "I'm with you"

How many times did Arthur rerecord "Singing Cowboy" anyway ? Didn't that turn up on Real to Reel?

KD: And LOVE: STUDIO / LIVE. Where the live version is
the DEFINITVE version IMHO. That seems to be the version
that BL were playing during the last few tours.

Free the cowboys !
sometimesmylifeissoeerie Posted - 05/08/2010 : 19:42:41
That line has been cracking me up for 40 years!
Only AL could have had the psycho-ness to write that.
Even a song with barely any lyrics like "Good Times" had a psycho edge to it- he's practically ordering her to have a "good time"(!)
He's got to tell her to get up on the floor and dance.
But Arthur made an art form of it, rather than just screaming it out like the punks might do, he made a hip,jazzy/bluesy melody out of it, and gave it some jazzy diminished seventh chords and an Em9, and voila- small masterpiece.
Joe Morris Posted - 05/08/2010 : 15:23:42
Neils Song is rather a jolly old song - "who passed away maybe its better this way" - la la la
John9 Posted - 05/08/2010 : 15:22:04
Absolutely, Rocker! I'm With You is classic Love ....superb melody, delicate instrumentation and with Arthur in fine voice. When it was released as a single here, one magazine reviewer compared it to the best of The Byrds' work. Nothing, I think is another of the album's jewels....and of course one that remained a live favourite for quite some time. One shining quality that scarcely ever gets a mention is Frank Fayad's resonant bass.....I think especially of the drive it gives to fine songs like Dream and Robert Montgomery.
rocker Posted - 05/08/2010 : 14:42:08
You know all of us here have our "fav" song from the group and we've been listening to the band for a long while so naturally things stick with us. I've noticed that I play " I'm With You" very much in "rotation". I love that song and it's in my top 3 from the band......and it comes from 4 Sail. I personally find it so inventive and it just m-o-v-e-s with the great riffs going on with the guitars. The drums and guitars are in perfect sync. I always wonder where did Arthur get that "sound" from to make that particular song? Just a beautiful creation from a rock genius...
gatemouthmoore Posted - 05/08/2010 : 06:04:59
Neil's song and Singing Cowboy are both drug songs."What about the time when you took my arm and said come along you don't have to be strong." "Gonna shoot a little taste of me and my boy." Boy is the slang name for heroin.

Neil Rapaport Aka. Neil Gannon, was the group's road manager. He was also the one who first turned the guys on to intravenous drugs. Strange to be writing songs about him.
GMM. It's better to have what you don't want, than to want what you can't have.
Joe Morris Posted - 05/08/2010 : 04:26:18
Whens the last time you listened to the album

I really don't listen to it much, personally. The only song on it that doesn't have all the juice squeezed out of it is "Nothing"
Maybe "I'm with you"

How many times did Arthur rerecord "Singing Cowboy" anyway ? Didn't that turn up on Real to Reel?
sometimesmylifeissoeerie Posted - 05/08/2010 : 03:31:45
All I know is that ONLY Arthur Lee could have written those great (if shorter) melodies, chords and psycho lyrics of the first four songs on side two of "Four Sail", and that's enough for me.
The other songs are okay, but just don't have that special melodic magic that his best songs have, IMHO.
IMHO, most songwriters have just a few great songs in them, and then write stuff that is good, but not on the same level as their really great stuff.
This is all very subjective, and I'm not looking for anyone to agree with me on this.
After Four Sail, it was over.
One thing that struck me as weird in the book was when it was claimed that AL wrote BOTH "Neil's Song" and "I'm With You" for their late road manager.
Neil's Song, obviously, but "I'm With You" sounds more like a love song.
Joe Morris Posted - 05/08/2010 : 01:46:02
curiously, Arthur seems to have been playing with the original band (Johnny, Michael) and with the Four Sail band as well, in 1969 (Santa MOnica)

Imagine being his publicist!

Dunno if there was a single from Four Sail. His label (well, Holzman) seems to have lost faith in the group by that time.

I understand Arthur was recording the album on the cheap, with rentals

I guess he got the advance and didn't pay the others too well, as Suranovich (at least) left because of money disputes

I doubt if any of them did well financially out of Love, what with playing live only once a month and
Lee holding all the publishing
John9 Posted - 05/08/2010 : 01:29:49
Originally posted by gatemouthmoore

The original Love, could fill the Hollywood Bowl, with several thousand people.
Arthur's side-men could barely fill the Whiskey, with one hundred twenty five
"paying" customers. That should tell you how well the [new] "Love" was accepted
by the people.


But then as we know, the quality of music is not defined by its popularity......the paying public can be notoriously fickle. My inclination is not to put the name of the later band in inverted commas. I really do believe that Arthur, Jay, Frank, George and Gary deserve better than that. Whilst no one could seriously claim that Four Sail and Out Here were masterpieces, they both contain enough interesting music to make them worthwhile....and I for one am delighted that Love continued after 1968, albeit in a different guise.

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