ARTHUR LEE & LOVE – Complete Forever Changes Live

Album: Complete Forever Changes Live

Artist: Arthur Lee & Love

Label: Rockbeat

Release Date: May 05, 2017

rockbeatrecords.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

The late Arthur Lee was one of rock’s more tragic figures. Under-appreciated despite the groundbreaking efforts made with his band Love, one of the first interracial ensembles of the early ‘60s and one of the few that held high aspirations in the era of flower power and patchouli that marked the mid to late ‘60s, his tangles with the law and failure to follow up those early exceptional outings created a pattern of despair and disappointment.

Happily, once Lee finished his five year prison stint for unlawful use of a firearm, he was ready to resume his efforts under the Love branding. Sadly, two of the band’s original members, Bryan MacLean and Ken Forssi, had died during his incarceration, making a reunion of the original band impossible. He then recruited the band Baby Lemonade and embarked on a new phase of the band’s trajectory, mostly replaying past glories. A revisit to the band’s unsung masterpiece Forever Changes — an album that deserves inclusion on the same iconic plateau as Sgt. Pepper, Days Of Future Past and Smiley Smile — was offered on various occasions including as part of the U.K.‘s far reaching Glastonbury Festival from where this newly performance has been newly unearthed.

Recorded in 2003, the then-25 year old album sounds as fresh and vital as ever, thanks to the precise reproduction of the album’s intricate chamber pop arrangements. Songs such as “Alone Again Or,” “Andmoreagain,” “Maybe the People Would Be the Times,” and “The Daily Planet” still possess the power to take one’s breath away, each sweeping in their elegance and elegiac tones. Those that recall these magnificent melodies as part of the soundtrack of their memories will rejoice in the revisit, while newcomers may find themselves stunned at the artistry and imagination that Lee revelled in early on.

This performance ought to have easily qualified as one of the landmark events of the year, perhaps not as wildly hailed as Brian Wilson’s dual celebrations of Smiley Smile or Pet Sounds, but no less significant regardless. When, on “The Red Telephone,” Lee insists “I want my freedom” it’s apparent that after all he endured, he relished the fact that he was finally allowed to be unleashed.  When Leukemia claimed his life three years later, his immortality was already assured.

DOWNLOAD: “Alone Again Or,” “Andmoreagain,” “Maybe the People Would Be the Times,”

 

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