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Four Sail

Love

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Album Review

From a retrospective point of view, this might be the first album in the career of singer and songwriter Arthur Lee that might have been received with more enthusiasm had it been released under his name, and not under the band name. Obviously, it must have been in his commercial best interests to retain the Love identity, but here Lee is the only member of the original band left. He is trying to recreate a Love-able identity with fewer players than he had before and a completely different sound. The old Love delivered material in a solidly folk-rock vein, meaning among other things an emphasis on combinations of acoustic and electric guitars. When the original group wanted something a little heavier, it would really put the hammer down. Records such as "My Little Red Book" and "Seven & Seven Is" were tough enough to be rightly considered precursors of punk rock, which is a lot of mileage to get out of a Burt Bacharach tune. Lee's new lineup here does not have this kind of versatility. Guitarist Jay Donnellan plays a heavy lead guitar minus the impressive chops and gets lots of solo space in the arrangements. The rhythm section favors a more leaden sound as well, particularly drummer George Suranovich, who soaks the barbecue with Keith Moon and Mitch Mitchell licks. Lee fills in on several different instruments, but his real strength is the set of ten original songs he has provided. The tracks are deep in feeling and performed with an emotional fervor that sometimes approaches anguish. It is like going into a dark coffeehouse late at night and finding an electrically charged performer delivering messages about things familiar to one and all: love, memories, friendship, "Good Times," and even "Nothing." Lee's lyrics and performances have been compared to Jimi Hendrix, certainly a compliment. This album is such a good example of these strengths that it rises above the garage band sound to communicate a sense of time and place as well as some truly sincere feelings.

Biography

Formed: 1965 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '00s

One of the best West Coast folk-rock/psychedelic bands, Love may have also been the first widely acclaimed cult/underground group. During their brief heyday — lasting all of three albums — they drew from Byrds-ish folk-rock, Stones-ish hard rock, blues, jazz, flamenco, and even light orchestral pop to create a heady stew of their own. They were also one of the first integrated rock groups, led by genius singer/songwriter Arthur Lee, one of the most idiosyncratic and enigmatic talents...
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Four Sail, Love
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