US - California - Full Moon 121 - 08/09/06
Love - till death did us apart
Arthur Lee 1945-2006
Last Thursday, August 3rd, Arthur Lee left. Love finally died. But some recorded 'love letters' are left.
African-American Lee (Arthur Taylor Porter) formed the folksy, garagey, psychedelic, mariachi trumpet pop-rock combo Love in the midst of the 60s, and they put out some great recordings in two years: Love (1966), Da Capo (1967), and the C.L.A.S.S.I.C. Forever Changes (also 1967). The Love core, apart from Lee, was Johnny Echols (lead guitar), Bryan MacLean (guitar), Ken Forssi (bass) and Michael Stuart (drums). Love also counted Alban "snoopy" Pfisterer (drummer on Love, later harpsichord) and Tjay Cantrelli (sax, flute). Lee broke up the band in 1968, but Love reformed (with new line-ups, mainly session-musicians) to record a few more albums, 1969's Four Sail and Out Here, to name the better ones. Then Lee headed into the 1970s with a couple of solo attempts, Vindicator (1972) and Black Beauty (1973) before... mainly silence.
The 70s went by, and so did the 1980s. Until the early 90s, when Arthur Lee re-appeared with a new recording, a single (in 1994). Then Lee got in trouble with the law. Seriously. After an incident involving a fire-arm he was sentenced to several years in prison. He was released in December 2001, and the following year Lee began touring old Love songs again, as Arthur Lee & Love. Which he pretty much did until he got ill. Badly. Really glad to see and hear him on his 2nd (?) visit to Oslo two years ago.
A benefit concert - 'We're doing it for Love' - was thrown June 26th this year, with the likes of Love-guitarist Johnny Echols, Robert Plant, Ian Hunter, Ryan Adams, Yo La Tengo, Nils Lofgren, Garland Jeffreys, Alec Ounsworth (of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), plus others.
Get hold of Forever Changes immediately. It's part of the history of pop/rock curriculum. The 1995 two-disc compilation Love Story could be another good place to start.
Check out this site. Hail. Peace.
Copyright © 2006 Håvard Oppøyen