body{ text-shadow: 0px 0px 4px rgba(150, 150, 150, 1); }

22 Aug 2016

Love ”Real to Reel” 1974 US R & B,Funk,psych,soul lost masterpiece..! (Arthur Lee & Love)

Love ”Real to Reel” 1974 US R & B,Funk,psych lost masterpiece..! (Arthur Lee & Love) 

“One of America’s most enigmatic, volatile talents realising a dream by homaging his roots.”
–Kris Needs Shindig Magazine….

On November 27th, 2015, High Moon Records will be reissuing the 1974 studio album from one of rock music’s most gifted and enigmatic legends — expanded with 12 bonus tracks. Available on CD/Digital for the first time and back on Vinyl after more than 40 years, Reel To Real captures Arthur Lee and Love at the peak of their rock/funk/soul powers.

“Rich in soulful, unconventional details, masterful singing, crunchy-guitar rock, straight-up Stax-grounded soul, eccentric psychedelia and contemporary funk.” – David Fricke, Rolling Stone

Originally recorded and released in 1974 on RSO Records, this beautifully packaged, deluxe reissue features vibrant, remastered audio from the original tapes, a 32-page booklet with an illuminating essay by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, and a trove of candid, unpublished photos.

What Arthur Lee began on Love’s Black Beauty (released by High Moon Records to wide acclaim in 2013), he brought to fruition on Reel To Real. Armed with a major label budget and a powerful, intuitive band, he dug deep into the blues, soul, and rock grooves that first inspired him, reaching out to a new audience with his fierce and forward-thinking personal vision. The album features Arthur’s beloved Black Beauty band: drummer Joe Blocker, guitarist Melvan Whittington, and bassist Robert Rozelle — who Lee referred to as “cats who can play funky and rock" — augmented by guitar-ace John Sterling and cameo appearances by legendary guitarists Harvey Mandel and “Buzzy” Feiten.

“Lee was perfectly at ease stretching the boundaries of his music to encompass the sounds of the world at large.” – NPR Music

With stinging guitars, explosive brass (arranged by Arthur Lee), deep funk bass and clavinet, splashes of spacey synthesizer, and dream-team female backing vocals, Arthur Lee brought his funkiest and most soulful collection of songs and channeled the most visceral vocal performances he ever committed to tape.

High Moon Records has unearthed 11 revelatory, previously-unreleased tracks from the original sessions, including alternate takes and mixes, live-in-studio rehearsals, and 4 newly-discovered Arthur Lee originals: “Do It Yourself,” “I Gotta Remember,” “Somebody,” and “You Gotta Feel It.” These songs (three fully-produced rockers, and a spare, Imagine-era John Lennon-by-way-of Sly Stone studio sketch) were previously unknown to all but their original participants, and present a major addition to Arthur Lee’s catalog. Other bonus track highlights include the guitar fury in the extended, alternate mix of “Busted Feet,” the eccentric and darkly-comic single mix of “You Said You Would,” and an impromptu studio rehearsal of Forever Changes outtake “Wonder People (I Do Wonder).” This ultra-rare bonus material fills out the picture of a fearless, agile and very funky ensemble, led by a masterful singer-songwriter at his feral, exultant best. …

Arthur Lee had every reason to feel disenchanted with his career in 1974, as his harder rock moves on 1970’s False Start and his 1972 solo debut Vindicator didn’t please critics or fans and his deal with the fledgling Buffalo Records label left him with an unreleased album, Black Beauty, when the company abruptly crashed and burned. Lee had started dipping his toes into material with a stronger R&B edge on Black Beauty, and when RSO Records gave him another chance at a major-label deal, he dove in headfirst: in a Rolling Stone interview, Lee said Reel to Real was his effort to get “as black and funky as I can, man, on my music.” If folks hoping for another Da Capo or Forever Changes weren’t pleased with False Start or Vindicator, they were simply confused by Reel to Real’s funk grooves and banks of horns and keyboards (not to mention a lineup that featured no previous members of Love but Lee). However, while the album has often been written off as a failure, Reel to Real is an album with more than its share of great moments, even if it’s inarguably uneven. Lee’s vocals are tough but eloquent on these tunes, and though the music is often rooted in deep funk (especially on the percolating “Who Are You” and “With a Little Energy”), blues (“Which Witch is Which”), and vintage R&B (“Stop the Music”), the fierce guitar work from Lee, Melvan Whittington, and John Sterling makes it clear Lee hadn’t cut his ties to rock & roll. Psychedelia doesn’t really play a part in this music, but the introspective twists ofLee’s lyrics confirm he still had plenty to say about the world around him and the universe inside his mind. And the closing acoustic version of “Everybody’s Gotta Live” (which first appeared on Vindicator) offered a brief glimpse of the sly, thoughtful hippie who had recorded Forever Changes just seven years earlier. Reel to Real plays more like an Arthur Lee solo effort than a Love album (and was blighted with a singularly ugly cover), but it’s a good Arthur Lee album, with a tighter focus and a more thoughtful perspective than Vindicator, proving Lee still had a great deal to say even if his audience didn’t care to listen. by allmusic…

When an artist makes a masterpiece, nothing they do after that will ever be enough in the eyes of some fans. That’s something that Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke emphasizes in his exhaustive liner notes for this reissue of Reel To Real, the final studio album by Arthur Lee’s band Love.

When the mercurial singer/songwriter was brought under contract by RSO Records in 1973, the expectation was that he could be steered toward creating another Forever Changes, the 1967 classic of dark hearted psych-folk-pop. What the label got instead was a ragged collection of spirited R&B and soul, meaty guitar rock, and Lee’s zonked lyrical visions of bad juju and hopes for a better world for all. Reel To Real is, by anyone’s estimation, far from a perfect record. But it’s also one that has been unfairly dismissed in the four decades since its release.

The supporting evidence of the potential of Love circa 1974 is the copious bonus material included with the remastered version of the original album. Left to his own devices with a bountiful recording budget, Lee sounds as focused and loose as he did on the sessions of the lost album Black Beauty and his 1972 solo album Vindicator. In bits of between take chatter, he chides his engineers and band with an audible grin, and everyone’s performances have a little wobble to them, as if they were still feeling their way around the songs. Yet, outtakes like the muscular horn section-augmented funk of “Do It Yourself” and the heavy blues attack of “Somebody” reveal a band really coming into its own. If Lee and co. had gone through with recording a follow-up as part of his two-album deal, it could have been a white hot blast.

Instead, Love’s legacy, up until Lee’s late career return to the stage following his five-year stint in prison, was an album that varies pretty dramatically in quality. Opening track “Time Is Like a River” has a leaden Blues Brothers Band feel, but is then quickly swept aside by the agitated R&B of “Stop The Music” and the dizzying polyrhythms and Moog intrusions of “Who Are You?” And so it goes throughout the original tracklisting with undercooked jams giving way to moments of real inspiration and, as with the closing track “Everybody’s Gotta Live” (a song originally found on Vindicator) startling emotion…… By Robert Ham…..

Best known as a forward-thinking purveyor of psychedelia and acid-tinged folk-rock, and more infamously known as somewhat of a loose cannon, Arthur Lee is undoubtedly a key figure in rock and roll history. As the leader of Love, one of the Bay Area’s most ambitious and eclectic ‘60s acts, Lee commanded his way through some of rock music’s most powerful performances—“7 & 7 Is”, “My Little Red Book”, the entirety of 1967’s Forever Changes album—while also driving the band lineup through numerous personnel and vision changes due to the sheer ambition of his focus and volatility of his personality. By the end of the ‘60s, drugs and other assorted associations had taken their toll, affecting the band’s cohesion and Lee’s frame of mind. Lee quickly was signed as a solo artist, but curiously continued recording under the Love moniker, shuffling through various co-songwriters, session players, and the occasional household name while capturing the wide ranging methods of sound that passed through his lens.

This period of upheaval served as the background for the recording of Reel to Real, an 11-track album, now reissued by High Moon Records, and expanded with an additional dozen unreleased, alternate, and demo versions added on for clarity and completeness. While initially passed over in terms of notoriety at the time of its 1974 release, Lee was configuring Love into a high-flying soul, funk, and R&B-influenced outfit well on its way to matching the swagger and versatility of better known contemporaries such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Sly Stone. In fact, Love’s supporters and benefactors were so awed by his intended vision that they were capable of roping in a princely advance fee for the album’s recording and a string of sweet opening act gigs for artists like Lou Reed and Eric Clapton. Though the cash sum would soon be swept away and the touring performances were turned into unmitigated disasters, Lee was able to channel his energy and focus into completing quite a remarkable album’s worth of tunes.

Featuring a bevy of horns, keys, and synth, Reel to Real sounds nothing like prior incarnations of Love. Gone were the trippy and ominous declarations of psych-freak, minor chord ghostly swirls, and dread that had populated earlier Love tunes. Instead, the album sways on the side of cheerfulness, plowing along accompanied by rhythmic grooves that rattle the bass channels of the speakers instead of airily filling the treble sides. The frenetically chugging “Who Are You” plays like a long lost AM-gold funk staple, all bell-bottoms and wild hair and pure groove. Similarly, “With a Little Energy” calls forth a rallying cry mantra worthy of the Staple Singers or Bill Withers. “Good Old Fashion Dream”, perhaps the album’s catchiest tune, shines through with pure James Brown and Al Green soulful joy. Below the surface, though, things aren’t as rosy as they may appear. There are still small doses of Arthur Lee despair percolating through. “Stop the Music” is noticeable for its’ arresting blues dirge delivery, while “Be Thankful for What You Got” slows things down to accompany Lee’s plea for appreciation and thankfulness. The album eventually finds its way back to the rock and roll ethos of Love’s earlier work as the final three songs’ arrangements shape their way back to familiar terrain: guitars, bass, drums, and subtler accompaniments.

As posthumous releases continue to become the industry standard for quick monetary gains and marketable branding mechanisms, releases such as this one prove valuable and worthy of the attention. Of course, being that the album went largely unnoticed upon its original release date, it is almost as if these recordings are in fact seeing the light of day for the first time. And that’s just fine. Longtime fans and musicologists will revel in the fine-sounding audio remasters that make the funky basslines thump a bit heavier, the horns swing a bit jazzier, and Lee’s yelps project that much higher. Those casual fans, only familiar with Lee’s Forever Changes persona, will enjoy hearing Lee emphasizing the soulful swagger at the expense of the paranoid, psychedelic hysteria. At times, it’s difficult to comprehend that it’s even the same voice. Above all, Reel to Real is a testament to Lee’s fiercely defined approach to music. He followed his own rules, listened to his own voices, and despite leaving quite a wreck along the way, captured his muse to the best of his ability……by pop matters…

A different influence pops up on Love’s newest record: Al Green. While Lee may not be interested in creating genres anymore he surely can perfect some, as many of the soul and blues rock songs on this album prove. “Time is Like River” and “Stop the Music” are good atmospheric openers, that show how interesting Lee can be with a blues tune. “Good Old Fashioned Dream” is pure Al Green, even going as far as to copy the sound of his background trumpeters, and it is an endearing tune. “Which Witch is Which” is the only tune that could be mistaken for the Love incarnation of the 1960’s, with its psychedelic guitar effects, and it may be one of Lee’s best post-Forever Changes tunes. “Be Thankful For What You Got” is an oddity for sure, sounding about 20 years ahead of tis time with its infectious soul/funk groove and talks about “driving down the street with a gangster lean” (seriously). “You Said You Would” takes an odd jab at country music and some kind of thumping/door knock sound that becomes humorous as the song goes on. The live cover of Four Sail’s “Singing Cowboy” does absolutely nothing for me, and shows Lee is running out of ideas and hardly sounds revolutionary anymore with his lyrics. Interesting oddities is mainly what you get here, as the album does play like an odd b-sides collection that should really only be necessary for die hard fans of Arthur Lee. It is a lovely way to end the run of Love albums though, and remains a buried treasure to this day. ……

The final new studio album released by Arthur Lee’s Love in 1974, the long out-of-print Reel To Real is soon to be available again in a remastered CD form with anextra dozen bonus tracks. Like the CD of Black Beauty, the fine folks at High Moon Records have given this a love-ing treatment (!) and again features the same players who’d appeared on Black Beauty. This album originally appeared on R.S.O. in 1974 and basically sank without a trace. However, listening to this, you would think it would have crashed into the charts as it fit perfectly with the groove-oriented sound of the time; this is a much different, funkier (emphasis on funk) Love than was heard previously.

Kicking off with “Time Is Like A River”, the immediate thought is a mixture of the Hi Records/Willie Mitchell sound crossed with Curtis Mayfield; “Stop The Music” feels like a tribute to Otis Redding with its horn charts and overall feel (note the guitar textures and the arrangements) and “Good Old Fashion Dream” is in the same vein, albeit more upbeat. “With A Little More Energy” is a positive, groove oriented get-down with a lot of life in it; an interesting cover of William DeVaughn’s “Be Thankful For What You Got” gets a very accurate reading and “Busted Feet” is a guitar powerhouse with a great funk-oriented rhythm.

From the bonus tracks, “Do It Yourself” has a deep funk/soul feel with some heavy duty guitars; “Somebody” is all guitars but the sound is dirty, raw and crisp and “Wonder People (I Do Wonder)”, rhythmically, calls back to “Alone Again Or” – while it’s a demo, it has a great texture and the jazziness along with the vibe makes it worthy to note. All in all, some very choice cuts for inclusion as bonus tracks.

I’m glad to see that Love is, indeed, finally, getting a lot more attention, recognition and respect long-overdue them. A vitally important band – and performer like Arthur Lee – needs to be held in the light for their amazing catalog. And let the late-period albums such as this NOT be overlooked; do your homework and pick up Love’s Reel To Real.


Bass – Sherwood Akuna
Congas – Herman McCormick
Drums – Joey Blocker*
Engineer – Mike Stone
Guitar – Melvan Whittington
Producer – Skip Taylor
Slide Guitar – John Sterling
Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica – Arthur Lee

1. Time Is Like A River
2. Stop The Music
3. Who Are You?
4. Good Old Fashion Dream
5. Which Witch Is Which
6. With A Little Energy
7. Singing Cowboy
8. Be Thankful For What You Got
9. You Said You Would
10. Busted Feet
11. Everybody’s Gotta Live 

–– Bonus Tracks ––– 

12. Do It Yourself [Outtake] 
13. I Gotta Remember [Outtake] 
14. Somebody [Outtake] 
15. You Gotta Feel It [Outtake] 
16. With A Little Energy [Alternate Mix] 
17. Busted Feet [Alternate Mix] 
18. You Said You Would [Single Mix] 
19. Stop The Music [Alternate Take] 
20. Graveyard Hop [Studio Rehearsal] 
21. Singing Cowboy [Alternate Take] 
22. Everybody’s Gotta Live [Electric Version] 
23. Wonder People (I Do Wonder) [Studio Rehearsal] 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..







Cassette Deck

Cassette Deck