Out Here / False Start
Back in the ’60s pretty much the only people who knew what Love (not the feeling) was were the denizens of California, L.A. to be exact. They were one of the least commercially successful bands of the Sunset Strip because of their refusal to tour. Fronted by the genius that was Arthur Lee (bless his soul), Love started gigging around ’65 and hypnotized people from the get go. Even 43 years later they still have the same magical effect. I’ve made numerous friends play “Orange Skies” (which unfortunately isn’t on either of these albums) more than three times in a sitting if the record is in the house. These guys refused to play Woodstock for Christ’s sake!
I got my sticky little fingers on these reissued albums Collectors’ Choice put out and was stuck in a good way. Out Here starts off with “I’ll Pray For You,” which, at first, sounds like any other drug-induced hippie free-love song but then they throw in these Presley-esque “uh huhs” in the chorus that make my feet start tappin’ and that piano just adds to the beauty of the whole thing. One of my personal favorites on this album has got to be “I’m Down” with its soul-drenching lyrics, “I’m down, down on the ground, whatcha got to make me come around” and its dreary soulful guitar playing. You fucking feel the desperation in the voice and in the music; that longing emotion that is so hard to describe but Arthur Lee does it like a junkie who needs his fix. “Love Is More Than Words Or Better Late Than Never” is lyrically brilliant. And maybe I’m just a sucker for guitar solos but this one has got it in the sack. “Nice To Be” is very pleasing to the senses. Reminds me of big lights and dancing. Hats with feathers in them is what I see when I listen to this song.
False Start, the second of the two reissues, seems more structured than just graceful jamming; it’s like it was written in the manner of a Zappa song and was honed and orchestrated. Never really having been a Jimi Hendrix fan, after listening to him collaborate with Love on this album I’ve decided to broaden my musical tastes a bit. This first song, “The Everlasting First,” is fucking classic. Arthur and the rest of the boys never cease to amaze me and the way Arthur belts out all these emotions, so potent. Hendrix is on guitar, playing so freely and is somewhat phenomenal but also seems kind of messy in parts. I heard this song originally went on for twenty minutes which blows my mind and makes me really wish someone would have hit the record button for the rest of it. I love (no pun intended) how these songs can take you through the full rainbow of emotions. As I listen to “Flying,” I recall Ken Kesey’s little mantra “tune in turn on and drop out.”
Although the lineup of the band changed a lot through the years and also went through major stylistic shifts, they still knew how to have a good time playing music with each other. These were cool cats. I mean these gentlemen once lived in the same house in which Bela Lugosi once lived! These two albums are great if you have never heard Love before, and if you have you’re in for a huge surprise as this isn’t the Love you’ve expected. (Is it ever though?)
Collectors’ Choice: www.ccmusic.com