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Main » 2007 » December » 11 » Love - 1974 - Reel to Real
Love - 1974 - Reel to Real
Love - 1974 - Reel to Real

Tracks :
  1. Time Is Like A River (Arthur Lee)
  2. Stop the Music (Arthur Lee)
  3. Who Are You (Arthur Lee)
  4. Good Old Fashion Dream (Arthur Lee)
  5. Which Witch is Which? (Arthur Lee)
  6. With A Little Energy (Arthur Lee)
  7. Singing Cowboy (Arthur Lee-Jay Donnellan)
  8. Be Thankful For What You Got (William DeVaughn)
  9. You Said You Would (Arthur Lee)
  10. Busted Feet (Arthur Lee-Charles Karp)
  11. Everybody's Gotta Live (Arthur Lee)
Personnel :
  • Arthur Lee: rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, vocal
  • Melvin Whittington: guitar
  • John Sterling: guitar
  • Sherwood Akuna: bass
  • Joe Blocker: drums
  • Bobby Lyle: keyboards
  • Gary Bell: synthesizer
  • Wilber Brown, Fred Carter, John Clauder, Alan DeVille, Clifford Solomon and Billy Sprague: horns
  • Vanetta Fields, Jessica Smith and Carlena Williams: vocal
  • Robert Rozelle: bass (6, 7, 10)
  • Buzzy Feiton: lead guitar (3)
  • Art Fox: acoustic guitar (5)
  • Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: electric guitars (5)
  • Joe Deaguro: vocal, vibes (8)

Reel To Real turned out to be Arthur hitting it right on the nail again. For on it, he is returning to the Rhythm and Blues music he did before he heard the Byrds. On this album he had an entirely new band, with two exceptional guitarists. Melvan Whittington on lead and John Sterling on slide. (The latter had previously played with Eric Burdon.) On bass, Sherwood Akuna (a meaty Fatback bassist) and Joey Blocker on drums, providing an able pounding punchy backbeat. Among the guest musicians, Arthur had Buzzy Feiten on guitar and Bobby Lyle on keyboards (well known session men), and among the people he thanked for helping him with the album was Keith Moon of the Who. Arthur Lee was always able to find great new musicians to play with. And maybe this is his secret. Why he has been able to survive so long. Because like Miles Davis, he is always changing. Lee, who at this time had the clean shaven headed Isaac Hayes look and a Fu Manchu mustache (which looked surprisingly good on him), seems to have developed an interest in Eastern Religion and Vegetarianism; as evidenced by the photographs on the album jacket and inside record sleeve.

With the opening number, ‘Time Is Like A River’, Arthur hits us with something entirely outrageously new. A perfectly blended, smoky Rhythm and Blues sound. Horns, background chorus (with a molten groove) added to the band (a deep New Orleans Funk if you will, just hinted at contextually in Rock form in ‘Feel Daddy Feel Good’ on False Start.) And with each succeeding song, ‘Stop The Music’ (where Lee plays burning Harmonica and Melvan Whittington a stuttering guitar solo while John Sterling plays a lean threatening slide) the stop/start arrangement hanging you on the edge, ‘Who Are You’ (a really silky devil of a vocal) with guest guitarist Buzzy Feiten smoking furiously on guitar, ‘Good Old Fashion Dream’ (Arthur cooking and boiling with the background chorus); this is a startlingly different Arthur Lee. ‘Which Witch is Which’, a merging of acoustic and electric Blues, with Lee adding just a touch of Harmonica to a mix of backwards guitar (that Beatles/Hendrix influence) and John Sterling’s slide solo. ‘With A Little Energy’, another smoking R&B number with the added twist of a solo on Moog Synthesizer by second guest keyboardist, Gary Bell.

On side two Arthur revisits ‘Singing Cowboy’ from Four Sail. A more restrained and relaxed smooth vocal this time, with Melvan Whittington and John Sterling cutting two musical swathes across on guitars, behind his vocal. A very different take on the song, with Arthur having developed a completely new singing style (which he first attempted on Vindicator and perfected on the title song for the film ‘Tomasine and Bushrod’). Next is William Devaughn’s popular ‘Be Thankful For What You Got’. And Lee does one hell of a reading; as good as the original. This is Arthur Lee, very Black and very Funky. Besides using his own regular vocals and voicings on the album, he also uses occasional inflections of Sly Stone and Al Green; which are very good. The following song, ‘You Said You Would’, is a humorous Country Rock affair with Arthur singing the tale of the ‘woman who done him wrong’. Whittington and Sterling trading licks, and the song ending with an explosion worthy of ‘Seven and Seven Is’. Next, a remake of ‘Busted Feet’ from the Vindicator album, that is much better than the original. Whereas on Vindicator it was just an average Rock song, here, the song is shorter and the arrangement is much tighter and threatening. Gary Bell provides a great atmospheric background with Moog Synthesizer, as Melvan Whittington really cuts loose on guitar and Arthur abruptly cuts off the song; as he sings about not quite being able to let go of the past. The final song, ‘Everybody’s Gotta Live’ (also from Vindicator) is an acoustic reworking and a very poignant statement; as Lee leads the group of backup singers into the chorus, singing smoothly and finally doing justice to a very good song. An album worth having and cherishing.

At last a positive review from a Real Arthur Lee Fan

Category: Psyche/Garage/Folk | Views: 2568 | Added by: Opa-Loka | Rating: 0.0/0 |

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