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# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Love - Reel to Real

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 10 / 4 / 2016

Love - Reel to Real
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


Carl Bookstein reflects upon the re-release of Love’s previously largely unnoticed 1974 album 'Reel to Real' and singer songwriter Arthur Lee’s rewarding soul music approach

Originally recorded and released in 1974 on RSO Records, Love’s 'Reel to Real' comes out now as a beautifully packaged deluxe re-issue. This album finds the enigmatic, celebrated late singer-songwriter Arthur Lee exploring soul music and funk with splashes of rock and even blues. 'Time Is Like A River' kicks off with a down home funky beat and a great Arthur Lee vocal: “I’ve seen people come and go/Just like a river, they keep on rolling on.” This is not the understated subtle touch and psychedelic epiphany of Love’s 1967 masterpiece, 'Forever Changes'. This is nevertheless solid rocking soul music and a rich rewarding surprise. Like most, I was never aware of this album before. It just wasn’t on the radar. That is why this re-release is so welcome - a fine and largely undiscovered piece in Arthur Lee’s canon of 1960's and 1970's innovation. 'Reel to Real' offers an entirely different band than the Love of 'Forever Changes', but a very musically adept line up: drummer Joe Blocker, guitarist Melvan Whittington and bassist Robert Rozelle with appearances by guitarists John Sterling, Harvey Mandel and “Buzzy” Feiten. 'Stop the Music' is stinging guitar, rich resonant blues harp harmonica and a killer beat - another soulful vocal. 'Who Are You?' builds in passion and momentum from the get go -“I’ve got something on my mind/Something you can see”- and embraces a mix of rhythms and styles with a horn section that brings to mind a Latin samba. I did not go into this listen expecting 'Forever Changes', and thus I was not disappointed. 'Reel to Real' is something altogether different. It does, however, confirm for me Lee’s distinctive genius, with an amalgam of styles from rock to soul and tempos from subtle to powerful. 'With a Little Energy' declares “Love’s got the power” and is solid funk - a Sly and the Family Stone style groove. 'Singing Cowboy' possesses a great beat and a distinctive lyric - an alternative kind of message song: “It’s do or die boy… Your life is up to you… Look out kid/I’m coming after you.” 'Be Thankful For What You Got' was a 1974 Philly Soul million seller for William DeVaughn. This faithful version of this stellar soul gem offers infinite rewards. While not a Lee original, it is nevertheless an absolute album highlight. 'Everybody’s Gotta Live', with a touch of psychedelia, is thoughtful and moving - the most 'Forever Changes' like number here and the closer of the original 'Reel to Real' album release. High Moon Records, in releasing this disc, has unearthed eleven previously unreleased tracks from the original sessions, including alternative outtakes and mixes that often accentuate hope, love and the power to make it. 'I Gotta Remember' declares “Good times we had/I won’t forget”- a heartfelt and soulful groove about sweet reminiscence. 'You Gotta Feel It' is a simple soul gem about feeling it in your heart: “It won’t be long/You’ll soon be home… I’ll never do you wrong.” 'Wonder People (I Do Wonder)' is an impromptu studio rehearsal of a 'Forever Changes' album outtake bringing this eclectic re-issue collection to a close. It is a celebration of the great singer songwriter Arthur Lee, exploring the possibilities and dimensions of soul music with touches of rock and flourishes of creativity aplenty.

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Love - Reel to Real

Love - Reel to Real

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