Love's 1967 masterpiece Forever Changes was an album so beautiful and timeless that it tends to dwarf everything else in the group's repertoire, and its gentle balance of grace and dread has made a lot of people forget just how hard Love could rock when Arthur Lee and his bandmates were of a mind…
Love were one of the most extraordinary bands to emerge from Los Angeles during one of the most remarkable periods in music, the dawn of the rock era in the mid ‘60s. Led by the colourful and charismatic Arthur Lee, they made only three albums in their original incarnation and were revered by many of their fellow LA musicians, including their label mates The Doors.This 2 CD compilation includes the best of their albums Love, Da Capo and Four Sail (the last featuring Lee as the only original member), and their masterpiece Forever Changes in its entirety.
John Arthur Lee was an Alabama bluesman who recorded five sides ("Baby Blues," "Baby Please Don't Go," "Down at the Depot," "Alabama Boogie," "Blind's Blues") for Federal Records in July 1951 in Montgomery, AL. He also recorded an album for Rounder Records in the 1970s (which went unissued on CD). Lee was born May 24, 1915, in Lowdnes County, AL. He learned his distinctive knife slide guitar style from his uncle, Ellie Lee, and spent the 1930s playing jukes and house parties before settling in Montgomery in 1945. Federal's Ralph Bass auditioned him there, and impressed with what he heard, recorded the five sides in 1951.
The always eclectic Maria Muldaur, whose previous albums have paid tribute to Shirley Temple and blues women of the '20s, takes another musical detour in this collection of songs associated with Peggy Lee. In addition to her cool, sexy, relaxed voice, Lee was arguably more talented than other vocalists from her era. As a songwriter she co-penned some of her own material, including the swinging "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'" with Duke Ellington, which features the witty double entendres that spice several other songs. Muldaur possesses a similar ability to purr ("Some Cats Know") or sizzle (an opening tour de force of "Fever" and "Black Coffee") without breaking a sweat. So this collection of 12 tracks, backed by a talented yet restrained eight-piece band, is a natural extension of her vocal strengths. The stylish, retro arrangements include vibes and big-band-styled horn charts that sound as authentic as if they were recorded in the '30s. Even though there are some finger-popping swing numbers (a zippy duet with Dan Hicks on Ted Shapiro's "Winter Weather" is especially peppy), a late-night, languid blues-jazz vibe dominates.