Title - 'Reel to Real (Deluxe Edition)'
Artist - Love
It has to be said that High Moon Records' Deluxe Edition reissue of the final studio album from one of rock musics most gifted and enigmatic legends is one of the finest works of musical art I have heard in a long, long time. On CD for the first time in this aforementioned Deluxe Digipak, complete with a full-color, 32-page booklet, and expanded with 12 bonus tracks, Reel To Real captures Arthur Lee and Love at the peak of their rock/funk/soul powers.
Sadly, for those not in the know, the American musician Arthur Taylor Lee passed away in August, 2006, but left us an incredible legacy of music, believe me. Known as the front man, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist of the Los Angeles rock band Love, best known for their critically acclaimed 1967 album, Forever Changes, Lee's work on Forever Changes ensured that it is still today regarded - by both critics and fans alike - as his finest recording; and one of the best rock records of not just the 1960s but of all time!
But today we are going to listen to, and talk about another of their wonderful albums, Reel To Real. Originally released in 1974 on RSO Records, the album was actually the first official Love album in four years at that time. Indeed, bandleader Lee recorded the album with studio musicians after dismissing all previous band members! It follows the release of Lee's solo album Vindicator in 1972 and two different Love albums that had been recorded but never released.
Armed with a major label budget, and a powerful, intuitive band, Lee 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 his soon-to-be beloved Black Beauty band: drummer Joe Blocker, guitarist Melvan Whittington, and bassist Robert Rozelle, who he 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.
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"
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)"
To a palette of stinging guitars, explosive brass (all arranged by Lee, of course), deep funk bass and clavinet, splashes of spacey synthesizer, and dream-team female backing vocals, he brought his funkiest and most soulful collection of songs, and channeled the most visceral vocal performances he ever committed to tape. As an added bonus, this beautifully packaged, Deluxe Edition reissue not only features vibrant, remastered audio from those original tapes, but the LP booklet features a highly illuminating essay by Rolling Stones' David Fricke, along with a trove of candid, unpublished photos.
Deluxe Edition CD Purchase Link
Vinyl Purchase Link