Love Revisited comes to the Empire in Coventry this July
Original post http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/love-revisited-comes-empire-coventry-10808761
Pete Clemons previews a concert 'not to be missed' in the city
Empire nightclub on Far Gosford St, Coventry.
August 2016 will, incredibly, mark the 10th anniversary since the world lost the enigmatic Arthur Lee.
Arthur, of course, shall always be remembered as the frontman and guitar player for the Los Angeles based band ‘Love’.
But to simply call Arthur the frontman is doing him a gross injustice. He was oh so much more than that. And mentioning that Arthur was just a songwriter and visionary does not really tell the whole story of his extraordinary life.
But I will not be attempting to revisit his life story as such. The purpose of this article is to inform you that Arthur’s music is being brought back to the UK. And it will be celebrated by a band of musicians that were at Arthur’s side for more years than any of the others who played their part in the ‘Love’ story.
Baby Lemonade performed with Arthur from 1993 until 2006. Typically, it was not always a smooth ride but they were alongside him at a time when there was a resurgence of interest in Love’s music. And this combination of Baby Lemonade and Arthur played at many sold out concerts which culminated in the unforgettable tour during 2003, complete with string and brass ensemble, which celebrated the groundbreaking Forever Changes album which was originally released in the winter of 1967.
For those who remember Baby Lemonade, they are still the same line up as that which appeared on those gigs at the turn of the century. For those who did not attend, Baby Lemonade was formed in 1992 and is made up of Mike Randle on guitar, Rusty Squeezebox on rhythm guitar, David ‘Daddy-O’ Green on drums and Dave Chapple on bass.
Baby Lemonade will be joined on this tour by Love’s original lead guitar player and founding member of the band, Johnny Echols. Johnny, who first met Arthur at school aged 15, was also a part of the ‘classic’ Love line up and appeared on the band’s first three studio albums. Together they will be known as ‘Love Revisited’. Other band members who appeared of those early albums were songwriter and rhythm guitar player Bryan MacLean, Ken Forssi on bass, organ player Alban Pfisterer, drummer Michael Stuart and Tjay Cantrelli on percussion.
And for this tour ‘Love Revisited’ will be concentrating on those first three albums namely the self-titled ‘Love’ originally released March 1966, ‘Da Capo’ from November 1966 and ‘Forever Changes’ November 1967.
The band name ‘Love’ came about after the name of Arthur’s previous band ‘The Grass Routes’ had been ripped off (Arthur’s words) by another band. Rather than hate he decided that the most positive thing would be to rename his band Love. And that was the philosophy Arthur Lee tried to use with regard to song writing. His energies simply went into writing after anything unpleasant happened to him.
For many reasons Love imploded after ‘Forever Changes’. But this was far from the end of the Love journey. Arthur Lee set about rebuilding the band by bringing in the talents of Jay Donnellan on lead guitar, Frank Fayed on bass and George Suranovich on drums. A fourth Love album ‘Four Sail’ was released during August 1969. Stylistically different ‘Four Sail’ was, for me at least, up there with any other of the bands previous releases. In retrospect I guess this album highlighted a turning point in Arthur’s extraordinary abilities in terms of shifting between genres and still being able to create music of great quality. Versatile was a word that Arthur enjoyed being described as.
At some point during the period after ‘Forever Changes’ Arthur worked with Jimi Hendrix who he had known for some time. I do know of at least one track they recorded together but according to Arthur they did a whole album together. The whereabouts of that album, as far as I understand, is unknown. There was also talk of Jimi and Arthur forming a band along with Stevie Winwood and percussionist Remi Kabaka. The story also goes that Jimi had even chose the name ‘Band Aid’ for this venture.
1970 saw ‘Love’ visit Europe and the U.K. for the first time. The tour included a gig at the Lanchester Polytechnic (Coventry University) during March. The touring band was that which recorded ‘Four Sail’ with the exception of Gary Rowles who had replaced Jay Donnellan. Songs played at the Lanch included Orange Skies, Stand Out, Andmoreagain, Good Times, Nothing, August, Gather 'Round, Always See Your Face, Signed D.C., Slick Dick, Doggone, Singing Cowboy, Love Is More Than Words.
A second tour of the UK followed in 1974. This was in support of an album project that, for many reasons, was consigned to the vaults for many years. The touring band for that tour was Arthur, Joey Blocker on drums, Melvan Whittingham on guitar, John Sterling playing lead guitar and Robert Rozelle on bass.
A final officially released studio album, titled ‘Reel to Real’, was released during December 1974. It had been produced on Robert Stigwood’s RSO label and yet again proved how adept Arthur was in putting a band together and producing some wonderful arrangements. Apparently Robert Stigwood was a huge admirer of Arthur’s work and wanted to give him the opportunity to continue with his creativity. So he gave Arthur a budget to use. Although ‘Reel to Real’ was so different in feel to previous Love releases I personally I thought it was money well spent.
UK dates followed in support of ‘Reel to Real’ with a band that featured Arthur along with John Sterling, George Suranovich on drums and Kim Kesterson on bass.
And then began a renaissance in Arthur’s music, which began during the early 1990s right through to Arthur’s premature death in 2006, and heavily featured Baby Lemonade. The culmination of this coming together was almost certainly the ‘Forever Changes’ tour during 2003. The tour was put together to celebrate the 35th anniversary of that particular Love album. The band was joined by an eight-piece string and horn section and the album was reproduced in all its glory.
A rare opportunity to hear the music of Love being played live in Coventry will soon be upon us as ‘Love Revisited’ will be appearing at The Empire, Gosford Street (on the site of the old Paris Cinema) on 1st July 2016. For anyone with a passing interest in this band then it really a is an opportunity not to be missed.