Love, featuring Arthur Lee

Sunday, August 4, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Full Frontal
Legendary psychedelic soulman Arthur Lee will front the latest version of Love when he plays the Beachland Ballroom August 4. What he will play is a mystery, though pressure will be on for a nostalgic show. Released from prison in December after serving six years of an eight-year sentence, Lee is one of the longest comeback shots ever. But he does have a shot: Three albums Love recorded for Elektra in the mid-'60s rank with the best rock of all time, and there's an appetite for that type of quality, particularly in classic-rock-crazy Cleveland. The first two Elektra albums, Love and Da Capo, are good, but somewhat shapeless; Forever Changes, however, is as formally perfect as Pet Sounds or Rubber Soul, other benchmarks of that fertile decade. It's wilder, too. Love's music is indelible, indeed: Tunes like "Alone Again Or," "Andmoreagain," "My Little Red Book," "Seven and Seven Is," and "She Comes in Colors" are as complicated, loose, driving, and innocent as anything by such contemporaries as Tim Buckley and Buffalo Springfield. Lee, however, apparently has trouble keeping it together: According to the All Music Guide, the man born Arthur Taylor Potter had a long romance with drugs, tried to set his girlfriend's apartment on fire in 1996, and was convicted of illegally discharging a firearm following an argument with a neighbor. Lee recorded a solo album, Vindicator, for A&M in 1972; he also recorded with Jimi Hendrix. Rhino's reissue of various classic Love recordings in 1995, along with its 2001 deluxe reissue of Forever Changes, has paved the way for Lee's resurrection. Let's hope he has the confidence and charisma to power his great old material -- and, perhaps, great fresh material. Lee's official biography says that the latest version of Love recently sold out 10 European dates. Apparently, the talent's still there.
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