Exposé Online banner

Love — Reel to Real
(High Moon HMRCD-03, 1974/2016, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-03-19

Reel to Real Cover art

Arthur Lee and his band Love released two seminal psychedelic rock albums in 1967, Da Capo and Forever Changes. When their fourth album Out Here was recorded in late 1969 you could tell that Arthur Lee was starting to explore other musical interests and the successes of the early albums did not carry over, plus they were hopping from label to label. Their fan base continued to want more music like Forever Changes. In 1974 the new label, RSO Records, which had had great success with Eric Clapton, signed a two album deal with Arthur Lee. RSO President Bill Oakes assumed that by signing Love to the label and providing a big cash advance, that Arthur would produce a sequel to Forever Changes. However, Arthur was tired of that music and wanted to return to his Memphis roots. The result was a soul / funk blend of songs that tanked and RSO cancelled the second album after determining that they had wasted $200,000 on this album. Reel to Real went unnoticed for decades and is now reissued with a set of bonus outtakes and alternate mixes. Contained on the original album are Lee covering “Singing Cowboy” from Four Sail, and two songs from his 1972 solo album Vindicator, “Busted Feet” and “Everybody’s Gotta Live.” On other songs, Arthur is channeling Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Little Richard, and even a bit of James Brown funk in the brass section. Still other songs are blues rock / psych hybrids. Lee’s voice is charming and at times gritty. In retrospect this is a great album, but not the one everyone expected. It is no great surprise that it did not succeed in 1974. The bonus tracks offer a glimpse into what was happening in the studio. Several tracks contain dialog before and after the music. So do not expect the Southern California psych of the late 60s when you listen to the music. But there is music here worthy of notice.


Filed under: Reissues, 2016 releases, 1974 recordings

Related artist(s): Love, Harvey Mandel

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Carmen - Fandangos in Space & Dancing on a Cold Wind – Do you like Jethro Tull? Curved Air? Flamenco dancing? Did you ever wish for a combination of the three? Your wish has come true, and its name is Carmen! And if you don't think they could pull off...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues