Wednesday, November 5, 2014

40 Year Itch : Arthur Lee's Comeback album

[Out of Print]

   In November of 1974, RSO Records released Love's Reel to Real. It is actually Arthur Lee's third solo album and, by far, his most interesting. Backed up by superb studio musicians, Lee reignites his Memphis soul roots, sounding not unlike Otis Redding in places and Sly Stone in others. 

    The album, was recorded at the Record Plant down the hallway from John Lennon.  Despite receiving a $100,000 advance, Lee stayed sober throughout the sessions which included a cover of the William DeVaughn hit "Be Thankful for What You Got" and new versions of "Singing Cowboy" and "Everybody's Gotta Live". But the highlights are the powerhouse shots of soul like opener "Time is Like a River". Forever changed!

   To support the album , RSO sent Arthur Lee out on tour with Eric Clapton who was enjoying egg success with 461 Ocean Boulevard. But Lee never trusted anybody but himself. His manager Skip Taylor tells Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love author John Einarson how Lee managed to torpedo his comeback with one sentence:

The first show we did was in England, with me standing in the wings, right beside Robert Stigwood...Arthur went out to open the [Clapton] show and got a standing ovation from the entire audience.  And the he said "Yeah, I'm back, but things aren't a whole lot different than they were. Now, I'm just a slave to a new owner, Robert Stigwood. " And there I was with Stigwood. He grabbed me by the shoulder and said "Let's go in the back, right now". He said to me "We'll buy you out of the deal and I never war to see that man again". 

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