Arthur Lee - the world was a whole lot better off with him in it.

Arthur Lee - the world was a whole lot better off with him in it.
Arthur Lee – the world was a whole lot better off with him in it.

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One of my absolute favorites tonight. Sadly, not a complete concert, but enough to give you an idea of how Arthur Lee’s revival was coming along in 1996.

One of the great artists of the 60s, who shaped and influenced many bands long after the initial Love dissolved. Lee was beset with a lot of personal problems and it hampered what was becoming a huge career. Luckily for everyone, he already had a rich legacy of music, which was, and still is, being discovered by fans who never met him.

Love were the unsung heroes of the musical Big Bang that took place in 1966, although they have long been overshadowed by bands such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and especially one-time acolytes The Doors. If Love are remembered today, it’s for their third album, 1967’s Forever Changes, a masterpiece of baroque psychedelia. But a year before that, they blew a hurricane through Los Angeles. And Arthur Lee was at the eye of the storm.

Love split in the early 70s, after a final album, False Start, most notable for featuring Lee’s old buddy Jimi Hendrix playing guitar on one track. Lee embarked on an erratic solo career that wasn’t helped by his struggles with drugs; he was jailed for 12 years in 1996 under California’s ‘three strikes’ law for negligent discharge of a firearm (he served five years). When he was diagnosed with the myeloid leukaemia that would eventually kill him in 2006, a group of celebrity fans, including Robert Plant, Ian Hunter and Ryan Adams, banded together for a tribute concert to raise money for his medical bills. His flame might have burned bright for a brief length of time, but it left an indelible mark on everything that followed.

Tonight it’s a performance from his 1996 Summer Concert Tour in Europe. He is backed by a band otherwise known as Baby Lemonade, but re-named Love for the occasion. It was recorded in a club in Odense Denmark,  broadcast by Danish Radio.

Here’s what’s on the player:

Arthur Lee & Love (aka: Baby Lemonade)

Rytmeposten Club, Odense, Denmark

1. Signed D.C.

2. Orange Skies

3. Your Mind And We Belong Together

4. 7&7 Is.


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