ARTHUR LEE > Love Story

Like Jimi Hendrix, Arthur Lee took inspiration from soul and blues. If Hendrix mastered American r&b and shot it back at English musicians as soul-revue showtime, with psychedelic guitar, then Lee turned the Anglophile folk-rock of The Byrds into a black Angeleno’s subversion of Los Angeles pop.Label: START
[Rating: 4 stars]

Like Jimi Hendrix, Arthur Lee took inspiration from soul and blues. If Hendrix mastered American r&b and shot it back at English musicians as soul-revue showtime, with psychedelic guitar, then Lee turned the Anglophile folk-rock of The Byrds into a black Angeleno’s subversion of Los Angeles pop. The Memphis native and L.A. transplant created a hybrid whose brilliance concealed dark contradictions. Love Story directors Chris Hall and Mike Kerry do a fine job of chronicling Lee’s band. They interview everyone they could find, including original Love members Bryan Maclean and Johnny Echols. David Angel, who orchestrated Love’s1967 Forever Changes, describes Lee as “a symphony composer,” while Lee-interviewed a year before his 2006 death-speaks in the cadences of a down-home prophet. As he says, “I come from Memphis, Tennessee, where they would take a stick and knock it upside a black man’s head. And the black man would ask him, ‘What’d you do that to me for, Mr. Police Officer?’ He say, ‘I don’t like what you were thinkin’.’ That’s where I come from, dude.”

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