ARTHUR LEE & LOVE : “BLACK BEAUTY & OTHER RARITIES” CD bootleg….
Also meeting the bootleg litmus test established below in my CAN review
is this collection
of odds & ends spanning many years of, and illustrating many tectonic shifts within, Mr. ARTHUR LEE’s
rock and roll oevre. Like try 31 years! Starting with a pair of terrific instrumentals from 1963 by Arthur Lee & the L.A.G.’s
: “The Ninth Wave”, which rips off a riff from “Baby Elephant Walk”, and “Rumble-Still-Skins”. Next we move to the hully-gully 1964 sounds of The American Four
, with their rip-offs of both “Green Onions” (“Soul Food”) and “Twist & Shout” (an excellent stomper called “Luci Baines”). Other tracks are offered up on which Lee either sings or wrote, including the girl-group tearjerker “My Diary” by Rosa Lee Brooks
, on which one Jimi Hendrix is alleged to be playing guitar.
The meat of the disc
comes from 10 tracks that made up an unreleased 1973 by Lee (as LOVE
, perhaps?) called “Black Beauty”
. A little research on “the Internet” would probably reveal a great story as to why this record never saw a day’s light, but I’m feeling like guessing instead. Perhaps it’s the record’s way out-of-character, tuff BadCo/ Grand Funk
-style boogie thunder? What about the funky calypso “Beep Beep”? Maybe that wasn’t primed for any rack jobbing in 1973? I don’t know; it probably comes down to the usual problem of sub-standard material being dropped off at the record company’s doorstep, and their perception of a surfeit of supply to meet a miniscule demand. Not that the record’s without its charms, Lee’s wild-man-of-loincloth-rock vocals notwithstanding. “I Got To Find It”, reminds me a bit of a Hendrix-ized “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’”, and the closing “You’re Just a Product of the Times” (what a classic LOVE
title!) is heavy heavy heavy. But wait – after “Black Beauty” there’s even more. “Give Me a Little Energy”, an unreleased acetate for the 1977 “More Changes” LP, sounds both lyrically and content-wise like Rob Tyner
rallying the great unwashed at a 1968 White Panther rally – just acoustic and very short is all (1:44). Finally, there’s two versions of an unreleased track Lee recorded with the well-monikered BABY LEMONADE
in 1994 that’s actually pretty smokin’ psych-punk, with Lee’s astral vocals returned to their rightful place in the mix. The man has been through so many highs, lows, and in-betweens that if you’re at all interested in filling in some of the gaps of this mystical cat’s career, this is a healthy puzzle piece to track down.