Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, June 10, 2003
LOVE: "THE BEST OF LOVE"....I've never been much of a member of the cult of LOVE, primarily because in my limited exposure to them "growing up" I heard much more of their simpier, flowery side on college radio than their tougher, "My Little Red Book" side. Now I like 'em both -- a lot -- and I point you with exteme prejudice to an outstanding new collection on Rhino, called simply "The Best Of Love". This is the greatest hits collection the band deserves, comprised only of selections from the first three LPs (UPDATE:I have been corrected on this; there are several songs from the 4th album at the CD's close. Sloppy reportage on my end). In fact, you really get the bulk of "Love", "De Capo" and "Forever Changes" on this 22-song collection, including your faves like the aforementioned "Red Book", which has arguably the greatest opening thump-thump-thumping 20 seconds of any song from the 60s (with "Interstellar Overdrive" giving it some healthy competition). You also can't beat numbers like the acid-meets-punk chug of "Stephanie Knows Who", "Can't Explain" and "Seven and Seven Is", nor the soft and complex psych of "Andmoreagain" and "Orange Skies". I'm really impressed with how this CD holds together from start to finish, and on this evidence I'm ready to join Team Love and call them a fucking landmark rock and roll band.

Just this past week or so, I saw that Arthur Lee had brought a new band and perhaps even a mini-symphony together to perform the great "Forever Changes" in its entirety. I'm a curmudgeonly guy who regularly boycotts reunion shows, nothwithstanding last year's MISSION OF BURMA gig that I absolutely could not pass up, and this one in particular had the potential to be atrocious given the near-35 years since the record's release, Lee's notorious lack of grasp on reality, etc. I haven't heard any scene reports from the gigs themselves. Have you?