Love – Four Sail – New LP
Four Sail Review by Eugene Chadbourne: From a retrospective point of view, this might be the first album in the career of singer and songwriter Arthur Lee that might have been received with more enthusiasm had it been released under his name, and not under the band name. Obviously, it must have been in his commercial best interests to retain the Love identity, but here Lee is the only member of the original band left. He is trying to recreate a Love-able identity with fewer players than he had before and a completely different sound. The old Love delivered material in a solidly folk-rock vein, meaning among other things an emphasis on combinations of acoustic and electric guitars. When the original group wanted something a little heavier, it would really put the hammer down. Records such as "My Little Red Book" and "Seven & Seven Is" were tough enough to be rightly considered precursors of punk rock, which is a lot of mileage to get out of a Burt Bacharach tune. Lee's new lineup here does not have this kind of versatility. Guitarist Jay Donnellan plays a heavy lead guitar minus the impressive chops and gets lots of solo space in the arrangements. The rhythm section favors a more leaden sound as well, particularly drummer George Suranovich, who soaks the barbecue with Keith Moon and Mitch Mitchell licks. Lee fills in on several different instruments, but his real strength is the set of ten original songs he has provided. The tracks are deep in feeling and performed with an emotional fervor that sometimes approaches anguish. It is like going into a dark coffeehouse late at night and finding an electrically charged performer delivering messages about things familiar to one and all: love, memories, friendship, "Good Times," and even "Nothing." Lee's lyrics and performances have been compared to Jimi Hendrix, certainly a compliment. This album is such a good example of these strengths that it rises above the garage band sound to communicate a sense of time and place as well as some truly sincere feelings.
As Arthur Lee entered the studio to begin the sessions for 1969's Four Sail, he was the only remaining band member from the previous three LPs' lineups. Enlisting the aid of Frank Fayad on bass, George Suranovich and Drachen Theaker on drums and Jay Donnellan on guitar, Lee launched a marathon recording session. Elektra culled through the session tapes, selecting the best songs for inclusion on the album. With the exception of Singing Cowboy, which he co-wrote with Donnellan, all tracks were penned by Lee. Per his usual approach, the songs encompass a wide array of styles and influences, from the marching folk-rock opener August to Robert Montgomery,\ which comes off like Eleanor Rigby's electrified cousin. Donnellan's lead guitar lines shine throughout, particularly on album closer Always See Your Face. This definitive Sundazed reissue was sourced from the absolute original Elektra analog session tapes and is high definition vinyl for all your high fidelity needs. Includes: August • Your Friend And Mine - Neil’s Song • I’m With You • Good Times • Singing Cowboy • Dream • Robert Montgomery • Nothing • Talking In My Sleep • Always See Your Face