Forever Changes - Love

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Forever Changes - Love

Psychedelic - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Warner Strategic Marketing, Elektra - Distributor: Arvato Services, Cinram Logistics - Released: 19/0...

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Review of "Forever Changes - Love"

published 07/06/2017 | mikemelmak
Member since : 01/03/2014
Reviews : 21
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About me :
Limited connectivity on my BT WiFi signal so I'm using my phone as a modem which limits my on line time due to my data allowance. Apologies to my Ciao pals if I've not rated.
Excellent
Pro A strong case for this being among the finest Rock albums ever made.
Cons Should have been a double album but went over budget.
exceptional
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"I Love Forever Changes - A New Experience in Groovy Sound"

Poster, LP & CD.

Poster, LP & CD.

With an imminent General Election, a thought crossed my mind - if a week is a long time in politics then 50 years is an eternity in the fast moving world of popular music. In 1967, Paul McCartney said that pop was the new classical music, and to back up his statement The Beatles released the most famous album of all, Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on June 1st that year. More politics anon.

Your new Forever Changes CD is the 2001 Digitally Remastered Reissue and comes in a card slip-cover. Inside the 24 page cover booklet reproduces the original LP front and back covers, and contains a lengthy essay, rare period photos and full recording and musician credits, including all the session players. This " miniature " is worth the price alone and is in the same class as The Beach Boys Pet Sounds CD booklet, which is exemplary.

The Original LP
The LP was first released in Nov.1967 on the Elektra label in the U.S. in both mono and stereo ( EKL / EKS (7)4013 ) , with the U.K. release 3 months later. My used copy was bought from the Notting Hill Music Exchange for £5 and is an as new early 70s reissue on the Elektra Butterfly label ( K 42015 ) and is stamped " A1 " on the inner run-out groove i.e. it's a first pressing from the master stampers. Needless to add, the sound quality is indescribably good.

*** This is a long review and to avoid eye strain if you do not require so much detail, please go straight to the Songs section, skip over what you want, and then the final paragraph.You can always come back if you are still undecided whether this music is for you. ***

The Missing Master Tapes

According to the booklet, the original 2" 8 Track studio tapes are lost, and I'd guess ( and it's only a guess ) that even the 1/4" or 1/2" 2 Track analogue master tapes might not have been used for this remaster, as it isn't specified ( it's normally shouted out from the roof tops if the masters were used ) . Fortunately, the sound quality is very high, due to the highly skilled audio engineers.

In 2008, a 2 CD Collectors Set of Forever Changes was released, which included an " alternate " mix of the album. This meant that the original multi-track studio master tapes must have been found, as by definition, you can't remix an album without them.

This is very good news indeed but I have yet to purchase the set to form my own opinion. However, there was no explanation as to how this new mix came to be - whether it was unused at the time or newly made - it's all very vague. However, the Rhino 2012 vinyl LP reissue states on the cover sticker that the original analogue masters were used.

The 50th Anniversary Sgt. Pepper CD
This 2 disc set comprises a new stereo mix of the album by Giles Martin, son of George, from the original 2" studio multi-track tapes ( 4 track recording is all Abbey Road had at the time ). The second disc is the best of the alternative takes not used on the original song selection.

The First 1987 CD Issue
I bought the first 1987 CD version of Forever Changes about 9 months ago for £2. The sound quality is surprisingly very good and on two songs, A House Is Not A Motel and Live And Let Live, the outro guitar solos run for a good 20 seconds longer then the 2001 Remaster. Not sure why this is and there are other slight differences as well, so it's worth getting a copy.

The Making of Forever Changes
The album was done at the famous Sunset Sound Recorders, 6650 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA, spread out over 3 days in June, 2 days in Aug. and 3 days in Sept.1967. The cost was a low $2,257 ( not including the session musicians fees, which included members of the L.A. Philharmonic and The Wrecking Crew, L.A.'s finest studio musicians ). Allowing for a 12 hour day total studio time equals 96 hours to record the album, excluding additional orchestral sessions and mixing - a remarkably short period of time.

Love's lead guitarist Johnny Echols has stated that they intended to make a double album with more songs from himself and second guitarist Bryan MacLean, including his own jazz style number Gethsemane . For budget reasons, this plan was abandoned, which was more than a pity, as the completed single album was a masterpiece

The Los Angeles Musical Renaissance
From 1964 to the mid 1970s, L.A. was the home city to many of the most legendary musical performers of the era - The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Mamas and The Papas, The Monkees, Love, The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Spirit, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Bread, Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Carpenters, Frank Zappa, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Randy Newman, Jimmy Webb, Glen Campbell, Jackson Browne, John Sebastian, The Eagles, America, Steely Dan etc. Love were the least well known, because their enigmatic leader, Arthur Lee, refused to play the " star-making " game of T.V., radio and nationwide concert tours and rarely played outside the West Coast.

Arthur turned down two prestigious gigs that could have established Love as a major act. Firstly, the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival ( the most important precursor to Woodstock ). Jimi Hendrix's Monterey performance made him an overnight star in the States and worldwide. Secondly, the legendary 1969 Woodstock Festival itself - an event which very quickly was recognised as a cultural landmark, immortalised in the star- making movie.
However, in an interview last year, Johnny Echols stated that because they were a multi-racial group, they had difficulties in getting bookings from out of state promoters, and they would not play to segregated audiences.

The Songs

Alone Again Or ( MacLean ) 3:16
Love's best known song is a triumph of composition and arrangement. From the famous opening finger-picked D chord and the Romanza like ringing open strings, to the busy rock rhythm section and the orchestral strings playing with heavy vibrato, adding a sense of unease. The tasty trumpet solo in the middle 8 sounds a reveille - a wake up call for the young. The late arrival of the horns and strings for maximum impact is just brilliant.

Yeah, I won't forget all the times I've waited patiently for you / As you do what you choose to do / And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Arthur's harmony vocal was mixed so high that it is actually the lead part - Bryan is just audible. Arthur added the " Or " to the title. Covered note perfect by UFO in 1978; The Damned in 1987; Calexico in 2006; and Gold Lake in 2013. These are all great covers, but I like UFO's version because guitarist Michael Schenker duplicates the trumpet solo on electric guitar. All these covers copy Bryan McLean's guitar part almost exactly because the repeated guitar part is the song, i.e. it's integral to the arrangement.

On Elton John's 1973 album Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player, there is a tribute to this track in the strings on Blues For Baby And Me.

A House Is Not A Motel 3:31
This rousing and exciting rock number is founded on a driving 12 string acoustic guitar part in Em and the propulsive rhythms of Michael Stuart on drums and Ken Forssi on electric bass. A brief twangy country style guitar break and some tasteful fuzzed up electric guitars in the outro, double tracked by Johnny Echols. Vocally, Arthur Lee is a natural baritone who can effortlessly glide up to tenor. The lyrics are among his best and the last verse alludes to the dreaded compulsory military draft ( the letter sent to draftees began Congratulations, you have been chosen to serve your country in the United States Armed Forces ) and the Vietnam war:
....the bells from the school of war will be ringing / More confusions, blood transfusions / The news today will be the movies for tomorrow.

Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant is a big fan of Love and has covered this song in concert.

Andmoreagain 3:18
One of the most romantic songs ever written and my own favourite Love song. This one is a humdinger and will have you crying in your coffee. A towering and bitter-sweet vocal by Arthur, perhaps his best, sure to move even the most cold hearted. Lovely acoustic guitars playing on a gorgeous melody which goes one way and then another. Not one single name singer has ever tried to cover this because simply put, this is a masterclass in voice control, silky-smooth phrasing, intonation and melismatic singing.

And if you see andmoreagain / Then you will know andmoreagain / For you can see you in her eyes / Then you feel your heart beating bom bom bom bom

When the strings repeat the Cmajor 7th chord four times to echo the bom bom boms, it is stunningly effective and moving. A case of less is more in arrangement.

The Daily Planet 3:31
Andmoreagain of the same daily routine : In the morning we arise and start the day the same old way / As yesterday, the day before / And all in all it's just a day like all the rest / So do your best with chewing gum / And it is all so repetitious / Waiting on the sun.
Further topical references to the sirens and the accidents and children waiting on the war i.e. the draft.

This lively acoustic rock number in A has a complex arrangement with its stop/starts and tempo changes. This has been attributed to the influence of 21 yr old Neil Young, who co-produced this track, and was to do the whole album, but dropped out due to his day job with Buffalo Springfield.

" Neil Young played guitar and helped me on The Daily Planet....He was going to produce Forever Changes. In fact I could go so far as to say that he did produce The Daily Planet, that's why it sounded so weird. It's kind of out of synch ". ( Arthur Lee 1981 ). High praise indeed coming from Arthur! This cut and the previous one feature The Wrecking Crew - see the CD booklet for the explanation why!

Old Man ( MacLean ) 3:02
Arthur let Bryan sing this one! A big neo-classical production on this gentle ballad with Bryan on acoustic guitar and vocal. The inspirational lyric is about a wise father figure who shared his wisdom on life and love: " He spoke of love sweeter days / And in his eloquent way / I think he was speaking of you ".

David Angel's brilliant string and horn arrangements throughout make an already great album even greater. Here, the gently shimmering, quivering strings create a tension and disquiet.
Perhaps not quite as innovative as " Alone Again Or " but nevertheless a very fine track.

The Red Telephone 4:46
A snapshot of America c.1967 - Cold War paranoia " the hot-line ", the L.A. Hillside Strangler, Civil Rights, conscription and Vietnam. In 1950 The U.S. Congress lowered the age of military conscription to eighteen and a half because of the Korean war. The average age of the grunt ( foot soldier ) in Vietnam was nineteen - babies really, snatched from their families, to be maimed or killed ( 190,000 troops in Vietnam by the end of 1965 ). It was the most contentious issue of the day and the wonder is why the anti-war peace movement was so ineffective for so long.

" We're all normal when we want our freedom...freedom...freedom. All of God's children gotta have their freedom ! ".

Acoustic guitars and orchestra on this tune with a twisting melody which will not go away, with its descending chromatic ( half steps ) progression.

Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale 3:34
Between Clark and Hilldale is an intersection on Sunset Boulevard ( Strip ) where The Whiskey A Go Go is situated and where Love made their name as a live act in the mid 1960s.

This song is about the swinging music scene of the time - happy days and a jubilant, light and bouncy tune in A minor with a " cha-cha-cha " feel, prominent brass and scorching electric guitar work by Johnny Echols. The instrumental break has a rather good scat vocal from Arthur in imitation of the trombones. Clever lyrics - the last word of every fourth line is the first word of the next:

" And oh the music is so loud / And me I fade into the..../ Crowds of people standing everywhere / .....And yeah they always play my songs / And me I wonder if it's...../ Wrong or right they come here just the same...".

When the horns fade out on the last chord, it always sounds to me very sad, as if " the salad days are over ". Arthur was only 22 at the time!
" Those days were the best days of my life.... That was the best , we all lived together. Nobody was on a racial trip, nobody. And it was at the height of the Watts riots ". Arthur Lee

Live And Let Live 5:26
More veiled political commentary on U.S. militarism, the treatment of native American Indians, racial prejudice and corrupt politicians.

" I guess I'll take my pistol / I've got it in my hand / Because he's on my land...../ Write the rules in the sky / But ask your leaders, Why? ".

A dramatic acoustic based rocker with extended electric lead guitar passages. The song begins quietly and slowly in C but quickly builds up in dynamics and tempo. Also notable for its flamenco section and the half-tone changes which Arthur Lee favours.

The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This 3:08
Another stand out. This one is scored for acoustics, horns and strings in a slow ballad style. The strings are played in a plucked, staccato manner - " pizzicato " - a striking orchestral effect little used in pop music. A rare instance is The Eurythmics only U.S. #1 hit Sweet Dreams ( are made of this ) from 1983. I think only a young person could have written:

" Hummingbirds hum, why do they hum? / Little girls wearing pigtails in the morning / In the morning, la, da, da; da, da, da, da.... / Merry-go-rounds are going round / Spinning all over the town / In the morning / In the morning, la, da, da...".

A lyric of child-like innocence and simplicity - marvellous, and the melody aint bad either. " The Good Humor Man " was a 1950 movie with Jack Carson as the Good Humor ice cream man.

Bummer In The Summer 2:24
An amusing pastiche done in the soft rock style of Bob Dylan. Arthur spits out the words with disdain and gets the vocal mannerisms down to a tee. The lyric is about the reaction of other people to a mixed race couple:

" We used to ride around all over town / But they're putting you down / For being around with me ".
In contrast to the seriousness, a country style guitar solo is added.

You Set The Scene 6:56
An epic finale with a big production - this is actually 3 separate songs pieced together.
1. " Where are you walking " - the intro is a repeated B arpeggio on guitar and this number has rather cryptic and surreal lyrics which touch on the ever present Vietnam war.
2. " For every happy hello, there will be goodbye " - a slower introspective ballad about the brevity of our lives: " This is the only thing I am sure of / And that's all that lives gonna die / ....For the time that I've been given such a little while ".
3. " I see your picture.......it's in the same old frame / We meet again / You look so lovely you with the same old smile / Stay for a while ".
Another moody love song with atmospheric vibrato heavy strings. A brief reprise of the previous piece and then a big finish with an upbeat vocal and instrumental crescendo and coda. The horns on Chicago's " Beginnings " from 1969 remind me of this long coda.

" The title is a movie scene....and YOU set the scene in life....and life is just a movie.....All my family members were dying young and I thought I was going to die young too ". Arthur Lee

Bonus Cuts

Hummingbirds 2:43
A demo instrumental for " The Good Humor Man ". Mainly acoustics and unique in its own way. A rediscovered gem.

Wonder People ( I Do Wonder ) 3:22
A real find - this is an out-take from the " Forever Changes " sessions and it's as good as most of the used songs. " Birds are in the sky and I do wonder / Wonder why they fly and I do too " . More child-like innocence from Arthur. Not that dissimilar rhythmically to Tom Jones' " It's Not Unusual " which is not a bad thing, as that's a great song.

Alone Again Or 2:55
The mono mix for the single aimed at radio play. Released in April 1968, it got to #123 in the U.S. Re-released in Aug. 1970, it made #99.

You Set The Scene 7:01
This mix has additional vocal over-dubs by Arthur at the end. The stereo separation is reversed i.e. left is now right, etc.

Your Mind And We Belong Together 8:16
Tracking session highlights for the new single recorded on 30/01/68. Includes chatter, fluffs, etc.

Your Mind And We Belong Together 4:26
Superb three songs in one composition - should have been developed more fully into individual songs.

Laughing Stock 2:31
The B side of the single release. Again, two songs joined up. The second part is vintage, high energy Love. Enough song ideas for half an album in my view. All the songs were composed by Arthur Lee except where noted.

Forever Changes In Retrospect

On release, " Forever Changes " sold 150,000 copies in Los Angeles alone, but this regional success was not repeated nationally, and the album peaked at #154. In the U.K. the LP made #24. Arthur split up the band in 1968 to form a new Love with a strong Hendrix / Cream influence.

Over the years, the album's reputation has grown and it frequently makes the Greatest Album Ever Lists. In the February 2016 Uncut magazine Top 200 Albums Poll, " Forever Changes " is #6. In the May 2016 issue of NME, it is in their 50 Albums To Hear Before You Die list in a poll among " the coolest and most influential people on the planet ". A reader wrote in to Mojo magazine to say that he saw the actor Michael Caine buying " Forever Changes " in a West End record shop in 1968. I'd guess that it must have sold at least a few million copies world-wide by now, as fans buy replacement copies in other formats.

An Important Message To Our Politicians
On 12th June 2002, Arthur was invited to Parliament by a group of six Labour MPs who voted through an Early Day Motion ( a celebratory Bill ) which paid tribute to " the legendary Arthur Lee....of Love, the world's greatest rock band, and creators of Forever Changes, the greatest album of all time ". The Bill urged other MPs " to lighten up and tune in to one of his forthcoming British gigs ".

Ken Livingstone said in 2002 " Love's Forever Changes is simply one of the best albums ever recorded....an amazing piece of music I have been listening to ever since ".

" I wrote about things that I thought were always going to happen.Therefore these songs would always sell ". Arthur Lee

Ken Forssi died in 1998 after a long illness; on Christmas Day the same year, Bryan McLean died of a heart attack. Arthur Lee died of Leukaemia in August 2006 - he was 61.

My View
I bought " Forever Changes " because I loved the album cover painting and the music inside didn't disappoint either and was just as great. The strength of any album is down to its songs, and " Forever Changes " is full of songs which you'll be singing along to after only a few listens. A sure sign of a classic. When I listen, it's always from start to finish as a suite of music to be heard in its entirety - it's a proper and cohesive album of carefully sequenced songs.

For a cult 1960s underground band, like their contemporaries " Spirit ", Love's music is easy to get into and listen to. Arthur Lee's voice has been compared to Johnny Mathis, and David Angel, the arranger on " Forever Changes " had a wide experience in the popular, jazz and symphonic fields, including working with Andy Williams.

I think that " Andmoreagain " would have been a big hit if it had been released and properly promoted at the time; it would have been perfect for Johnny Mathis. Now 50 years after its release, " Forever Changes " continues to make a deep emotional connection with new generations of fans, as evidenced by the almost Messianic acclaim Arthur received at his Forever Changes Concerts 2003 Tour, which began in January at Milton Keynes. Arthur was very proud that so many young people attended and knew all the words to his songs.

Special care has been taken with your new CD - from the colour booklet to the 7 bonus tracks - 4 of which would have graced a " Forever Changes 2 " - with the rest of this imaginary album compiled using the best cuts from "Four Sail " and " Out Here " ( both 1969 ) . Word of mouth has help spread the reputation of " Forever Changes " - now " you're part of the chain. Pass it along ".

Expect to pay about £7 on Amazon or from Fopp; for the earlier unremastered issues about £4+ with used copies a lot cheaper. Fopp in Covent Garden had the vinyl LP in stock recently @ £15.


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Comments on this review

  • Sparky43352 published 18/07/2017
    Extremely well detailed! I'm all out of Es sorry :(
  • Mac83 published 11/07/2017
    E rev :)
  • siberian-queen published 29/06/2017
    excellentent
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Product Information : Forever Changes - Love

Manufacturer's product description

Psychedelic - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Warner Strategic Marketing, Elektra - Distributor: Arvato Services, Cinram Logistics - Released: 19/02/2001 - 81227353728

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EAN: 81227353728

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