My next Sprawl of Sound column contains a review of the Love Story DVD, an illuminating documentary about the phenomenal LA rock band Love, who somehow didn't reap the magnitude of success they should have. Just immerse yourself in the lysergically enhanced, orchestral-rock grandeur of Forever Changes for a week and then try to figure out why Love don't occupy the same prominence in the public's consciousness as the Doors, the Byrds and the Beach Boys do. Admittedly, a resurgence of interest in Forever Changes spurred by critics and numerous bands has arisen and maybe in another five years, it'll go Platinum, but this classic is still relatively obscure. But I'll take it over Sgt. Pepper's any day. You heard me, Jann Wenner…
Anyway, this edition of Video Savant focuses on a single recorded around the time of Forever Changes (1967). “Your Mind and We Belong Together” (released June '68) is one of Love prime mover/cracked-genius poet Arthur Lee's most striking compositions and the last gust of greatness from the group that recorded Forever Changes (Lee sacked everybody shortly thereafter and brought in a bunch of earthbound blues rockers for the next incarnation of Love).
“Your Mind and We Belong Together”—which took 44 takes to complete—is actually four songs woven into one psychedelic magnum opus. The track begins with urgently chiming electric guitar, which gets mimicked by an acoustic strum, setting the scene for some of Lee's most poignant lines:
I'd like to understand just why/
I feel like I have been through hell/
But you tell me I haven't even started yet/
To live here you've got to give more than you get
The tune carries a whiff of triumph before shifting into some Richie Havens-esque troubadourism. Those momentous chiming guitars return to herald another change into a sigh-inducing dream sequence of cloud-9 psych (“I'm lockin' my heart in the closet,” Lee sings here, against the grain of the euphoric music, adding, “I don't need anyone, oh no no no”) and then, as if this passage were too fluffily feel-good, Love take an abrupt left turn into some hard-boogie catharsis. The last 100 or so seconds feature Johnny Echols tearing off a scorching guitar solo that may not have kept Hendrix up at night, but it's still a flamboyantly flammable finale for a classic song—and a fitting way to close this immortal chapter of Love.
This promo film reveals a band bedizzazzled on some powerful substances. I wonder if they realized that those good, good times were about to stop rolling soon after, as their days of halycon turned into hell's eon. (And let us pause to mourn for the days when a major label would think that this sort of acid-fried tomfoolery made sound business sense.)