Christmas 1970 was a time for mixed emotions for all UK Love fans. The previous summer had seen the release of Four Sail, a stunning set of Arthur Lee originals, (although some fans were unhappy at not getting a Forever Changes part 2), and I remember one or two die-hards who actually preferred Bread's debut LP over Four Sail! What none of us knew was the existence of more recordings from the Four Sail sessions, and that they were about to be issued on a new label. Thus it was a complete surprise to see import copies of Love's new double album Out Here on the shelves, in December, priced at a hefty 5 guineas! The next shock to the system was the announcement that Love would be touring the UK in the New Year.
The story behind Out Here began in the autumn of 1968. Arthur was unhappy at Elektra, he reportedly complained that they made him look too white in photographs, but in reality the band that had made Forever Changes had fallen apart through drug abuse and apathy. The old group were still playing up to July of 1968, but it was the last straw for Arthur when Elektra offered Bryan MacLean, the composer of Alone Again Or a solo contract. He fired everyone except Johnny Echols, but soon after fell out with him over money and in August had gathered a new group together. He recruited Frank Fayad, a friend from the early days, to play bass, he in turn introduced drummer George Saranovich, and ex-Love member Snoopy suggested guitarist Jay Donnellan. Elektra's contract had required one further album. He had stockpiled an impressive set of new material, and wanted to take a new direction.
Hiring a large garage space in Hollywood's manufacturing district, for 8 dollars an hour, Lee rented some 8-track equipment from Wally Heider and set about rehearsing/recording with the new band. The first track they played was August, to commemorate the month they had formed, Jay had turned up with an acoustic guitar thinking they were to continue where Forever Changes had ended... We're not doing that shit anymore. We're doing this! said Arthur and that was both Donnellan's audition and the template for the new material.
Bob Krasnow had approached Arthur during the summer and it was decided that his Blue Thumb Records would be Love's new home. Jac Holzman was allowed to cherry pick from the first batch of newly recorded songs, and selected ten songs, passing on Doggone and the new version of Signed D.C.. The remainder became Out Here and Blue Thumb wasted no time in getting it into the shops.
Meanwhile Arthur Lee had travelled to Europe to begin his first tour with Love outside the USA. They played many of the tracks from the new release, which was issued in the UK in April on EMI's Harvest label, for a bargain price of 57s 6d! During their stay in London Arthur met up with Jimi Hendrix at Olympic Studios and together they recorded the awesome Everlasting First. The song would be included on the next album, False Start, which continued Love's new foray into rock.
Although the Love sound had been stripped down to a basic 4-piece rock group the magic and genius of Arthur's song-writing shines through. OUT THERE is a distillation of all the best material from Out Here and False Start, and as such is a flawless collection. The cream of the former, from Listen To My Song (despite Lee's insistence that Forever Changes was behind them - this is a dead ringer for that album) to Love Is More Than Words which features some sonic Hendrix-style lead guitar by Gary Rowles who replaced Jay Donnellan for False Start.
Seen now as one of the best Love line-ups to record, and certainly the most accomplished musically, the material that made up the original three vinyl sides is brimming with shimmering solos, wonderful melodies and some breathtaking moments - all of which are captured on the fourteen tracks that make up OUT THERE.
by Phil Smee