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Paul Simon The Collection'
The Paul Simon Songbook
The Paul Simon Songbook is the first solo studio album by Paul Simon. It was recorded in London and originally released in the UK in 1965 before it was supposedly deleted in 1969 at Simon's request. It was finally made available in the U.S. as part of the LP box set Paul Simon: Collected Works (1981).1. I Am a Rock
2. Leaves That Are Green
3. A Church Is Burning
4. April Come She Will
5. The Sound of Silence
6. A Most Peculiar Man
7. He Was My Brother
8. Kathy's Song
9. The Side of a Hill
10. A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)
11. Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall
12. Patterns$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Paul Simon (Awaiting Repress)If any musical justification were needed for the breakup of Simon & Garfunkel, it could be found on this striking collection, Paul Simon's post-split debut. From the opening cut, Mother and Child Reunion (a Top Ten hit), Simon, who had snuck several subtle musical explorations into the generally conservative S&G sound, broke free, heralding the rise of reggae with an exuberant track recorded in Jamaica for a song about death. From there, it was off to Paris for a track in South American style and a rambling story of a fisherman's son, Duncan (which made the singles chart). But most of the album had a low-key feel, with Simon on acoustic guitar backed by only a few trusted associates (among them Joe Osborn, Larry Knechtel, David Spinozza, Mike Manieri, Ron Carter, and Hal Blaine, along with such guests as Stefan Grossman, Airto Moreira, and Stephane Grappelli), singing a group of informal, intimate, funny, and closely observed songs (among them the lively Top 40 hit Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard). It was miles removed from the big, stately ballad style of Bridge Over Troubled Water and signaled that Simon was a versatile songwriter as well as an expressive singer with a much broader range of musical interests than he had previously demonstrated. You didn't miss Art Garfunkel on Paul Simon, not only because Simon didn't write Garfunkel-like showcases for himself, but because the songs he did write showed off his own, more varied musical strengths.
- William Ruhlmann (All Music Guide)1. Mother and Child Reunion
3. Everything Put Together Falls Apart
4. Run That Body Down
5. Armistice Day
6. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
7. Peace Like a River
8. Papa Hobo
9. Hobo's Blues
10. Paranoia Blues
11. Congratulations$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
There Goes Rhymin' SimonRetaining the buoyant musical feel of Paul Simon, but employing a more produced sound, There Goes Rhymin' Simon found Paul Simon writing and performing with assurance and venturing into soulful and R&B-oriented music. Simon returned to the kind of vocal pyrotechnics heard on the Simon & Garfunkel records by using gospel singers. On Love Me Like a Rock and Tenderness (which sounded as though it could have been written to Art Garfunkel), the Dixie Hummingbirds sang prominent backup vocals, and on Take Me to the Mardi Gras, Reverend Claude Jeter contributed a falsetto part that Garfunkel could have handled, though not as warmly. For several tracks, Simon traveled to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios to play with its house band, getting a variety of styles, from the gospel of Love Me Like a Rock to the Dixieland of Mardi Gras. Simon was so confident that he even included a major ballad statement of the kind he used to give Garfunkel to sing: American Tune was his musical State of the Union, circa 1973, but this time Simon was up to making his big statements in his own voice. Though that song spoke of the age's most uncertain hour, otherwise Rhymin' Simon was a collection of largely positive, optimistic songs of faith, romance, and commitment, concluding, appropriately, with a lullaby (St. Judy's Comet) and a declaration of maternal love (Loves Me Like a Rock) -- in other words, another mother-and-child reunion that made Paul Simon and There Goes Rhymin' Simon bookend masterpieces Simon would not improve upon (despite some valiant attempts) until Graceland in 1986.
- William Ruhlmann (All Music Guide)1. Kodachrome (Album Version)
3. Take Me to the Mardi Gras
4. Something So Right
5. One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor
6. American Tune
7. Was a Sunny Day
8. Learn How to Fall
9. St. Judy's Comet
10. Loves Me Like a Rock$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Stranger To StrangerPaul Simon will release Stranger to Stranger, his 13th solo album in 2016 via Concord Records. Full of thrilling, imaginative textures, Stranger to Stranger conjures a vivid and vital new context to Simon's well-established virtuosity as a singer and songwriter. The record-his first since 2011's acclaimed So Beautiful or So What-ushers the listener into a brave new musical world where expectations are defied and exceeded, as they were thirty years ago with another masterwork, Graceland.
Produced by Simon and his longtime musical partner Roy Halee, Stranger to Stranger's adventurous sonic spirit is abundantly clear right from the darkly humorous first two songs, "The Werewolf" and "Wristband."
"It's about getting you to actually hear something in a new way. It's about making music that sounds old and new at the same time; music with a sense of mystery," Simon explains of his and Halee's experimentation on the album.
The first song written for the album, "Insomniac's Lullaby," led Simon to the musical possibilities first suggested by Harry Partch-the 20th century American composer and theorist who created custom-made instruments in microtonal tunings. To capture the sounds of Partch's unusual instruments such as Cloud-Chamber Bowls and the Chromelodeon, Simon took his equipment to the laboratory at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where the original Harry Partch instrument collection was being curated.
An experimental session with the percussionist in Simon's band and a group of Flamenco musicians provided the initial rhythmic premise for Stranger to Stranger and supplied the grooves that were the basis for four songs on the album-"The Riverbank," "The Werewolf," "Wristband" and "Stranger to Stranger."
Stranger to Stranger's collage of sound also includes the Italian electronic dance music artist Clap! Clap!, whose album Tayi Bebba, blending African field recordings and EDM, Simon admired. Clap! Clap!'s sound can be heard on three tracks: "The Werewolf," "Wristband" and "Street Angel."
"Sound is the theme of this album as much as it's about the subjects of the individual songs. If people get that, I'll be pleased," explains Simon. "The right song at the right time can live for generations. A beautiful sound, well that's forever."
In many ways, Graceland was the most extraordinary experience in my entire career, notes Simon. The insight into rhythm was the great gift that I received from making the trip to South Africa, and collaborating with African musicians.1. The Werewolf
3. The Clock
4. Street Angel
5. Stranger To Stranger
6. In A Parade
7. Proof of Love
8. In the Garden of Edie
9. The Riverbank
10. Cool Papa Bell
11. Insomniac's Lullaby$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and ThymeRanked 201/500 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Simon and Garfunkel's classic album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, released in 1966, marked the duo's emergence as both a brilliant creative force and one of their era's biggest-selling recording acts.
The pair's third album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was the first on which they won complete artistic control, and they rose to the occasion brilliantly, delivering an ambitious, autumnal epic that's been described as a folkrock equivalent of the Beatles' Revolver and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Combining fuzz-tinged pop and pastoral baroque-folk with the duo's heavenly
harmonies, Paul Simon's heady wordplay and some imaginatively layered production
touches, the album features such Simon and Garfunkel standards as Homeward Bound, Scarborough Fair and The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).
Sundazed's exact vinyl replica of this harmony-rich classic is sourced from the original stereo master tapes, making this release an essential component of any '60s pop/rock collection.1. Scarborough Fair/Canticle
4. Homeward Bound
5. The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine
6. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
7. The Dangling Conversation
8. Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall
9. A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)
10. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
11. A Poem on the Underground Wall
12. 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night$28.99High-Definition Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Closing TimeWhen unassuming young Orkney music-maker Erland Cooper picked up his guitar and travelled the length of the country to play a show in London's
Notting Hill, little did he know that a chance encounter with musical veteran Simon Tong (The Verve, The Good The Bad & The Queen, and Gorillaz)
would be the start of a unique songwriting friendship. Together they formed Erland & The Carnival and now, nearly a decade later, arrives Closing Time -
the band's third, most accomplished album yet.
Opening a new chapter, Closing Time is an understated, inward looking collection of songs that feature stunning string arrangements and Erland's
impassioned vocals at centre stage. But rather than the modern folk adaptations of traditional songs, children's poems, and ancient literature on the
band's earlier albums or the pair's recent conceptual folklore project The Magnetic North, this time the band tell tales of a more personal nature.
"Previously we didn't know what we wanted to say or how to say it and would use stories and direct references to help us get to a place we could feel
secure," admits Simon. Erland adds; "in making this record we discarded an album's worth of material that sounded like the first two albums. We wanted
to make something different - doing another Jackson C Frank cover wasn't an option."
Above all, Closing Time is the very first time the listener can truly hear the wholly collaborative process that is Erland & The Carnival. Lyrical and musical
duties have always been shared, yet here the combined creativity of the pair's working friendship is only solidified with Erland taking a more 'hands on'
approach to production. The string arrangements, brought about by the album's unashamed twisted and selfish love song 'Quiet Love', were scored by
Simon before being recorded by a quartet in his living room later that week.
Recorded in Damon Albarn's studio13 with previous Erland & The Carnival engineer Steve Sedgewick and mixed by London Grammar producer Tim Bran
with Paul Weller guesting on two tracks. Despite creating more than 40 songs in the process of writing the album ("Some of the song melodies and ideas
on this may have even been written when I was 21 to be honest. 'Hopeless' certainly was," admits Erland), it was a brilliantly spontaneous and productive
time taking just over 3 days to come to fruition. "We learnt to be incredibly disciplined" tells Simon. "It feels like pruning a tree - when you cut away the
needless and weaker branches, what you get is something much fresher and stronger coming through."1. Closing Time
3. Quiet Love
4. I Am Joan
6. Is It Long 'Til It's Over?
7. Birth Of A Nation
8. That's The Way It Should Have Begun (But It's Hopeless)
9. They're Talking About You Again
10. Daughter$18.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Old SockOld Sock marks the 21st solo studio album for the guitar legend, and is released on the Bushbranch Records label, a branch of Surfdog. This double LP also includes a download card.
On the heels of a sold-out Crossroads Guitar Festival and the announcement of a major world tour, Eric Clapton announced the release of his 21st studio album and his first album since 2010. The album, Old Sock produced by Eric Clapton, Doyle Bramhall II, Justin Stanley and Simon Climie, features two original songs Every Little Thing and Gotta Get Over. Old Sock is released on Clapton s Bushbranch label, distributed through a collaboration with Surfdog Records in the USA and Canada.
The album is a collection of some of Clapton's favorite songs spanning from his childhood to present day that highlights his vast appreciation and knowledge of music. From Leadbelly to J.J. Cale; Peter Tosh to George Gershwin; Hank Snow to Gary Moore and Taj Mahal, this record is a celebration of so many who have inspired Clapton s rich musical life. Clapton has always had a remarkable ability to recognize great songs and a gift for knowing how to uniquely interpret them, as he does on Old Sock. The album explores romantic standards of the 30's, reggae, soul, rock, and includes a stand out playful collaboration with Paul McCartney, to create an experience that is quintessential Clapton.
Clapton assembled a band for the recordings consisting of longtime collaborators Steve Gadd (drums), Willie Weeks (bass) and Chris Stainton (keyboards) along with some surprise guest additions. JJ Cale joins the song Angel for backing vocals and guitar, Chaka Khan joins as backing vocalist for Get On Over, Steve Winwood on the Hammond B3 Organ on Still Got The Blues, Paul McCartney on bass/vocals on All of Me, Jim Keltner on drums for Our Love is Here To Stay.1. Further On Down The Road
3. Every Little Thing
4. The Folks Who Live On The Hill
5. Born To Lose
6. Till Your Well Runs Dry
7. All Of Me
8. Still Got The Blues
9. Good Night Irene
10. Gotta Get Over
11. Your One And Only Man
12.Our Love Is Here To Stay$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Gun Metal SkyBest known for her classic song, Killing Me Softly which was featured on her 1972 self-titled debut, Lori Lieberman has gone on to record a number of albums for Capitol Records, Pope Music and Drive On Records. Lieberman's early musical history formed in the '70s on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip and the West Coast club scene circuit that included singer/songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and the Eagles.
Originally released on CD for Drive On Records in 2009, Gun Metal Sky marked Lori Lieberman's debut as an arranger for strings and woodwinds. While most of the songs are self-penned, the collection also includes unique and interesting versions of songs from some of our most beloved songwriters, including Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon, The Bee Gees and The Hollies.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Early Wednesday Morning
2. Another Galaxy
3. New York Mining Disaster 1941
4. Gun Metal Sky
5. The Opposite of Love
6. When You Were Mine
7. He Needs You
8. Bus Stop
9. More Than This
10. My Baby Needs a Shepherd
11. Killing Me Softly
12. Takes Courage$29.99200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Boy Next Door (Pure Pleasure)Ms Kent's album, The Boy Next Door, is a heartfelt and reverent tribute to her musical heroes, which include legendary crooners Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, octogenarian jazz master Dave Brubeck and Manhattan cabaret doyen Bobby Short. The stylish jazz chanteuse's repertoire also finds her working outside the Great American Songbook for the first time, with contributions from latter-day pop songwriters Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon and Carole King. Ms Kent puts her own indelible stamp on each number as she weaves her magic on a delectable collection of pop-jazz standards that encompass infatuation, seduction, love, loss and reminiscence.
Ms Kent receives impeccable support from her sleek, urbane jazz quintet, whose rhythmic fluency is further enhanced by the tasteful, literate arrangements. Newton and Tomlinson, both accomplished musicians in their own right, also display hitherto unknown musical talents as they join Curtis Schwartz to provide tongue-in-cheek backing vocals for Ms Kent's deliciously bouncy rendition of Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Bee.
- Stacey Kent (vocal)
- Jim Tomlinson (vocal, saxophone)
- Colin Oxley (guitar)
- David Newton (piano, keyboards, vocal)
- Dave Chamberlain (bass)
- Matt Home (drum)
- Curtis Schwartz (backing vocal)
Recording: February 2003 at Curtis Schwartz Studios in Ardingly, UK, by Curtis Schwartz
Production: Jim Tomlinson
About Pure Pleasure
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.1. The Best Is Yet To Come
2. The Boy Next Door
3. The Trolley Song
4. Say It Isn't So
5. Too Darn Hot
6. Makin' Whoopee
7. What The World Needs Now Is Love
8. You've Got A Friend
9. I Got It Bad
11. People Will Say We're In Love
12. 'Tis Autumn
13. All I Do Is Dream Of You
14. I Get Along Without You Very Well
15. You're The Top
16. Bookends$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
American TunesNonesuch releases American Tunes, a new studio album by legendary New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint. Toussaint had just completed the album when he passed away in November of last year during a European tour. Recording took place at two sets of sessions with producer Joe Henry: solo piano at Toussaint's New Orleans home studio in 2013, and with the rhythm section of Jay Bellerose and David Piltch-joined by guests Bill Frisell, Charles Lloyd, Greg Leisz, Rhiannon Giddens, and Van Dyke Parks-in Los Angeles in October 2015. The album comprises solo performances of Professor Longhair tunes and band arrangements of songs by Toussaint, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Paul Simon, and others.
Allen Toussaint's work as composer, producer, arranger, and performer, especially in the 1960s and '70s, helped shape the sound of R&B, soul, and funk as we know it today. He collaborated memorably with artists ranging from Lee Dorsey and Ernie K. Doe to the Pointer Sisters and Labelle, from the Meters and Dr. John to the Band and Paul McCartney. The New York Times recently said, In Mr. Toussaint's long career as songwriter, arranger and producer he has honed a piano style that's supportive and allusive; a little trill or tremolo sums up all the splashy joys of New Orleans patriarchs like Professor Longhair and James Booker, and a syncopated chord under right-hand octaves summons gospel. Mr. Toussaint has the two-fisted, rippling vocabulary of the city's piano legacy, but he uses it in dapper ways.
Toussaint's children, Alison Toussaint-LeBeaux and Clarence Reginald Toussaint, who have long served as their father's managers, said of the American Tunes album, Our father approached this project with great care and understanding of the songs selected and paid true homage to Professor Longhair, his musical hero. He wanted to bring as much of the Toussaint touch as he could to these wonderful classics.
Nonesuch previously released The Bright Mississippi in 2009. Also produced by Henry, the record includes songs by jazz greats such as Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, Django Reinhardt, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, and Billy Strayhorn. The album received tremendous critical praise, with the Boston Globe saying it couldn't sound more like New Orleans. (Toussaint) revisits jazz classics and takes them for a stroll through Preservation Hall, imbuing his own funky brand of pop-song charisma. The results are coolly sophisticated, an unfussy, mostly instrumental set of slink-and-slide joints shot through with a harmonic imagination that turns even a traditional hymn into an after-hours swing Toussaint's musical soul guides all, making the classics sound like his own.
That project indirectly grew from Toussaint's contributions to Our New Orleans, the benefit album that Nonesuch released in fall 2005 to aid hurricane victims in the wake of the Katrina disaster. That collection opens with a version of Yes We Can Can, the Toussaint song the Pointer Sisters made famous, newly recorded with producer Joe Henry, and it included a solo piano piece, Tipitina and Me, co-written by Toussaint in tribute to Professor Longhair.
Joe Henry had first worked with Toussaint when he invited the pianist to join the sessions for I Believe to My Soul, a studio convocation of mature R&B stars. Henry subsequently acted as producer on Toussaint's post-Katrina collaboration with Elvis Costello, The River in Reverse. He describes the most recent sessions: I have been working with Allen Toussaint-under his spell and subject to his influence-for a full decade now. He was a quiet radical, musically-speaking, and a prince of great humility.LP 1
1. Delores' Boyfriend
2. Viper's Drag
3. Confessin' (That I Love You)
4. Mardi Gras In New Orleans
5. Lotus Blossom
6. Waltz For Debby
7. Big Chief
8. Rocks In My Bed
9. Danza, Op. 33
10. Hey Little Girl
2. Come Sunday
3. Southern Nights
4. American Tune
5. Her Mind Is Gone
6. Moon River
7. Bald Head$26.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Tales from the Realm of the Queen of PentaclesOne of music's most acclaimed singer/songwriters, Suzanne Vega, has crafted a stunning new collection of songs showcasing her trademark wit and poetic writing, which will be released this winter. Vega's first new studio album in seven years, 'Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles,' coming out on her own Amanuensis Productions on Feb. 18, 2014,features ten new songs each telling a story that has to do with the material world, the spirit world and how they intersect. "A lot of my older albums, especially the second one, was about being solitary," says Suzanne Vega. "This album has more of a sense of connectivity, there is a different spirit."
Vega spent the past few year writing and performing these new gems on the road, recording portions in Chicago, London, Prague, LA and New York City, and Kyserike Station, an old train station in upstate New York. The album was produced by noted guitarist/producer Gerry Leonard, David Bowie's musical director for over a decade and with whom Vega has worked since 2000, and features her longtime bass player Mike Visceglia and drummer Doug Yowell. Tracking for the album took place mostly at the Clubhouse Studios in Rhinebeck, and was mixed by Kevin Killen, who has worked with Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.
'Tales from the Realm taps into Vega's broad range of musical tastes, intertwining Dylan/Stones-inspired guitar-driven songs such as "I Never Wear White" to lush orchestral strings and trumpet flourishes on "There is a Road" to soul-packed background vocals and Vega's masterful classic folk elements.
A longtime fan of hip hop as well, Vega samples the 50 Cent hit song "Candy Shop" for one of the more atmospheric tracks on the album, "Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain." This is Suzanne's first sampling effort - although her song "Tom's Diner" has been interpolated countless times in the hip-hop community, she has not sampled anyone else until this album.
For the first time on a studio recording, Suzanne has also assembled an illustrious group of musicians to accompany her including: Gail Ann Dorsey and Zachary Alford (David Bowie) on bass and drums for several tracks-a happy reunion as Suzanne and Zachary attended the same elementary school back in the 70's in New York City; bass player Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel) on "I Never Wear White" and "Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain;" drummer Jay Bellerose (T-Bone Burnett); acoustic "wizard" Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan) who plays banjo, mandolin, and cymbal throughout the album; Sterling Campbell (David Bowie, B52s) on drums for "Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain" and "Laying on of Hands;" Alison Balsom, the virtuoso principal trumpet for the London Chamber Orchestra who is featured on "Road Beyond This One (Horizon) for Vaclav Havel" and background vocals from powerhouse singer Catherine Russell, known for her work with David Bowie and Paul Simon, among others. Lastly, the strings were recorded in the Czech Republic with the Smikov Chamber Orchestra.1. Crack In The Wall
2. Fool's Complaint
3. I Never Wear White
4. Portrait of the Knight of Wands
5. Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain
6. Jacob and the Angel
7. Silver Bridge
8. Song Of the Stoic
9. Laying on of Hands / Stoic 2
10. Horizon (There Is A Road)$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Black Beauty28-page, full-color book (11" x 11")
Extensive essay by Ben Edmonds (Creem, Rolling Stone, Mojo) featuring all-new interviews
Abundant, never-before-seen photographs by Herbert Worthington (Fleetwood Mac's Rumours)
Brilliantly mastered by multi-GRAMMY® nominee Dan Hersch (Paul Simon, Kinks, Cars,The Band)
Mastered for vinyl by multi-GRAMMY® winner Doug Sax (The Who, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd)
Black Beauty, the never-before-released masterpiece by Arthur Lee's legendary psychedelic rock band Love, is available on 180-gram vinyl LP. Recorded in 1973 for the ambitious new label Buffalo Records,
the album remained unreleased when the company folded. Finally, after 39 years High Moon Records is honored to fulfill Arthur Lee's wish that Black Beauty be heard by music fans worldwide. Black Beauty is making its first-ever official release
in any format, anywhere! With unparalelled sound and state-of-the-art packaging, critics are hailing Black Beauty as an instant classic. Black Beauty is that rarest of rock artifacts: an unreleased,
full-length studio album, from an undisputed musical
genius. Black Beauty is the missing link in a catalog that includes Forever Changes, the classic 1967 Love album the New York Times called "one of the most affecting and beguiling albums of all time. With Black Beauty, Arthur Lee manages to combine searing 70's-rock with gorgeous melodies and stellar songwriting - topped off by his most distinctive, snarling, soulful vocals ever. With its wonderfully eclectic collection of songs, the
album offers Love fans a rare glimpse into a previously undocumented phase of Arthur Lee's fabled career, while shining a light for new fans to discover the unique genius that is the music of Arthur Lee and Love.
It's tempting to play what-if with Love's lost labor, Black Beauty, which was recorded in 1973 but shelved for nearly four decades. What if Buffalo Records hadn't gone out of business just prior to the album's release? What if Black Beauty had actually hit stores? What if it hadn't languished in limbo until years after Arthur Lee's death? Would it have stopped Love's slide into obscurity? Would it have signaled a comeback for the man who masterminded Forever Changes, still one of the most complex and compelling artifacts of 1960s Los Angeles? Would his life and career have played out any differently? Would we think of him today as something other than a cult artist, inspired as well as damned by his era?
It's difficult to imagine any answers to those questions, but it says a lot about Lee that the album even raises these what-ifs and coulda-beens. The very qualities that made him such a fascinating voice-- restlessness, excitability, paranoia, perfectionism, single-mindedness-- may have doomed any commercial prospects more than his notorious fear of travel ever did. After recording Forever Changes, he fired the band and hired new musicians to take their places. Every subsequent album featured a different line-up, although the changes seem based more on personality than on musical direction or ability. Never stagnant, Love was in constant flux, always in a state of development but never quite arriving. So the operative question becomes: Was this the version of Love that Lee had been working toward?
For Black Beauty-- which is finally seeing release via High Moon Records, although the reissue has been delayed for two years-- Lee assembled guitarist Melvan Whittington, bass player Robert Rozelle, and drummer Joe Blocker. This may be the hardiest and most muscular of Love's post-Changes rosters, with remarkable force and range. With crisp production by Paul Rothchild, best known for his work with the Doors, Love build from a potent blues rock foundation not dissimilar to that of Jimi Hendrix, but without the distracting shamanistic persona and guitar pyrotechnics. "Walk Right In" struts into country rock territory, rewriting Cannon's Jug Stompers 1929 hit into a plea for empathy, and "Beep Beep" attempts a sort of pop reggae, albeit not entirely convincingly.
On the whole, this particular line-up sounds perfectly rough and unrehearsed, generating a tense energy on "Skid" and "Stay Away" even as they suggest a band still figuring out exactly what they can do together. It's a strong album, but it's not another Forever Changes, whose accomplishments in retrospect were unrepeatable, or even another Four Sail. On the other hand, Lee wasn't aiming to craft something in that vein. Still, especially considering the professional setbacks he had faced in the years leading up to Black Beauty-- which includes being dropped by Elektra and shuffling through a series of independent labels-- Lee sounds engaged and invigorated, forgoing the bitterness that had rankled the band for a slightly more hopeful outlook. On stand-out "Can't Find It", he sings, "Every time I cry my heart out, and every time I play the fool, but there's gotta be something in this lonely world for me." The confession is all the more bittersweet for being capped with the line, "but I can't find it without you." It's ostensibly a love song, but could just as easily be addressed to his audience. His creative satisfaction relies on having a listener to complete the circuit, which makes this album's long shelf life all the sadder.
-Stephen M. Deusner (Pitchfork, May 15, 2013)1. Young & Able
2. Midnight Sun
3. Can't Find It
4. Walk Right In
6. Beep Beep
7. Stay Away
8. Lonely Pigs
9. See Myself In You
10. Product Of The Times$26.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now