Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Song of the Week: Love - Always See Your Face

I find myself in Hollywood this week. And as I drove down Santa Monica Boulevard, passing the legendary Troubador, on the MP3 player comes Arthur Lee and Love performing A House Is Not A Motel. Behind only the Beach Boys, Love, to me epitomized California rock in the 60s. The beauty and the tragedy of it all.

Then as I turned onto Hollywood Boulevard and headed East towards Vine, past La Cienga Boulevard. There it was. A doughnut shop. Thee doughnut shop? Two members of the band, Johnny Echols and Ken Forssi would be arrested for robbing local doughnut shops which led to the break up of the original band shortly after the recording of their seminal work, Forever Changes. Arthur Lee would form a new Love, but it was never really Love. It was more Arthur Lee and a handful of musicians that would work under the name Love. Because of that wrap, the work after Forever Changes is too often ignored. True, it is much more spotty than previous work. But much of it deserves more praise. And that's why we are here today.

Lee's next Love album was recorded in '69 and was tagged with the self aware monicker, Four Sail. It's a spotty album that shows a lot of heavy-guitar, acid rock influence from San Francisco bands like Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane, but it has some real nice gems. The last song on that album is our SoTW today. The song is the mellow Always See Your Face. Arthur Lee, just 24 at the time of the recording of the closing number of his fourth album, was showing signs of the pain and reflection that would sum up his career so sadly.
Won't somebody please, help me with my memory
Can't somebody see, yeah, what this world has done to me.
Dang, I really love Arthur Lee's voice. And that tasty little guitar solo is sweet as could be.


  1. What a beautiful song.

    It would seem that the cymbal sound in the left channel during the guitar solo is produced vocally. Also, "misery" replaces "memory" in the first verse.


  2. Great song. Just for the record, the donut shop robberies were an unsubstantiated rumor and refuted by Echols. Forssi (and possibly Echols) did do time for dope after they were out of the band. The donut shop rumor is an interesting one nevertheless, and fits the crash 'n burn vibe of LA in the late 60s.

  3. Quite lovely. I've never heard the "Four Sail" album in its entirety, but this is a nice song, and I always loved the quirky-fuzz-fiesta "Robert Montgomery". MIght have to check this one out.