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Love - False Start

Love - False Start

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Genre: rock
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  False Start
Company: Blue Thumb
Catalog: BTS 8822
Year: 1970
Country/State: LA, California
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Available: 2
Catalog ID: 326
Price: $25.00

Best time to play: Doing the weekly laundry.
1970's "False Start'" is one of the Love album's that gets slammed, or simply ignored by folks. Admittedly it isn't the eclectic, summer-of-love sound that originally propelled Arthur Lee and the original Love line-up into critical darlings. But I guess that's understandable given it was recorded in 1970, not 1967 ... Featuring the talents of bassist Frank Fayad, rhythm guitarist Nooney Rickett, lead guitarist Gary Rowles (replacing Jay Donnellan), and drummer George Suranowich, this latter line-up may not have shared the musical sophistication of the original Love line-up, but what they lacked in originality, they more than made up for with solid rock and roll credentials (check out the live version of 'Stand Out'). Rowles was particularly good, showing a distinct Hendrix influence throughout the album, though he was far more than a wannbe clone. The original Love could never have handled conventional hard rockers like the opener 'The Everlasting First' (showcasing Hendrix), or 'Stand Out'.. And that seems to have been what Lee was aiming for - a harder rocking, less eclectic version of Love. I'll also tell you Lee sounded great on most of the tracks, showcasing the fact he could effortlessly belt out harder rock material. One complaint - this is one short album; not even half an hour of material here.

"False Start" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) The Everlasting First (Arthur Lee - Jimi Hendrix) - 3:01
Geez, do you need to say anything more than Hendrix ? Yeah, I know there are some folks who don't think he actually played on the tune, but to my ears the sound's pretty unmistakable. Okay, Hendrix provided the song's main selling point, but musically it was actually a killer tune with Lee turning in a truly inspired vocal over some surprisingly thought provoking lyrics. The fact the track sounded like a somewhat demo gave it additional appeal - the band really sounds like they were having fun. Too bad there wasn't an extended version since it sounded like they were really getting into a groove just as the song faded out. (Rowles has said they actually recorded a twenty minute version of the song.) Forget the Donovan-styled hippy stuff of the first three albums ... rating: **** stars
2.) Flying (Arthur Lee) - 2:37
Kicked along by an old-fashioned sounding barrelhouse piano powered melody, 'Flying' was a strange little ditty. It took awhile to get acclimated to the tune, but if you gave it a chance, Lee's breezy vocals ultimately won you over. In contrast Gary Rowle's fuzz solo sounded way out of place on this one. rating: *** stars
3.) Gimi a Little Break (Arthur Lee) - 4:10
Opening up with some nice Fayad bass, 'Gimi a Little Break' was a surprisingly funky and commercial tune. Lee seldom sounded as upbeat ... rating: *** stars
4.) Stand Out (live) (Arthur Lee) - 3:35
Recorded while touring in England, the live version of 'Stand Out' was a curiosity since the studio version had seen daylight on the previous "Out Here" LP. While I have no idea why it was included on this album, the live track literally kicked the crap out of the rest of the album's studio cuts. The combination of Lee's snarling delivery, Gary Rowles blazing guitar the crushing Fayad and George Suranowich rhythm section gave this one a very Hendrix-like feel. Great tune underscoring they could rock with the best of the competition. rating: **** stars 
5.) Keep On Shining (Arthur Lee) - 3:50
I guess it took awhile to get acclimated to the song's country-twinge ... it may have taken me a bit longer than others and to be honest, it wasn't a genre that fit Lee and company particularly well. The fact the song wasn't particularly tuneful, or memorable didn't exactly help the situation.  rating: ** stars

(side 2)
1.) Anytime (Arthur Lee) - 3:23
'Anytime' started out as a surprisingly melodic tune before morphing into an enjoyable blues-based number that again showcased Lee's voice. The man could belt it out. Kudos to Rowles for turning in some wonderful lead guitar. rating: **** stars
2.) Slick Dick (Arthur Lee) - 3:05
Yeah, 'Slick Dick' was mildly funny, but ultimately a bit too cute for its own good. Rowles again turned in some inspiring lead guitar, but it wasn't enough to salvage this country-rocker that sounded a bit like a Michael Nesmith tune on steroids. rating: *** stars
3.) Love Is Coming (Arthur Lee) - 1:24
Kicked along by a nifty little Rowles lead guitar figure, the brief 'Love Is Coming' was simultaneously one of the album's most commercial songs and one of the few to look back to Lee's earlier influences. Lovely. rating: **** stars
4.) Feel Daddy Feel Good (Arthur Lee) - 3:15
So how to describe 'Feel Daddy Feel Good' ? Lee and company do The Grafeful Dead ? That's actually a pretty good comparison with the song exhibiting the kind of hazy country-rock vibe that Garcia and company excelled at. Interesting, it not entirely convincing. rating: *** stars
5.) Ride That Vibration (Arthur Lee) - 3:34
With a pretty, almost fey melody, hippy-dippy lyrics, killer Rowles guitar solo, and extended freak-out fade out section, 'Ride That Vibration' was probably the song that came closest to capturing Love's earlier sound. Very nice way to close out the album. rating: **** stars

It isn't a perfect Love album and certainly isn't the place to start exploring Lee's catalog. On the other hand, it's far better than the reviews would have you believe.

Commercially the album did little, peaking at # 184. Within a matter of months Rowles quit. He was briefly replaced by guitarist John Sterling, which was followed by Lee deciding to dismiss the band..
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