Friday, December 18, 2015
High Moon Records Hits A Home Run With Its Reissue Of Love's 'Reel To Real'
I finally got around to picking up the reissue of Love's 1974 album 'Reel To Real.' Back in 2007 I wrote about how I thought the album deserved to be listened to again with fresh ears. Freed from the burden of unreasonable expectations, it is a very strong album, among the best Lee released post 'Forever Changes.' Eight years later it's finally been reissued by High Moon Records, the same label that gave Love's 'Black Beauty' its first legitimate release back in 2012. 'Black Beauty' began Lee's journey back to his R&B roots and 'Reel To Real' completes it.
I'm happy to report that High Moon has finally given 'Reel To Real' the treatment it deserves. The sound quality of the CD (mastered by Dan Hersch and Bill Inglot) is fantastic (I can't speak to the LP, which I haven't heard). There are fabulous liner notes by David Fricke that draw on interviews with Lee's former bandmates, as well as the Bill Oakes, the executive who signed Love to RSO Records (turns out he was hoping for something more like 'Forever Changes' as well). Best of all, the twelve bonus tracks included on the CD are fantastic. There are four previously unheard, fully produced outtakes written by Arthur Lee that are a genuine revelation. These alone make this release a must-purchase item for any Arthur Lee fan. There's also some alternate mixes that are arguably superior to the ones that appeared on the album and a studio rehearsal of the 'Forever Changes' outtake "Wonder People (I Do Wonder)."
I'm really pleased that this much misunderstood chapter in Arthur Lee's career is getting the fresh look it's long deserved. High Moon's work on this reissue is absolutely unassailable. Highly recommended.