fri 03/02/2023

Music Reissues Weekly: Love - Expressions Tell Everything | reviews, news & interviews

Music Reissues Weekly: Love - Expressions Tell Everything

Music Reissues Weekly: Love - Expressions Tell Everything

Spiffy box-set collection of Arthur Lee and Co’s 1960s singles

Love: responsible for '7 and 7 is', one of the most intense things to ever hit the US charts

Any reminder of the greatness of Love is welcome, and Expressions Tell Everything does this in fine style. A box set, it contains eight picture-sleeve seven-inch singles, a book and a couple of postcards. It’s very stylish.

The period dwelt on is 1966 to 1969, over which the original band changed line-ups, fell apart and was then resurrected with new players behind main-man Arthur Lee for the Four Sail album. On record, Love began in 1966 as a hybrid of folk-rock and The Rolling Stones, and went on to incorporate Bossa Nova and jazz for the late-1966 second album Da Capo. The magnificent Mariachi-tinged third album Forever Changes followed in 1967. Next, fragmentation, a new Love and 1969’s Four Sail.

Love - Expressions Tell Everything That’s it in a nutshell. Forever Changes, the labyrinthine story of the band and Lee overshadow the bald detail. As do towering songs like the first-album-era "Signed D.C.", which referenced early drummer Don Conca’s drug use, and the Da Capo-period single "7 and 7 is", one of the most intense things to ever hit the US charts.

There is also "Revelation", the almost 19-minute track which occupied the whole of Da Capo’s second side. Fellow Los Angeles band The Seeds had edged towards this a month before Da Capo hit shops with their own second album, October 1966's A Web of Sound: its second side featured the just-shy of 15-minutes "Up in Her Room". This trend for extension kicked off with The Rolling Stones’s 11-ish minutes "Goin' Home", from the 1966 Aftermath album. Love would take things farther out than anyone else with "Revelation".

But, still, as well as lengthy explorations they also made singles – and issued tracks on seven-inch which did not appear on their albums. “No. Fourteen”, the flipside of "7 and 7 is", and the post-Forever Changes single “Your Mind and we Belong Together” / “Laughing Stock” were non-album sides. Furthermore, the singles could be different mixes to the mono and stereo versions issued on album. The seven-inch story of Love offers a different take on the standard narrative. This is where Expressions Tell Everything steps in.

Love Expressions Tell Everything 7 And 7 Is master tapeWhat’s collected is: “My Little Red Book” / “A Message to Pretty” (US single release: March 1966) ; “7 and 7 is” / “No. Fourteen” (July 1966); “Stephanie Knows Who” / “Orange Skies” (October 1966); “She Comes in Colors” / “Orange Skies” (November 1966) ; “¡Que Vida!” / “Hey Joe” (March 1967 – originally a promo-only single); “Alone Again or” / “A House is not a Motel” (March 1968); “Your Mind and we Belong Together” / “Laughing Stock” (May 1968). The eighth record in the box couples Four Sail’s opening and closing tracks “Always see Your Face” and “August” – a new configuration; no such single was issued at the time as Love had left their label Elektra before Four Sail was issued. Everything here sounds brilliant and immediate – straight from the appropriate master tapes onto the records. (pictured left, the master tape box for the "7 And 7 Is" single)

Obviously, the music is essential. While the packaging is great, Expressions Tell Everything goes further than it could with its book. The tons of illustrations include pictures of all configurations of the original singles from all territories as well as shots of the master tape boxes. There is in-depth text on the music, the band and the context. The cherry on the cake is a track-by-track commentary by original Love member Johnny Echols (not for by “Always See Your Face” and “August”, as he was not on them). Of “7 and 7 is”, he says “of all the songs Love played, this was without a doubt the most challenging to record”. Essential reading.

Expressions Tell Everything sells for around £100, so is no impulse buy. But as it cannot be bettered and if the pockets are deep enough, it won’t disappoint.

@MrKieronTyler

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