False Start

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Arthur Lee chose to keep the Love moniker alive after disintegrating the band's original incarnation. By the close of the 1960s, Lee was joined by a new lineup featuring a rhythm section of Frank Fayad (bass) and George Suranovich (drums), with Jay Donnellan (lead guitar) and then Gary Rowles (lead guitar) holding court as the band's primary stringman with the latter present on False Start. While the Lee-supplied material isn't his most memorable, one positive factor is the combo's consistency and cohesiveness. This can be traced back to Love having just completed a successful European tour and being able to collaborate with his longtime pal Jimi Hendrix, who not only helped Lee write the LP's jammed-out opener "The Everlasting First," but also stuck around long enough to lend his unmistakable southpaw to the recording. The track starts abruptly -- as if someone inadvertently jostled a power cord loose -- joining the action in-progress. Ostensibly, Hendrix's instrumental interaction is the impetus behind the number, but it is Lee's sorely underappreciated lyrical abilities that turn it into a bluesy love ballad. The catchy "Flying" typifies the early-'70s boogie that Jo Jo Gunne was able cash in on. Otherwise, it is pretty much fluff. Considerably more interesting is the heavier poppy (think the Raspberries) sound of "Gimi a Little Break" with engaging chord progressions that conjure up Lee's work on "August" from their previous outing Four Sail. The concert extract "Stand Out" -- a prime example of Love's aforementioned on-stage unity -- does just that as the spirited side was derived from the then-recent round of live dates that preceded False Start's creation. It's packed with a compact, hard-edged energy that could be mistaken for Grand Funk or even a mellowed-out MC5. Proving his uncanny ability to jump from genre to genre, Lee heads down-home for the countrified "Keep on Shining" with a chipper disposition somewhat undermined by Lee's ragged vocals. Like "Stand Out," the soulful "Anytime" is another reason for this project not to be dismissed. The quaint narrative "Slick Dick" is as anachronistic as the actual concept of hippies. Similarly, it substantiates how seriously the "counterculture" took themselves at the time. To a certain extent the same can be said of the compact "Love Is Coming" with hints of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young harmonies behind a sassy, upbeat melody. Rounding out the disc are the seductive rocker "Feel Daddy Feel Good," and the syncopated "Ride That Vibration" -- bringing to mind "You Set the Scene" from Forever Changes (1968). Perhaps this is a fitting nod back to Arthur Lee's undiminished skills as a composer, since it was the final song prior to the breakup of the band literally weeks after False Start was issued.

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