Tuesday, 13 June 2017

"Da Capo" by LOVE (May 2002 Elektra/Warner Strategic Marketing 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with Mono and Stereo Mixes of the LP and One Bonus) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Comes In Colors..."

San Francisco's LOVE and their self-titled pop-orientated debut album "Love" tickled the American LP charts in May 1966 - eventually peaking at No. 57. And although their seismic second platter "Da Capo" fell to a lower No. 88 after a February 1967 release on Elektra Records - the musical leap forward and 180-degree style change couldn't have been more pronounced. And with it came plaudits.

Suddenly everyone began loving LOVE – restaurant tables became available – tabs were picked up and egos expanded along with their pupils. In fact in November of that same mercurial year - they would go one step further with what many feel is their real Sgt. Peppers, Electric Ladyland and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda all rolled into one - the masterpiece that is "Forever Changes" from November 1967. And that’s where this deeply brill CD reissue steps in...

Back in the mists of 2002 (May to be precise) - in conjunction with Elektra Records and Warner Strategic Marketing - Rhino USA began an extensive LOVE reissue campaign and turfed out this nugget - the Mono and Stereo mixes of 1967's "Da Capo" bolstered up with one 'tracking session' outtake. She comes in colours indeed - here are the seven and seven details...

UK and USA released 27 May 2002 (reissued February 2005) - "Da Capo" by LOVE on Elektra/Warner Strategic Marketing 8122 73604-2 (Barcode 081227360429) offers the MONO and STEREO mixes of the 7-track 1967 album and one Bonus Track and plays out as follows (76:19 minutes):

1. Stephanie Knows Who [Side 1]
2. Orange Sides
3. ! Que Vida !
4. Seven & Seven Is
5. The Castle [Side 2]
6. She Comes In Colors
7. Revelation
Tracks 1 to 7 are the MONO MIX of their second studio album "Da Capo" - released February 1967 in the USA and UK on Elektra EKL 7-4005

Tracks 8 to 14 are the STEREO MIX of their second studio album "Da Capo" - released February 1967 in the USA and UK on Elektra EKS 7-4005. Produced by PAUL ROTHCHILD and Engineered by DAVID HASSINGER – the album peaked at No. 80 on the US LP charts (didn’t chart UK).

15. Seven & Seven Is (Tracking Session)

LOVE was:
ARTHUR LEE – Lead Vocals and Guitar
JOHN ECHOLS – Lead Guitar
BRYAN MacLEAN – Guitar and Vocals
ALBAN "Snoopy" PFISTERER – Keyboards (Drums on "Seven & Seven Is" - aka "7 & 7 Is")
TJAY CANTRELLI – Saxophone and Flute

The 16-page booklet is a properly informative and visually sweet thing to behold – ANDREW SANDOVAL providing the liner notes that include interviews with all the key players – Lead Guitarist Johnny Echols (bringing in new drummer Michael Stuart-Ware whilst keeping the original Love sticks man 'Snoopy' on Keyboards) and second guitarist Bryan MacLean (reminiscences of his days with the Byrds and Roger McGuinn) – and new Drummer Stuart-Ware on the entire album being premiered at the legendary Whiskey A Go Go Club on the Sunset Strip in L.A. on Christmas Eve 1966 prior to its February 1967 release the next year. There are superb colour photos of the band – psychedelic concert posters at the Fillmore (with The Sons Of Adam) and the Avalon Ballroom (with Captain Beefheart) as well as rare foreign picture sleeves of "Seven & Seven Is" and even the British orange Elektra Records label for "The Castle". Sandoval not only produced the release - he's been involved in the much-praised Small Faces and Kinks 2CD Deluxe Editions (over 10 titles) as well as the sensational Van Morrison 3CD retrospective from April 2017 - "The Authorized Bang Collection" (see separate reviews for them all).

Two hugely experienced Audio Engineers - DAN HERSCH (of Rhino Fame) and ANDREW SANDOVAL (larges amount of Grammy-nominated work for Universal) – have handled the transfers, restoration and remasters. This is a matter of personal choice - but for me the MONO mix of the largely acoustic "The Castle" lacks the colours and palette of the STEREO version – but the centralised sonic attack of "Seven & Seven Is" in MONO is fantastic and of course most closely resembles what we heard on those 45s all those years ago. Personally I’m going for the STEREO Mix every time. Either way – I love that the air around the instruments is still there – no dampening or muffled sound – nor is it trebled too much for effect. A great job done...

An almost roaring Arthur Lee opens Side with the very Doors-sounding "Stephanie Knows Who" - all Beefheart Guitar, Soft Machine Saxophone and 'yeah yeah' shouts from Arthur as the harpsichord plinkers away in the background. Things settle into the pretty "Orange Sides" - Tjay Cantrelli filling the gaps with Flute while Arthur sings of a girl who makes him happy in his weird croaking tones. It was put on the B-side of Elektra EK-45608 with the opener "Stephanie Knows Who" as the A-side. Far away from straight-up Psych "!Que Vida!" (complete with inverted exclamation marks) offers up another slice of cute 60ts West Coast pop - an organ note anchoring Arthur's ever so slightly fay lyrics about travel and exploration and visions of yourself and money killing everything of worth. But then you're clobbered with the assault that is "Seven & Seven Is" - surely the most difficult song to record on the album. Original drummer 'Snoopy' thrashes his kit as the frantic pace as Arthur gives it so 'ooh pip pip' hollers. It's a great slice of Love's particularly unique Psych Sound and comes complete with an explosion borrowed from one of Elektra's 20 sound effects LPs. The Bonus Track of it shows the in-studio frustration between both band and Producer as they tried to get those difficult rhythms down right.

I've always felt that the "Da Capo" album is a tale of two cities with Side 2 being my preferred slice of poisonous mushrooms. Apparently the live-show staple loosely called "John Lee Hooker" was a Blues Boogie ala Hooker 'n' Heat with a bit of The Allman Brothers Band thrown in. It could on occasion last an hour in some sweaty club with each player getting to stretch out and get 'loose man'. The idea for "Da Capo" was to make it a first-on-record sidelong jam - but renaming it "Revelation" - we have to settle for a piddling 18-minutes. But for me the triple whammy of "The Castle", "She Comes In Colors" and "Revelation" is brilliant and an overall inspiring and classy listen for a 1967 album.

"The Castle" is a speeding acoustic song about a mansion in the Lois Feliz Hills area of Los Angeles the boys lived in and comes with those unexpected Love key changes, harpsichords and brilliant musical moments. The layered and lovely "She Comes In Colors" is a clear LP highlight even if Arthur's 'England Town' lyrics sounds suspiciously like wishful thinking more than an actual visit to Blighty (it's also said the Stones 'borrowed' the song title for their "She's A Rainbow' amidst other things that were 'borrowed' by those thieving Brits). And then we get the fantastic 'everybody needs somebody to love' jam that is "Revelation". And I know it's indulgent and ambling and Love may owe The Doors, The Allmans, Canned Heat and the estate of John Lee Hooker some serious royalty cheques - but massive 18-minute whig out or not - I love it (check out that Tjay Cantrelli Saxophone solo in the last few minutes and the mad Harpsichord dash to the fade out – so brilliantly trippy).

Despite its five-star status amongst fans - is February 1967's "Da Capo" as good as November 1967's "Forever Changes" – I don’t really think so. But I think this is a superbly handled CD reissue of that extraordinary 1967 set of moments. 'My love she comes in colors' is right...

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