Pleasures Abound in Love’s Last Studio Album

Arthur Lee proves a seductive crooner with charisma to burn in the 1974 album “Reel to Real.”

Reel to Real by Love


Love, the groundbreaking LA band led by the mercurial Arthur Lee, produced a couple of bona fide ’60s masterworks in the form of Da Capo, a wild-eyed Stones-meets-chamber pop extravaganza, and Forever Changes, an intimate art-folk gem. But the ’70s were less stellar, marked by unreleased albums and missed opportunities.

The 1974 outing Reel to Real, Love’s last studio album, has long been regarded as a footnote. While it’s clearly a lesser work, pleasures abound for patient fans. Lee and his forever-shifting cast of players take a funkier, less-daring approach than on Love’s most-celebrated LPs; like his friend Jimi Hendrix before him, he dealt with the contradictions of being an African-American star in the largely white world of rock’n’roll. Highlights of this overdue reissue, which features a dozen bonus tracks, include the Otis Redding-inspired outtake “Do It Yourself” and the woozy psychedelia of “Busted Feet,” which evokes Jimi’s later recordings. Most important, Lee is compelling throughout, still a commanding shouter and seductive crooner with charisma to burn, even when the material is less than thrilling.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend