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Love Revisited featuring Johnny Echols

Venue: Leaf
Town: Liverpool
Date: 25/06/16
Website: http://www.love-revisited.com/

When music critics are compiling lists of "The Greatest Albums Ever Made", "Forever Changes" by LA band Love is never far from the top of those lists. Some even reckon that IS the greatest album ever made and ,I ,for one , would not disagree.

What is for certain is that Love's spiritual home [after LA] is Liverpool . Liverpool loves Love and Love loves Liverpool. "Forever Changes" has influenced a whole generation of Liverpool bands including The Teardrop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen , The Coral, The Stairs and Shack .

Thus, when it was announced that the current incarnation of Love was to play at Leaf in Liverpool with original lead guitarist Johnny Echols, the tickets were snapped up immediately and became much sought-after. The current band ,who also go under the name of Baby Lemonade, played with Love head honcho ,the mercurial genius Arthur Lee , from 1993 until 2005 . Lee sadly passed away in 2006. The current tour commemorates the tenth anniversary of Arthur's passing and the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Love's first album in 1966.

Before the gig at Leaf, Liverpool music magazine Bido Lito [named after the club in Los Angeles where Love had a residency early in their career] arranged a showing of the superb documentary film "Love Story" ,which tells the story of the original band up to its demise in 1968. As a very special treat ,those lucky enough to have tickets [myself included] were also able to take part in a Q and A session with co-founder and lead guitarist of Love, Johnny Echols. The results of that Q and A with Johnny can be found in the News section on this website. Suffice it to say that it was a fascinating session!

The sense of anticipation at Leaf was palpable but the audience were suitably warmed up with an excellent solo support slot from local musical hero and former Stairs frontman Edgar "Summertyme"Jones , who treated the capacity crowd to a fine performance of his unique acoustic soul music. He even did a lovely cover of "Anything Goes".

After Edgar , Love Revisited [including Johnny Echols] took to the stage and from the moment they started with their pounding garage rock version of "My Little Red Book" [from "What's New Pussycat"!] ,the audience erupted into a swaying mass. "My Little Red Book" is the first song on Love's first album ,and tonight it was followed by the second track ,"Can't Explain" [not The Who song].

Edgar Jones then returned to the stage to sing lead vocals on "Andmoreagain" [from the aforementioned "Forever Changes"] , and dedicated it to "Uncle Arthur" . It was a fine tribute to the great man. Edgar again took lead vocals on a frenetic "Stephanie Knows Who", the opening song on Love's second album , "Da Capo".

Next we had another star guest vocalist , namely Michael Head , of Pale Fountains/Shack/Strands fame. Michael took the lead on two great Love songs , "A House Is Not A Motel"and "She Comes In Colours".The former featured a great,extended guitar wig-out Johnny Echols and Mike Randle.

Thereafter ,we had a succession of classic Love songs brilliantly performed by Love Revisited with Rusty Squeezebox on lead vocals: "Orange Skies", "Between Clark and Hilldale", Bryan MacLean's stunning "Alone Again Or", "The Daily Planet"and "You Set The Scene", "The Red Telephone" and "Live And Let Live".

Bass player David Chapple admirably performed Arthur Lee's proto-rap song "Bummer In The Summer" ,whilst Johnny Echols himself sang a bluesy version of "Signed DC" about the perils of hard drugs.

Johnny left the stage while the rest of the band [unusually] played a couple of songs from Love's unjustly underrated fourth album "Four Sail", "Robert Montgomery" [which always reminds me of a heavy take on "Eleanor Rigby"] and a blistering ,dynamic version of "August".

Johnny returned for the bizarre "Laughing Stock" [ the last song recorded by the original Love line-up] and a frenetic, energized finale of the classic 1967 single "Seven & Seven Is".

And so ended a concert that I am sure will go down in Liverpool music legend. At a time when the country was reeling from the tumultuous events of the previous day , Love Revisited brought some much-needed Californian sunshine. From Liverpool with Love.

Peter Cowley

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