The art form that is rock ‘n’ roll never fails to enchant us with artists who forge eternal works that somehow fail to garner the acclaim they so richly deserve until long after they were initially created.
Witness the illustrious, influential Arthur Lee and Love. The original version of this Los Angeles based collective fused garage, folk, jazz, flamenco, baroque, psychedelic and hard-rock into a magnificent canon which culminated with their magnum opus Forever Changes (1967) – an album which stands with The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper (1967), and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (1966) as a masterpiece of its era.
Along with innovative guitarists/composers Johnny Echols and Bryan MacLean – bassist Ken Forssi was brilliant in his support of the compositions, rendering passages brimming with soulful rhythms, glissandos, contrapuntal harmonies, and heavy riffs aplenty.
Dig Ken laying down “phat” quarter notes on “Little Red Book” https://youtu.be/z7SFpxWpcOw
Dig Ken working a staccato 16th note groove on “Seven and Seven Is” https://youtu.be/fUii9c4GGRs
When Lee broke up that band in 1968, Love essentially became his solo vehicle for a series of releases that reached even less of an audience. To my ears, Love’s first three LPs: Love (1966), Da Capo (1967) and the aforementioned Forever Changes – all with Forssi, who passed in 1998, are endlessly fascinating.
Kudos to the indie and alternative rockers who re-discovered the all-but-forgotten Love, and brought Arthur Lee back to the stage with a Forever Changes revue shortly before he passed in 2006.
From KYBP reader Bonnie Speeg: This is nice, very nice….about Ken. Thing is, I double-dated Ken Forssi with my step-sister when we all lived in Sarasota, 1962. Ken was a cute out of high school guy. The step-sister and Ken eventually weren’t an item anymore. We all lost touch. 1964-1966 I later moved to L.A., became a teenage girl DJ on a junior college radio station. There I was, spinning records, loving music, and yes, in ’66 came the soaring sound of “My Little Red Book”. My god it was beautiful. Brand new, LOVE was it…and we had no idea what the guys looked like until they hit the charts like that that year. When I got a hold of the LP and looked to see what LOVE looked like, there was my double-date staring back at me. I loved LOVE, and regret to this day, I couldn’t find a way to see Ken back then. I hung around on Sunst Strip, knew the Turtles, saw Byrds first performance, but never got to find Ken and just ask him what else went on from Florida to L.A. My step-sister is deceased, and some secrets went with her. Thanks for reading this.