Fans have been waiting a long, long time for this one. The LA ensemble Love, best known for the 1967 folk-pop classic Forever Changes, assumed a variety of guises during its turbulent and intriguing history. On the band’s 1966 debut, frontman Arthur Lee and company displayed a heavy debt to the Byrds, though his songwriting was too original to qualify the band as imitators. By the time Love recorded Black Beauty in 1973, Lee was the only remaining original member, and the sound echoed the psychedelic hard rock of his friend Jimi Hendrix.
While this previously unreleased album isn’t a lost masterpiece, it’s well worth hearing. The quartet is brawny and nimble at once, while songs like “Young & Able (Good & Evil)” and “Lonely Pigs” range from romance to meditations on social justice and race. (Like Hendrix, Lee was a black man navigating the predominantly white rock-and-roll world.) Lee subsequently experienced extreme ups and downs, including jail time in the ’90s and an overdue celebratory comeback after his 2001 release from prison, before passing away in 2006. Black Beauty fills in a significant gap in his story.