Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., June 27, 2008
"Why weren't we as big as the Beatles?" murmurs Arthur Lee, holding court, attired as if he were still in prison. "One is because I didn't cooperate," he acknowledges, wagging his head. Then up shoots his chin. "And the other is, I'm not gonna go out and eat shit ... out on the road!" The tacked-on tour reference doubles as rationalization for his outburst. That's why, Arthur. Wrapped like the bandana under Lee's top hat with a lucid, nostalgic – addictive – audience upside the black sunglasses of rock & roll's genius answer to Ledbelly, Love Story's a weeper. Filmmakers get the lifelong erratic to drive them past his high school and later tour a crew through the L.A. castle his band, Love, once called its crash pad. The band's original members comment to historical effect, especially Lee's childhood pal turned ice-pick guitarist Johnny Echols and Lee's musical foil Bryan MacLean, who all agree touched off 1967 avant-folk-rock masterpiece Forever Changes with his supremely insecure "Alone Again Or." Production, vintage video, and big-league cred celebs match the documentary's bottle-of-wine budget, though Elektra Records architects Jac Holzman (president) and John Densmore (the Doors), 40 takes of "7 and 7 Is," and "My Little Red Book" survive Lee, 61, who died in 2006 shortly after participating in Love Story. "Tell you the truth," admits Lee, "I was afraid."