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- Arthur (aka Arthur Lee Harper) (RIP 2003) - vocals




- Arthur Lee Harper





Genre: folk-rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Dreams and Images

Company: LHI

Catalog: LHI-12,000

Year: 1968

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor ring and edge wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4

Price: $150.00



For years I'd seen this one listed on dozens of high priced dealer lists, but the cover drawing showing an earnest lookin' young guy was enough to dissuade me from the investment given there was no way this set could offer up anything even remotely close to a fuzz blasted psych masterpiece.  Well I finally succumbed to curiosity and found a cheap copy.  Besides my expectations were low so, who knew, this might not be half bad after all.  


Having enjoyed considerable mid-1960s success working with as a songwriter, producer and recording artist, by late 1967 Lee Hazelwood had enough industry clout and sufficient financial resources to start his own record label.  Originally distributed nationally by Decca, 1968's "Arthur" was one of the first albums released under Hazelwood's newly formed LHI (Lee Hazelwood Industries) imprint.  (In case anyone cares, Hazelwood's eccentric behavior quickly saw the Decca partnership ending.  By the time "Arthur" was released ABC was handling distribution.  


Having listened to this album a dozen times, I'm still puzzled as to what Hazelwood saw in Arthur Lee Harper in either artistic or commercial terms.  In fact the first time I heard the album it took me awhile to even realize that I was listening to a guy - had to look at the label to make sure I hadn't slapped on a different record.  Nobody's fault, but Harper was one of those folks gifted with a voice that was quite high pitched and on introspective material like 'Blue Museum' and 'Children Once Were You' it came off as having an almost effeminate quality.  Compounding the problem, surrounded by string and horn arrangements, the ten original ballads and mid-tempo tracks quickly start to sound similar.  Introspective, somber and full of weltschmertz (always wanted to use that word in a description), these numbers were probably quite attractive to tens of thousands of young women who were majoring in English literature, but to my ears ''A Friend of Mine, the title track and 'Living Circa 1920' were about as deep and insightful as a box of McNuggets.  To give credit where due, surrounded by some pseudo-Baroque styled arrangements (courtesy of Don Randi), Harper was capable of penning material that was pretty, if in a fragile and slightly fey fashion.  'Sunshine Soldier' and 'Open Up the Door' were both okay, but again taken as a complete package the album's overwhelming sensitivity and belly button reflection could pose a danger to anyone with suicidal tendencies.  


"Dreams and Images" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Blue Museum   (Arthur) - 2:30

2.) Children Once Were You   (Arthur) - 2:16

3.) Sunshine Soldier   (Arthur) - 2:22

4.) A Friend of Mine   (Arthur)- 2:10

5.) Open Up the Door   (Arthur) - 1:50

(side 2)
1.) Dreams and Images   (Arthur) - 2:32

2.) Pandora   (Arthur) - 2:11

3.) Wintertime   (Arthur) - 2:47

4.) Living Circa 1920   (Arthur) - 2:17

5.) Valentine Gray   (Arthur) - 2:50


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