Light In The Attic has a knack of finding uber-obscure musicians of quality, and once again, they have succeeded in finding a musician so stunning that one wonders what kind of curse must have befallen the artist, to have been so doomed to obscurity. This latest find is a young man named Arthur Lee Harper, who went by the name of Arthur, and released but two records in his brief career.
Dreams and Images, released in 1967 via Lee Hazelwood’s LHI Records, was his debut album. Opening song “Blue Museum” makes it perfectly clear that the rest of the album would be a very special journey. That song is quiet, hushed, with delicately plucked guitar that sounds less like music and more like the gossamer-like web woven by a heavenly spider. The dozen other songs never break a pulse, never last more than three minutes; soft, sunny, sad numbers highlighted by Arthur’s angelic voice and the occasional wind or instrument, his light, airy voice on delicate numbers like “Sunshine Soldier” and “Winter” feel like they would break apart at the gentlest of touch.
In spite of its beauty, the album went virtually unheard, as did Arthur’s 1970 follow-up, Love Is The Revolution, before slipping back into the ether of day-to-day living, which, sadly, would come to an end in 2002, when he died of a sudden heart attack—presumably at learning of the death of his wife and lifelong companion that very day in a car accident, while the album’s reputation has only grown brighter in the psych-folk underground, and copies of his two albums sell for hundreds of dollars, for the delights on display are worth every penny.
Categories: Album Reviews