Sunday, March 11, 2012

Track of the Week: Orange Skies by Love

"Orange Skies" became one of my favorite songs over the past year. I love playing it myself on the guitar particularly. It was written by Bryan MacLean and is found on the Love album Da Capo from 1967. Love would probably be widely known as one of the greatest bands of the 1960s if not for Arthur Lee's refusal to tour and the bands eventual drug problems. Forever Changes generally is regarded as one of the best albums of the period, though not by the general public. And other than the last track, an overambitious song that runs on for much, much too long, Da Capo certainly deserves to be held nearly as high.


MacLean said it was the first song he ever wrote and at a young age.
Seventeen years old. I was actually roadie for the Byrds at the time. I wrote that song from Roger McGuinn's (he was Jim McGuinn then) guitar break in "The Bells of Rhymney." If you listen to it closely, it's the same configuration.
And, indeed, it is rather simple. But it is a testament to his natural writing ability that the words are so simple AND heartfelt.

The Love version showcases Arthur Lee singing lead. A flute also features prominently and to great effect. The song flows along, dreamlike. Words float by and disappear like smoke. Lee sings the last chorus passionately, though it is not his greatest vocal effort.

On MacLean's solo record, Ifyoubelievein, he sings the song much more beautifully. Here, the recording benefits from the simplicity of his voice and the acoustic guitar. He also adds another verse.

Love



Love (live in 1989)


Lyrics
Orange skies
Carnivals and cotton candy and you
And I love you too you know I do

Nightingale
Prettier than anything in the world
And I love you too
You know I do

Yeah
You make me happy
Laughing, glad, and full of glee
And you don't have to try, girl
For you it comes so naturally
Right here in my arms

Samples
Orange Skies by Love
Orange Skies by Bryan MacLean
Orange Skies [second version] by Bryan MacLean

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