Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Spirit Moves Me

I'll come clean.
I've never really been a fan of Spirit.
But I just love this album.

Retronymically titled The First Album, this version is one that was released by CBS eleven years after its original conception in '68.

Spirit, pretty much a manufactured band; made up of remnants of The Red Roosters (Randy California, Jay Ferguson & Mark Andes); Randy California's new stepfather Ed Cassidy, a drummer who'd already established himself in the fifties and early sixties jazz scene; and John Locke, another jazzer brought in for ivory tinkling, all came together to create a sound that was entirely original; not only unique in terms of what others were doing, but unique within Spirit's own canon.

Essentially this is a fusion album; borrowing heavily from each of the musician's backgrounds.
And it's the blend of soft psychedelia and jazz tropes that really makes this album shine.
Just dig the way the wonderfully ironic 'Straight Arrow' (one of my favourite tracks from this sixties' period) moves from what could almost be described as Americana to modern jazz and back again; and you've just gotta love those lyrics; they just cry out for a visual montage - I see Cameron pressing flesh, kissing babies....

Randy California, in one of his finest moments - only Kapt Kopter and perhaps the oddity Future Games: A Kahuna Dream come anywhere close to this album to my ears - maybe incredibly young during this recording - what was he, sixteen or something? - but he already had amazingly mature and adept fingers.

Channeling the spirit of Hendrix (they were band mates in the Blue Flames), he added his own idiosyncrasies to his master's technique, adapting his style more than adequately to meet, and lead, the jazz based psyche sound.

So, a great album.
Yeah, it is rather.
But who cares.
I listen to Leadbelly and Louis Jordan, and they still blow my mind. Daddy-o!

Spirit - The First Album (1968, this version 1979)

Fresh Garbage
Uncle Jack
Mechanical World
Girl in Your Eye
Straight Arrow
Topango Windows
Gramophone Man
Water Woman
The Great Canyon Fire in General

Vinyl rip @320kbs.
A Little crackle & pop, but nothing offensive.
Gain Spirituality here

1 comment:

roberto said...

I have it on a Sony '90's CD,a great album,my fave is Uncle Jack...cheers