SPIRIT – SPIRIT – January 22, 1968
Spirit were the under-rated innovators of so many genres of music that it is truly unreal.
They were master musicians led by Randy California’s writing and guitar-wrangling that was so good that he was asked by Jimi Hendrix, at 15 years old, to join Jimi’s only band before the Experience; the “Blue Flame”. Randy’s real last name was Wolfe but Jimi dubbed him Randy “California” and it stuck.
Spirit were a local Topanga Canyon band who rose to “L.A. Stardom” about a year after the Doors, Love and the Byrds. Spirit however, initially drenched in psychedelia as their eponymous first album shows, later took their originality and explored other realms of Rock genres.
Ed Cassidy, California’s uncle, was a top-notch jazz drummer who had already played with the jazz greats and John Locke on keyboards, Mark Andes on bass and Jay Ferguson providing vocals took Spirit to eventual national and world-wide attention and success, headlining their own gigs and eventually opening for Cream .
“Mechanical World” was heavy metal excellence and easily the earliest representation of the best that genre would ever have to offer – dig California’s apocalyptic guitar solo.
“Fresh Garbage” and “Elijah” Rocked with Jazz-fusion years before the term would be coined.
“Uncle Jack“, a concentrated gem, out-did the Who before “Tommy” and showed some unheard-of Rock composition transitions that had a beautiful Hard-Rock driven vibe and great guitar hooks.
This album always takes me back to my original Hippie drug exploration days of “reds” (Seconal) and “whites”, (Benzedrine) in the late months of ’67 and the early months of 1968. It was a short but innocent phase that along with marijuana led to some whacked-out adventures and very fun times. This Spirit album was always along for the ride.
Spirit reached an unprecedented high-water mark with their fourth album, “Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus”; a solid LP that delivered twelve truly excellent and unique tracks that focused on social, political and ecological issues – all the while providing unforgettable infectious Rockin’ songs.
One of the original releases on Lou Adler’s new Ode label, Spirit’s first album was/is a landmark of the creativity and vision of a band who carved-out a special unique place in Rock History and serves as a stone music time-capsule of a pivotal-point in the era of sex, drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll!.
Dig early sophisticated garage / jazz-fusion / heavy metal / ballad / psychedelic Rock: