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Spur Of The Moments

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Album Review

From the late ‘60s to the early ‘70s, the Illinois-based band Spur turned out a heady mixture of folk-rock, psychedelia, and country-rock, releasing only one album, 1968's Of the Moments. Though Spur made their presence known while they were around, opening shows for the likes of Cream, Quicksilver, the Grateful Dead, et al, their album didn't have much of an impact, and it eventually became a collector's-item rarity known only to the hardest of hardcore psych collectors. Drag City's 2010 collection Of the Moments (note the slight title difference) is not a reissue of the original LP, but an anthology consisting of key cuts from the album plus demos and singles, including some post-album recordings from the band's latter days in the early ‘70s.

The Midwestern quintet — along with much of the rest of the rock world at the time — was obviously keyed into the sounds coming out of the Sunset Strip, as there's more of a Byrds/Buffalo Springfield influence than a Bay Area flavor, though there are some Moby Grape moments here as well. "Mind Odyssey" is a jangly, trippy, but concise affair that could have come off the Notorious Byrd Brothers album, while the 14-minute jazzy/psych jam "Tribal Gathering/We Don't Want to Know" is based around a Byrds tune from that very album, and the harmonies on "Mr. Creep" are very Crosby/Clarke/McGuinn. But there's more going on than Byrd-watching here — there's a country-rocking 1969 version of the Beatles' "Eight Days a Week" led by banjo and pedal steel that places Spur on a timeline with the first Flying Burrito Bros album, the melodic, melancholy, Beau Brummels-esque "All Over the World," and the gritty R&B rave-up "Yield Not," just for starters. Of the Moments does more than just spread the word that some have already heard about Spur, it does fans and neophytes alike a service by adding further context to the group's work, giving ‘60s psych fans even more to crow about in the process. ~ J. Allen, Rovi

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