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Spirit

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iTunes Review

Though the Los Angeles-based outfit Spirit explored many stylistic pathways during the course of their long existence, their first incarnation, which found the group releasing a series of eclectic psych-folk albums on Epic to critical acclaim and commercial disappointment, was arguably their most satisfying. Ubiquitous music scene insider Lou Adler produced the group’s 1968 debut. In an era that featured a dearth of ambitious, musically eclectic outfits, Spirit were notable for the effortlessness with which they were able to switch among musical styles. While releases from likeminded contemporaries such as the Insect Trust often sound like promising but frustratingly schizophrenic amalgamations of ill-fitting musical styles, Spirit is possessed of a striking intensity of aesthetic focus that creates a distinct and consistent musical atmosphere even as Spirit flits ambitiously between country, pop-psychedelia, and progressive blues. Many remember this album only for the song “Taurus” but Spirit is a rich and rewarding listen that embodies the very best that the California psych scene of the late ‘60s had to offer.

Customer Reviews

Spirit

This was the album that turned my head muscially when I was 18 years of age, that was almost 40 years ago. There has never been a sound equal to this band and unfortunately they as a band could never outperform this initial album. The band created a timeless album with this classic, they combined the psychedellic flavor of that era (but not flagrantly) with jazz, latin sounds, etc. and created a masterpiece that even today is pleasant to listen to and does not sound as dated as the albums created during that time of the same genre. This album is an enjoyable musical experience.

Spirit - a great, under-appreciated late 60's group

This album contains a great selection of some of their best hits. Their Blues sound is great music and the lyrics are well understood (and seemed very meaningful back then) and still sound good today. Fresh Garbage, Uncle Jack, Mechanical World, Topanga Windows, The Great Canyon Fire, Gramophone Man are all favorites of mine. If you are a child of the late 60's and remember listening to those great underground FM stations, then you will pleasantly remember Spirit and their music.

Saw them play twice in Big D and once in THE FILLMORE EAST...

Ahhh…if any alternative band from the '60s has kept every bit of its appeal from the moment I carefully lay the fresh vinyl on my brand new turntable, Spirit's four albums rank way high up there. I suspect partly because, with the exception of their last, post-breakup release (Sardonicus), they received virtually NO airplay wherever I happened to live. That does have a way of making things old, sadly, because I do believe that these guys just may have stayed together a bit longer if they'd become as famous as some now completely unlistenable bands.

There's a reason for this: Randy "California"--nicknamed by pal Jimi Hendrix, was one outstanding guitar slinger, who developed an astounding sound for their initial release and kept growing as he kept playing until his sudden and sad death off the coast in Hawai'i when he threw his son to safety from a riptide that he himself could not escape. I saw him at "My Father's Place" in Rosyln Heights, NY in the '80s still playing with his step-dad, the bald drummer who added so much to Spirit because he came from a long jazz career. The trio brought the house down even when he left his guitar set up perfectly to resonate the strings with the amplifier for a good 3 minutes, never even coming close to squealing feedback!

The singer was apparently the one with a more pop influence as he moved on to form the short lived and frankly boring Jo Jo Gunne (OK maybe 2 good songs…) and he ended up producing music after that. BUT when he mixed with John Locke, the classically trained keyboard player and added his own sense of fun and spot on singing, he created that much overused term: synergy, with each and every band mate.

Spirit was Randy at heart. But they all brought heart to the band and made for elegant recordings and even more impressive live performances.

If you never heard anything but 1984 and Animal Zoo, or whatever was overplayed by your radio station, you do owe it to yourself to start with this album, which does have some unnecessary extras thrown in at the end to fill up a CD. The album ended with the long version of Elijah. For me, it was Fresh Garbage, Mechanical Man. Water Woman…what am I saying? Every song on this album was PERFECTLY executed.

They were unsung masters of an unidentifiable genre in a time when genre busting was rampant. Just do yourself a favor: download, put on your headphones and float away down stream. Heh.

Biography

Formed: 1967 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Spirit was a highly regarded rock band that achieved modest commercial success, charting 11 albums in the U.S. between 1968 and 1977. Founded in Los Angeles in 1967 by musicians who had a mixture of rock, pop, folk, blues, classical, and jazz backgrounds, and who ranged in age from 16 to 44, the group had an eclectic musical style in keeping with the early days of progressive rock; they were as likely to play a folk ballad featuring fingerpicked acoustic guitar, a jazz instrumental full of imaginative...
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Spirit, Spirit
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