Thursday, January 14, 2016

A SPIRIT OF THREE


After the high experimentation of 1975's double LP Spirit of '76 comes a single album from that same year, and, next to 1990's Tent of Miracles, it is the most focused of the Spirit trio albums as led by Randy California. Barry Keene is again the bassist prior to Mark Andes coming to the party for the Farther Along semi-reunion in 1976. All of side one works extremely well, from "Holy Man" to "Family" and everything in between. The tunes have more pop substance than some of California's other wandering minstrel etchings, and the band sounds more full than the three-piece unit that they declare on the album jacket. Rather than re-create more songs that Jimi Hendrix covered, which was becoming a trend on Spirit outings, California and company do a mesmerizing version of the Beatles' "Yesterday" that clocks in at one minute, 58 seconds. "Magic Fairy Princess" is a good title to lead off side two, as it is a very magical side. California's production work is top notch, sounding not unlike John Lennon's "Mind Games," with much high end on the drums and all sorts of density to the mix. As Spirit of '76 is one of this pared-down band's most satisfying gambles, Son of Spirit brings it together -- it's the kind of chapter to the story that Ian Anderson would develop for Jethro Tull, very musical, and shying from the commercial side of things. Definitely for the fans, and for those hardcore Spirit fans who are out there, the acoustics and precise vocals are a treat. "Circle" is a superb work of art and a beautiful statement. As Tent of Miracles combines the old format of the original group within the three-piece ensemble, Son of Spirit is very much like a successful spinoff à la Jo Jo Gunne or Firefall. Had they gone out on the road booked as Son of Spirit, it may have opened doors closed by the perception of the group being on the oldies/classic rock circuit. This album is refreshingly new, exciting, and a direction that deserved far more attention than it received.



Son of Spirit was the second album that Spirit released through Mercury Records. It was released in October 1975. Unlike Spirit of '76, however, it did not make the national charts.

Though some of the album's tracks were from the same sessions that produced Spirit of '76, it also features several Randy California solo demos that have been augmented by a rhythm machine.


Spirit

Randy California - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Ed Cassidy - Percussion, Drums
Barry Keane - Bass

All songs written by Randy California except noted.

.
1. "Holy Man"  
2. "Looking into Darkness"   California, Cassidy
3. "Maybe You'll Find"  
4. "Don't Go Away"  
5. "Family"  
6. "Magic Fairy Princess"  
7. "Circle"  
8. "The Other Song"   California, Cassidy, Keane
9. "Yesterday"   Lennon–McCartney
10. "It's Time Now"    


3 comments:

24HOURDEJAVU said...

Here You Go steVe

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time I found Farther Along & Son of Spirit in a bargain bin of 8-Track tapes. I eventually transferred these onto cassette so I would still be able to listen to them. Of course cassettes are now obsolete and even in this age of the Internet I have not been able to find these two albums. I never could find Spirit of '84 either. Thank you so much Bill for posting these 3. You've really done me well this week. I'm now a happy guy.
steVe

snakeboy said...

Thanks for the post. Enjoy getting acquainted with the older albums again.

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