Tuesday, January 12, 2016


The European cover of The Thirteenth Dream

The U.S. cover version

Although Spirit achieved only moderate commercial success in its original configuration from 1968 to 1971, its music turned out to be influential and perennially popular; its last album, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, went gold six years after it was released. That appeal was reinforced by the success of the individual members. While guitarist Randy California and Ed Cassidy continued to lead changing lineups under the Spirit banner, lead singer Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes formed Jo Jo Gunne, after which Ferguson went solo and Andes formed Firefall, before joining Heart, and keyboardist John Locke played with Hawkwind, among others. Prior commitments as much as anything else kept the original quintet from re-forming in any sustained manner. But Spirit of '84 (known as The Thirteenth Dream outside the U.S.) was the closest they came, a get-together recorded live in the studio during late 1982 and given major-label release in 1984. Augmented by 13 guest musicians, Spirit ran through seven of their old numbers and added three new songs. Two of the new ones were written by Ferguson, and they were more in his solo style (and in the mold of early-'80s synthesizer-heavy pop/rock) than that of the band. Leadoff track "Black Satin Nights," in particular, had the potential to be a hit, had it been released as a single and promoted. In contrast, California, the other leading songwriter in the band, co-wrote "All Over the World," an overt paean to the '60s peace-and-love worldview. Had the two created an album's worth of material, perhaps with some creative participation from Locke, the result might have been a collection that at least updated the Spirit sound for the '80s. As it was, the album was dominated by the remakes, which, not surprisingly, were inferior to the original recordings, but which served to remind listeners how good those recordings had been. The disc concluded with a seven-and-a-half-minute rendition of Spirit's sole Top 40 hit, "I Got a Line On You," featuring a guitar army that included heavy hitters like Bob Welch and Jeff Baxter. It had the feel of a victory lap, but for a band that never quite won the prize in the first place. Not surprisingly, Spirit of '84 proved to be a one-off reunion, after which the band members went back to their usual occupations.

  Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Black Satin Nights (3:12)
2. Mr. Skin (3:39)
3. Mechanical World (5:50)
4. Pick It Up (3:00)
5. All Over the World (3:57)
6. 1984 (3:59)
7. Uncle Jack (2:59)
8. Nature's Way (2:44)
9. Fresh Garbage (3:05)
10. I Got a Line on You (7:34)

Line-up / Musicians
- John Locke / keyboards
- Randy California / guitar, vocals
- Jay Ferguson / keyboards, percussion, vocals
- Mark Andes / bass, vocals
- Ed Cassidy / percussion, drums

+ Matt Andes / guitar, vocals


Madshoes Carlos said...

Hi Bill, thanks once more for this spirit, the spirit of good music ... and yes ... of course Spirit will always be good to hear. Take care and enjoy.

snakeboy said...

It's nice to re-visit the lesser known albums. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

I guess my comment never came through.- I'll try again.
Thanks for these Bill.

Do you have Son of Spirit?

john said...

I always remember thinking when I first heard the first Spirit album, This is a great group with a new sound.

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