MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

SPIRIT

Spirit

Proto-Prog


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Spirit Spirit album cover
3.48 | 89 ratings | 6 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


Write a review
Buy SPIRIT Music
from Progarchives.com partners
Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fresh Garbage (3:11)
2. Uncle Jack (2:43)
3. Mechanical World (5:14)
4. Taurus (2:37)
5. Girl in Your Eye (3:15)
6. Straight Arrow (2:51)
7. Topanga Windows (3:36)
8. Gramophone Man (3:49)
9. Water Woman (2:11)
10. Great Canyon Fire in General (2:46)
11. Elijah (10:49)

Total Time 29:35

Bonus tracks on 1996 CD reissue:
12. Veruska (2:51)
13. Free Spirit (4:28)
14. If I Had A Woman (3:12)
15. Elijah (alternate take) (9:42)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jay Ferguson / lead vocals, percussion
- Randy California / guitars, backing vocals
- John Locke / keyboards
- Mark Andes / bass, backing vocals
- Ed Cassidy / drums, percussion

With:
- Marty Paich / string & horns arranger

Releases information

Artwork: Tom Wilkes with Guy Webster (photo)

LP Ode Records ‎- Z12 44004 (1968, US)
LP CBS - 31693 (1979, UK) Re-entitled "The First Album" or "The Best Of Spirit" & new cover art

CD Columbia ‎- 480965 2 (1989, UK)
CD Epic - EK 64965 (1996, US) With 4 previously unissued bonus tracks

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy SPIRIT Spirit Music


SpiritSpirit
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
$4.13
$3.00 (used)
SpiritSpirit
Hybrid SACD - DSD
Audio Fidelity 2017
$29.02
$30.44 (used)
The Best of SpiritThe Best of Spirit
Epic/Sony 1989
$68.00
$29.96 (used)
Spirit Of `76 /  SpiritSpirit Of `76 / Spirit
Remastered
Bgo 2017
$11.41
$8.07 (used)

Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Sing With The Spirit, Richard W. Smith, Mountain Chora, Good USD $281.67 Buy It Now
JOHN GROUT - Celtic Spirit - CD - **Excellent Condition** USD $12.95 Buy It Now
The Blue Cat Express - Spirit of New Orleans (CD, 2005) NEW USD $17.99 Buy It Now
LP RECORD SEALED UNUSED 2 Kenneth Copeland In his presence & spirit wind USD $9.99 [0 bids]
USD $12.99 Buy It Now
Jazz Trio Music of Ghibli PIANO Album My Neighbor Totoro Spirited Away cd708 USD $14.24 Buy It Now
Spirit, The Best of Spirit, Excellent USD $34.99 Buy It Now
SATOSHI TOMIIE: ES-B [12 TRACK CD] METRO AREA, JOHN TEJADA, SPIRIT CATCHER USD $22.68 Buy It Now
4cd Heavy Metal lot. Blind Guardian High Spirits Tyr Europe USD $12.99 [0 bids]
Songs of the Spirit: Debbie Friedman Anthology Friedman, Debbie Audio CD USD $40.98 Buy It Now
SEALED LP The New Spirit of Capitol Sampler CAPITOL SNP-6 STEVE MILLER FLOYD+++ USD $12.95 [0 bids]
THE SOUNDTRACK Giulietta D'egli Spirit SLCS-701 JAPAN CD 1990 OBI USD $59.94 Buy It Now 7s
I Was There When The Spirit Came - Ld Frazier (CD Used Very Good) USD $15.92 Buy It Now 2m 39s
NEW - Inspired Beethoven: Music To Enhance Your Spirit by Various USD $2.94 Buy It Now 7m 34s
Nelly Furtado The Spirit Indestructible CD Very Good Condition USD $2.50 Buy It Now 12m 42s
Behold The Action Man - Spirits Burning (CD Used Very Good) USD $16.35 Buy It Now 14m 44s
NEW Spirit In The Sky (Audio CD) USD $15.09 Buy It Now 15m 50s
The Alarm 'Declaration ' & 'Spirit of 76' merchandising posters USD $69.68 [0 bids]
18m 59s
JOHN DENVER SPIRIT LP ALBUM USD $6.99 Buy It Now 19m 57s
SPIRIT: "Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus":EPIC ORANGE LABEL1970 LP:GATEFOLD: VG+ USD $8.09 Buy It Now 20m 42s
THE SPIRIT OF HANK WILLIAMS WHEN YOUR TIRED OF BREAKING OTHERS EX/EX LP USD $8.99 Buy It Now 20m 43s
The Spirit Room by Michelle Branch (CD, Aug-2001, Maverick) USD $5.99 [0 bids]
USD $7.79 Buy It Now
20m 59s
KITARO / THE LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT JAPAN CD OOP USD $27.99 Buy It Now 21m 15s
The Anvil Band Sealed LP Record Funk Soul Disco 1978 Free Spirit label USD $31.99 Buy It Now 22m 56s
NEW - Weakness for Spirits by Darkbuster USD $29.26 Buy It Now 23m 44s
Vintage vinyl 1975 Beach Boys Spirit of America Double LP Gatefold record USD $9.99 Buy It Now 24m 5s
Lot of 4 Radio Spirits Old Time Radio Shows Audio Box Cassettes USD $45.00 Buy It Now 24m 51s
Willie Nelson - Spirit / TH Cassette USD $9.99 Buy It Now 26m 18s
RED RODNEY & IRA SULLIVAN: Spirit Within-M1982LP WHITE LABEL PROMO COPY USD $11.30 Buy It Now 27m 14s
2 SUBLIMINAL CONTACT YOUR SPIRIT GUIDE MEET GUARDIAN ANGEL BRAINWAVE MEDITATION USD $21.99 Buy It Now 27m 23s
NEW - One Spirit by Lisa Gardner; N.P. Abena USD $12.45 Buy It Now 27m 39s
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE BAND OF LIBERTY: Salute to the American Spirit, CD 2002 USD $31.38 Buy It Now 34m 36s
NEW - Blood & Spirits by Brian Marquis USD $7.22 Buy It Now 35m 42s
Unchained Spirit by Buju Banton 045778658022 CD A7964 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 35m 52s
The Spirit of 96 From Atlanta To The World (Music CD 1996) Npr's Performance NEW USD $5.59 Buy It Now 35m 55s
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus [Remaster] by Spirit (CD, Nov-1996, Legacy) USD $11.55 Buy It Now 41m 10s
Feedback by Spirit (CD, Oct-2003, Collectors' Choice Music) Like New USD $15.63 Buy It Now 43m 24s
Lee Kernaghan & Specil Guests - Spirit Of The Anzacs NEW CD 2015 Australia 16trk USD $9.37 Buy It Now 43m 37s
Red Rodney,Ira Sullivan "Spirit Within" 1982 Jazz LP, Nice NM!, Elektra/Musician USD $4.95 Buy It Now 43m 41s
45 rpm The Police / Spirits In The Material World USD $5.00 Buy It Now 49m 9s
Spirits Burning - Behold The Action Man [New CD] USD $18.35 Buy It Now 50m 4s
wet hair in vogue spirit lp new on de stijl records USD $13.49 Buy It Now 50m 21s
Spirit: Time Circle (1968-1972) 2 CD Set (1991, 2 Discs, Epic/Legacy) Like New USD $14.95 Buy It Now 53m 53s
SOUL 45- FREDDIE WATERS & The FREE SPIRITS- THIS IS LIFE / The Winning Horse- USD $6.00 [1 bids]
57m 21s
PATTERSON, RAHSAAN-WINES & SPIRITS CD Never Circulated w/ Pitch Sticker USD $6.95 [0 bids]
USD $9.95 Buy It Now
58m
Behold the Action Man by Spirits Burning (CD, Jul-2011, Gonzo Multimedia) USD $20.83 Buy It Now 59m 33s
PAMELA WISE Kindred Spirits P-93922 NEW P-VINE JAPAN CD 2015 OBI USD $40.66 Buy It Now 1h
Spirit - Rock Giants - Holland LP - compilation - Taurus - Topangsa Windows USD $7.95 [0 bids]
1h 3m
FRED JOHNSON Soul & Spirit Orig '81 SEALED Black Gospel SHILOH Vinyl LP Signed USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 6m
Spirit by Jewel (CD, Nov-1998, Atlantic (Label)) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
1h 15m
NEW - 10 Million Moons by Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirit USD $9.18 Buy It Now 1h 16m
NEW - Global Groove: Hear the Spirit by Global Groove USD $11.87 Buy It Now 1h 19m
NEW - Spirits Colliding by Brady, Paul USD $22.22 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Spirit - Farther Along - LP USD $5.52 Buy It Now 1h 20m
JENNY OAKS BAKER CD - THE SPIRIT OF GOD (2018) - NEW UNOPENED - CHRISTIAN USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1h 23m
SPIRIT OF ALASKA - V/A - CD - **EXCELLENT CONDITION** USD $12.95 Buy It Now 1h 27m
Leafblade - The Kiss of Spirit and Flesh - 2013 CD + slip cover USD $11.34 Buy It Now 1h 29m
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - Spirit of the Glen Encore (2008) USD $1.39 [0 bids]
1h 37m
NEW - Feel the Spirit - A Tribute to Mahalia by BIG DOOWOPPER USD $11.42 Buy It Now 1h 38m
MICK JAGGER "WANDERING SPIRIT" CASSETTE TAPE GERMANY RARE! NEW! ROLLING STONES USD $3.95 Buy It Now 1h 38m
The Spirit Of Christmas (Columbia Special Products ?- CSS 853) USD $22.75 Buy It Now 1h 38m
The Spirit of Fi Yi Yi-When That Morning Comes CD NEW USD $20.44 Buy It Now 1h 43m
Ode to Sunshine, Delta Spirit, Good USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1h 45m
NEW - Spirit of 176 by Shearing; Jones USD $14.95 Buy It Now 1h 47m
THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND The 5000 Spirits EKS74010 LP Vinyl SEALED USD $49.99 Buy It Now 1h 49m
Surrounded by Mercy * by Kim Hill (CD, Jun-2005, Spirit Led Media) USD $11.99 Buy It Now 1h 54m
KITARO The Light Of Spirit DJCY-5004 JAPAN CD 1997 USD $39.55 Buy It Now 1h 56m
Spirits Dancing in the Flesh - Santana Compact Disc Free Shipping! USD $9.78 Buy It Now 1h 56m
Free Spirit Of A Troubled Soul - Scholarman (CD Used Very Good) USD $14.37 Buy It Now 1h 59m
COLUMBIA 2-EYE MONO Paul Revere & the Raiders SPIRIT OF '67 CL-2595 1C/1D NM USD $11.00 Buy It Now 2h 4m
American Spirit (2001 Razor & Tie/BMG Special Products) Used 2-CD USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2h 5m
Randy Weston - African Sunrise: Selections from "The Spirits... by CD Oct-1992 USD $14.95 [0 bids]
USD $19.95 Buy It Now
2h 12m
DELTA SPIRIT - Self Titled CD ( 2012, Rounder Records ) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2h 18m
Billy Preston - Do What You Want / I've Got The Spirit 45 VG+ 1976 PROMO USD $2.99 Buy It Now 2h 20m
Songs 4 Life: Lift Your Spirit! Songs 4 Life Audio CD USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2h 22m
HAYES,ISAAC-SPIRIT OF MEMPHIS (1962-1976) (W/BOOK) (WSV) (BOX) CD NEW USD $41.99 Buy It Now 2h 23m
SPIRIT 2 LP EPIC Collection 1973 PSYCH Acid Rock ED CASSIDY Randy CAROL KANE Cvr USD $7.50 Buy It Now 2h 25m
THE SPIRIT OF US Simple Songs of Freedom LP HIPPIE FOLK USD $6.47 Buy It Now 2h 25m
SPIRITS REJOYS - New Horizon - Japan CD - NEW 6Tracks USD $9.95 Buy It Now 2h 28m
Vanden Plas 5 CD Bundle: Spirit Of Live, Colour Temple, God Thing, Etc USD $40.00 Buy It Now 2h 37m
The Spirit of Christmas USD $3.47 Buy It Now 2h 41m
EX+ THE BEE GEES SPIRITS HAVING FLOWN UK A7/B4 COLOURED INNER & FAN CLUB LEAFLET USD $27.87 Buy It Now 2h 42m
Spirit of Light by Axiom USD $43.92 Buy It Now 2h 57m
JO JO GUNNE LP from Asylum Gatefold Records 1972 SPIRIT Jay Ferguson Original USD $3.50 Buy It Now 3h 4m
Leona Lewis, Spirit, (Deluxe Edition) USD $1.38 [0 bids]
3h 7m
SAMANTHA FOX - I SURRENDER (TO THE SPIRIT OF THE NIGHT) 12" AUSTRALIA USD $5.29 Buy It Now 3h 8m
Boston Pops Orchestra with Arthur Fiedler "The American Spirit" - Box Set w/book USD $12.99 Buy It Now 3h 10m
BEE GEES Spirits Having Flown MINI LP CD USD $12.90 Buy It Now 3h 15m
Jewel - Spirit (CD, 1998, Atlantic Records, USA) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 3h 17m
The Essential George Jones: The Spirit of Country [Box] by George Jones (CD, Au. USD $19.95 Buy It Now 3h 18m
`FURTADO, NELLY`-SPIRIT INDESTRUCTIBLE CD NEW USD $11.77 Buy It Now 3h 24m
Various Artists-Spirit Of `69 : The Boss Reggae Sevens Collect VINYL NEW USD $94.20 Buy It Now 3h 25m
BILL MONROE - THE GOSPEL SPIRIT NEW CD USD $13.22 Buy It Now 3h 25m
Alexander Peskanov: Spirits Of The Wind (CD, TW Classics) USD $5.95 Buy It Now 3h 28m
The Beach Boys SPIRIT Of AMERICA 2 LP 33rpm Record Set USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3h 32m
WILL VARLEY-SPIRIT OF MINNIE-IMPORT CD WITH JAPAN OBI E51 USD $22.99 Buy It Now 3h 37m
SELECTIVE SPIRIT DO YOU FEEL ME 12" DJ PROMO TEST PRESS USD $13.99 Buy It Now 3h 46m
THE DUKE SPIRIT "BRUISER" LP VINYL NEW+ USD $30.95 Buy It Now 3h 49m
Spirits by Hollister, Chad USD $8.92 Buy It Now 3h 50m
Johnny Langford - Wild Spirit [New CD] USD $29.84 Buy It Now 3h 59m
BEE GEES Spirits Having Flown 1979 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x12" USD $13.87 Buy It Now 3h 59m

More places to buy SPIRIT music online Buy SPIRIT & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

SPIRIT Spirit ratings distribution


3.48
(89 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SPIRIT Spirit reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars With this debut album, Spirit created a product of its time: an inventive psychedelic rock hovering between Syd Barrett-Floyd, early The Who, but also developed some highly original sounds of their own. Spirit was not just another garage rock band: they had two jazz players John Locke (sadly passed away this summer) and drummer Ed Cassidy (a journeyman much older than the rest of the members). This very drummer was the step father of teenage wonder Randy California which turned out to be a brilliant guitarist, being invited on many records and was a one-time pupil of Jimi Hendrix. The rest of the line-up comprises of bassist mark Andes (not to be confused with his brother Matt, both would have lengthy careers) and singer Jay Ferguson whose voices was one of the best of the era and responsible for a lot of song-writing on this album.

After the opening Fresh Garbage (their first hit and an ecological ode well before the Green Spirit was out to save the planet) and the Floyd-like Uncle Jack, the albums really gets going with the amazing Mechanical World with its off-beat rhythm and superb ambiances. Followed by the instrumental Taurus (where Zep's Page took his Stairway To Heaven intro from), one realizes that Spirit has a lot more than most LA groups of their generation. While Iwas never a fan of young occidentals recording themselves while toying around with Indian sitars (Girl In Your Eyes), the album continues its path into Straight Arrow with its crazy jazz (almost free jazz) ending. After another semi-jazzy track Topanga Windows, the album seems to rest a bit on its laurels, with a bunch of rather unexceptional songs (with the exception of a jazzy mid-song solo section into Gramophone Man) until the closing almost 11-min monster Elijah with its repeated bass-piano riff and the continuous soloing from the band and its free-jazz mid-section which is reminiscent at times of Crimson's Moonchild. This track was always a popular live item.

The remastered version comes with a few bonus tracks, three of which are non-album while a different version (slightly shorter but better, IMHO) of the closing Elijah rounding them up. While all three shorter bonus tracks are rather different than the album (two from California and one from Locke), the probably would've added a bit of spice to the middle of the album by breaking the monotony. Veruska is almost a hard rocker, free Spirit is an involved jazz-rock avant-la-lettre improvisation and If I Had A Woman is a rough uncut diamond.

While this debut album is not really a superb album, there are many excellent moments that make it too close to the fourth star, not to be awarded it. Most young progheads might just be a bit taken aback by the dated sound and the fact that the album has not aged that well. Great sleeve though!!

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars Spirit was the band that caused me to realize that you really have to listen to a band’s entire discography before passing judgment on any of their individual albums. Or at least do some research to learn about the band’s history. Otherwise there’s a possibility you can miss out on a great band as a result of first hearing them on a bad album.

For Spirit, that album was ‘Feedback’. I picked it up in the seventies figuring it was just another blues-influenced, slightly psychedelic American band (which it was). But that album wasn’t really very impressive, just standard fare with nothing really to distinguish it, so I didn’t go out of my way to seek out anything else by the band. Some years I heard ‘Farther Along’ and thought it was quite a bit more creative and inspired than ‘Feedback’, so I looked for some other stuff and eventually picked up their first three albums.

What a difference! This debut sounds a bit dated overall, but it is just full of grooving sounds of the late sixties and makes a great addition to the collection of anyone who’s into interesting guitar rhythms, lively keyboards, and brightly arranged psychedelic sounds.

Guitarist Randy California was something like sixteen or seventeen when this was recorded, having been pulled into the band from his previous gigs with some L.A. band called the Red Roosters, and a summer touring with Jimi Hendrix on the East Coast before he hit it big. California’s guitar work isn’t particularly complex, but he definitely shows a great deal of creative range for someone so young. His stepfather and the band’s drummer was Ed Cassidy, a name that pops up all over the place if you’ve ever spent any time researching band bios of the seventies and eighties. The guy is in his eighties now, and apparently still performs. Keyboardist John Locke would go on to a stint with Nazareth, and there is a bit of the same kind of almost commercial-sounding, sometimes jazzy keyboard sounds on this album, particularly on the first four tracks and the closing song “Elijah”. Singer/keyboardist Jay Ferguson bears a strong resemblance to a sober Jim Morrison. He and bassist Mark Andes would leave to form Jo Jo Gunne a few years later, a band I was somewhat familiar with because their drummer came from a small town in my native Montana and was a minor celebrity as a result. All of these guys have had lengthy although somewhat obscure careers in music.

The opening track “Fresh Garbage” is a kind of early conservation themed tune, and the guitars and piano immediately catch your attention for their decisiveness and jazzy groove. This would not have been out-of-place in the early eighties with bands like R.E.M. and Let’s Active on the airwaves, but California’s psychedelic riffs serve to date this one in the late sixties. Same goes for “Uncle Jack”, but this is pure bluesy psych with only Cassidy’s drumming seeming to lean in a jazz direction.

“Mechanical World” has the most Doors-sounding vibe on the album, kind of brooding with minor keyboard chords and that mushroom-haze guitar/vocal combination that just kind of screams ‘Apocalypse Now’. The lazy ending is a bit of a disappointment, but this is yet another side of the band that makes this album an engaging experience.

I’m not sure what “Taurus” is all about, but the opening strands sound like the buildup to a Mamas and the Papas tune, but this turns out to be just a short moody instrumental.

The sitar on “Girl in Your Eye” is pure late-sixties. This is another mushroom-haze tune, but the electric piano blends in nicely and California compliments the sitar well.

You have to wonder if the band recorded these sequentially, and perhaps did a bit too much partaking on the previous track, because the next two songs are a little uninspired and suspiciously mellow. “Straight Arrow” also has a bit of sitar, and some of the same guitar sounds as ‘Girl’, but here the vocals sound closer to Buffalo Springfield than to Morrison. “Topanga Windows” is very similar, but adds a decent blues guitar bit in the middle that reminds me a bit of just about everything Mike Pinera did between 1968 and 1975. Good stuff, if not very original.

California adds some vocals on “Gramophone Man”, and this is another track that is very dated sounding and not particularly noteworthy except that once again the band veers off into a jazz funk for a while before getting back into focus. I like the guitar here but otherwise this one is lost to history.

“Water Woman” and “The Great Canyon Fire In General” are two short filler pieces, but these can be forgiven in light of the closing tune that follows. “Elijah” brings together all the sounds of the album into a single lengthy work, starting with some repetitive guitar/ keyboard before wandering off into some jazz drums with bass and guitar noodling. This is a free-form exercise that makes me laugh because it reminds me of the jazz ‘retrospective’ scene in Spinal Tap. But it helps to remember this was recorded in 1968, so that combined with the heavy jazz backgrounds of Locke and Cassidy make it not only excusable, but actually a rather enjoyable piece of mood music. All told, a decent ending to an enjoyable forty minutes or so of music.

I guess the CD re-release has some ‘bonus’ material on it, but I’ll take the original vinyl with it’s little pops and slightly-muffled treble – these fit the mood that a nearly forty year-old album should have anyway.

So I’m glad I had the chance to discover the more interesting side of Spirit than some of their seventies albums offered. This band is a true American original, and this album is a great piece of musical history. Highly recommended for fans of progressive music in general, and particularly both jazz and psychedelic fans, as well as those who just want to hear some works that do not fit the cookie-cutter mold of most blues-influenced rock bands of the late sixties. Four stars.

Rest in peace, Randy California and John Locke.

Review by jammun
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Spirit's self-titled first album is standard LA psychedelic rock, although the music is more jazz-tinged than perhaps was usual at the time, and the band certainly has its own sound defined here. And do not mistake Spirit for some lame, tripped-out 60's band. This is an accomplished crew.

They start off with three strong songs: Fresh Garbage, Uncle Jack, and Mechanical World, the latter having a great Randy California guitar solo. The fourth song, Taurus, is of course famous as the source of Led Zep's Stairway to Heaven. The remainder of the album shows a marked drop in song quality, some of which is dated (the electric sitar on Girl in Your Eye) or simply reflective of the times (the paranoia of Straight Arrow). The final song, Elijah, is a jazzy jam that gives the band a chance to show off their talents, but it is not particularly compelling -- it's obviously meant to be heard in a live setting.

So while not a classic, Spirit is a promising start for one of the better bands of the era. The remastered CD has great liner notes by Randy, as well as a handful of bonus tracks which neither add to nor detract from the album.

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I first heard the band Spirit through their acclaimed opus, THE TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS, and it is still a jaw-dropping psych-pop album with trace influences of jazz and classical ideas. That album sounded very carefully constructed with great hooks, a serviceable yet tasty sense of variety and great replay value. SPIRIT, the album, is more aligned with jazz-pop with heavy psychedelic influences (of the times).

The big difference between this album and DR. SARDONICUS is the writing. DR. SARDONICUS was more evenly split between guitarist Randy California and singer Jay Ferguson (for the most part; keyboard player John Locke got some of his stuff through), and the quality of the output shows. Here on SPIRIT, the writing is almost entirely Ferguson's. While I'll get to the goodies in a bit, many of the songs like ''Topanga Windows'' and ''Uncle Jack'' sound rather unsure of themselves and amass to nothing.

The opener, ''Fresh Garbage'' is a treat with a memorable piano/bass hook, simple yet effective lyrics (particularly to those with a green agenda), a crisp, smooth vocal delivery and even a divergence into swinging jazz in the middle third of the tune. The tune ''Gramophone Man'' (a complete band effort) is similar, but with a tongue-and-cheek stab at radio-inclined music executives and more of a groove in the verses. Randy California's only solo contribution, ''Taurus'' is an okay guitar instrumental that's cute for five minutes because it sounds like the opening to one ''Stairway to Heaven''.

Other than the sinister mood of ''Mechanical World'', the rest of the album is a dud. Even the lengthy ''Elijah'' can't do anything to put SPIRIT on the upswing. In fact, it's the reason my rating is harsh because despite the jazzy melody, the tune pointlessly muddles into the ''everyone-gets-their-turn-to-solo'' snorefest that gets tiring fast.

If you love Spirit or West Coast '60s psych pop, get SPIRIT. Don't be too disappointed if you find this as mundane as I do.

Review by HolyMoly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin
4 stars Right at the outset, Spirit was a band that had a lot going for it. With their first album in 1968, they were active at a time when rock music was turning into an art form -- a medium for mixing and matching styles and influences, and seeing how interesting you could make it. The members of Spirit were seemingly united in their desire to take advantage of this new musical renaissance. The band hailed from Topanga Canyon near LA, neighbors of Neil Young and right in the middle of a frothy brew of local talent. Spirit also had chops galore - the Hendrix protege' Randy California was a commanding presence on guitar even at the age of 16, and John Locke (electric piano) and Ed Cassidy (drums) both had extensive jazz experience. The band even had the looks -- not exactly handsome, but striking, and the right look at the right time. Take a look at the back cover of this LP and tell me those guys weren't hip.

And yet, this debut album was just a bit too quirky, too unclassifiable, to really invade the public consciousness like it could have. Is it psychedelic rock? Blues? Jazz? What are those orchestral arrangements doing in there? Why are they singing about garbage cans and some Robin Hood character? All valid questions for the young audience at the time. Were Spirit too eclectic for their own good? Perhaps if they'd been a little easier to pin down, they might be as well known today as, say, Buffalo Springfield; and yet, they remain a relatively obscure band.

This debut album is sneaky. It never really shows you all of its cards. These songs often have surprisingly high-energy instrumental sections inserted in the middle of otherwise downbeat pop songs ("Fresh Garbage", "Straight Arrow", "Gramophone Man", "Topanga Windows"). They strongly suggest mainstream pop with their Marty Paich-arranged string parts, and yet everything else about the song screams "underground!" There's a 10-minute jazz instrumental closing the album ("Elijah"). To put it succinctly, the strange collision of styles on an essentially low-key, mellow album makes for a fascinating experience for listeners curious to hear how many different styles can all co-exist. Less sympathetic listeners would probably dismiss it as "unfocused", but I don't ever get the impression that the band wasn't sure what they were doing.

Not Spirit's absolute best album, but a pivotal first step, and pretty much set the tone for their next few albums. Jay Ferguson's lead vocals (he also writes most of the songs; future bandleader Randy California had not come into his own as a songwriter yet, notwithstanding the lovely instrumental "Taurus") are pretty tentative compared to his beautiful work on future albums, but his songcraft is already first-rate and eclectic as heck.

I like to think there is a parallel universe wherein Spirit are a household name like Hendrix. They really do seem to define the times they existed in, even as they continually throw curveballs on this puzzling but highly accomplished and successful debut album.

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
2 stars In Good Spirit

This debut certainly has a 'feel good' spirit about it. Almost simultaneously with the start of the legal battle against Led Zeppelin (for apparently ripping off Spirit's "Taurus" to create "Stairway to Heaven") some 40+ years from Zep's "IV" release, I was presented with the first five albums of this band as a treat. And let me say the 'spirits' in this release can go high (but also low)...

To the untrained late 60's listener (such as myself), this may sound as a fusion of Brit psych pop in the vein of the more cheerful aspects of The Beatles and The Moody Blues (e.g. "Uncle Jack") with an intermittent injection of jazzier elements and the 'looseness' of some The Doors compositions - see for example the intriguing jazzy middle sections of "Fresh-Garbage" and "Gramophone Man". It appears to me that the album tilts more towards psych-pop than psychedelic rock and builds more on accessibility rather than mature song-writing. There are exceptions to this with the highlight "Mechanical World", a dark, slow, captivating composition with serious progressive leanings, a memorable solo and epic use of background keyboards. "Taurus", which follows, is a nice atmospheric interlude with a melody ahead of its time (as it has been proven to be!!).

The long "Elijah" is potentially the most innovative piece, which reminded me of The Doors in its main theme. Unfortunately, the jazzy improvisations derail the whole composition and the numerous returns to the main theme don't do much to save it. The rest of the album flows in a rather pleasant/ok mood but somehow 'directionless', with naive, albeit catchy at times, melodies.

Potentially ahead of its time, but seldom convincing for its potent, Spirit's debut may be a pleasant listening experience for the late 60's fans but somehow fails to maintain consistency and make a mark in my books. 2.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of SPIRIT "Spirit"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives