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

SPIRIT

Proto-Prog • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Spirit picture
Spirit biography
Spirit is a legendary psychedelic rock band that has never managed to achieve great success although their albums, mainly their early ones are regarded by fans and critics as masterpieces.

Their history starts back in 1965, in San Francisco, when Ed Cassidy, an experient jazz drummer that played with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder among others, Randy California, a 14-year-old guitar player whose mother would marry Ed and Ed would become Randy´s stepfather; Jay Fergusson and Mark Andes (Later Jo Jo Gunne) formed a band named The Red Roosters.

The band was shortlived and in 1966 Ed and Randy moved to New York where Ed started to play jazz venues. In New York Randy once saw a guy playing a guitar in a guitar shop and they started to discuss techniques. They became friends and Randy soon became a member of the Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, band which his new friend was the leader. They played for three months in Cafe Wha and then Chas Chandler discovered the band and invited Jimmy to go to the United Kingdom. Jimmy invited Randy to go with him but Randy couldn´t since he was only 15. So Jimmy, whose real name was James Marshall Hendrix went to England and the rest is history.

In 1967 Ed and Randy returned to California and they met by chance Fergusson and Andes, the members of The Red Roosters and they formed a new band named Spirits Rebellious, which was shortened to Spirit. John Locke, an experient keyboardist joined then and in early 1968 they released their first album, a mix of psychedelia, blues and jazz. The jazz accent would be a trademark of their early albums, mainly in "The Family that Plays Together" and "Clear", two 1969 releases. The first contained their biggest hit, "I Got A Line on You". In 1970 they released the album considered by fans and critics their masterpiece: "Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus", featuring experimental sounds, good arrangements and some of their most solid compositions. The band broke up in 1971 due to tensions between the members and in 1971 Cassidy and Locke joined the Staehely brothers and released "Feedback" which has nothing to do with the original Spirit sound.

In 1973 Ed and Randy joined again and along with other musicians recorded "Potatoland" which was shelved and would be released only in 1981. Then they made their come-back in 1975 with "Spirit of '76" and released "Son of Spirit", "Farther Along" and "Future Games" before a break. "Farther Along" featured all original members except ...
read more

SPIRIT forum topics / tours, shows & news


SPIRIT forum topics Create a topic now
SPIRIT tours, shows & news Post an entries now

SPIRIT Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all SPIRIT videos (2) | Search and add more videos to SPIRIT

Buy SPIRIT Music


It Shall Be: Ode & Epic Recordings 1968-1972It Shall Be: Ode & Epic Recordings 1968-1972
Box set · Remastered
Esoteric 2018
$38.89
$40.76 (used)
5cd Original Album Classics5cd Original Album Classics
Box set
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$13.98
$14.26 (used)
SpiritSpirit
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
$4.14
$3.00 (used)
Twelve Dreams of Dr SardonicusTwelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus
Sony Uk 2009
$5.32
$3.69 (used)
ClearClear
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
$4.14
$4.99 (used)
Spirit Of `76 /  SpiritSpirit Of `76 / Spirit
Remastered
Bgo 2017
$11.41
$9.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
The Downings "Sweet Spirit" 1973 Religious LP, Nice VG++!, on Vista, with Shrink USD $7.95 Buy It Now 1h 29m
Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out) 1996 CD single with poster USD $13.95 Buy It Now 1h 29m
MIKE STEVENS - SET THE SPIRIT FREE. (UK, 1990, JAM TODAY, CHIL LP 9, SKEETE) USD $4.87 Buy It Now 1h 31m
Lamar Campbell & Spirit of Praise 2002 Cassette The Praise Collection USD $3.80 Buy It Now 1h 31m
Jabula: The Joyful Spirit of Southern Africa by Hennie Bekker USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1h 33m
The Spirit of Wartime Music CD Conifer Records Orbis 1995 WW2 USD $15.40 Buy It Now 1h 34m
Hear! Funk Promo 45 Birtha - Free Spirit / Same On Dunhill-Abc (Promo) USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1h 36m
Nirvana - Nevermind - New Audio CD Sealed Smells Like Teen Spirit USD $44.84 Buy It Now 1h 36m
Gareth Gates Spirit In The Sky Taiwan CD Single w/OBI 2003 4-Track+Video NEW USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 37m
New: Rick Baker: Songs of the Spirit Audio CD USD $9.49 Buy It Now 1h 40m
Paul Rodgers (Free Spirit UK Tour) Flyer 2017 A5 Double Sided Deborah Bonham USD $1.38 [0 bids]
1h 41m
NIRVANA *7" VINYL* SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT * 1991 * DGCS 5 USD $8.37 [4 bids]
1h 47m
Spirit Of Ireland, Rory Flynn, Very Good CD USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1h 47m
SPIRIT - Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus - VINYL - 1970 - GATEFOLD SLEEVE USD $6.97 [0 bids]
1h 52m
Gayatri Mantra: Hymn to the Spirit Within the Fire by Rattan Sharma (CD,... USD $13.28 Buy It Now 1h 52m
SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON Soundtrack, Bryan Adams (CD) South Africa USD $6.97 [0 bids]
1h 53m
Behind, Beyond [Digipak] * by Spirit Adrift (CD, Feb-2016, Prosthetic) USD $9.00 Buy It Now 1h 53m
Chained to Oblivion [Slipcase] by Spirit Adrift (CD, Aug-2016, Prosthetic) USD $11.07 Buy It Now 1h 53m
A13 BEACH BOYS SPIRIT OF AMERICA GATEFOLD SVBB-11384 USD $5.88 Buy It Now 1h 54m
Various Artists - Music for Mind Body & Spirit: Reiki / Various [New CD] USD $4.71 Buy It Now 1h 59m
Ske-Dat-De-Dat... The Spirit Of Satch USD $6.37 Buy It Now 2h
Bruce Hornsby Spirit Trail Cassette - BRAND NEW & SEALED - USA Release - $3 S/H! USD $11.15 Buy It Now 2h
Gibson, Dan - Gentle World: Native Spirit - Gibson, Dan CD 1WVG The Fast Free USD $4.87 Buy It Now 2h 2m
EX/EX- !! Spirit/Spirit Of '76/1975 Mercury Double LP USD $23.02 Buy It Now 2h 2m
4 CD "Inspirational" Music CD Lot, Cindy Morgan, Holiday Magic, Spirit Lifters.. USD $0.25 [0 bids]
2h 3m
Sealed THE AMERICAN SPIRIT 1776-1976 LP LONDON RECORDS SP-44242 US 1975 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2h 3m
SPIRIT! II: EMPIRE CD Original Cast Recording Kevin Larsson Salvation Army USD $6.95 Buy It Now 2h 4m
Pee Wee Russell & Oliver Nelson Impulse 9147 The Spirit Of '67 CLEAN COPY USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2h 6m
Willie Nelson Spirit U.S. promo cd Gold DJ Stamp USD $5.95 Buy It Now 2h 6m
Nada: Awakening Spirit [Digipak] Russill Paul (CD, Mar-2008, The Relaxation C USD $3.00 [0 bids]
USD $5.00 Buy It Now
2h 7m
Spirit and Truth (Author): Awesome Inspiration Audio CD USD $7.95 Buy It Now 2h 11m
Various Artists - Music for Mind Body & Spirit: Reiki / Various [New CD] USD $4.78 Buy It Now 2h 11m
JEWEL * SPIRIT * C D USD $2.99 [0 bids]
USD $3.99 Buy It Now
2h 14m
Wild Swans, Revolutionary Spirit, 12" Single Vinyl USD $12.55 [0 bids]
2h 20m
SMETANA. SPIRIT OF BOHEMIA. CD No 27 OF THE ORBIS CLASSICAL COLLECTION. USD $5.57 Buy It Now 2h 20m
"Every Time I Feel The Spirit" 1988 Bluegrass Gospel LP, Nice EX!, Various USD $5.95 Buy It Now 2h 21m
Cedric Gervais - Spirit In My Life - Data Records MOS 7 track cd PROMO USD $2.44 [0 bids]
2h 24m
Sonic Tribe - Spirit Rising [New CD] USD $14.30 Buy It Now 2h 24m
STAEHLEY BROS. Stay*Hay*Lee '73 Epic with lyric sheet SPIRIT CIPPOLINA NM- USD $12.00 Buy It Now 2h 25m
Spirit [LP] by John Denver (Vinyl, RCA Records USA) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2h 28m
TIME LIFE Treasury of Christmas HOLIDAY MAGIC MEMORIES SPIRIT 3 CD Lot 36 Songs USD $44.99 Buy It Now 2h 29m
URIAH HEEP TAKE NO PRISONERS + FREE SPIRIT - CD RUSSIA RUSSIA ED ONLY NEW USD $30.81 Buy It Now 2h 30m
New: Scott, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Bec: Sounds of the Spirit:Live at Gmwa Live Au USD $12.96 Buy It Now 2h 31m
Kitaro - The Light of the Spirit USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2h 31m
JOHNNY DODDS 1 Spirit of New Orleands 1926-27 LP STILL SEALED JAZZ USD $4.97 Buy It Now 2h 33m
Spirit of Peace - Monks of Ampleforth Abbey, Monks of Ampleforth Abbey, Very Goo USD $3.00 Buy It Now 2h 33m
*NM* The Meditation singers "Blue Christmas/the Spirit of..." 45 Checker 5057 USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2h 38m
DEPECHE MODE - SUFFER WELL - 3 TRACK DJ CLUB DANCE REMIXES NO SPIRIT TIGA MINT USD $77.99 Buy It Now 2h 40m
Church in the City The Wind of the Spirit LP Kingsway / KMR 419 UK / 84 USD $18.82 Buy It Now 2h 41m
Babyface - Spirit of Christmas [New CD] USD $10.28 Buy It Now 2h 41m
Leona Lewis Spirit and Spirit de luxe edition (Used) USD $1.39 [0 bids]
2h 42m
New: Gmwa Mass Choir: 30 Years in the Spirit (Audio Cassette) Audio Cassette USD $8.97 Buy It Now 2h 43m
ZOMBI (2) SPIRIT ANIMAL LTD EDT 200 RED BLUE SPLATTER 2 X LP VINYL RECORD RR6117 USD $55.78 Buy It Now 2h 44m
New: Invincible Spirit: Can Sex Be Sin Audio Cassette USD $16.87 Buy It Now 2h 45m
SPIRIT OF AMERICA CD BRAND NEW SEALED USD $9.68 Buy It Now 2h 47m
True Spirit (CD Used Very Good) USD $15.75 Buy It Now 2h 49m
The Blind Boys of Alabama - Spirit of the Century Cd Advance Virgin CDRW95 USD $1.38 [0 bids]
2h 50m
Spirit Of Freedom - Danny O'Flaherty (CD Used Very Good) USD $18.49 Buy It Now 2h 51m
Spirit Bird [Digipak] by Xavier Rudd (CD, Jun-2012, Side One Dummy) USD $9.85 Buy It Now 2h 52m
60 Greatest Old-Time Radio Shows That Transitioned To TV RADIO SPIRIT ~152 USD $16.99 Buy It Now 2h 53m
JOHN DENVER ~ SPIRIT VINYL RECORD LP / 1976 USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2h 54m
GOLDEN GATE QUARTET EVERY TIME I FEEL THE SPIRIT/JUDGEMENT DAY/...PS 7", ITALY USD $13.00 Buy It Now 2h 54m
The Spirit of Christmas by The Starlite Orchestra & Singers CD USD $3.47 Buy It Now 2h 58m
Jesus Made The Difference Free Spirit~1976 Christian Gospel Xian~FAST SHIPPING! USD $14.41 Buy It Now 3h 3m
Spirit of Native Americans by Gerry Freeman, Steve Summer, CD (2002 Weltbild) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 3h 3m
The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas:Christmas Spirit Various Artists Disc A 2159 USD $5.59 Buy It Now 3h 5m
New: Barksdale, Geraldine: Come Holy Spirit Audio Cassette USD $10.43 Buy It Now 3h 6m
(HI618) Sounds Of Blackness, Spirit - 1997 CD USD $4.17 Buy It Now 3h 7m
(HI613) Sounds Of Blackness, Spirit - 1997 CD USD $4.17 Buy It Now 3h 7m
Rock Lp Albrecht Roley & Moore Starlighter On Spirit USD $8.99 Buy It Now 3h 7m
THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS- A GOSPEL COLLECTION - SWAN SILVERTONES- THE PLATTERS-CD USD $0.99 [0 bids]
3h 7m
The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas:Christmas Spirit Various Artists Disc B 2158 USD $5.59 Buy It Now 3h 8m
Women of Spirit USD $6.47 Buy It Now 3h 9m
Ralph Harrison Free Spirit Movin' Stereo LP Still in Shrink w/ Insert Fast Ship! USD $4.21 Buy It Now 3h 9m
PETER BUFFET - Spirit Dance - CD - Import - **Excellent Condition** USD $14.95 Buy It Now 3h 10m
Rock Lp Spirit Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus On Epic USD $8.99 Buy It Now 3h 10m
[SOUL/JAZZ]~EXC LP~DAVE BRUBECK~Two Generations Of~Brother The Great Spirit~1974 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 3h 11m
3 record Lot STANLEY BLACK Lp's For Latin Lovers, spirit people, cuban moonlight USD $14.50 Buy It Now 3h 12m
DEPECHE MODE - SOUNDS OF THE UNIVERSE - ADVANCE ACETATE PROMO DVD EPK NO SPIRIT USD $84.99 Buy It Now 3h 14m
2 Earth, Wind & Fire CDs - Illumination and Spirit USD $5.00 [0 bids]
USD $6.80 Buy It Now
3h 16m
Kendra Shank-Spirit Free, A: Abbey Lincoln Songbook CD NEW USD $11.63 Buy It Now 3h 16m
Christy Moore ?LP Vinyl Record Lot The Spirit Of Freedom USD $5.99 [0 bids]
3h 18m
HVANGUR By Will And Spirit (CD,2010) Pagan Black Metal [??????? ????? ? ?????] USD $13.20 [0 bids]
3h 21m
1950 Gospel KILLER 78 SPIRIT OF MEMPHIS QUARTET - I'll Go (French issue) *HEAR USD $30.00 Buy It Now 3h 21m
Mike Stevens - Set the Spirit Free - CD - Buy 1 Item, Get 1 to 4 at 50% Off USD $5.99 Buy It Now 3h 22m
DOM UM ROMAO - SPIRIT OF THE TIMES MUSE LP WL PROMO AUTOGRAPHED USD $9.99 [3 bids]
3h 25m
PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS ~ THE SPIRIT OF '67 VINYL RECORD LP / 1966 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3h 32m
Cakewalk in the spirit of Oscar CD kjell ohman ulf wakenius Hans Backenroth USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3h 34m
Radiohead 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)' UK CD Single Part Two *RARE USD $6.96 Buy It Now 3h 35m
Leona Lewis - Spirit (2007) USD $1.38 [0 bids]
3h 37m
Duke Spirit The-Sky Is Mine VINYL NEW USD $37.89 Buy It Now 3h 42m
Hugo Race And The True Spirit - Valley Of Light - CD (2 x Track Sampler) USD $7.61 Buy It Now 3h 43m
Mercury ?SRM 1-1053 Spirit ?- Son Of Spirit Psychedelic Rock LP Record USD $6.39 Buy It Now 3h 44m
Feel the Spirit, various Gospel artists,1991 Sony, cassette, New,Walker,Reverend USD $9.00 [0 bids]
3h 45m
Spirit Of Love Cincinnati,God Will Take Care Of You,Wonderful Saviour,7",45 rpm USD $75.00 [0 bids]
USD $97.50 Buy It Now
3h 45m
Indiens Sacred Spirit Dance Remixes CD William Orbit Howie B Utah Saints USD $12.99 Buy It Now 3h 45m
Jack Walrath & Miles Griffith get hit in your soul spirit of Mingus CD ACT JAZZ USD $5.99 Buy It Now 3h 48m
(CD) ARETHA FRANKLIN - Spirit In The Dark / Japan Import / AMCY-66 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3h 53m
TIME LIFE TREASURY OF CHRISTMAS - MEMORIES - MAGIC - SPIRIT - MINT 3 CD BOX SET USD $49.95 Buy It Now 3h 54m
Public Spirit Break Machine Matt Bianco The Clash Record Mirror USD $6.96 Buy It Now 3h 55m

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

SPIRIT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SPIRIT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.48 | 89 ratings
Spirit
1968
3.75 | 63 ratings
The Family That Plays Together
1968
3.83 | 59 ratings
Clear
1969
4.13 | 167 ratings
Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
1970
2.44 | 26 ratings
Feedback
1972
3.51 | 21 ratings
Spirit Of '76
1975
3.00 | 19 ratings
Son Of Spirit
1975
2.69 | 17 ratings
Farther Along
1976
2.85 | 13 ratings
Future Games - A Magical-Kahauna Dream
1977
2.67 | 14 ratings
The Adventures Of Kaptain Kopter & Commander Cassidy In Potato Land
1981
1.75 | 11 ratings
The Thirteenth Dream [Aka: Spirit Of '84]
1984
2.67 | 6 ratings
Rapture In The Chambers
1989
2.80 | 5 ratings
Tent Of Miracles
1990
3.79 | 9 ratings
California Blues
1996
3.82 | 14 ratings
Model Shop
2005

SPIRIT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Made In Germany
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At La Paloma
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live From The Time Coast
2004
3.00 | 1 ratings
Rockpalast: West Coast Legends Vol.3
2010

SPIRIT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Spirit In Concert
2000

SPIRIT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Spirit
1973
3.00 | 4 ratings
Chronicles (1967-1992)
1991
4.00 | 7 ratings
Time Circle (1968-1972)
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Got A Line On You
1995
3.09 | 3 ratings
The Mercury Years
1997
2.00 | 2 ratings
Cosmic Smile
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
Sea Dream
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Now Or Anywhere
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Eventide
2002
2.00 | 2 ratings
Blues from the Soul
2003
3.75 | 4 ratings
Son Of Spirit /Farther Along
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mojo Presents ... An Introduction To Spirit
2004
2.50 | 2 ratings
Future Games/Spirit Of '84
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Son Of America
2005
4.67 | 6 ratings
The Original Potato Land
2006
4.50 | 2 ratings
Original Album Classics
2010

SPIRIT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
1984
1984

SPIRIT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.13 | 167 ratings

BUY
Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by axeman

4 stars

Mostly what you can expect from a psychedelic band. Also, it contains some AOR radio favorites Nature's Way, and Animal Zoo. But after those two, we get our first (what I would consider) prog song: Love Has Found A Way. Then there is the folksy-acoustic Why Can't I Be Free. Next is the 60s boogie number Mr. Skin (think Dr. John). Space Child is a nice psychedelic prog piece, if lounge-lizardy piano with a Moog in the middle.

Then When I Touch You begins with a visit from Sid Barrett's fuzzy things, and then some raw rock guitar, which with keyboards, builds into a sort of atmospheric anthem-paced rocker. This one definitely leaves you with the feeling that you listened to some development. Street Worm rises above its potential as a formulaic rocker. A glam Morning Will Come is notable toward the end, but that about wraps it up.

I'm going to rate this as a fine addition to a collection. Definitely some well-done songs, but it never rises past the level of some good pop/rock. Still rather good pop/rock, and a solid album.

 Spirit by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.48 | 89 ratings

BUY
Spirit
Spirit Proto-Prog

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.

 Spirit by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.48 | 89 ratings

BUY
Spirit
Spirit Proto-Prog

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.

 Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.13 | 167 ratings

BUY
Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by VOTOMS

5 stars "You have the world at your fingertips, no one can make it better than you." The same opening phrase is the last phrase of this Spirit work. A concept album? I don't know, but it's good. Dr. Sardonicus was the nickname for the Spirit mixing desk at the studio (maybe inspired by the Willian Castle's 1963 horror movie). The album have twelve tracks. So this is the Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.

Randy California played in Hendrix's band The Blue Flames, and his second name was given by Hendrix to distinguish him - the band had two Randy guys, Randy Texas and California. This album was produced by David Briggs (Neil Young), and this is the only relevant piece in their full discography. And in my honest opinion - it's a brilliant album, from the first track to the last.

Prelude/Nothing To Hide start the album slowly and beautifully, so it suddenly turns into a great psychedelic rock and roll. The guitar tune is great, and the riffs too. According to the booklet, Nature's Way have been helping people fight against inner struggles since the album release. And of course, this song, together with Mr. Skin, are the best known songs from the band. Animal Zoo is easily one of the most influential psychedelic tracks at the 70s. But the crowd always used to joke with the lyrics ("much too fat and a little too long). Love Has Found a Way, Why Can't I Be Free and Space Child are spacey tracks, where John Locke use his keyboardskills, very catchy atmospheric stuff.From When I Touch You to the last track, you will find awesome and unique rock riffs!

An awesome album, essential one from any psych/prog rock collector.

 Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.13 | 167 ratings

BUY
Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars A masterful release by Spirit and a perfect snapshot of the strange transition period when psychedelic rock's time in the sun was coming to an end and progressive rock was emerging from its elder sibling's shadow, these Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus take the listener on a wild and diverse trip, held between folky acoustic gentleness, psychedelic head trips, and some downright rocking numbers, often within the same song (just check out that incredible transition in Prelude - Nothin' to Hide!). Nature's Way is an absolutely incredible song which I could just listen to over and over again forever, but the whole album is an essential for psyche- prog fans.
 Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.13 | 167 ratings

BUY
Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970)

Who can resist a good song?

The American group Spirit had already released three psych albums in the late sixties before this relatively 'normal' rockalbum was released, which is often seen as their best. The band impresses with it's long list of songs that all work really well, being both melodic and atmospheric. Perhaps Supertramp had a good listen too. When it comes to style it reminds me of same period The Who and Blue Oyster Cult. Rock with melodic twists, dual vocals, use of effects and keyboards and tiny bit of American glamour (which I'm not too fond of myself). Moreover, without the few progressive moments on the album I wouldn't have thought this had been a psychedelic rock act.

All songs flow into each other very naturally, exploring many emotional landscapes and varied ways of arrangements possibilities. Artistically, the broadness of ideas reminds me a bit of the better moments of the Beatles. Not a single song stands out for me, because I like all of them almost equally much. Sometimes the music has that typically American 'feel-good vibe', but it still works for me - which is saying a lot.

Conclusion. Not too much to say here except that it's a great early seventies rock album that should be engaged as such, not as a progressive work. Four stars and recommended to fans of the named bands and those who appreciate seventies quality song-writing and style in general. This album also has some 'missing-link'-like qualities.

 Spirit by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.48 | 89 ratings

BUY
Spirit
Spirit Proto-Prog

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.

 The Adventures Of Kaptain Kopter & Commander Cassidy In Potato Land by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.67 | 14 ratings

BUY
The Adventures Of Kaptain Kopter & Commander Cassidy In Potato Land
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

2 stars A record with an interesting story. A goofy concept album originally recorded in 1974, it was shelved for years before it was cleaned up an finally released on Rhino Records in 1981. The original lineup of Spirit was long defunct by 1974, but Randy California and Ed Cassidy had still been putting out quality material as a duo (albeit much different from the original Spirit sound) for a few years.

The concept itself is pretty light, just a science fiction thing depicting a world in which the people are potatoes and carelessly march to their own demise in the fryer, or something like that. Within this scenario, our heroes, adventure seekers Kaptain Kopter (California) and Commander Cassidy (Cassidy) wander the landscape and comment on what they see. Bits of dialogue and sound effects come between some fully-fleshed out songs. Nothing really happens, though - it's just kind of goofy fun. On the other side of the record, we just have a few stand alone songs, including one that had to have been recorded in the 80s, the corny synth-dance piece "Potatoland Theme". On the whole, the album is mostly just a curiosity, not really the "lost classic" that true believers maintain it is, but it's a bit of fun and the songs are generally good to great - the best being the insanely catchy instant classic "Turn to the Right" and the even more jangly melodic "My Friend".

 Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.13 | 167 ratings

BUY
Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars The "swan song" by the original, "classic" lineup of Spirit. Has the feel of a concept album, with songs linked together, and with 12 songs representing the 12 dreams, I guess. Randy California really comes into his own as a songwriter/singer here, setting the stage for his eventual domination of the group's direction. After this album, the group split for a while, with Ferguson and Andes forming Jo Jo Gunne. The group would eventually reform as Spirit, but for the most part, Randy California and Ed Cassidy remained the only consistent members from here on.

This is a delightfully diverse album, so why not take it track by track:

Side A

Prelude-Nothin' to Hide (R. California) - Short acoustic "prelude" (reprised at the end of the album) soon kicks into a lively rock tune with some pretty sick slide playing. Slightly odd lyrics like "We've got nothing to hide / We're married to the same wife"

Nature's Way (R. California) - After "I Got a Line on You", probably their best known song. The eco-rock anthem par excellence. Based on a solo acoustic performance, but with percussion and heavenly backing vox added on.

Animal Zoo (J. Ferguson) - Let's all throw off our shackles and inhibitions and get down and dirty like animals! Let's forget to pay the rent, shower only occasionally, and par-tay all the time! Let's quit the group and start an even smellier group! Excellent "chicken-clucking" guitar hook in this one.

Love Has Found a Way (R. California / J. Locke) - Hey! Woozy psychedelia all of a sudden! Locke is all over the synths in this one, and the drums are played backwardsAnd the vocal harmonies TOTALLY rule. This one gets more and more amazing, until it cuts abruptly into ---

Why Can't I Be Free (R. California) - Brief 1 minute ballad, kind of a conclusion to the prior track.. Pretty, but not too incredibly substantial.

Mr Skin (J. Ferguson) - This one's funky! Lotsa horns providing pithy "answers" to Jay's surly verses. Dedicated to Cass Cassidy, the bald drummer.

Side B

Space Child (J. Locke) - Total keyboard feature, an instrumental fading in and out of different dream-sequence-like sections. More cool Mini-Moog. If I recall right, this was one of the earliest albums to use the Mini-Moog.

When I Touch You (J. Ferguson) - As the prior song fades out, distorted voices slowly fade and get more and more frantic, until it climaxes and California comes in with the slow but powerful riff that anchors the song. This song has Jay's best vocal on the album too, and the extended outro has some excellent guitar soloing, a section reminiscent of Yes's outro to "Starship Trooper".

Street Worm (J. Ferguson) - A bouncy, elaborate arrangement that only needs a couple of verses and chori until they give the 2nd half of the song to Randy, who turns in some truly dazzling solos.The song, I guess, is about personal freedom and free sex and taking off all your clothes and all that dated hippie stuff.

Life Has Just Begun (R. California) - Emotional, sad ballad with lovely vocal effects, harmonies (again; I sometimes take it for granted, but these guys really nail their harmonies on this record).

Morning Will Come (R. California) - Hit single material! Was this a single? I think it was. Kind of a rhythm and blues feel to this one, with horn punctuations again, and a truly joyous performance from Randy.

Soldier (R. California) - But the good mood was not to last. A sullen, almost dejected closer, probably about that disappointing Iggy Pop album mentioned in the title. Or maybe Randy was just mad that album wasn't going to be released for another few years.

IN TOTAL, I feel this album is an excellent addition to any prog rock collection, and it really deserves classic status for "classic rock" in general. It was a commercial disappointment upon release, probably contributing to the band's subsequent breakup. But I think it's kind of the "Dark Side of the Moon" of an alternate universe... a futuristic album that could have been a game changer for intelligent rock music. It's not perfect, but it comes awfully close in spots. 4.5 stars.

 Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.13 | 167 ratings

BUY
Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars West coast, man

I remember being disappointed with this album when I finally heard it. With the trippy cover and its reputation I was expecting something really mind-blowing in the spacey-psych tradition but what I heard was something far more conventional. Indeed Sardonicus is just another West coast California hippie-rock album blended with mild psych, jazz, and bits of funk and folk. The album fits well alongside the other California bands of the day, though for my money is less interesting than much Grateful Dead, Airplane, or even The Doors.

David Briggs, famous for his work with Neil Young, was brought in and you can hear his "refined roughness" all over the place?gritty music but a professional sheen. The album's themes are the usual counter-culture concerns of the day, the playing and singing more than competent. "Nature's Way" is a beautiful acoustic number, sad, longing. "Animal Zoo" is a cute dittie like Arlo Guthrie would play for the kids. "Love Has Found a Way" is a cool track with vibes and backward rhythms, along with some early Moog experimentation. Still, pretty tame stuff for 1970. I'm amused when people talk about this as a heavy Acid album when Piper and Strange Days were already three years old, and by 70 there was some seriously weird stuff going on, stuff that makes this album sound like backing music for The Brady Bunch by comparison. "Mr. Skin" is where they throw in some funky guitars and horns for yet another flavor. "When I Touch You" is nice and heavy. The album closes with "Soldier" which is a truly lovely song, almost a spiritual which connects emotionally like Procol Harum or a good Band song would. Very slow with some pipe organ in the background. Great ending.

Despite some very memorable moments the album does not excite me like an American Beauty or Strange Days, let alone getting into English stuff. That said, it's a good album worthy of three stars and it should please many rock fans provided you don't have the high expectation I had going in.

Thanks to chopper for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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