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 Spirit

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Spirit (Ode, 1968)
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The Family That Plays Together (Ode, 1968)
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Clear (Ode, 1969)
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Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (Epic, 1970)
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Feedback (Epic, 1972)
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Spirit of '76 (Mercury, 1975)
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Son of Spirit (Mercury, 1975)
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Farther Along (Mercury, 1976)
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Future Games (Mercury, 1977)
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The Adventures of Kaptain Kopter & Commander Cassidy in Potato Land (Rhino, 1981)
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The Thirteenth Dream/Spirit of '84 [U.S. Title] (Mercury, 1984)
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Rapture in the Chambers (I.R.S., 1988)
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Tent of Miracles (Dolphin, 1990)
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California Blues (1996)
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MensagemAssunto: Spirit   Dom 13 Mar 2011 - 12:30

Spirit

Spirit was an American jazz/hard rock/progressive rock/psychedelic band founded in 1967, based in Los Angeles, California.

The original lineup of the group evolved from an earlier Los Angeles band, The Red Roosters, which included Randy California (guitars, vocals), Mark Andes (bass) and Jay Ferguson (vocals, percussion). With the addition of California's stepfather Ed Cassidy (drums), and keyboard player John Locke the new band was originally named the Spirits Rebellious (after a book by Khalil Gibran) but was soon shortened simply to Spirit. Randy California had also played with Jimi Hendrix (then known as Jimmy James) in Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in 1966.

Cassidy was instantly recognizable by his shaven head (hence his nickname "Mr. Skin") and his fondness for wearing black. He was around twenty years older than the rest of the group (born in 1923). His earlier career was primarily in jazz and included stints with Cannonball Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Roland Kirk, Thelonious Monk and Lee Konitz. He was a founding member of Rising Sons with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder.

1960s

The group's first album, Spirit, was released in 1968. "Mechanical World" was released as a single (it lists the playing time merely as "very long"). The album was a hit, reaching #31 on The Billboard 200 and staying on the charts for over eight months. The album displayed jazz influences, as well as using elaborate string arrangements (not found on their subsequent recordings) and is the most overtly psychedelic of their albums.

They capitalized on the success of their first album with another single, "I Got A Line On You". Released in November 1968, a month before their second album, The Family That Plays Together, it became their biggest hit single, reaching #25 on the charts (#28 in Canada). The album matched its success, reaching #22. They also went on tour that year with support band Led Zeppelin, who were heavily influenced by Spirit—Led Zeppelin played an extended medley during their early 1969 shows that featured "Fresh Garbage" among other songs, Jimmy Page's use of a theremin has been attributed to his seeing Randy California use one that he had mounted to his amplifier, [1] and it is now widely accepted that Page lifted the descending guitar figure from Spirit's instrumental "Taurus" for Led Zeppelin's signature tune "Stairway To Heaven".[2]

After this success, the group was asked by French film director Jacques Demy to record the soundtrack to his film, Model Shop and they also made a brief appearance in the film[citation needed]. Their third album, Clear, released in 1969, reached #55 on the charts. Spirit were offered the spot right before Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock[citation needed], but they were advised to turn it down and concentrate on a promotional tour for their third album. Record company managers felt that the festival would not be significant[citation needed], as it did not seem so at that time, and so they missed out on the massive international exposure that the festival and the subsequent film documentary generated.

"1984" and the Sardonicus era

After the release of Clear, California was called upon again[clarification needed] to give the group a hit single. With the group producing the record on their own, they recorded a song California had written called "1984". With a title that echoed the George Orwell book of the same name, it was one of California's finest[peacock term], and it boasted an excellent production job[peacock term] (and was one of the most ferocious[clarification needed] things that Spirit would ever record).[citation needed] And it looked at first like it would be the group's biggest hit yet. Soon[when?] after being released, it raced up the charts to #69.

In retrospect, no one is sure why the single had such a brief chart life, but there are several possibilities. It is no secret that Lou Adler's alliance with Epic Records was uneasy at best, and at the time that the single was released, Adler's distribution deal with Epic came to an end. He had been eager to move distribution of the label to A&M Records, which he did as soon as the deal with Epic ended, which might have killed the commercial availability of the single (though Adler ended up giving Spirit's contract to Epic in the process). It has also been said that there was a tip sheet distributed to radio stations outlining the song's supposed political and social views, and opining that it might not be appropriate for air play. The song would finally see general release on The Best of Spirit in 1973.

In 1970, Spirit started working on what is widely considered to be their best LP, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. On the recommendation of Neil Young the band chose David Briggs as the producer. It was a prolific time for the group's writers and the album was finally released in late 1970. Especially memorable was Randy California's poignant "Nature's Way," which was written in an afternoon when the group was playing at the Fillmore West in San Francisco.

Epic released an early mix of "Animal Zoo" as a single, but this only made it to #97 on the charts. Like The Who's Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus is critically regarded as a landmark of art rock, with a tapestry of literary themes about the fragility of life and the complexity of the human experience, illustrated by recurring lyric "life has just begun", and continued the group's pioneering exploration of environmental issues in their lyrics (cf. "Fresh Garbage"). The album is also notable for its inventive production and the use of a modular Moog synthesizer.

1971–1973

After the group undertook a promotional tour to support the album Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, Ferguson and Andes left the group, forming Jo Jo Gunne.

Bass player John Arliss initially took Andes' place, and California was still in the line-up, but he had suffered a head injury from a horse riding accident and was unable to tour. Bass player Al Staehely was recruited by Locke and Cassidy, and they toured briefly before deciding that they had to add a guitar player to do the music justice. Al's brother, John Christian Staehely auditioned for the band, and was quickly brought on board, with John departing the seminal Texas rock group "Krackerjack." Brothers John and Al, Cassidy and Locke, recorded the 1972 album Feedback in Columbia/Epic's Hollywood studios. It was a different turn for the group, showing more of a country-rock influence pervading their jazzier tendencies, but it also met with a mild commercial response, reaching #63 in the charts (the same position, ironically, that Sardonicus reached). The tour for Feedback proceeded very well for much of that year, but with musical roots that went different directions, eventually both Cassidy and Locke left the lineup, with the Staehely brothers recruiting Stu Perry to play drums. While the tour was well received critically, Spirit disbanded in mid-1973. The brothers would release their own album, Sta-Hay-Lee, in 1973.

California, meanwhile, had recorded and issued his first solo album, Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds, in late 1972. It featured appearances by Noel Redding (as 'Clit McTorius'), Leslie Sampson (the drummer from Noel's band Road, as 'Henry Manchovitz') and Cassidy and had a hard rock sound. After launching a brief tour to support the album, a follow-up album was recorded with Cassidy, entitled The Adventures Of Kaptain Kopter And Commander Cassidy In Potato Land. Though Locke made a guest appearance, it was not intended as a Spirit album at the time. Epic however rejected the completed album, and California moved to Molokai, Hawaii.

Epic Records decided to re-issue the group's first and third albums as a two-fer, entitled Spirit in 1973, in response to Sardonicus continuing to sell well, despite being off of the charts. They also issued a compilation album, The Best Of Spirit, that year, as well as releasing the Sardonicus track "Mr. Skin" as a single. Surprisingly, "Mr. Skin" became a minor hit, and the two-fer hit the charts (along with The Best Of Spirit), and there was new demand for the group. Cassidy decided to capitalize on this, and put together an entirely new group for touring purposes, which lasted throughout the year.

The Mercury years (1974-1979)

In 1974 Cassidy made it a point to find and re-establish contact with Randy California. He eventually persuaded California to return to the mainland and give the band another shot. Andes worked with the duo for a while, but never intended to stay, as he was in the process of working with the group Firefall at the same time. Sound engineer/bassist Barry Keene, who had been a personal sound engineer for Frank Zappa, joined the band as its bass player.

In early 1975, the group was supposed to be the opening act for Ten Years After at a show in Florida, but when Ten Years After backed out at the last minute, Spirit was granted permission to take over the theatre for the evening. After going around to local radio stations to promote the show and setting a low ($3) ticket price, Spirit managed to sell out the 3,000 seat theatre. Using the profits from the show, they blocked out as much time as they could at a Tampa studio, "Studio 70".

After recording a huge amount of material at the studio, their manager at the time, Marshall Berle (the nephew of Milton Berle), offered the material to Mercury Records. On the basis of the material, the group was offered a contract, and a double-album entitled Spirit of '76 was culled from the material and released in May 1975. The album garnered a bit of FM airplay, so they quickly followed it up with Son of Spirit, released early the next year and featuring many songs taken from the same sessions.

For the tour in support of Son of Spirit, Locke re-joined the group. Eventually, Andes returned to the line-up as well, and though Ferguson declined to participate in the group reunion at first, the band (with the addition of Mark's brother Matt Andes as a second guitarist) recorded an album entitled Farther Along.

The album returned the group to the U.S. charts one last time, peaking at #179. For a few shows at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Ferguson re-joined the group. Disaster struck, however, when an inebriated Neil Young walked onto stage to join the band during the final show's encore of "Like a Rolling Stone". Randy would later claim that he didn't recognize Young, but at the time was angry with Neil for upstaging what he saw as his own comeback to Southern California. Randy immediately moved over in front of Neil and began pushing him backwards, away from the microphone, back past the drumkit and offstage. Neil, along with a host of Hollywood music and film personas, including Hal Ashby, had been hanging out with the band backstage before they went on, and John Locke had invited him to join them in their encore. When Locke saw California pushing Young offstage, he got up from his piano and said that he had had enough and didn't ever want to play with Randy again, and promptly walked off stage. Cassidy initially quelled the situation by leaving his kit and physically pulling both California and Young back onstage to the microphone to close out the song, asking the audience to sing along with them. The audience stood, stunned at the scene that was playing out before them. The damage had been done, and the reunion ended that night.

Undaunted, California assembled what was basically a solo album as a Spirit album under the name Future Games: A Magical Kahauna Dream. Mercury released it in early 1977, but it received no promotion, and it ended what little bit of commercial momentum the group might have regained. It also (initially) ended their contract with Mercury. At the same time, former bandmate Jay Ferguson was having success in his solo career in late 1970s with the hits "Thunder Island" & "Shakedown Cruise".

The group, now down to a trio with new bassist Larry "Fuzzy" Knight, toured extensively throughout 1978, and recorded a live album (1977) that was released (in slightly different configurations) in several countries by different independent labels. It was not a commercial success, and after the tour's end in 1979, California left the group again.

The 1980s and beyond

After Spirit's demise, California put together another group with the intent of re-starting his solo career. This was short-lived, but while in England, a fan presented him with a petition of 5,000 signatures, requesting the release of the Potato Land album from 1973. In 1981, California put out a half-hearted version of the album, featuring only part of the original album (and what was there featured overdubbing done after the fact) with the addition of a few unrelated songs that were recorded in the late 1970s. It was released in the U.S. by Rhino Records (being one of the first albums that they released) and in England by Beggars Banquet Records, where it actually reached #40 in the UK Albums Chart (the only time they would chart in England), possibly due to the album being played by BBC Radio 1.

California's second solo album, Euro-American, was released in 1982 by Beggar's Banquet. He would release two more solo albums during the decade.

In December 1982, the original Spirit line-up reformed and recorded several songs from their first four albums (as well as a few new tracks) live on a soundstage. Though the album Spirit of '84 was initially recorded for an audiophile label, Mercury Records re-signed the band (and gave California a solo deal) and released the album in 1984. Despite the fact that all five original members were on the recording, and MTV played the video, the album was only a moderate success. Some of the original members went to do other projects, but California and Cassidy continued touring with new members Scott Monahan on keys and Dave Waterbury on bass.

California headed to England and recorded his third solo album, the contemporary hard rock Restless, in late 1985. Following a few live dates in England, California returned to the United States and resumed touring extensively with Cassidy, Monahan and Waterbury.

There was one more solo album from California; a collection of material entitled Shattered Dreams that was released in 1986. California secured a deal with I.R.S. Records, and Locke re-joined the band. They recorded an album in 1988 entitled Rapture in the Chambers, but it failed to return them to the charts.

The group self-released Tent Of Miracles in 1990 and set off on almost continually working for the next six years. Though they would release very few albums of new material during the decade, the group was always either recording or touring. California had his own home recording studio since the early 1980s, though he had been making home recordings for years prior to that. Sadly, this renewed vigor came to an end on January 2, 1997, when California drowned off the coast of Hawaii. He had been surfing with his son, who got caught in a riptide. He managed to push his son to safety, but ended up losing his own life.

Though Cassidy did play a few dates with some former Spirit alumni under the name "Spirit Revisited" in 1998, California's death was effectively the end of the group.

Locke died from complications due to lymphoma on 4 August 2006, although the date is sometimes given as 9 August.

Posthumous

California's passing, however, did not mark the end of the emergence of Spirit material. Starting in 2000, there have been five collections of previously unreleased studio and live material, four of which were two-CD sets. California had also prepared an anthology of material from the group's first stint with Mercury Records before he died entitled The Mercury Years. The two-CD set was released in early 1997, though it raised the ire of some fans who did not care for the fact that some of the material had been re-edited or featured overdubbing that was not present on the original releases.

Likewise, nearly all of Spirit's original albums are currently in print in CD. This is thanks to the efforts of Sony Records (with the Epic catalog, though Collector's Choice Music was the first to reissue Feedback on CD in the U.S., following a brief release on disc in France in the late 1990s) and Beat Goes On alongside Edsel, both UK labels (with the Mercury catalog, some of which had made it to CD prior to Beat Goes On and Edsel reissuing all of their Mercury albums). Their later independent albums are available through the group's website. The one album that is unavailable at this time is Rapture In The Chambers, which has not been reissued since the original 1988 release, though it was released on CD at that time.

Spirit has also found its work sampled by modern artists several times. The most notable of these was the "Extra P. Remix" of the song "Resurrection" by Common (which samples "Ice" from Clear) and "Feel Good Time" by Pink (which samples the track "Fresh Garbage").

Band members

Original lineup

Randy California (guitar, vocals)
Ed Cassidy (drums)
John Locke (keyboards)
Mark Andes (bass)
Jay Ferguson (vocals, percussion)

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MensagemAssunto: Re: Spirit   Dom 13 Mar 2011 - 12:39

O Spirit foi uma banda psicodelica ao extremo e gravou albuns primorosos,sua sonoridade mesclava Psicodelia,Hard,Progressivo e Jazz,são discos refinados,tenho os 4 primeiros ( "Spirit","The Family That Plays Together","Clear" e o clássico " Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus" ) esse ultimo album inclusive consta no livro "1001 discos para se ouvir antes de morrer",apesar desse ultimo album ser mais notório o de minha preferencia é o debut "Spirit" de 1968,podem ir na fé é uma bandaça

Dois integrantes do Spirit tiveram carreira fora da banda,o guitarrista Randy California gravou albuns na linha mais pesada,hard mesmo (destaque para o excelente "Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds") e Jay Ferguson fundou o Jo Jo Gunne (tenho o primeiro album homonimo,excelente tambem,a sonoridade vai na linha Hard/Southern Rock)
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MensagemAssunto: Re: Spirit   Sab 19 Mar 2011 - 3:40

Eu conheci a banda sobre aquele trecho, se eu não me engano de Taurus que lembra Stairway To Heaven. Sobre essa especulação, parece que foi importante para a banda pois deixou ela mais famosa, ainda mais com o Led no meio.

Enquanto a banda, eu gosto dela, e sendo que só cheguei a ouvir o primeiro e Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, ambos de qualidade !!!
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