Spirit: The Family That Plays Together
In November 1968, Spirit follows up their impressive first album with an even stronger and more polished second album, again produced by Lou Adler with arrangements by Marty Paich.
The album starts out with Randy California’s rock classic “I Got A Line On You Babe”, first released as a single a couple of months prior to availability of the album, achieving some airplay on FM radio before later becoming a modest hit on AM. Full of energy and unstoppable enthusiasm with a aggressive, celebratory guitar work, it represents youthful romantic optimism reversing the viewpoint of that classic Kink’s song “You Really Got Me” but sharing many musical and emotional qualities.
“It Shall Be” is evocatively sensual with flute and wordless vocals alternating in A-B-A-B-A form with a more down-to-earth B section. This is followed by a set of three semi-psychedelic songs by Jay Ferguson, and a country-like tune, “Darlin’ If” composed by Randy California
Side two opens up strongly with “It’s All the Same,” a mixture between psychedelic and early seventies rock, including a brief, relatively uninteresting drum solo in the middle. The second track, is Caifornia’s “Jewish”, a short but expressive modal-melody pre-progressive track with Hebrew lyrics. The album ends with with three more Jay Ferguson tracks, each with its distinct identity but all three incorporating elements of the psychedelic era of songwriting; note the intriguing guitar work in the not-always-so-consistently-interesting last track, “Aren’t You Glad.”
Bonus tracks are available on the CD, including the artful, ambient instrumental, “Fog” and two other instrumentals by keyboardist John Locke as well as Ferguson’s sweeping, gothically dark “Now or Anywhere.”
Track listing [from Wikipedia]
|1.||“I Got a Line on You“||Randy California||2:39|
|2.||“It Shall Be”||3:24|
|3.||“Poor Richard”||Jay Ferguson||2:31|
|7.||“It’s All the Same”||4:41|
|9.||“Dream Within a Dream”||Ferguson||3:13|
|11.||“Aren’t You Glad”||Ferguson||5:25|
|1996 reissue bonus tracks|
|13.||“So Little to Say”||Ferguson||2:58|
|15.||“Now or Anywhere”||Ferguson||4:20|
- Jay Ferguson – lead vocals, keyboards, percussion
- Randy California – lead guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals, bass
- John Locke – keyboards
- Mark Andes – bass, backing vocals
- Ed Cassidy – drums, percussion
Pentangle: Sweet Child
This fine double album, one LP from a live concert in June 1968, and the other from 1968 studio recordings, sparkles with precise, consistently clearly articulated acoustic and vocal passages that nicely blend folk, rock, jazz and classical renaissance elements to provide an engaging audio and musical experience. Highlights of the live LP include Danny Thompson’s rendition of Mingus’s Haitian Fight Song, the group’s interesting take on Mingus’s homage to legendary Lester Young, “Good Bye, Pork Pie”, and the medley of three renaissance dances. Highlights of the studio LP include the immersive contrapuntal “Three Part Thing”, Jaqui McShee’s rendition of “Sovay”, the jazzy Brubeck-like instrumental “In Time”, the bluesy “I’ve Got a Feeling”, the classic folksy “The Trees They Do Grow High” and the final track of side two, “Hole in the Coal.” Throughout the four sides the interplay between the two guitars and bass is exceptional. Additional tracks are available on CD that were not on the original two LP Set.