Saturday, January 24, 2009

$6 motel recovery

My PC is badly in need of one of its regular dusting downs; a time-consuming process which fills me with dread. It has already gone into thermal shutdown mode twice this morning in order to protect itself from permanent damage, so if I suddenly disappear into the ether you will know the reason why.

My Hard Drive is choking on unnecessary data. My memory is failing. Were REM not senior citizens - or close to it - they would probably have called themselves RAM. As it is, I tend to be less gung-ho about such technical matters than someone significantly younger.

I perspire and curse a lot, and my hands perceptibly tremble.

And that's just on account of the alcohol.

My reference to Topanga Canyon in a recent post no doubt prompted me to dig this out. I've touched on Spirit previously - their 1968 debut, specifically - but since we are at the beginning of a new year, it seems fitting to dredge up a release from 40 years ago precisely... Actually, I have also featured "Ice" from "Clear", too, so just to keep the threadbare Charlie theme running a while longer let's turn our attention to their second release for Ode - an imprint of Columbia - "The Family that Plays Together Stays Together".

Not as jazz oriented as either their debut or "Clear", this LP, I would argue, is far more conventially alligned and radio friendly. This track showcases some nicely underplayed acoustic work from the late Randy California. The sound of Los Angeles, CA before Helter Skelter.

Randy California: guitar, vocals; Mark Andes: bass; Ed Cassidy: drums;
John Locke: keyboards; Jay Ferguson: vocals, percussion.

Produced by Lou Adler.

SPIRIT: SHE SMILES from "The Family That Plays Together Stays Together" LP (Ode/Columbia) 1968 (US)


Anonymous said...

great band, lucky enough to have seen them live once. Randy California wasa genius.

ib said...

A friend of mine - a guitarist and a big Randy California admirer - turned me on to them some twenty years back. I'd like to have seen Spirit play up a storm in person. The same could be said of too many musicians and bands, sadly. Thanks for the comment, Stewart.


I'm sure you're more than familiar with the story of the legendary meeting between Randy Wolfe & Jimi Hendrix in a music store in New York City & Randy's subsequent joining Jimi James & the Blue Flames & being named Randy California by Hendrix himself & not being allowed by his parents to travel to England & then not becoming the second guitar player in The Experience.

Long ago I wrote an alternate-reality story about what happened when his parents let Randy go to England. It had the much happier ending of him not drowning in Hawaii.

I was privileged enough to have seen Spirit many times while living in San Jose,CA. in the late 60s early 70s. I was an acquaintance of both Randy & his stepdad, Ed Cassidy. I saw one of the greatest Spirit shows ever at a small club in the Santa Cruz Mountains called Chateau Liberte (R.I.P.), a re-vitalized stagecoach stop from the mid 19th century. Maybe 200 present...The Twelve Dreams had just come out, 1970 I believe. It was one of the most magickal nights. Randy California is a Guitar Godhead.

But I'm having a flashback...gotta go.


Well, the flashback is over & the Alzheimers has set in. I completely forgot, being swept away on a wave of the alternate reality story (called I think I recall, The Experience) Jimi doesn't choke on his vomit & also lives on.

ib said...

Actually, I hadn't heard the story of Jimi giving Randy Wolfe the "California" moniker. Or the rest.

Ed Cassidy was (is ?) a great drummer. I should probably look it up, but it would feel somehow sneaky. "Dr. Sardonicus" is a great album; "Clear" is possibly the LP I've enjoyed the most.

I'm listening to "Nature's Way" off "Sardonicus" as I type this, coincidentally or otherwise. What a song...

Flashbacks reset the body's balance, from(m)e time to time. I'd like to read "The Experience" sometime. I'm back up on my feet myself after an night of unsound slumber which felt more like an attempt to escape into hibernation. I did not succeed.