The band Spirit were a band that should have been bigger. They influenced Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin (no matter what they say) and probably numerous others. They got a bit of success on FM radio back in the day, but never really struck it big. They broke up and were destined to go into history all but forgotten. That is until 2016. The family of the late Randy California attempted to sue Led Zeppelin for the song Stairway To Heaven. The family alleged Jimmy Page used the song composition from the song Taurus when he composed Stairway. Jimmy stated that although he owned a copy of the album Spirit, he never played it. I say bullshit Jimmy. I’ve listened to this album. There is no way you sit it on a shelf and never play it. I get Led Zeppelin’s stance though. They copied and pasted from so many musicians they would be broke paying everyone off. I think if this case had occurred in the early 70’s, Spirit would have won. Close to 50 years later though and Led Zep can hire the best lawyers and experts to trick a jury. Just like AC/DC says, money talks.
Fresh-Garbage – The first thing we hear on this song is the jazz background drummer Ed Cassidy(who also happened to be Randy California’s step father) exudes. His drumming is swaying, flowing, and picture perfect. The next is the amazing guitar work. Randy California was only 17 years old when this album was recorded. I can tell you he was better at 17 than 99% of the guitarists on the planet. The vocals are pretty awesome too. No wonder Pink Floyd sampled the song on Feel Good Time. This song is as far away from fresh garbage as a song can get. As a side note, Led Zeppelin played this song live in the early days. They were so good they could play a song by another band without listening to it.
Uncle Jack – This one has a very British feel to it. Sort of a early Floyd meets early The Who, and even though this may ruffle a few feathers, the guitar work may be even better.
Mechanical World – Horns, ticking cymbals dominate the start of this one. An almost cooler version of a circus song. Then Randy California wails and we submit.
Taurus – Jimmy Page snuck into Randy’s house and composed this one without any help from anyone. Ok.
Girl In Your Eye – The sitar playing dominates this one. It is really a period piece that suits the late 60’s, but yet somehow doesn’t sound dated. The song transitions into more amazing guitar work. Have I said that before?
Straight Arrow – More British flavoured pop goodness here. The coolest part of the song is the throat clearing and the gasping for air by the lead singer Jay Ferguson. It sounds like they recorded it first take with no dubs.
Topanga Windows – I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but the guitar work is ace. The subtle guitar work to start the song off is great, then the blues takes over. Almost a Bo Diddley meets early Steve Miller. Really good. The keyboard work by John Locke is really cool here too.
Gramophone Man – The start is very early Floyd like. I can almost hear Syd Barrett. Then the song morphs into a little jazz ditty. Then it morphs back again. Very cool indeed.
Water Woman – This is the only song on the album with writing credits by all of the band members. The bass work of Mark Andes is really cool and the sitar work is welcomed back. This song reminds me of a song The Guess Who would do.
The Great Canyon Fire In General – A cool mix of rock and jazz. Piano, guitar, amazing drumming and wonderful vocals dominate this one. The vocal harmony on the fade out of the song is great too.
Elijah – What would you get if Gene Krupa and Rick Wright had decided to do an instrumental jam with The Allman Brothers Band? This song right here.
Cd reissues of this album have bonus tracks. There was a SACD version released in 2017 I may also look into. It is so good it’s worth buying twice.
This is my first Spirit album. It will definitely not be my last.