Sunday, October 21, 2007

Best (Live) Spirit release ever

Just released this month, (well a little earlier in the UK) is a new collection of music by Spirit, which could be one of the best ever retrospective releases of live songs by the band.

As Spin over in the UK notes: " From the same label (Acadia) that brought you 'The Euro-American Years', this is a 3 CD set made up of live and studio material all taken from the archives of Randy California. CDs One and Two are made up of tracks recorded in the Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, Ebbetts Field, Denver, Colorado and the Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, Texas. CD three is all unreleased studio material."
From looking at the track listing from discs 1 and 2 what you are getting is live versions of most of the songs found on Spirit of 76, only these are from live performances in 1974, with a Spirit line up consisting of mainly Randy California, Ed Cassidy, and Mark Andes.

For Spirit fans, it is as if the temple has finally opened to treasures we didn't even know existed.

Look at the listing for Disc 1:
1 Veruska
2 Storm In The Night
3 Like A Rolling Stone
4 I've Got To Use My Imagination
5 Fresh Garbage
6 Devil
7 Kristee
8 My Road
9 Old Blue
10 Joker On The Run
11 So Little Time To Fly
12 All Along The Watchtower
13 I Can't Get No (Satisfaction)
14 Same Old Thing Urantia

Some of these songs, I don't believe 'live' versions have been available before. Veruska has to be one of the more powerful pure pyschedelic songs ever recorded. I can only imagine what it sounds like live, as performed in 1974.

Highlights for me from Disc 2 are :'Electro Jam/Mr Skin ', On The Road Again ,Happy , Guide Me , It's All The Same , and Hey Joe.

Disc 3 appears to be studio recordings and has a Spirit cover of Dylan's 'Positively Fourth Street', something I had no idea they had ever done.
Other cuts that intrigue me are: Maybe You'll Find , Looking Into Darkness , Circle , It's Time Now , So Happy Now , Miss Lani , and You're So Beautiful . For me personally, I am seeing songs here I have never heard before, and had no idea Spirit had ever done them.

In a way it's a shame such Spirit releases didn't come out earlier, say in the late 70's or early 80's. One can speculate about a live version of Veruska being played on radio, and I believe if this had been released by the mid-80s it would have sparked a lot of interest in Spirit as it was in its Tent of Miracles phase.

I have to add that I haven't received the cd set yet, but am eagerly looking forward to encountering it. For hard core Spirit fans it has to be a must have , and for others who might be interested in how this unique band sounded at live concerts in 1974, this could be a revelation, if not salvation.
JP sez check it out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound

A new book just about the 13th Floor Elevators has been released. I can't review it yet, as I just ordered it. It is likely the first full lenght book to come out about the 13th Floor Elevators.

Here is a precis of a review from

"One of the most exhilarating and important rock 'n' roll stories ever told."Julian Cope The trailblazing 13th Floor Elevators released the first "psychedelic" rock album in America, transforming culture throughout the 1960s and beyond. The Elevators followed their own spiritual cosmic agenda, to change society by finding a new path to enlightenment. Their battles with repressive authorities in Texas and their escape to San Francisco's embryonic counterculture are legendary. When the Elevators returned to Texas, the band became subject to investigation by Austin police. Lead singer Roky Erickson was forced into a real-life enactment of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and was put away in a maximum-security unit for the criminally insane for years. Tommy Hall, their Svengali lyricist, lived in a cave. Guitarist Stacy Sutherland was imprisoned. The drummer was involuntarily subjected to electric shock treatments, and the bassist was drafted into the Vietnam War. This fascinating biography breaks decades of silence of band members and addresses a huge cult following of Elevators fans in the United States and Europe. The group is revered as a formative influence on Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Patti Smith, Primal Scream, R.E.M, and Z.Z. Top. "

Coming in at 454 pages, it looks to provide a lot of information about the Elevators in one spot, that has never been provided in a narrative fashion before.

As Julian Cope notes over at Process press(which is the publisher):
" rammed with arcane facts, interviews, colour plates, discographies, a foreword by Yours Truly, and as scrupulous an oral history of this most essential bunch of Gurdjeffian refusenecks (or should that be redniks?) as only the truly Utopian voyager could have delivered to our doors."

I look forward to getting my hands on this one.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

In transition

Haven't posted for a while, and I gather in the blogosphere world this is a cardinal sin, but I have been in the process of moving from Texas to Santa Fe , New Mexico, so that is the TimeCoaster's excuse.

Actually ended up making three trips in all. Did one long haul traveling across West Texas via Abilene, Post, Lubbock, then thru Clovis to Ft. Sumner, and thence to SF.

Discoveries along the way were that Leal's in Clovis has excellent Mexican Food, for the weary traveler. The tacos were good, and the pinto beans very finely done.

Then I found, having no cd player in the vehicle I was at the mercy of Fm stations. Not being all that enamoured of country, I was hitting the buttons like crazy trying to find something to listen to.
One rule of thumb, I found to be true crossing Texas, is that between 100 and 107.9 on the FM dial, at any one time there is usually at least one station playing a song by the Doors. Led Zepplin just about fits into this rule of thumb too.

Also heard this Christian radio commentator on how Christians are discriminated against in this country, and W, is unpopular because he does the right thing, and the liberal media is committed to tearing him down.

I would demure on this and point out, that if 'W's approval rating is below 30 % it is highly likely that over 70% of the country disapproves of what he is doing. For seven years he has run the country appealing just to his 30 percentile point base. Hardly any American president has ever chosen to ignore the wishes of the rest of the citzenry for so long.
Therefore I predict that this ignoring of the politics and wishes of 70% of the country is at some point going to come back to haunt 'W' and the Republicans.

But as a socio phenomena it is interesting that in the eyes of Christian radio, he -'W', can do no wrong. Altered universe some people are living in.

So listening to FM radio, and even AM in rural Texas, at times gave me insights into different viewpoints I would otherwise not encounter.

So be it. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but some opinions carry more weight than others. And if the GOP chooses to ignore 70 % of the country, they may someday find themselves with only 30% support.
The writing is on the wall.