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.

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