But the sound of the vinyl left a lot to be desired. She Smiles is a bitter-sweet ballad. Of course, he can still play those formidable solos, as I'll argue when discussing the individual songs. The credits as per the original album: Produced by Lou Adler. Here it starts with vibes, a piano arpeggio, phased cymbals, a guitar melody.
Silky Sam starts with guitar arpeggios, bass, strings, then a choral explosion acting as the song's chorus. The first side of this record is a wonderful and seamless suite, and taken in its entirety, one of the greatest sides on Los Angeles rock. Time for a poker game, then the song starts again. Jewish starts with a slow cadenza, hymn-like vocals. Now Or Anywhere, by Ferguson, can be said to anticipate the more simpler-sounding, hard-hitting rock-blues climates that appear on the group's next two albums. Darlin' If is bound to remind one of The Band. Dream Within A Dream is the first of the three contributions penned by Ferguson which take the album to its exciting conclusion.
Great twin-guitar solo, then a guitar-bass unison a very delicate-sounding part. The Sony re-release with bonus tracks from 1996 featured a new mix and a new mastering, both by Vic Anesini. Having the bass guitar and the rhythm guitar on Silky Sam louder only made Jay Ferguson's vocals sound smaller, so making the story told in the song smaller, and less poetic. I vaguely remember a different stereo album on Sundazed? The group had also improved measurably from their fine debut album, especially in the area of vocals. A lot within a simple structure. I Got A Line On You is the group's only, tiny commercial move, the first song performed by the group penned by Randy California. Poor Richard starts with a heavy-sounding bass riff.
Cut, new section, piano, fine jazzy solo, cut, drum solo, then a fine solo guitar part, the piano feeding the chords. Strings and brass arrangements by Marty Paich. Beppe Colli © Beppe Colli 2017 CloudsandClocks. It has to be said that Fog and Now Or Nowhere, recorded and mixed at the time the group was working on the album, had already appeared on the above-mentioned Time Circle. A light, joyful song, featuring piano, guitars, and excellent vocals by Jay Ferguson. Then it's back to the piano phrase with chords, and the guitar melody. Piano, a fine intermezzo for arpeggiated guitar and bass, an excellent string section.
Here's a quick introduction to the individual tracks featured here. I usually don't like bonus tracks, especially so when added to works from an era when side ending and album closing were carefully planned. And it's Randy California's signature as songwriter and vocalist that's the true innovation on this album. This is especially true of Randy California, a brilliant presence as a guitarist on the first album but whose contribution as a songwriter and singer until then had been minimal. The only exception for this being the group Spirit. Fog, by Locke e Cassidy, anticipates Clear's orchestral-movie soundtrack climates. A track that will sound differently with every listening session.
Piano, a clean-sounding melody, a fine melodic development in the chorus. A crescendo with brass and another guitar solo with bending and - I think - just a pinch of wha-wha. Dating records is not my forte, so I don't know whether my copy is a re-release from 1972, which I'm told exists, or what. Drunkard is another portrait penned by Ferguson. On this, the second album, the group put all of the elements together that made them the legendary and underrated band that they were. A great composer and singer, Jay Ferguson is once again the group's fulcrum. Engineered by Eric Wienbang, Armin Stiener.
The remaining tracks were mixed by Vic Anesini in '96. . An orchestral interlude that sounds as it's taken from a movie soundtrack, then the song fades. An apocalyptic ending with solo guitar, piano, strings. Space Chile, by Locke, will appear, with a synth-based instrumentation, on Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Then it's back to the beginning.
Mellow Fellow, by Locke, starts with electric piano, percussion, a melody for solo guitar, a melodic-sounding intermezzo that's bound to remind one of the Doors, then an excellent guitar solo, a very well-organized drum solo, a string line in the background. Maybe a Fender Rhodes, or a different Wurlitzer model? A ballad well served by Randy California's lead vocals and by Ferguson's background. This new version released on Audio Fidelity is what I've always hoped would exist, but didn't. It goes without saying that I've never ever seen an original Ode of this album. It Shall Be, penned by California and Locke, starts with an arpeggio for electric piano, percussion, bass, flute, vocals, strings. Sure, I have no trouble admitting that The Family That Plays Together - the group's second album, originally released on Ode at the end of '68, whose original mix appears here for the first time since - is the Spirit album I've listened to the most in the last four decades, which I suppose in a pragmatic sense qualifies it as being my favourite Spirit album, and the one I know better anyway.