Friday, February 6, 2009
this is the first entry of my baker's dozen greatest ignored, ridiculed, rejected list of albums from way back when.
there are several things that strike me about the group prior to even listening to the album:
skip spence was the original drummer for jefferson airplane.
he was the guitarist for moby grape.
they really only lasted for two albums.
you'd think they'd be somewhere in the beau brummels realm of music history, right?
listening to the first album:
i'm struck by the diversity of genres they explore. several songs are nearly straight-up country. they sound eerily like "american beauty" era grateful dead here. & the byrds("ain't no use" "hey grandma").
then they soar off into typical 60s psychedelia sounding like early airplane, spirit, quicksilver but w/lots of differing tempos. acoustic songs break into electric jams. lyrics range from straightforward to hippy-dippy.
one thing that you can really hear is the 60s production penchant for mixing down the bass & mixing up trebly vocals & instruments. i remember reading a long time ago that led zeppelin sounds heavy NOW(as opposed to many "heavy" bands of the same era) because they knew to mix UP the jones/bonham bass/drum combo.
all in all, i can put their first album on & enjoy it from start to finish. remember when they used to make whole albums? it certainly doesn't rank w/the greatest whole albums of all time(astral weeks, blond on blond, music from big pink)but there aren't any real weak songs. the fact that they utilized several genres before others who became better known for using those genres & did them as well adds depth.
additional interesting aspects:
skip spence went on to make the cult album "oar." it received it's own tribute album which featured tom waits among others.
cat power covered "naked, if i want to."