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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2016
Not very good
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on 5 August 2014
In my opinion Spirit was one of the best rock groups and ranks up there with The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles and the Pink Floyd. This is west coast music par excellence. The band is very under rated. I like the mixture of rock, jazz, folk and classical music. The psychedelic and progressive rock elements are always rhythmic and melodic and the band has a light touch just like the Moody Blues. I have played my Spirit LPs so much that they are beginning to distort the music and wear out. So I have converted to digital recordings. Spirit were very influential and their song writing and playing were second to none. Ed Cassidy played with Thelonious Monk and Randy California learnt some of his trade from Jimi Hendrix. John Locke brought a classical influence and Jay Ferguson combined all these influences with his brilliant songwriting.

As the previous reviewers have remarked the track Taurus had a heavy influence on Led Zeppelin's Stairway to heaven and it is worth buying this album to make the comparison.

The opening bars of "Fresh Garbage" crop up in the P!nk song "Feel Good Time" and this was one of the theme tunes to the 2003 film "Charlie's Angels". I don't suppose the producers of the song and the film saw the irony of using a riff from "Fresh Garbage".

To get yourself back to 1968 you must buy this album. My favourite Spirit album is "Clear" because of the jazz influence.
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VINE VOICEon 14 February 2008
Spirit seem to be best-known for their 'Dr Sardonicus' album, but all of their first four albums are superb. This debut sounds like the work of a more mature, yet inspired rock band and they certainly had an impressive pedigree. Drummer Ed Cassidy was teenage guitarist Randy California's (Wolfe) stepfather and an experienced jazz sideman. California, meanwhile, had played alongside Jimi Hendrix. His style was less about riffing and more about tone and substance; both man and boy were imaginative team players. Jay Ferguson provided most of the songwriting creativity and, together with the already experienced bassist Mark Andes, the looks. John Locke was the keyboard boffin whose jazzy instrumental, 'Elijah,' sprawls across more than ten minutes of this album.

'Spirit' is crammed with great ideas and benefits from an unusually dense production which lends it gravity. The most unusual items are the dramatic, staccato horn-backed 'Mechanical World,' the other-wordly 'Taurus,' renowned for giving Jimmy Page his intro to 'Stairway to Heaven' and the aforementioned 'Elijah' which may at first require patience.

Ferguson's often eerie vocal style dates the album, but is effective. Straight rock with well-crafted melody is the order of the day for most of the tracks, especially 'Uncle Jack,' while 'Water Woman' was considered good enough for a couple of obscure British bands to cover. The bonus tracks are pretty good too. 'Veruska' was later recorded for the double-set 'Spirit of '76.' This album ought to be regarded as one of the big-hitters of its era.
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on 26 January 2008
Quite right, John L. Dyble. But here's another review to keep yours company! A superb debut, even if it's not my all-time favourite Spirit album. It gives a good insight into the group's original style and extraordinary range, although remaining a formative work. The trio of opening tracks is utterly fabulous. And "Mechanical World" is, quite undoubtedly, one of the group's very finest songs.
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on 25 January 2008
Amazing that no one has yet passed comment of one of the finest debut albums of the 60's. Spirit had a very original and distinctive sound that meshed blues,jazz and rock in an manner that was simply stunning to the ear,which unfortunately in my opinion they seem to lose a little on later albums. The opening chord sequences of Fresh Garbage were some time back ripped off by some American female non-entity. Uncle Jack and Mechanical World are two examples of this bands creativeness. Jay Ferguson demonstrates what a great singer/songwriter he was as he wrote most of the material.
Along with Crown of Creation, the two best albums of 68 without a shadow of doubt. Buy it
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on 11 March 2008
The 40th anniversary of its release seems an appropriate time to review this classic album, which I would place on a par with Love's FOREVER CHANGES. Consider the similarities:
Both albums contain 11 tracks, with a running time of around 42 minutes.
The release dates (Nov.'67 & Feb.'68) are just 3 months apart.
Arthur Lee, leader of Love, wrote 9 of 11 cuts on FC, Jay Ferguson, leader of Spirit wrote or co-wrote 9 of the 11 tracks here.
Both albums were critically-acclaimed but commercial flops.
Both are full of drug-induced eeriness with tremendous 'grow-on-you' appeal - they have DEPTH.
Both issued on small, independent labels (Elektra & Ode) owned by charismatic individuals (Jac Holzman & Lou Adler respectively).
Both are true concept albums, as opposed to the contrived variety.
Neither album yielded a hit single.
Both sleeves feature 5 heads of group members moulded into one.
Both groups have Jimi Hendrix connection (Arthur Lee produced 'My Diary' by Rosalie Brooks in 1964 with Jimi on guitar, while Randy California played with Jimi, c.1966).
Both outfits have a bald connection! (Arthur lost his hair through an accident, while Ed Cassidy is Spirit's famous bald drummer).
Both groups lived together in unusual houses in LA area during this time.
Love were originally called the Grass Roots, but switched when they discovered another group with that name, who were on the Dunhill label, owned by....Lou Adler.
As for the music, both albums have anti-city tracks: (Daily Planet/Topanga windows), a song about death: (Red Telephone/Mechanical World), oblique references to Native Americans: (Live & Let Live/Straight Arrow), songs relating to specific girls: (Andmoreagain/Girl in your eye), plus an extended piece over 6 minutes: (You set the scene/Elijah).
The main differences are that SPIRIT is heavier & jazzier, the electric piano is featured prominently, and the material lends itself to improvisation quite naturally (in which it has more in common with Steely Dan's brilliant debut album, CAN'T BUY A THRILL).
In short, a psychedelic/jazz-rock classic that only improves with age, and quintessential listening for any fan of the era.
The 4 bonus tracks 12-15 are, to me, expendable.
(PS - A previous reviewer states that 'Water Woman' was covered by some obscure British psychedelic bands of the day. Well, 'Gramophone Man' was also covered - by UK group Woody Kern, on their debut 1969 album, 'Awful disclosures of Maria Monk.' I won't say their version was awful - just not as good as Spirit's).
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on 11 July 2015
Sorry guys but it is weak in many areas and annoys on replay. Then you get the sparks of the genius stuff you produced later on. Worth having for reference though.
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on 19 January 2014
Classic from the Sixties. Reissue contains rock's greatest riff (Fresh Garbage) and the origin of LedZep's Stairway to Heaven (Taurus).
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on 16 May 2016
Bought mainly to compare Tauru/Stairway to Heaven riff - convinced!
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on 10 July 2008
Spirit's first album is a curious, brave, but not always satisfying mixture of styles, reflecting the fairly diverse background of the group's members. While the playing and singing is consistently good - backed up by some exceptional drumming from R&B and jazz veteran Ed Cassidy - several of the tracks verge on the seriously lightweight in terms of lyrics and melody and, while they were considered "where it's at" at the time, are definitely preserved in aspic.

The first "ecological" number reflects a lot of what follows... cool (for the time) lyrics "look beneath your lid this morning see the things you didn't quite consume", very catchy tune with an insidious back-beat that's been extensively sampled, superb but derivative jazz tinged piano break, excellent singing and nice soft landing. Too pretty ?... too clever ?... Well yes, but it's a great track.

And so it goes. "The Girl In Your Eye" with its sitar backing verges on the horribly quaint but... it's good, "Straight Arrow" with its simple melody contains a short, but excellent jazzy break that lifts it into the unforgettable zone, "Uncle Jack" perfectly captures "underground" rock & roll c.1968 and "Elijah" is about as close as you can get to straight jazz as played by a pop group.

It's like Love meet the Byrds, the Beatles and Horace Silver on a laid back day. Or... well that's the problem. I remember seeing a concert review from around 1968/9 that criticised the band for playing exactly as you heard them on the record. Is that good or bad? Who knows, but it sums up this odd album... polished and clever... almost a classic but lacking something.
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