Spirit-Best with Jay Ferguson

Spirit was an interesting amalgam of opposites and contrasts which reflected many of the various musical styles informing late-1960s Southern California. Singer/songwriter Jay Ferguson, bass player Mark Andes, and keyboard player John Locke were talented teenagers influenced by the Beach Boys, Mamas and the Papas, and The Byrds; psychedelic blues guitarist Randy Wolfe (nee Randy California) was only 16 when Spirit started, having received that nickname while backing up Jimmy James before he evolved into Jimi Hendrix; and veteran drummer Ed Cassidy, twice the age of the others, was a serious West Coast jazzer who jammed with Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, and Art Pepper. Jay Ferguson does a fine job chronicling the times through the Spirit songs “I Got a Line on You”,”Dark Eyed Woman”,”Animal Zoo”,” Mr Skin”, and “Nature’s Way” ( those last three from their most popular album, 1970’s The Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus ) while delivering a touching eulogy to his lifelong friend Randy California. –Redbeard

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