In order to explore the Spirit concept album The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus on its golden anniversary, we sit down with singer/ songwriter/ keyboard player Jay Ferguson to capture the spirit of the times through the best-known music of that eclectic Southern California band, including Spirit essentials “I Got a Line on You”, “Dark Eyed Woman”,”Fresh Garbage”,”Mr. Skin“, and the timeless “Nature’s Way“.
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, who along with Mark Andes and brother Matt Andes would go on to success in Jo Jo Gunne, does a fine job in this classic rock interview 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