February 5, 2010
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus
This is one of the first "psychedelic" albums I ever listened to. I really loved it right from the very first time I heard it back in the mid 70's. It was released in 1970. The group as it was then broke up shortly after its release. The band has been together in some form since the early days. The groups leader, Randy California, died in 1997 while surfing and Spirit essentially ceased to exist. He died while saving his son who was surfing with him.
Randy was the main creative force behind the band with Ed Cassidy on drums. Ed's signature bald head was the impetus for the song "Mr. Skin". Also in the early band was Jay Ferguson, who went onto a solo career after a 3 year stint with the band Jo Jo Gunne. Rounding out the band were John Locke on keyboards and Mark Andes (who followed Jay to Jo Jo) on base guitar.
Randy was heavily influenced by and earlier played with Jimi Hendrix before Hendrix was Hendrix in Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in 1966. He also influenced none other than Jimmy Page early in his career as well. Ed Cassidy was nearly 20 years older than the rest of the band having earlier played with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder. Jay Ferguson's later solo career brought him a huge hit in "Thunder Island".
Twelve Dreams was a monumental recording produced by David Briggs who was recommended by Neil Young. The concept was a sci-fi, psychedelic masterpiece. Spirit fused elements of jazz, folk and rock, but also introduced a new "space rock" element. This album also introduced the newly developed Moog synthesizer.
My personal favorite song could be the anthem for the current environmental movement. The whole album has a real cool sound that your trip was enriched by listening to. Give "Natures Way" a listen yourself right here. Enjoy!