SPIRIT TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS, Epic E 30267 or KE 30267 (yellow or orange ‘target’ label)
A time capsule of brilliant psychedelia, short tuneful tracks, including “Nature’s Way” and “StreetWorm” featuring Randy California. California, so nicknamed by Jimi Hendrix, was invited by Hendrix to travel to England to start a new band. Randy’s mom nixed that plan (Randy was only 15 at the time). Hendrix formed the Experience, and the rest is history. California formed Spirit with his stepfather, Ed Cassidy. The band achieved a hit with “I’ve Got a Line on You,” but they were far more interesting, musically, than that pop single would suggest- they fused jazz, hard rock and psych (check out the track “Fresh Garbage” which is on the band’s first, self-titled album). Spirit was a significant band at the time, so much so that Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit on Zep’s first U.S. tour. This album is probably the best place to start and of all their albums, the one I have come back to over the years. Today, a mostly forgotten album by an almost forgotten band that can and should be enjoyed in its entirety. No song sounds ‘the same’ and all push the limits. (Although the album was an “underground” favorite at the time, the track “Nature’s Way” eventually got radio play, more as a ‘soft’ rock entry than as part of this gem of psych rock). California died tragically while saving his young son from drowning in the late ’90’s. The album has been reissued, but should not be difficult to find in an early Epic pressing, which I prefer, sonically.