Essential Listening: Spirit – At Ebbets Field 1974 (CD)

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At Ebbets Field 1974 (CD)

A legendary show from a legendary collective, by 1974 LA groovers Spirit had been in existence eight years, released five critically acclaimed albums and the mainstays, Randy California (named by Jimi Hendrix while the man christened Randy Wolfe was with his early group The Red Roosters), drummer Ed Cassidy (Mr Skin to his friends, notable for his shiny pate) and bassist Mark Andes were back playing together for the first time in three years.

The group had reformed in early 1974 after Andes and original vocalist Jay Ferguson had left in 1971 to form the short lived Jo Jo Gunne. A 1972 tour and album by a version of Spirit that included only Ed Cassidy from the original line-up followed (California had suffered a riding accident and had all but left the group by this time) and the inevitable official split came by the end of that year, But following a re-issue program that put Spirit back on the Billboard charts, Cassidy made a point of seeking out California (by then living in Hawaii) and persuaded him to return to the mainland and to the fold. Prior to recording a new album the reunited trio went out on the road.

This recording is the best example of where Sprit were at by this crossroads in their career, and the track list speaks for itself. California and Cassidy would of course go on to record one of their most acclaimed album early the following year - although by this time Andes had left again to play with Firefall. Spirit Of 76 was released (confusingly) in May 1975 and was greatly influenced by the time Randy had spent in Hawaii. The record was the first of the band s for Mercury Records, an era of four albums in five years which remain a classic era for this sometimes forgotten collective although rarely by anyone who has ever sat up and listened to the remarkable music they made.

1. Love Will Open Your Door > Stormy Night 08:08
2. America the Beautiful/The Times They Are Changing 05:54
3. Happy Birthday/My Imagination 05:17
4. Nature s Way 03:27
5. All Along the Watchtower 08:54
6. Satisfaction 04:57
7. Kristee/My Road 06:20
8. Same Old Thing/Urantia 05:52
9. Veruska 05:07
10. Better Run 05:10
11. Sunrise 03:54
12. Guide Me 04:10
13. So Little Time to Fly 03:03
14. Go Down 01:58
15. All the Same 06:17
16. I Got a Line on You 03:37
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