Jay Ferguson- vocals and percussion.
Randy California- guitar and vocals
Mark Andes- bass and vocals
John Locke- keyboards
Ed Cassidy- drums and percussion
This is a re/release of the second of Spirit's albums and has 5 bonus tracks. The sound has been upgraded by remastering and its nice being able to hear everything.
This was the follow up to the self titled debut. This album spawned a bonafide rock classic in the form of "I got a line on you". This song is different than the other tunes here in that the guitar is more upfront in the mix and when Randy does his solo its almost perfect in its feel. While the band is a rather clever mix of hard rock and jazz mixed with pop its never had a problem coming up with interesting ideas and approaches to their tunes and arranging. The debut showed they have lots of neat, cool ideas and for the most part it made the debut truly different.
I think of Randy California's playing as a nice after thought since he never really steps to the fore and show how he can "smoke". On this album his playing seems relegated to background guitar noises and fuzzy psychedelic effects. I think he steps forward on only 2 or 3 tunes so his classification as guitar hero is unfounded.
This CD has some nice tunes but one thing is that most of it seems to be in the same tempo making it somewhat less than adequate at keeping your interest. Some view this as a more cohesive set of tunes than the debut. I see it as "more boring and less chance taking" and therefore a drop in overall quality than the debut. Where's the sitars and other world beat instruments found on the debut?
The song "Aren't you glad?" is another excellent song here and while it comes from the hippy/psychedelic era this one seems transcendent of this era. Most of the other songs have little bits of lyrics/musical phrases that make it instantly recognizable as something from the psychedelic/hippy era. "Dream within a dream" is a song which talks about the afterlife and Jay's ideas about what happens once you die.
The bonus songs are nice and a couple sound like they should have been on here originally since they are excellent songs in their own right. There is a Latin jazz rock tune that predates Santana and is real nice, its called "Mellow fellow". There is another Jay tune called "so little to say" that mixes a classic upbeat pop sound with a layered sustained Randy guitar solo. Two John Locke tunes are instrumentals and are very nice. "Space child" has a weird disjointed bridge in it and screams "add lyrics to me!". The only thing I didn't like about this song is a drum solo.
The CD is called The Family.. and it is that since the band, their wives and girlfriends all lived in a house together in Topanga Canyon.
This is to me not as exciting as the debut and while it had a hit it was actually kind of a holding pattern to their musical growth as a jazzy/hard rock/pop band. A very good CD but not as good as the debut or even The 12 Dreams.. but still a worthy slice of all things Spirit.