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Spirit: The Family That Plays Together

Spirit: The Family That Plays Together

Audio Fidelity  AFZ 260

Stereo Hybrid

Pop/Rock


Spirit


Includes the HIT, "I Got A Line On You" and 5 BONUS Tracks!

The Family That Plays Together was released in December 1968. On this, the second Spirit album, the group put all of the elements together that made them the legendary band that they were. The Family That Plays Together displays the band's ability to play beyond the genre of psychedelic rock. Jazz, rock & roll, and even classical elements combined to create one of the cleanest, most tasteful syntheses of its day. The album's hit single, "I Got a Line on You," boasts especially strong harmonies as well as one of the greatest rock riffs of the period.

Ed CassidySpirit's songs covered about every subject under the sun. The first half of the recording is a wonderful and seamless suite, and taken in its entirety, one of the greatest sides on Los Angeles rock. The SACD includes some excellent bonus tracks. "So Little to Say" is one of Jay Ferguson's finest compositions ever, and the jazz-inspired instrumentals such as "Fog" and "Space Chile" showcase pianist John Locke as one of the most inspired and lyrical players in the rock idiom. Tracks such as "It Shall Be" and "Silky Sam" demonstrate the ease with which the ensemble can incorporate jazz into their idiosyncratic form of rock, while "Jewish" and "Aren't You Glad" show the band's competence in exploiting both world music and jam rock.

The album's title was inspired by the stepson-stepfather relationship between guitarist Randy California and percussionist Ed Cassidy.

All in all, a classic album and a true landmark.

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Tracks
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1. I GOT A LINE ON YOU
2. IT SHALL BE
3. POOR RICHARD
4. SILKY SAM
5. DRUNKARD
6. DARLIN' IF
7. IT'S ALL THE SAME
8. JEWISH
9. DREAM WITHIN A DREAM
10. SHE SMILES
11. AREN'T YOU GLAD
BONUS TRACKS
12. FOG
13. SO LITTLE TO SAY
14. MELLOW FELLOW
15. NOW OR ANYWHERE
16. SPACE CHILE
Comments (2)
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Comment by Tony Reif - July 28, 2017 (1 of 2)

"I wanted a band that could play anything and everything. I didn’t want a band that played perfect rock and roll, perfect jazz, perfect country, perfect folk and perfect classical, but I did want those influences. And I wanted the group to write its own material. There were no other bands doing that sort of thing. Randy and I became partners in that concept." That's drummer Ed Cassidy, from a 2005 interview about Randy California, here: http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/randy-california-0305-2012.aspx

Equally important was Jay Ferguson, their lead singer and at this point still the main songwriter. Spirit was truly more than the sum of its parts though. For a band mostly barely out of their teens (or in California's case just 17) this is darn sophisticated music, yet with an innocent quality that's quite endearing.

And this SACD is as good as you're going to hear it. The recording, and the original mix, aren't great even for the time, though better I think than their self-titled debut. But things like Randy's beautiful overdriven guitar tone, Marty Paich's spare, painterly string and horn arrangements (only on some tunes), and the delicacy of the more introspective side of the music, with subtle reverberation effects creating a dreamy, floating atmosphere, really score in high-res. The Repertoire remaster (from the 1996 remix) is again harder-rocking and more modern-sounding, but Mark Andes' bass is sometimes goosed up too much and can become overbearing, which upsets the balance of voices.

Comment by Downunderman - October 16, 2017 (2 of 2)

I had become a little leery of Steve Hoffman's SACD remastering efforts, but this one is very good. Seems they managed to dig out the tapes with the original mix's and stayed away from tinkering in the remastering process.

The SACD sounds clean and reasonably full sounding. Sound staging is also good.

My only gripe - and one Mr Hoffman seems to agree with - is the inclusion of the 'bonus' tracks. My disk spinner does not allow the deletion of tracks before playing, only to program tracks to be included. A problem in this case because some tracks segue into each other.