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Friday, August 13, 2010

A Record with a soul - Oar by Alex "Skip" Spence



The haunted genius of Alexander “Skip” Spence’s Oar returns at long last to its original format: the LP. Sundazed is ecstatic to be able to reissue Spence’s cult classic on high-definition vinyl, with original track listing, liner notes and photos intact. Spence — a founding member of seminal San Fran skullbenders Moby Grape — cut his only solo work in Nashville immediately after being released from New York’s Bellevue Hospital late in 1968. Unavailable on the collector’s market these days at any price, Oar vanished without a trace when first released in 1969.

Frequently compared to the likes of Syd Barrett and Nick Drake, Spence’s visionary work walks the tightrope between reality and delusion and remains a national treasure.

TRACKS: 1. Little Hands / 2. Cripple Creek / 3. Diana / 4. Margaret — Tiger Rug / 5. Weighted Down / 6. War in Peace / 7. Broken Heart / 8. All Come to Meet Her / 9. Books of Moses / 10. Dixie Peach Promenade / 11. Lawrence of Euphoria / 12. Grey-Afro


I wasn't aware of "Oar" by Skip Spence, despite knowing him as a founder member of Moby Grape, a West Coast, Psychedelic group as underrated as Spirits and Quicksilver Messenger Service (where Skip briefly played, as well...)

Wikifacts about Skip

The original Columbia's pressing was virtually unavailable in decades and the Sundazed heavy vinyl re-issue was blessed by heaven.

Skip's music is as natural as can be a young man - unperfect, raw - but also full of life, true, unfiltered and what his music gives to the listener is... a speechless experience, like when you look at your new-born puppy in your hand.

A miracle, needing no words at all to be fully appreciated.

The disc was recorded in few hours, in complete solitude in Nashville and ALL instruments are played and arranged by Skip himself... strangely, I noticed in "War in Peace", last track of side one, a copy-catted (an homage?!?!) guitar/bass part of the immortal Iron Butterfly's "In a Gadda da Vida"... only the just hinted theme...

The superb Iron's masterpiece was recorded only few months earlier, in June '69, while "Oar" dates Nov. 1969.

Strange, don't you?!?.

Gossip apart... I love "Oar" a lot and everyone should, at least, have a listen to it.

It's good medicine...

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