Sunday, 25 September 2011
Randy California - Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds (1972)
Secondly, Spirit's fourth LP, 1970's Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, had taken six months to record, but initially failed to find much of an audience, with the public slightly baffled by a jazzy, experimental concept album about ecology and spiritual rebirth. It's considered deeply influential nowadays but it didn't produce a hit until 1973 and sales only reached gold record status in 1976.
Side two starts with an elongated rhythm-heavy jam through Sweathog's Things Yet To Come, featuring Redding on bass again plus two drummers. Two unnamed female singers provide most of the vocals with Randy's contributions sounding like they were recorded through a telephone, and it goes on to reach a fine climax after he starts to cut loose with his guitar just shy of the seven minute mark.
Rain bizarrely starts as a tripped out country hoedown before changing direction and giving the Beatles' original a scuzzy guitar workover with more fuzzed-up laidback vocals and a host of psychedelic studio tricks stirred into the pot over nearly nine kaleidoscopic minutes.
Kapt. Kopter signs off with Rainbow, another fine original that captures the Topanga vibe with it's backwards guitar and hippy vibe love song lyrics tainted with paranoia. Randy's father-in-law and Spirit bandmate Ed Cassidy appears under the moniker Cass Strange-Drums, which hints at the Spirit reunion that was to follow.
Randy would make more explicit tributes to Hendrix in the future, particularly the 1982 mini album All Along The Watch Tower, but few people have kept his spirit alive better than Kapt. Kopter.