We all have those album sides that you just can not listen to one song off of it. It’s the whole side or nothing at all. Just to name a couple we have side four of The Who’s Quadrophenia along with pretty much any side of a Pink Floyd record from Meddle to The Wall. Another one of those albums is side one of Spirit’s Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.
The first song “Prelude – Nothing To Hide” written by Randy California gives you a little bit of everything in it’s 3:41 seconds. It starts off soft and easy with Randy playing the acoustic guitar and singing but then as the song progresses we get a greatly balanced rock song that’s not to heavy but is a beautiful blended mix of of vocals and music that peaks at the right times and the mixture of sounds as it fades out is fabulous. After that we get another Randy California written song with their classic acoustic treat “Natures Way”. This classic song is nothing but beauty with the cow bell? keeping the beat in the background all the way through this vocal harmony gem. The third song off the album was written by the percussion and keyboard player Jay Ferguson. This might be their greatest hit ever, even though many people say it is “I Got a Line on You” we tend to think that it’s “Animal Zoo”. You might even still hear this on many classic rock stations across the world. If the chorus of the song doesn’t remind you of “Animal Zoo” then we don’t know what else we could do:
“Oh no, something went wrong
Well you’re much too fat and a little too long
Hey hey, you got too much to lose
Gotta find your way back to the Animal Zoo”
This song happens to be the reason for this weeks post but as we said earlier some songs can not be played alone but must be played with the entire side on the album.
On to the fourth song that was co-written by California and keyboardist John Locke called “Love Has Found A Way”. Although it stays with the softer rock music angle that the first songs had the group teases us with some psychedelic rock mildly tossed in. “Why Can’t I Be Free” is a very short vocal harmony bit that reminds us of the Supertramp tune “Two of Us” only in the sense that it is a great filler song that blends well with the other tunes.
To complete side one the group gives us a song written about their bald headed drummer Ed Cassidy called “Mr. Skin”. What a great finish to the album side. This 3:50 second rock classic gives us some outstanding horn arrangements that blend so well with the vocals and instruments to the soulful Motown sound at the beginning that turns into one hell of a great song that allows you to get your feet moving and soon you find yourself singing along with “Mr. Skin we know where you’ve been”.
As a side note about Randy California and Spirit did you ever wonder how Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin came up with the beginning of the classic hit Stairway to Heaven? Click on the link to the right called Taurus and at about the 45 second mark you will hear it note for note. Taurus came out four years before Led Zeppelin IV did and Zep opened up for Spirit back in their early days. We would love to hear about any of your favorite album sides if you would like to share with us in the comment section.
Video courtesy of Hippy Chick