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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Alexander Lee Spence - AndOarAgain (1968 us, a warped blend of acid folk and far out psych rock, 2018 three disc hard sleeve set remaster)



Like a rough, more obscure counterpart to Syd Barrett, Skip Spence was one of the late '60s' most colorful acid casualties. The original Jefferson Airplane drummer (although he was a guitarist who had never played drums before joining the group), Spence left after their first album to join Moby Grape. Like every member of that legendary band, he was a strong presence on their first album, playing guitar, singing, and writing "Omaha." The group ran into rough times in 1968, and Spence had the roughest, flipping out and (according to varying accounts) running amok in a record studio with a fire axe; he ended up being committed to New York's Bellevue Hospital. Upon his release, 

Spence cut an acid-charred classic, Oar, in 1969. Though released on a major label (Columbia), this was reportedly one of the lowest-selling items in its catalog and is hence one of the most valued psychedelic collector items. Much rawer and more homespun than the early Grape records, it features Spence on all (mostly acoustic) guitars, percussion, and vocals. With an overriding blues influence and doses of country, gospel, and acid freakout thrown in, this sounds something like Mississippi Fred McDowell imbued with the spirit of Haight-Ashbury 1967. It also featured cryptic, punning lyrics and wraithlike vocals that range from a low Fred Neil with gravel hoarseness to a barely there high wisp. Sadly, it was his only solo recording; more sadly, mental illness prevented Spence from reaching a fully functional state throughout the remainder of his lifetime. He died April 16, 1999, just two days short of his 53rd birthday; the tribute album, More Oar: A Tribute to Alexander "Skip" Spence, featuring performances by Robert Plant, Beck, and Tom Waits, appeared just a few weeks later. 
by Richie Unterberger

AndOarAgain provides unparalleled access to what David Fricke calls “the most harrowing and compelling artifacts of rock & roll’s most euphoric era” across three dozen unheard tracks! In addition to the quintessential original album, AndOarAgain features nearly two hours of unheard music on the way to Oar–along with roads not taken–that both clarifies and muddies the enigma of how psychedelic legend Alexander “Skip” Spence determined the final state of his iconic masterpiece. The time: December, 1968. The setting: the Columbia Recording Studios at 504 16th Avenue South in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Alexander Spence – a singer, songwriter, and guitarist commonly known as Skip, recently relieved of his duties in the San Francisco rock band Moby Grape after a descent into excessive hallucinatory-drug use and a psychotic episode with a fire axe – is recording Oar, his first album as a Columbia solo artist. It will also be his last. Made in six days spread over two weeks, then released six months later on May 19th, 1969, Oar will be Spence’s only complete expression of his experimental verve and musical facility, under his real name and creative control, before he recedes into rapidly deepening, ultimately conquering darkness. A half-century after its brisk, strange birth, Oar remains an apparent chaos of eccentric composition and overwhelming melancholy, wreathed in country-blues shadows and the smokey blur of Spence’s wounded-baritone singing. 

AndOarAgain, a 3-CD set including the seminal original album, the 1999 bonus cuts, and nearly two hours of unheard Oar; all packaged in a hardbound book-style jacket with rare photos and extensive notes from David Fricke! 


Tracks
Disc 1 Oar
1. Little Hands - 3:43
2. Cripple Creek - 2:15
3. Diana - 3:31
4. Margaret-Tiger Rug - 2:16
5. Weighted Down (The Prison Song) - 6:25
6. War In Peace - 4:04
7. Broken Heart - 3:28
8. All Come To Meet Her - 2:03
9. Books Of Moses - 2:42
10.Dixie Peach Promenade - 2:52
11.Lawrence Of Euphoria - 1:29
12.Grey/Afro - 9:38
13.This Time He Has Come - 4:42
14.It's The Best Thing For You - 2:49
15.Keep Everything Under Your Hat - 3:06
16.Furry Heroine - 3:35
17.Givin' Up Things - 0:59
18.If I'm Good - 0:48
19.You Know - 1:47
20.Doodle - 1:03
21.Fountain - 0:34
22.To Think You And I - 1:14
All compositions by Alexander Lee Spence


Disc 2 Or
1. Little Hands (Take 2) - 3:43
2. Cripple Creek (Basic) - 2:08
3. Diana (Take 3) - 4:39
4. Furry Heroine (Halo Of Gold) (Alternate) - 3:29
5. My Friend - 2:52
6. War In Peace (Alternate) - 3:49
7. Broken Heart (Vocal And Acoustic) - 4:47
8. All Come To Meet Her (Alternate 1) - 2:17
9. I Want A Rock 'n' Roll Band - 3:13
10.Dixie Peach Promenade (Yin For Yang)  (Alternate) - 2:09
11.Lawrence Of Euphoria (Alternate) - 2:03
12.Mary Jane / Steamboat - 5:01
13.I Got A Lot To Say (Version 1) - 1:53
14.Diana (Alternate 1) - 2:41
15.War In Peace (Instrumental) - 3:29
16.Diana (Alternate 2) - 5:57
All Music and Lyrics by Alexander Lee Spence


Disc 3 More
1. Little Hands (Vocal Overdub) - 3:48
2. Diana (Version 2) - 1:13
3. Weighted Down (The Prison Song) (Rehearsal) - 1:13
4. The Shape You're In - 0:57
5. I Want A Rock 'n' Roll Band (Instrumental) - 1:50
6. It's A Hard Life (Version 1) - 0:36
7. I Got Something For You - 2:03
8. Diana (12 String Version) - 4:00
9. I Got A Lot To Say (Version 2) - 0:52
10.It Ain't Nice (Version 1) - 1:19
11.She Don't Care - 0:58
12.All Come To Meet Her (Alternate 2) - 2:16
13.It Aint't Nice (Version 2) - 1:07
14.It's A Hard Life (Version 2) - 0:38
15.All Come To Meet Her (Rehearsal) - 3:03
16.Diana (Overdub) - 4:04
17.War In Peace (Take 2) - 4:18
18.Broken Heart (Extended Master) - 4:38
19.War In Peace (Guitar Overdub) - 4:48
20.Diana (Basics) - 3:44
All songs by Alexander Lee Spence

*Alexander Lee "Skip" Spence - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Production

Related Act
1967  Moby Grape - Moby Grape (2007 remaster)
1967-68  The Place And The Time (2009 Sundazed release)
1969  Wow (Sundazed Issue)
1969  Moby Grape - Moby Grape 69' (2007 remaster and expanded)

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12 comments:

bk said...

certainly time has warped the perspective of this. As usual you had to be there. 1st of all the story of the original album has been muddied by the myth. What actually happened was more a story of "the band". By this time in 1968 numerous personal issues more or less prevented the BAND, Moby Grape from fulfilling their obligation to provide Columbia with an album. And regardless of the acid causality tale of Skip- only he, stepped into that Memphis studio to record- and with only his own songs. And for all the grim and degrading descriptions stereotypically about Skips life rather than what he achieved on THE ORIGINAL RECORD - -the original vinyl pressing- song selection and production are somewhat more than a vague derogatory romp of Syd Barrett comparisons. The gifted performer/composing artist made a classic album originally. And for me the worst part of this tale is how over the years the additional "tracks" are not the realm of lost classics but more realistically working tracks, alternatives, or simply what I would call practice takes. All of this diminishes the beauty and success of the original album. And this release which for me is more like the endless barage of post death Nick Drake or Hendrix material only muddles the significance of what is obviously a classic album- why else would this 4th or 5th version be released.

amacoz said...

Thanks Marios.

Alexandr Markevich said...

Thanks, Marios.

Phil Gordon said...

Thanks M!

RMJ said...

Thanks, Marios!

BTW, how come you always use such slow file hosts? There are several faster -- and free -- hosts available where you won't get your files removed for one reason or another.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Turbobit links that totally locked up my Mac.

Anonymous said...

To RMJ and "Anonymous" - Christ, you've got a nerve! You steal the music this blog offers, and then complain. "Anonymous" - your pitiful sarcasm is entirely out of place - you're a total wanker.

jailbird said...

I agree with both of them. This link to files is wack. Spent 2 hours downloading files that don't even work. If I could pay for a digital or even vinyl version of this I would but Sundazed has other ideas.

Anonymous said...

These previously unreleased takes bring out another dimension of those legendary tracks. Still I found bk's remark very interesting.

Have a Happy New Year Marios!

Marios said...

I think there are some digital versions on the net, of course there's also the option to be premium member on one of these hosts, and get the full speed, but it's really mystery to me, how come someone wants to pay, but then free is better, and what is two hours, I spend more than two hours to rip and scan the booklet, whithout to mention the upload time. Thank you all, I wish you a Happy New Year!!

Peiboll said...

Thanks Marios, your work is much appreciated! I have learnt of many incredible pieces of music through your blog and I have bought many of them at a later stage. Your uploads bring us the opportunity to listen to some difficult to find records in great quality. I am sure many of the people who visit your blog are serious music collectors like you. So please do not listen to the trolls and moaners who can't appreciate when somebody is working hard to maintain something and they only want the outside world to satisfy their needs without making any effort at all. Again thanks for your work and looking forward to your posts in 2019. Cheers from Spain!

Kelhard said...

Oh man, Marios, you are THE MAN. Thank you so much for this. And for all that you share with us.