Sunday, January 25, 2009

Free and Clear

I just learned about Jimmie Spheeris, in a quest for dusty unexplored corners of Soft Rock wilderness (cursory web searches failed to even find a Wikipedia page – the true proof of obscurity). My brother gave me Tom Moon’s “One Thousand Recordings You Should Hear Before You Die” and Moon gushes nice about Spheeris. There’s a lot of muskrat love flowing through this music. Spheeris was something like the male Joni Mitchell, writing tender art-folk complete suspect clarinet glissandos tootling through the mix. It’s nature-love music. These others come to mind: Carole King, Bread, Gary Snyder, James, Walt Whitman, John Phillips, America, Charles Wright, Chicago, John Denver, even Nick Drake (sort of a sunny, gay, Cali incarnation). (I think I just heard a line that said “Isn’t it sublime to lay you’re your load… This planet is a’swellin’ like a salty summer melon.”!!) Further web exploration indicates he may have been a Scientologist, which I kind of dig, and which may explain everything. Spheeris died in 1984. Get this for a dangerous confluence: he toured opening for the Moody Blues AND the Jeff Beck Group. He recorded with Chick Corea AND Jackson Brown. Potent.

These are from 1971’s Isle of View.

“Seeds of Spring” – Jimmie Spheeris

“I Am the Mercury” – Jimmie Spheeris


Happy In Bag said...

Oh man. Although I'm no spring chicken, I'm too young to have heard Spheeris on the radio. I can report, however, that in markets like Kansas City and St. Louis this folkie was as big as Dan Fogelberg and Jackson Browne among the balding-dudes-with-ponytails set. I guess his stuff is still out-of-print because people regularly ask me if I can help them convert their Spheeris vinyl to CDs.

Lefty said...

And with this you've officially justified a Renaissance post (as in, the early 70s folk-classical-rock group), although I'm not even sure I've got the spiritual wherewithal to go through with it.