Oar

Oar

by Skip Spence
     
 

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No one except psychedelic Renaissance man Alexander "Skip" Spence could have created an album such as Oar. Alternately heralded as a "soundtrack to schizophrenia" and a "visionary solo effort," Oar became delegated to cut out and bargain bins shortly after its release in the spring of 1969. However those who did hear it were instantly drawn into See more details below

Overview

No one except psychedelic Renaissance man Alexander "Skip" Spence could have created an album such as Oar. Alternately heralded as a "soundtrack to schizophrenia" and a "visionary solo effort," Oar became delegated to cut out and bargain bins shortly after its release in the spring of 1969. However those who did hear it were instantly drawn into Spence's inimitable sonic surrealism. As his illustrious past in the Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Moby Grape would suggest, this album is a pastiche of folk and rock. In reality, however, while these original compositions may draw from those genres, each song has the individuality of a fingerprint. As a solo recording, Oar is paramount as Spence performed and produced every sound on the album himself at Columbia Records studios in Nashville in the space of less than two weeks. This burst of creativity was directly preceded by a six month incarceration in New York City's Bellevue Hospital after chopping down a door at the Albert Hotel en route to do the same to fellow Moby Grape members Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson. A common motif to this album is the presence of saints and demons. Even the straightforward narratives such as the love ballad "Broken Heart" or "Cripple Creek" -- which feature vocal treatments reminiscent of folkie Fred Neil -- are bathed in unusual chord sequences and lyrical double-entendre. The majority of the sounds on this long-player remain teetering near the precipice of sanity. Primary examples include "War in Peace," the epic "Grey/Afro," and the sound effect-laden "Books of Moses." Comparisons have been made to Syd Barrett, John Lennon, and Frank Zappa -- the latter especially for the intense sonic collage techniques displayed on albums such as Lumpy Gravy and Civilization Phase III. In 1999, Sundazed Music issued what is considered the final word on Oar, which has been remastered and boasts over 20 minutes of additional material prepared by Spence. The album's lasting legacy is also captured on an all-star tribute CD to Spence titled More Oar.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/16/2000
Label:
Sundazed Music Inc.
UPC:
0090771503015
catalogNumber:
5030
Rank:
47155

Tracks

  1. Little Hands  - Alexander Spence
  2. Cripple Creek  - Alexander Spence
  3. Diana  - Alexander Spence
  4. Margaret/Tiger Rug  - Alexander Spence
  5. Weighted Down (The Prison Song)  - Alexander Spence
  6. War in Peace  - Alexander Spence
  7. Broken Heart  - Alexander Spence
  8. All Come to Meet Her  - Alexander Spence
  9. Books of Moses  - Alexander Spence
  10. Dixie Peach Promenade (Yin for Yang)  - Alexander Spence
  11. Lawrence of Euphoria  - Alexander Spence
  12. Grey/Afro  - Alexander Spence
  13. This Time He Has Come  - Alexander Spence
  14. It's the Best Thing for You  - Alexander Spence
  15. Keep Everything Under Your Hat  - Alexander Spence
  16. Furry Heroine (Halo of Gold)  - Alexander Spence
  17. Givin' up Things  - Alexander Spence
  18. If I'm Good  - Alexander Spence
  19. You Know  - Alexander Spence
  20. Doodle  - Alexander Spence
  21. Fountain  - Alexander Spence
  22. I Think You and I  - Alexander Spence

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Album Credits

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