Jeff’s Playlist: Spirit of ’76

Spirit of ’76

I’ve always liked Spirit and col­lect­ed sev­er­al of their record­ings over the years. I had this dou­ble album back in 1975 and still enjoy the CD today. 

An inter­est­ing bit about this band — and there are many — is that it began with a 14-year-old gui­tarist mak­ing music with his 42-year-old jazz drum­mer step­fa­ther. Young Randy Craig Wolfe even­tu­al­ly matured into a world-class play­er (known lat­er as Randy California) and, along with his step­dad Ed Cassidy and oth­ers, churned out many mem­o­rable albums.

The band was ini­tial­ly called Spirits Rebellious (after a Kahlil Gibran book), before the name was short­ened to just Spirit.  And speak­ing of names, Randy California came into being thanks to Jimi Hendrix. Legend has it that dur­ing high school, Randy played one sum­mer in a Hendrix band along with bassist Randy Palmer, and to avoid con­fu­sion Jimi dubbed them “California” and “Texas,” respec­tive­ly (after their home states).

Sadly, Randy California drowned in 1997 when he and his 12-year-old son got caught in a rip­tide off the coast of the Hawaiian island Molokai. He man­aged to save his son’s life but lost his own. He was only 45 but left behind an endur­ing musi­cal lega­cy. The Randy Craig Wolfe Trust was estab­lished after his death and, using roy­al­ties from California’s record­ing con­tracts, finan­cial­ly sup­ports the Randy California Project, an after-school music edu­ca­tion pro­gram for under­priv­i­leged ele­men­tary school chil­dren in Ventura County, CA.

Adra co-wrote and edit­ed this week’s Playlist. Thanks, Adra.

Album Information

All songs writ­ten by Randy California and Ed Cassidy except noted.

Disc One

No.      Title     Writer(s)         Length

1.         “America, The Beautiful/The Times They Are A‑Changing” Bates, Ward/Dylan 5:27
2.         “Victim Of Society”              3:00
3.         “Lady Of The Lakes”                      2:52
4.         “Tampa Jam Pt. 1”              0:54
5.         “Mauna Loa” California       2:02
6.         “What Do I Have?”   California       2:04
7.         “Sunrise”                  3:00
8.         “Walking the Dog”    R. Thomas     3:13
9.         “Tampa Jam Pt. 2”              1:03
10.       “Joker On The Run” California, Cassidy, Keene 3:53
11.       “When?”        California       4:27
12.       “Like a Rolling Stone”         Dylan  8:54

Disc Two

No.      Title     Writer(s)         Length

1.         “Once Again”            3:19
2.         “Feeling In Time”                 3:27
3.         “Happy”         Mick Jagger, Keith Richards          3:19
4.         “Jack Bond”  Burt Shonberg          1:39
5.         “My Road”     California       4:13
6.         “Tampa Jam Pt. 3”              0:54
7.         “Thank You Lord”     California       1:45
8.         “Urantia”                   4:04
9.         “Guide Me”               3:47
10.       “Veruska”       California, Cassidy, Andes  3:57
11.       “Hey Joe”      Billy Roberts  6:30
12.       “Jack Bond Pt. 2”     Shonberg       0:51
13.       “The Star-Spangled Banner”          Francis Scott Key, John Stafford Smith 3:40


Randy California – vocals, all instru­ments except oth­er­wise not­ed
Ed Cassidy – drums

Additional musi­cians
Barry Keane – bass
Benji – harp­si­chord, Moog synthesizer

Blair Mooney – engi­neer
Craig Renton – assis­tant engi­neer
Released          May 1975
Length               82:14
Label                Mercury
Producer           Randy California

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