Exposé Online banner

Randy California — Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds
(Esoteric Recordings ECLEC2227, 1972/2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-02-01

Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds Cover artAlthough this may be slightly outside the realm of what's usually considered progressive, this will still be of interest to many fans of the genre, if only because of California's amazing guitar chops. While his style owes much to the feedback-laden psychedelic style of Hendrix (California was once the second guitarist in Hendrix' pre-Experience band), he also pioneered a unique sustain technique which was later used by the Guess Who, Steely Dan, and a number of other folks. This album was recorded during a period when his original band Spirit was in the process of falling apart (that's another story for another day), and this could, in essence, be considered the first album by the 'new' Spirit, which he continued to front, with step-dad Ed Cassidy, until his untimely death in 1997. The lineup varies from track to track: drummers include Cassidy and others, and much of the bass power is provided by the mystery-man "Clit McTorius" (actually Noel Redding of Hendrix' Experience, unable to use his real name for contractual reasons). The lineup on any given song is the basic three-piece guitar-bass-drums, with some occasional uncredited background vocals. The songs here are split between covers and original material. Two renditions of Lennon/McCartney tracks ("Day Tripper," "Rain") offer an entirely fresh perspective that was only hinted at in the original versions: everything is approached in good fun, nothing overpolished and technically perfected, which gives the album a free-wheeling sensibility. The original material is equally intriguing: "Devil" revels in simplicity yet contains some of the album's most impressive playing; "Downer" is a raw and powerful rocker that has stood the test of time. This is a most welcome reissue; This newest reissue is rounded out with three excellent bonus tracks.

Filed under: Reissues, 2010 releases, 1972 recordings

Related artist(s): Randy California

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

U Totem - Strange Attractors – The two instrumentals that open this latest album by U Totem set the stage and tone for the remainder of the music on the album, an artfully crafted avant-garde rock blended with elements of...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues