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

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Providence - Rare Tracks – In their brief career, Providence only released one album, ...And I'll Recite an Old Myth From..., and graced at least one of MIJ's sampler discs. Their sound is a powerful neo-progressive blending...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues