Exposé Online banner

Spirit — Two Sides of a Rainbow
(Floating World FLOATD6136, 1978/2012, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-11-21

Two Sides of a Rainbow Cover artThe year was 1978. Spirit was operating as a trio, led by guitarist / singer Randy California, a disciple of Hendrix, and his stepfather Ed Cassidy on drums; rounding out the trio was bassist Larry "Fuzzy" Knight, who also contributed vocals. It had been five years since Spirit toured the UK, where the band was still very popular. There wasn’t a big touring budget, but a short tour – three dates in England and one in Germany, was arranged with the idea of recouping the costs by releasing a live album recorded at the Rainbow Theatre date on March 11. Spirit was the headliner, with Alternative TV second-billed, and opening the show were The Police. A sold out show, a receptive audience, but unfortunately the recording didn’t go so well, with the main guitar channel completely missing, only the phaser and echoplex channel came through. That meant that all the guitar parts had to be re-recorded before the live album could be released – and so they were, with many overdubs. In the end three versions of the live album were released, each with a slightly different track listing: Live, the UK version, included two cuts “Downer” and “Wild Thing” from numerous encores; Live Spirit, the US version, instead had two studio cuts “Rock and Roll Planet” and “These Are Words” with canned applause appended to make them sound live (neither was actually played at the show); the German version Made in Germany had the same cuts as the US version (although presented in a different running order), with the addition of the five-minute “Rockpalast Jam” recorded in Essen for the Rockpalast TV show. (Incidentally, that entire show was eventually released on CD as Rockpalast: West Coast Legends Vol. 3 in 2010). In England, a single was released of the live version of “Nature's Way,” with the non-LP “Stone Free” on its b-side. To date, only Made in Germany was ever released on CD, and it went out of print before most folks could find a copy.

So what does all that have to do with this? Some three decades later, cassette tapes of the board mix for the complete rainbow show turned up, with all the of the guitar parts intact, exactly what the audience heard that night, including many cuts that were never released (“Mr. Skin,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Love Charged,” and “Turn to the Right” among them). The downside is that these tapes were in bad shape and needed extensive clean-up before they could be considered suitable for release; even as presented there is still audible tape hiss and compression. So what we have on Two Sides of a Rainbow is the complete show (all of disc one) with encores (first 35 minutes of disc two), taken from those board tapes, followed by a remastered version of Live Spirit – the US release. Which takes both discs up to around 79 minutes; it would have been nice to have the two additional tracks from the UK release, and the single b-side, but there just wasn’t any room remaining on the two discs. What this set boldly illustrates more than anything is the extensive amount of rework that was done on the original live tapes to create the 1978 live albums.

Filed under: Archives, 2012 releases, 1978 recordings

Related artist(s): Spirit, Randy California

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Simon Steensland - Fat Again – Steensland's is a musical world of sharp edges, intense contrasts, brutal aggression and mysterious beauty all served up in an expressive way that is both challenging and engaging. This makes around...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues