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Spirit - California Blues Redux (2009)
California Blues Redux is not, as one might expect, simply a "deluxe edition," adding bonus tracks, outtakes, and live recordings in a manner that has become familiar in the music business. Rather, Skidmore, who clearly has grown comfortable in his role as California and Spirit's authorized reissue producer, has chosen to re-conceive the original disc - and then add bonus tracks and live recordings.
In his liner notes, he calls California Blues "a compromise and a little uneven", and mentions what he feels are its "many extraneous overdubs". He has removed those overdubs in order to create "a rawer, less produced album". He has also deleted tracks he feels don't fit, notably a live recording of a Spirit cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Red House" (another one is included on the second disc of live tracks) and a "bonus" section of rare material (some of it by the original 1967 configuration of Spirit) that had closed the disc.
All of this is problematic, of course. Producers of posthumous recordings such as Norman Petty (with Buddy Holly) and Alan Douglas (with Hendrix) were criticized for adding overdubs to previously unreleased tracks. Skidmore has in a sense done the opposite - he has removed overdubs from previously released tracks. But the point is the same: in each case, the producer is second-guessing the artist, who isn't around to object. Skidmore is, of course, entitled to his opinion, and California Blues as released in 1996 was "a grab bag of different material from different sources", as it was described at the time. But it also represented Randy California's wishes. Minus the overdubs and the deleted tracks, and with some extra studio material, it is somewhat more consistent stylistically in this "redux" form.
And with a running time of nearly two hours and 40 minutes - right at the edge of the capacity of two CDs - at a list price of only $15 upon release, the package is generous in providing a sense of what Spirit sounded like in the studio and in its nightclub gigs just before its abrupt end. But just as Beatles fans felt a little funny when Paul McCartney stripped the string arrangements off of his Let It Be songs and made deletions, edits, and take substitutions to create Let It Be...Naked, so Spirit fans may be somewhat wary about Skidmore's job in, as he puts it, "un-producing" California Blues. Once the line has been crossed, and the producer is holding out his judgment as superior to the deceased artist's, trouble may lie ahead. (Note that on the live disc, the fifth and sixth tracks, "Song for Clyde" and "Stewball," are heard in that order, not the reverse, as shown incorrectly in the sequence on the album cover.) /William Ruhlmann, AllMusic
1. California Blues (5:47)
2. Look Over Yonder (2:35)
3. The River (5:09)
4. Call On Me (3:14)
5. Crossroads (5:43)
6. Song For Clyde (5:50)
7. Barking Up The Wrong Tree (4:17)
8. Pawnshop Blues (2:44)
9. Sugar Mama (6:21)
10. Stone Lover (6:21)
11. Gimme Some Lovin' (3:19)
12. We Believe (3:42)
13. One World (4:02)
14. Fixin' To Die (Solo Acoustic) (Bonus) (2:26)
15. Indian Girl Blues (Bonus) (5:51)
16. Oriental Gun (Bonus) (2:53)
17. Soup Jam (Bonus) (3:41)
18. David (Bonus) (1:51)
19. Kind And Gentle Life (Bonus) (2:54)
20. Untitled (Bonus) (0:37)
1. Love From Here (18:27)
2. Pawnshop Blues (8:59)
3. One World (3:41)
4. Red House (7:41)
5. Song For Clyde (17:41)
6. Stewball (3:36)
7. Medley: Fixing To Die/Gopal/Phoenix, Land Of The Rising Sun (16:36)
8. We Believe (2:56)
Spirit - California Blues Redux (2009) .part1.rar
Spirit - California Blues Redux (2009) .part2.rar
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