September 7, 2010

Spirit - in 1968 they immortalized Topanga Canyon, much to the chagrin of everyone actually living in Topanga Canyon.

Returning to the West Coast tonight. Spirit pretty much epitomized the L.A. scene in the late 60s and early 70's. They had a combination laid back and hard rock approach and the extra added attraction of their drummer Ed Cassidy, who had the somewhat dubious distinction of being "the oldest drummer in rock", and whose step-son, Randy California was one of the younger lead-guitarists, hovering around 16 when the band got started. Originally a folk-rock group (The Red Roosters), they went through a number of musical (as well as band name) changes before finally hooking up with Lou Adler who signed them to a four album deal in 1967.

The initial result was the self-titled album and tonight's track, Topanga Windows. It was met with "okay" success when it was released in January 1968, but it established Spirit as one of the enduring bands from Los Angeles and Randy California as a gifted player. Spirit went through a number of changes, breakups and reunions until the untimely death of Randy California changed things pretty much for good.

But in 1968 that was all a ways off and Spirit was just getting started. And Topanga Windows was giving L.A. an earful via the FM Underground.

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