The late Jimmie Spheeris delivers a musical cocktail of Al Stewart, Michael Franks, Cat Stevens, Shawn Phillips and Jackson Browne sets your synapses alight then this set is for you.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Jimmie Spheeris
ALBUM: The Dragon Is Dancing
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Jimmie Spheeris – acoustic guitar, piano, vocals * Geoff Levin – electric and acoustic guitar * Johnny Pierce – bass, backing vocals * Jim Cowger – flute, sax, horns * Bart Hall – drums, percussion
Additional Musicians: Chick Corea – electric piano, mini moog * Jane Getz – piano * Mike Mallen – acoustic guitar * Paul Lewison – arp, piano * Dorothy Remsen – harp * Morgan Ames – backing vocals * Chuck Findlay, Robert Findlay, Gary Barone, Johnathan Ellis – horns
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Dragon Is Dancing * 02 Sighs In A Shell * 03 Tequila Moonlight * 04 Snake Man * 05 Love’s In Vain * 06 Lost In The Midway * 07 Eternity Spin * 08 Sunken Skies * 09 Summer Salt * 10 In The Misty Woods * 11 Blown Out * 12 Blue Streets
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Here’s a CD pulled from my girlfriend’s collection and the first time I heard it I was blown away. I’ve seen Jimmie Spheeris albums for decades in cutout bins and used racks but I was never interested in giving the man’s music a shot. What a mistake that was!
The Alabama born Spheeris moved to New York City in the late 60’s where he met folkie Richie Havens who in turn introduced him to Columbia Records mogul Clive Davis. His first album ‘Isle Of View’ was released in 1971 to critical acclaim and even drew comparisons to The Moody Blues (again, how did I miss this?).
A second album ‘The Original Tap Dance Kid’ followed as well as major touring with the likes Poco and Procol Harum but it wasn’t enough for CBS who dropped the singer-songwriter from their roster. On the rebound, Spheeris signed to Epic for two releases, the first ‘The Dragon Is Dancing’.
This beautiful album was produced by Henry Lewy best known for his work with Crosby Stills and Nash as well as Joni Mitchell. If a musical cocktail of Al Stewart, Michael Franks, Cat Stevens, Shawn Phillips and Jackson Browne sets your synapses alight then this set is for you.
Featuring fusion superstar Chick Corea on mini-moog, the fire powered title track alone is worth getting hold of this disc. The fragile beauty of ‘Sighs In A Shell’ and the Doobie Brothers styled ‘Tequila Moonlight’ are 70’s pop treasures.
‘Eternity Spin’ is a shade darker with a heavy riff while the flute driven balladry of ‘Sunken Skies’ makes it clear Jimmie was a musical force to be reckoned with although why he was never a household name is a mystery. Just one listen to ‘Blown Out’ with its sizzling slide guitar courtesy of future television and film composer Geoff Levin and you’ll be scratching your head too.
His second for Epic ‘Ports Of The Heart’ saw the light of day in 1976 but Jimmie Spheeris fell out of sight until 1980 when he released a single ‘Hold Tight’. In 1984 just a few hours after he completed what was to be his fifth album, Jimmie Spheeris while riding his motorcycle was killed by a drunk driver. 34 years old and so much music left to give.