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Jimmie Spheeris

The elusive Jimmie Spheeris, a Greek poet started out in a traveling carnival called the Majick Empire that would strongly influence songsmith poems like “Lost in the Midway” and “Decatur Street”. Spheeris later moved to New York in the late 1960’s to further his songwriting career. Discovered by Richie Havens, Spheeris was introduced to ‘Columbia’ and a four album recording contract was signed. Spheeris’ magnificent 1971 Isle of View debut reached deep into the artistic corners of the hip generation particularly the solitary “I am the Mercury” and “The Nest” which received artistic airplay in the same poetic royalty as Shawn Phillips.

Isle Of View was supported by Archies / Simon & Garfunkel session drummer Buddy Salzman and People guitarist Geoff Levin, a group that included Larry Norman that scored with the Zombies “I Love You”. In 1973 The Original Tap Dancing Kid, followed, backed by Rascals organist Felix Cavaliera and supported by extensive touring alongside Tim Buckley and Al Kooper. The album maintained majestic exhurberence through the wafting “Keeper of the Canyon”, funky “Open Up” pounded by City bassist Charlie Larkey and bass looming “Moon On The Water” assisted by Leland Sklar from The Section. Spheeris now sharing an apartment with poetess Laura Nyro returned to the studio in 1975 with The Dragon is Dancing, a jazzy spilling though hazy and sometimes radical time signatures, namely the drifting “In The Misty Woods” or thrusting title track featuring Chick Corea on electric piano / mini-moog, in the same dimension as Return to Forever.

The slick 1976 Ports of the Heart sadly lost poetic device even though assisted by Jackson Brown’s vox and guests Chick Corea and bassist Stanley Clarke.  At this stage Spheeris had no recording contract, apart from a 1980 single, “Hold Tight”. Four years later Spheeris sadly died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 34 in Santa Monica, California. Unbeknown the album Spheeris was released 16 years later conjuring a posthumous “You Must Be Laughing Somewhere” based on the life friend, author John Kennedy Toole and featuring ex Atomic Rooster drummer Rick Parnell and Rooster/ Brand X guitarist Johny Goodsall. Years later An Evening with Jimmie Spheeris (live) appeared.

Added: October 19th 2011
Reviewer: shiloh noone | See all reviews by shiloh noone
Category: Music
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Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear
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