Thursday, March 22, 2012

40 Years Ago This Month: Feedback


With only the middle aged drummer Ed Cassidy  remaining from Spirit's original line-up, Feedback should probably be considered an asterisk. Much like The Velvet Underground's Squeeze ( which only had John Cale replacement Doug Yule leading the band) or The Doors's Morrison-less Other Voices .That's the conclusion of The Rolling Stone Album Guide which gives Feedback one star out of five calling the album "not really Spirit and "not very good". The band's two visionaries had moved on. Vocalist Jay Ferguson left to front Jo Jo Gunne, taking original bassist Mark Andes. Randy California had injured himself in a horse riding accident and was too depressed to carry on.

Enter recent University of Texas law school graduate Al Staehely ( pronounced Sta-Hay-Lee) and his brother John. Imagine inheriting a band that had just recorded a classic like Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus and having to follow that up. With Sardonicus producer David Briggs on board, they did the best they could and it's actually worth hearing. Check out "Darkness" and "Witch", the single "Cadillac Cowboys" and the prog-jazz instrumental "Puesta del Scam". This new line-up had the necessary chutzpah. When Cassidy left the band, the Staehely brothers toured as Spirit as long as they could. Today Al is a top entertainment lawyer.

Over time some critics have reassessed FeedbackAll Music Guide sums up Feedback this way: " Feedback is a solid performance and remarkable album which deserves its place in the Spirit catalog, and not the status of bastard son. It is a legitimate Spirit project and it is very, very good"

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