Alexander Spence ‎– Oar

Columbia ‎– CS 9831
Vinyl, LP, Album

Società, ecc.



Dedication: Olga
Date Recorded: December 16, 1968

Codice a barre e altri identificatori

  • Matrix / Runout (Label Side A): XSM 139778
  • Matrix / Runout (Label Side B): XSM 139779
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side A, stamped (variant 1)): XSM 139778-1B
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side B, stamped (variant 1)): XSM 139779-1B
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side A, etched): A1
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side B, etched): A4
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout both sides, stamped): o
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side A, stamped (variant 2)): o XSM139778-1A A3
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side B, stamped (variant 2)): o XSM139779-1A A3
  • Rights Society: BMI

Altre versioni (5 di 14) Visualizza tutto

N. cat Artista Titolo (Formato) Etichetta N. cat Paese Anno
ED 282 Alexander Spence Oar(LP, Album, RE) Edsel Records ED 282 UK 1988 Vendi questa versione
CS 11075, A 30731 Alexander Spence Oar(CD) Sundazed, Sony CS 11075, A 30731 US Unknown Vendi questa versione
SC 11075, A 30731 Alexander Spence Oar(CD, Album, RE, RM) Sundazed Music, Sony Music Special Products SC 11075, A 30731 US 1999 Vendi questa versione
CS 9831 Alexander Spence Oar(LP, Album) Columbia CS 9831 Canada 1969 Vendi questa versione
A 9831 Alexander "Skip" Spence* Oar(CD, Album, RE, RM) Sony Music Special Products A 9831 US 1991 Vendi questa versione


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7 ottobre 2018
this one badly needs a deluxe vinyl release tbh .


14 gennaio 2018
modificato about 1 year ago

Alexander “Skip” Spence was another musician besieged by drug use during the psychedelic 60’s … but again, I’m getting ahead of myself. Skip had a more than illustrious past that included work with Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Jefferson Airplane, and touched another dozen groups in one manner or another. Oar was certainly not the album anyone expected from this psychedelic San Francisco hipster, an album that was released in February of ’69 by the major label Columbia, with absolutely zero promotion, and perhaps a bit of indifference, with Spence riding on his name and past reputation alone.

Even though the initial outing sold a minuscule number of copies, it was released again in 1988, and yet again as a compact disc in 1991 with bonus material, as Sony Music believed that over the years, absolutely anything could be put out and gain acceptance, though with every attempt, the album came and went in the blink of an eye, forever relegating Oar to be out of print in all of its incarnations every time.

Of course this leaves people like myself, who were there then, scratching our heads, wondering what it is that keeps this legend going, and the truth of the matter is, it’s all about the legend and not the music, though certainly, if you’re able to actually get through the album, yet alone the issue entitled More Oar, you’ll hear the basis around which great rock songs could have been built. That being said, ‘could have’ is not equal to ‘have’, and little was done with the work of Spence, by him or by others to bring him into the fold, the light, or even to sit comfortably at the dinner table. Spence died at just 53, his life was besieged by one issue after another that included sex, as once he was a beautiful man, with whispered rumors that he was bi-sexual. Then there were the drugs, his choice, legendary amounts of LSD that once set him on a course to attack bandmates Don Stevenson and Jerry Miller (both of Moby Grape) with a fire axe, followed by a bout with mental illness that found him at the legendary (for neglect) Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, and finally homelessness and street living for the remainder of his life. Yes, the man seemed to have toppled down the same rabbit hole as Syd Barrett, only Syd’s mates were grateful for his contribution, and saw that he lived comfortably for the remainder of his life.

Ora reflects and emerges listeners into that dark spiral, where every word he sings or speaks and every breath he takes is obviously labored, sounding fragile confused and lost, living in the spirt of Daniel Johnston, where Oar may in fact be the very first lo-fi album, as each song is delivered in nearly the same tempo, with the same restraint in a continual stream of consciousness presentation, through eyes that couldn’t see further than the overflowing ashtray in front of him.

Frankly, the title Oar speaks volumes in and of itself, for a crumbling man ranting alone in a boat with one oar is getting nowhere quickly, with this concept being expanded upon in the studio, where in a headlong drive to Nashville in one night after being released from Bellevue, he ended up playing all of the instruments, sung all of the vocals, often making up childlike lyrics on the spot, and laid down a series of songs that were one of a kind, numbers sounding more than frayed around the edges, balanced somewhere more on the side of madness than cohesion … though what can you expect from an artist who stepped on every crack, walked under every ladder, and stopped for every black cat that passed in front of him.

It’s important to remember that all of this material was never meant to find its way into public hands, these recordings were supposed to be mere demos, matter of fact, only a single demo was intended to be recorded that night, though upon hearing these fragmentations, producer David Rubinso thought that they could be fleshed out with the help of studio musicians at a later date … which never actually happened, with the result being that Oar was the lowest selling album in the all time history of Columbia Records, and pulled from the roster in less than a year.

Each reissue, including the latest by Sundazed edits the music in one form or another … songs were shortened, parts were removed, songs were edited out, and additional material added, until unless you are holding the original album in your hands, it becomes difficult to tell fact from fiction, especially when it came to the song production issues, that completely removed or stripped down musical washes and effects. To that end, there’s little that’s redeeming here or on any of the releases, just a piece of haphazard rock n’ roll history that makes for entertaining dinner conversation, and a bit of sadness, as we realize that the 60's weren't as beautiful as we'd like to remember them.

Review by Jenell Kesler


2 dicembre 2016
The 1991 reissue by Sony is a remix. If you're a fan of this album, you need this one for the differences that the remix brings out. Some of the songs are slightly longer, but Diana runs on for over a minute longer ending in a raucous coda.