by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the birthday of legendary Bay Area musician Skip Spence!
Skip Spence (April 18, 1946 – April 16, 1999) was one of the primary driving forces behind the San Francisco psychedelic sound of the 60s. From Wikipedia,
He was co-founder of Moby Grape, and played guitar with them until 1969. He released one solo album, 1969's Oar, and then largely withdrew from the music industry. He had started his career as a guitarist in an early line-up of Quicksilver Messenger Service, and was the drummer on Jefferson Airplane's debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. He has been described on the Allmusic website as "one of psychedelia's brightest lights"...
While I don’t have time to do a full tribute this year, I found a few cuts he wrote and/or played on that show this guitar slinger at his best!
Here’s the amazing debut album of the Jefferson Airplane, with Skip on drums! The Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (Skip co-wrote “Blues From An Airplane,” “Don’t Slip Away,” and “It’s All Right”)
First, from his days with Moby Grape, here’s a great live performance, probably in 1967, of Jerry Miller’s tune “Hey Grandma”
Here’s an audio-only clip of their performance at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in the 1967 Summer of Love! For your enjoyment, Moby Grape live at Monterey cranking out “Indifference,” “Sitting By The Window,” and “Omaha”
Live at the Avalon Ballroom, here’s a great 11+ minute audio-only clip by Moby Grape from June 1967 right after Monterey performing "Rounder,” “Looper,” “Bitter Wind,” and “Changes"
Here’s a very exciting live performance shot in an LA club as part of the beach hippie drug movie “The Sweet Ride.” The first minute is the trailer, and a real hoot! It then moves into the rocking rave up “Never Again”
From their remarkable first studio album released June 6, 1967, here are a few that show off just how amazing this band was!
“Hey Grandma” (Miller-Stevenson)
This was a big hit from the first album, showing what a “three guitar attack” can sound like at its best. (Buffalo Springfield was also extraordinary in their interwoven 3 guitar arrangements). For your enjoyment, “Omaha” (Skip Spence)
“Naked If I Want To” (Miller)
"Ain't No Use" (Miller-Stevenson)
“Sittin’ By The Window” (Lewis)
“Indifference” (Skip Spence)
From their second album, their most famous tune! “Murder in My Heart for the Judge” (Miller-Stevenson)
“Bitter Wind” (Mosley)
“Can’t Be So Bad” (Miller-Stevenson)
The next four from that album are all written by Skip, and you can see how he began to lose focus.)
“Motorcycle Irene” (Spence)
“Funky Tunk” (Spence)
We’ll close the second album with a classic! This one rocks! “Naked if I Want To” Second Version (Miller)
After his schizophrenic break, he left Moby Grape and created a solo album that is respected to this day as a classic psychedelic-folk offering. For your enjoyment, “Oar”
For our closer, a beautiful tune Skip wrote when he was with the Jefferson Airplane that they included in their classic album Surrealistic Pillow, the folk rock classic “My Best Friend” and for the encore, another one written by Skip on that album, “J. P. P. Mc Step B. Blues”
Truly a highly psychedelized soul from another era who may be gone but is loved to this day by all who remember him. RIP, Skip.
© Copyright 2017 Robert Wilkinson