Twelve Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus – Spirit (1970)

Album no. 178/1001

The fourth album from Spirit, recorded at a time when tensions in the band were running high. They split not long after this came out, and five years later the album went platinum. A real slow burner.

Spirit combined a lot of influences. Their guitarist Randy California played with Jimi Hendrix back when it was Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, and he pushed the rock agenda. The singer, Jay Ferguson, was more into experimenting with classical and jazz stuff.

This is early progressive rock, but it tends to get lost somewhere between Tommy and Dark Side Of The Moon. They certainly take themselves seriously enough to get into those conversations.

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:album:0NWXyLhHhaeAmu4eovC8Ks

Have you listened to this album before?

NK: I definitely haven’t. I bet there are twelve tracks, and every track is a dream. I bet this is super pretentious.

CL: No. I’m probably not going in with the most open of minds either, but I can’t help it. Spirit? Terrible band name.

Standout track

NK: Oh man. This is like Chicago only the songs are shorter (good!) and more full of themselves (bad!).

CL: What. The hell. Is this. It’s everything I expected it to be. WHICH IS AWFUL. I can’t pick a decent song here because they’re all incredibly overwrought. They’re so serious about everything.

NK: How is ‘Animal Zoo’? I’ll tell you: HILARIOUS. I think it’s meant to be a comment on the state of the world and wanting to get back to nature, but man it’s hard to take it seriously. They didn’t have the same problems, but I don’t know how he sang those lyrics with a straight face.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

NK: This is a strange album. It’s pretty well produced, and they are pretty good musicians, but the lyrics stop me from being able to take it seriously. And the song titles! Besides ‘Animal Zoo’ there’s ‘Mr Skin’, ‘Space Child’, ‘Prelude – Nothin To Hide’ and my personal favourite, ‘Street Worm’.

street worm

CL: I hate even properly jokey albums, so this accidentally humorous albums is so not for me. I can’t take any of it seriously.

Why has this album been included on the list?

NK: A bit of comic relief maybe? I didn’t think that going in, but on the first song he sings ‘We got nothing to hide, we got nothing to hide, we’re married to the same bride, we’re married to the same bride’ and I couldn’t take it seriously from there.

CL: Lord only knows. 

Will you be listening again?  

NK: Naaaaaaaaaaaaah.

CL: I wish I could say I was disappointed, but actually I feel quite satisfied that my prediction has come true. So that’s a hard pass.

Rating

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums. – this gets an extra point for actually making me laugh out loud.

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Twelve Dreams Of Doctor Sardonicus on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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