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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Spree Roots

I came across this gem while rifling through vinyl filled milk crates beneath the CD racks of my local music shop.

My first impression of Many Blessings was that it was the sole album of a crazy commune. I was close. The eclectic Spring Hill spriritual community in western Massachusetts released this vocal chant album in 1980. A little research also showed this group to be on the forefront of the New Age scene, traveling the country creating psycho-spiritual workshops called "Opening the Heart."

The influence on the Polyphonic Spree is pretty undeniable. I love the Spree, but I think I love On The Wings of Song more. I can't wait to hook up the turntable, so that I can get a listen to Wearing My Long Winged Feathers/Woa Woa and Om Nama Shiva.

When looking at something like this, it's hard not to think about where they are now. The Spring Hill Community has apparently dissolved, as there are Spring Hill survivor groups meeting in central Mass. Here's an interview with one of the leaders of the musical group, Robert Gass. Gass now holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from Harvard, but continues to make music. He states that most of the group is still together recording; now consisting of 45+ singers including several children of the original members.

And as far as the dude on the far right of the original group photo, he appears to be Ward Clark. He used to sing 2nd bass in what many could qualify as a cult, but now is a web designer that enjoys his home theater and has an obsessive teddy bear habit. Some things change, but others never will.

The Polyphonic Spree - Section 12 (Hold Me Now).mp3


  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous nico said…

    I'm still kicking myself for not going to see the Spree in Birmingham. Most of my friends thought it sounded dumb and didn't want to go.

    I've finally gotten over needing someone to go with me to a show. I still prefer having company, but I'll go solo to see what I want to see these days.

  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger jds said…

    It is definately easier to go to a show with someone else. I had been going solo for a couple years since moving to Vermont until I came across someone with the same musical interests was living in my community (Flatlander). Company always makes the drive home easier, but also encourages me to see shows that I wouldn't normally be as interested in if I was all by my lonesome.

  • At 12:13 AM, Blogger Flatlander said…

    When I was living in Hoboken a few blocks from Maxwells, I got in the habit of coming home from work, sleeping for an hour then getting up and going over to the club to catch a show. My friends with similar musical tastes all lived either in the city or suburbs. So, I got used to going to shows alone. However, it's still more enjoyable experiencing a show with someone else. To both confirm/challenge your feelings for what you just saw and point out stuff you missed.


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