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