FreeWheelin' Music Safari

The Safari travels back to 1971 and listens to the Music of Jimmie Spheeris!

 

For some reason the song that kept coming into my head tonight as I straightened the mess that was the market at Target  was “I am the Mercury” from Jimmie Spheeris’ debut album Isle of View. I believe that I bought the album on the strength of an article in Circus magazine and I think that somewhere I still have that issue! Anyway, the album quickly became a favorite of mine and got a lot of turntable time during my college years! I can’t say that I enjoyed any of the rest of his albums as much, although I did like the title track of his second album The Original Tap-Dancing Kid. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jimmie here’s some highlights from his biography at Wikipedia:

 

 

Jimmie Spheeris was an American singer-songwriter who released four albums in the 1970s on the Columbia Records and Epic Records labels. He was of Greek descent. He was brother of film director and producer Penelope Spheeris, and cousin of musician Chris Spheeris and film director Costa Gavras…..

….Spheeris’ 1971 debut album, Isle of View, garnered a devoted following and FM radio airplay, most notably for the song I am the Mercury. His 1973 album, The Original Tap Dancing Kid, was followed by a period of extensive concert touring. Spheeris returned to the recording studio in 1975 withThe Dragon is Dancing and released Ports of the Heart in 1976. After Ports of the Heart, Spheeris had no recording contract. Except for a 1980 single, Hold Tight, Spheeris released no new material through a major record label 

Spheeris died at the age of 34 in Santa Monica, California, when his motorcycle collided with a van at 2 a.m. on the morning of July 4, 1984. The driver of the van, Bruce Burnside, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and felony vehicular manslaughter.[5] Hours before his death, Spheeris finished the self-titled album, Spheeris, which was produced by Paul Delph. This final album was not publicly released for 16 years. Delph would later record two of Spheeris’ songs for his final album A God That Can Dance.

….Spheeris primarily composed on the guitar and piano. His musical genre was generally in the folk music and singer-songwriter traditions, although later work explored jazz, rock music, jazz-rock fusion and new wave music.

With few exceptions, Spheeris’ guitar compositions employed the use of open tunings, also referred to as alternate tunings. Johnny Pierce (November 30, 1953 – December 12, 2005), worked with Spheeris as a recording session and touring artist from 1973 to 1980, and wrote extensiveguitar tablature regarding the tunings Spheeris used throughout his career.[6]

…..Longtime friend Jackson Browne contributed backing vocals on Spheeris’ 1976 album, Ports of the Heart. Recording artist Laura Nyro and Spheeris were also friends, sharing a New York City apartment for a time in the early 1970s. Full Biography

So let’s drift “into the morning” with Jimmie and “I am the Mercury”