VARIOUS ARTISTS – ” More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album

Posted: August 21, 2018 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
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More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album is a 1999 tribute album completed shortly before and released shortly after the death of the original Moby Grape founding member Skip Spence. The album contains cover versions by various artists of Spence’s music from his only release the Oar album, released in 1969, presented in the same order as on the original album. The album also contains a hidden bonus track of Spence’s last known recording, “Land of the Sun”, which was originally commissioned for the X-Files soundtrack, Songs in the Key of X, but not used.

The album was planned and produced by Bill Bentley, a music industry executive then associated with Warner Bros. Records, who had previously produced Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson. 

More Oar has been described as a “heartfelt, eclectic homage” that “pays tribute to one of psychedelia’s brightest lights, In relation to the inclusion of Spence’s “Land of the Sun” as a hidden bonus track, critic Raoul Hernandez commented as follows:

…(i)t’s Spence himself, who died at the age of 52…who saves the back end of More Oar with the mumbled, spacey, bongo madness of “Land of the Sun.” A hidden bonus track deemed unworthy for X-Files spinoff, 

Critic Rob Brunner views the more successful covers as being those by artists with a particular appreciation of Spence’s spirit:

The best contributions come from artists who realize that Spence’s work is as much about atmosphere as words and chords. Robert Plant moans over ghostly vibes on “Little Hands”; Alejandro Escovedo offers an appropriately bleary “Diana”, Spence’s darkest song; and Flying Saucer Attack out-space the ultra-spaced-out Spence. Not everyone gets it, though. The Dūrocs and the Ophelias mistakenly believe that weird songs call for wacky performances, resulting in a sort of contrived lunacy that’s at odds with Spence’s unself-conscious outpourings. And Engine 54 contribute a puzzling ska track that’s unrelated to both Spence and everything else on More Oar. Still, more often than not, More taps into the spirit of the original Oar — no easy feat.

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