The Drag City Label is quickly gaining a reputation as the finder of lost and obscure gems with the emphasis upon obscure. Their focus is upon albums which sold few copies, quickly disappeared, and are impossible to find today. Their latest resurrection project is a long lost album by the group Spur.
Originally from Belleville, Illinois, they were called The Unknowns, which was appropriate considering their short history. By the time they went into the studio during 1967-1968 they had changed their name to Spur. The group consisted of vocalist/guitarist Stan Bratzke, vocalist/lead guitarist Jimmy Fey, vocalist/keyboardist Edd Kolotek, drummer Stix Maxwell, and bassist Rick Willard.
Their only record album was titled Spur Of The Moment, which was issued in a very limited number of copies.
This long lost album, to which an S has been added to the title, has not been re-issued in its entirety. Rather a number of the tracks have been combined with some unreleased songs which were found in the vaults. As such the overall flow of the album has been interrupted and the question remains are the new tracks better than the ones left off. I would have preferred the complete album with bonus tracks added at the end.
Having said all of the above Spur Of The Moments is a nice slice of late sixties, psychedelic rock although it drifts into some other styles here and there. They may be from Illinois but their music reflects the California sound of the late sixties and early seventies. While their sound is alot rawer and simple, the Byrds and The Jefferson Airplane come to mind.
“Mind Odyssey” is a nice snapshot of the time period and has a hallucinogenic quality to it. “Tribal Gathering/We Don’t Want To Know” is an improvisational piece with drum solo and guitars intertwining. It clocks in at well over ten minutes which gives the band plenty of room to improvise and stretch out musically. “Mr. Creep” is the best track with vocal echoes, distortion, and even some heavy breathing. I’m not sure about the countrified version of The Beatles “Eight Days A Week.”
Spur was similar to thousands of local garage bands that flourished for awhile, may have released an album or single, and then quietly disappeared into the mists of time. They may have been a cut above the average local band but ultimately were never able to attain any lasting commercial appeal.Spur Of The Moments is a nice slice of history and a tribute to the lost dreams of American garage bands.