A&M record executive, Bob Garcia contributed to the sleeve notes of this album, the one and only from Long Island, New York band Spirits & Worm:
” … have caused others to define their music as a ‘fresh young sound- very colourful and full of rhythm – a happy sound!
“We believe in the near future that the music industry and public will take notice of this group, and recognize them as one of the more exciting and talented groups yet to hit the airwaves.”
Very few people were to read this proclamation however, when the album was released in 1970, for it was pulled from distribution almost immediately and it’s believed that only a handful of copies actually found their way into public domain, mainly in the New York area.
The legend and likely reason, is that releasing an album with two goats sitting on top of a grave was always going to court controversy. Imagery with satanic connotations would not go down well. And so it seems some label boss took cold feet and the album failed to be granted the release it merited.
It seems to me the decision maker didn’t actually listen to the album though. The ten, Carlos Hernandez penned tracks are about as far removed from the occult as can be. They are indeed, as Bob Garcia quoted, ‘a happy sound,’ influenced more by the lush West Coast sound popularized by likes of Jefferson Airplane, with vocalist Adrianne Maurici’s powerful vocals drawing comparison to those of Grace Slick.
It does seem a little strange that A&M didn’t just ask the band to change the album’s artwork, but whatever the underlying reasons, originals of this album exchange hands for great sums of money. In fact, one copy was sold through Discogs in 2020 for £730!
There have been a couple of subsequent Limited Edition reissues; in 1994, Sweet Herb Records ran 400 copies and the following year, Water Serpent Records released a further 375 hand-numbered copies.
More recently, the Audio Clarity label have made the re-issued album more freely available, and I’m happy to say I managed to bag one for myself!
Not only is it a piece of psych / psychedelic mastery, but it holds its own special place in musical history.
SPIRITS & WORM:
Adrianne Maurici – Vocals
Carlos Hernandez – Lead Guitar
Alfred Scotti – Rhythm Guitar / Vocals
Tommy Parris – Bass Guitar / Vocals
Artie Hicks Jr. – Drums
RELEASES BY SPIRITS & WORM
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