Reviews Zone

Spirit: Son Of America Expanded Edition (Esoteric Recordings) Out Now



4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)



Spirit’s main man, singer/guitarist/songwriter and band leader Randy California was a hero….

Yes, he was worshiped by guitarists around the globe, but I mean; a real life hero. Randy saved the life of his son, who was then 12-years-old and sacrificed his own so his son could live.

At the age of 45, Randy California – aka Randy Craig Wolfe –  drowned in the Pacific Ocean on the second of January in 1997, while rescuing his son Quinn from a rip-current near his mother’s home on Hawaii. He just managed to push Quinn on to a wave to carry him to shore and safety, but sadly lost his own battle to survive.

They were celebrating the new year with a swim while on vacation at Randy’s mother’s home. Randy’s body was swept out to sea and never recovered. His death came prior to a planned European tour of a newly revamped Spirit.

But his legacy lives on in the music of Spirt and his other musical projects. The latest addition to that legacy is the wonderful re-mastered and expanded three-CD digipack edition of the archive Spirit release “Son Of America”

First issued in 2005, the set originally featured a collection of previously unreleased songs, demos and instrumentals recorded between 1983 and Randy California’s final recording session in late 1996. Along with unreleased and alternative takes from the “California Blues” and “Cosmic Smile” albums.

This edition of “Son Of America” is the latest release in Esoteric Recordings’ series of releases from the Spirit and Randy California archives, expanded to include an additional CD of an unreleased live performance for the radio station KPFM-FM in California.

That recording includes fascinating dialogue and renditions of classic Spirit tracks such as “Nature’s Way”, “1984”, “Fresh Garbage”, “Mr Skin”, “Elijah”, “I Got a Line on You” and “Animal Zoo”.

This triple-disc 60-track digipack features new artwork and an illustrated booklet with an essay by Spirit/Randy California archivist Mick Skidmore.

Spirit have been sampled by several modern artists, including on the “Extra P. Remix” of the song “Resurrection” by Common (which samples “Ice” from Clear) and “Feel Good Time” by Pink (which samples the track “Fresh Garbage”).

“I Got a Line On You” was covered by Alice Cooper’s super group (featuring Johnny Depp) the Hollywood Vampires on the album of the same name, released in 2015.


By Jimmy B.



1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’


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