Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16th, 2012 - Clear and Cloudy

Good evening... tonight I'm pairing Spirit's groundbreaking 3rd album, "Clear," recorded in 1968 and the Kellerweis Hefeweizen by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.  Oh, and this pairing is dedicated to my brother-in-law, Nick who reacquainted me with this wonderful album a few years back!  Thanks man... much love!!  Cheers!!

Probably one of the most overlooked "classic" rock bands of all time, Spirit embodied the sound of American rock in the late '60s to early '70s.  Highly influential, highly talented, and way ahead of its time, Spirit's "Clear" (remastered with bonus tracks) is a cohesive, wonderfully musical, and entirely engrossing sonic journey of profound proportions.  This is complex, heady stuff, but with a magical rock and roll quality that is accessible, entertaining, and fun.  Elements of straight-ahead rock, improvisational jazz, and psychedelia abound.  Opening with the magnificent "Dark Eyed Woman," a song of stunning guitar work by Randy California and equally stunning songwriting (maybe my favorite track), Spirit lays the groundwork for what's to come... and what's to come is equally brilliant throughout!  "Dark Eyed Woman" is followed by the heavy, bluesy "Apple Orchard," a song about lust and desperation... another track with California's stunning guitar work.  "So Little Time To Fly," "I'm Truckin'," "New Dope In Town," and "Sweet Stella Baby" are fast, fun freak songs while "Ice," "Caught," and "Coral" sound almost like jazz standards... swinging and cool with Ed Cassidy's flawless drumming and John Locke's funky keys.  And the other tracks?  All brilliant! "Ground Hog," the whimsical "Policeman's Ball," "1984," based on the themes of the Orwell book, and the somewhat disturbing "Fuller Brush Man" continue the profundity that is Spirit.  All in all, this is an incredibly complex, incredibly fulfilling album with wonderful flavor, songwriting, and execution. 

A highly entertaining and highly complex and refreshing album needs an equally entertaining and highly complex and refreshing beer!  Sierra Nevada's Kellerweis Hefeweizen is just that!  It pours a very hazy, golden amber with a thin head.  One of the very few American hefeweizens made in the traditional Bavarian-style open fermentation process, the Kellerweis is much more flavorful and complex than most hefes.  There are notes of banana and spicy clove like a Belgian-style ale, yet it is wheaty, refreshing and crisp and slightly citursy like a hefeweizen.  The suspended yeast gives the Kellerweis a velvety and smooth mouthfeel.  And of course you know you've got a stellar hefeweizen when there's a little residue at the bottom of the glass.

Here's some great footage of Spirit performing "1984" on German television back in 1970:

No comments:

Post a Comment