Alexander 'Skip' Spence

Released 1969 on Columbia
Reviewed by john, 11/04/2000ce

Oar is a gem of an album; one of those lp's where you feel like the musician is a long lost friend who is back in town after a profoundly moving journey. He is only gonna be around for a little while, so you are determined to make the most of the time you have together. After a few beers and maybe a few bong hits, your friend opens up and tells you everything that he's got burried deep within his chest, and you cling to his every word, because you know that after tonight, you may never see or hear from your friend again.
This is what Oar is like. An album where Skip Spence (ex-Jefferson Airplane, ex-Moby Grape) lets it all hang out. He sings and plays all the instruments himself. And he packs each song with enough emotion that at times it can be staggering. "I've done every little thing from A to Z, you hear me?" Skip sings, and you know it's true, because Skip Spence definitely knew what it was like to be alive. A certified schizophrenic, Skip Spence carried his emotions to the extreme, and you want to hold him and thank him for getting it down on record, not purified and distilled, but raw, messy, sweaty, and true.
Oar was the only solo record Spence would make, living the rest of his life crippeled by his disease. But even though he has recently died, the soul of Skip Spence lives on, forever captured in the genuis that is Oar.

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