Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jimmie Spheeris

In 1971, Jimmie Spheeris, a young singer-songwriter, released his first album, Isle of View. It promptly became a favorite on American AOR FM stations of the time, and "I am the Mercury" became one of my favorite songs.
For I am the Mercury, the light of the morning,
Looking for shelter in this thunder and this rain...
I bought it, and while I didn't buy the followup, The Original Tap-Dancing Kid, I loved Spheeris's third album, The Dragon is Dancing.
Wonder of wonders, the dragon is dancing,
Stilling the thunder with movement so slow
Silence of silence, the dragon is dancing

Stilling the violence, his beauty unfolds...
Two more albums followed, and then, with no recording contract, he faded from my notice, though I never forgot his wonderful lyrics, tunes, and above all that voice, gentle and powerful.
Love me without thinking it over,
Love me like the sun loves clover
When it grows;
Let it flow...
I didn't know it, but on July 4, 1984, the very evening Spheeris finished a new album, on the way home on his motorcycle, some thrice-damned drunk driver struck Spheeris and killed him.

Sony, who owned the earlier material, never bothered to rerelease it on CD... until, in 1998, Johnny Pierce, who had played bass for Spheeris, founded Rain Records to reissue Spheeris's work with permission from Sony, as well as the album finished back in 1984.

I bought a copy of Isle of View as a gift, meaning to get more someday... but someday never came. Sony withdrew permission in 2000, and no more CDs could be released. Rain Records remade itself as an independent label, and is still around... but now, if you head over to and look up Isle of View, you'll see that doesn't sell them, but you can get a copy, with prices starting at $125. For one CD.

So... since Apple evidently managed to convince Sony to release Jimmie Spheeris's songs on iTunes, I bought some of them, and was immediately transported back to that era.
We all dance alone on a tightrope of insanity,
reality or fantasy; who really knows?
But in the misty woods, as I guessed into your emerald eyes
I thought I found an answer in your sighs,
But the gulls had flown....
If you're not familiar with his music, I urge you to give it a listen.

1 comment:

whiteray said...

Hi - I love Jimmie's music, too! Nice blog!