“Stackin” – The obsessive act of flipping through massive amounts of vinyl records to find the standout gems in a sea of discarded standards.
The story of Jimmie Spheeris is as heartbreaking as the music he left behind. In the early hours of July 4th, 1984, Spheeris was driving his motorcycle when he was struck and killed by a drunk diver. He had just put the final touches on his fifth studio record and was heading home when it all ended suddenly. Spheeris had his cult following but never found commercial success regardless of being signed to Columbia and Epic records. While Spheeris has an eclectic mix of sounds in his later albums that lean toward jazz-rock fusion, his debut record “Isle Of View” is a ten-track folk rock masterpiece that shows off Spheeris as one of the most dynamic and charismatic singer songwriters of the 70’s.
“Isle Of View” constantly flirts with soft explosions. Spheeris baits the listener into a trance with whispering pianos and soft vocals, only to have the melodies burst into a “sit upright in your chair” dynamic shift. Listen to the opening track “The Nest” and notice the ease in which Spheeris moves from a gentle melody to a thunderous chorus and back again.
The album also displays stripped down moments that shows off Spheeris in his rawest form. His one radio single off “Isle Of View”, “I Am The Mercury” is much more about his voice than the melody. His voice drifts, snaps back, and floats in the foreground until reaching the tipping point at the 3:58 mark when Spherris’ voice takes off.
I recommend picking up every Spheeris record, but for those starting off “Isle Of View” is a great beginning. Here is a little look at some of his songs off other records.