More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album
|More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album|
|Compilation album by Various Artists|
|Released||July 6, 1999|
|Various Artists chronology|
More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album is a 1999 tribute album completed shortly before and released shortly after the death of Moby Grape founding member Skip Spence. The album contains cover versions by various artists of Spence's music from his Oar album, released in 1969, presented in the same order as on the original album. The album also contains a hidden bonus track of Spence's last known recording, "Land of the Sun", which was originally commissioned for the X-Files soundtrack, Songs in the Key of X, but not used.
History and Critical Reaction
The album was planned and produced by Bill Bentley, a music industry executive then associated with Warner Bros. Records, who had previously produced Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson (Warner Bros. Records/Sire, 1990).
More Oar has been described as a "heartfelt, eclectic homage" which "pays tribute to one of psychedelia's brightest lights, Skip Spence." In relation to the inclusion of Spence's "Land of the Sun" as a hidden bonus track, critic Raoul Hernandez commented as follows:
- ...(i)t's Spence himself, who died at the age of 52...who saves the back end of More Oar with the mumbled, spacey, bongo madness of "Land of the Sun." A hidden bonus track deemed unworthy of 1996's X-Files spinoff, Songs in the Key of X, "Land of the Sun" brings More Oar full circle...(to) bookend an obscure chapter of rock & roll history that is finally becoming public record."
Critic Rob Brunner views the more successful covers as being those by artists with a particular appreciation of Spence's spirit:
- The best contributions come from artists who realize that Spence's work is as much about atmosphere as words and chords. Robert Plant moans over ghostly vibes on "Little Hands"; Alejandro Escovedo offers an appropriately bleary "Diana", Spence's darkest song; and Flying Saucer Attack out-space the ultra-spaced-out Spence. Not everyone gets it, though. The Dūrocs (led by fellow San Fran hippie leftover Ron Nagle) and the Ophelias mistakenly believe that weird songs call for wacky performances, resulting in a sort of contrived lunacy that's at odds with Spence's unself-conscious outpourings. And Engine 54 contribute a puzzling ska track that's unrelated to both Spence and everything else on More Oar. Still, more often than not, More taps into the spirit of Oar — no easy feat.
- "Little Hands" Robert Plant 4:22
- "Cripple Creek" Mark Lanegan 2:12
- "Diana" Alejandro Escovedo 4:08
- "Margaret Tiger-Rug" The Dūrocs 2:27
- "Weighted Down (The Prison Song)" Jay Farrar & The Sir Omaha Quintet
- "War In Peace" Mudhoney 3:15
- "Broken Heart" Robyn Hitchcock 3:48
- "All Come To Meet Her" Diesel Park West 4:06
- "Books Of Moses" Tom Waits 3:01
- "Dixie Peach Promenade" ( Yin For Yang ) Greg Dulli 3:03
- "Lawrence Of Euphoria" The Ophelias 1:40
- "Grey - Afro" Flying Saucer Attack 4:24 
- "This Time He Has Come" Alastair Galbraith 5:18 
- "It's The Best Thing For You" Engine 54 5:02
- "Keep Everything Under Your Hat" Outrageous Cherry 3:18
- "Halo Of Gold" Beck 4:32
- "Doodle" Minus 5 13:18
- David Katznelson Executive Producer
- Bill Bentley Producer, Liner Notes
- Stanley Mouse Artwork
- Jimmy Hole Artwork, Art Direction
- André Knect Mastering
- Raoul Hernandez, More Oar reviewed. Austin Chronicle, December 17, 1999; www.austinchronicle.com.
- Both Erickson and Spence were subject to the challenges of schizophrenia, severely interrupting their respective musical careers.
- Heather Phares, Review of More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album; www.allmusic.com.
- Rob Brunner, Review of More Oar: A Tribute To The Skip Spence Album, Entertainment Weekly, July 23, 1999; www.ew.com.
- "Grey-Afro" and "This Time He Has Come" are described as "two of the most darkly acid-tinged tracks on the album". See Heather Phares, Review of More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album; www.allmusic.com.
- Viewable here. Austin Chronicle, December 17, 1999; www.austinchronicle.com.