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Jimmie Spheeris - Alive In America

Jimmie Spheeris - Alive In America

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Jimmie Spheeris (November 5, 1949 – July 4, 1984) was an American singer-songwriter who released four albums in the 1970s on the Columbia Records and Epic Records labels. Spheeris died in 1984, at the age of 34, after a motorcycle accident. Jimmie was born in Phenix City, Alabama, to Juanita ‘Gypsy’ and Andrew Spheeris, who owned and operated a traveling carnival called the Majick Empire.

Spheeris primarily composed on the guitar and piano. His musical genre was generally in the folk music and singer-songwriter traditions, although later work explored jazz, rock music, jazz-rock fusion and new wave music. Spheeris’ vocal range was primarily baritone and tenor, with occasional falsetto flourishes. His voice is most often described by music critics and fans as “soulful,” “sultry,” or “smoky.

Spheeris moved to New York City in the late 1960s to pursue his songwriting career. The liner notes on his debut album credit friend and fellow songwriter Richie Havens, who introduced Spheeris to Columbia Records executive Clive Davis. Davis signed Spheeris to a four album recording contract and his debut album was released on the Columbia label.

Spheeris’ 1972 debut album, Isle of View, garnered a devoted following and FM radio airplay, most notably for the song “I Am the Mercury.” His 1973 album, The Original Tap Dancing Kid, was followed by a period of extensive concert touring. Spheeris returned to the recording studio in 1975 with The Dragon is Dancing and released Ports of the Heart in 1976. After Ports of the Heart, Spheeris had no recording contract. Except for a 1980 single, “Hold Tight,” Spheeris released no new material through a major record label.

Spheeris died at the age of 34 in Santa Monica, California, when his motorcycle collided with a van at 2 a.m. on the morning of July 4, 1984. The driver of the van, Bruce Burnside, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and felony vehicular manslaughter. Hours before his death, Spheeris finished the self-titled album, Spheeris, which was produced by Paul Delph.

A song on Spheeris’ final album entitled “You Must Be Laughing Somewhere” is based on the life of his friend, author John Kennedy Toole (whose novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981).

This concert was recorded live at Ebbets Field in Denver, CO on March 12, 1974.

 

Tracklist: 

1. Let It Flow

2. Heidi Come Home 

3. Icarus 

4. Thrill Rides In The Theta Universe

5. The Original Tap Dancing Kid 

6. Ain't No Use In Walkin' (When You Can Scroll) 

7. Blown Out

8. Eternity Spin 

9. I Am The Mercury 

10. Soul Tumbleweed

11. I Get Burned (And Walk Away) 

12. Tequila Moonlight 

13. In The Misty Woods 

14. Love Potion 

15. Since I Fell For You 

16. The Original Tap Dancing Kid II 

17. The Nest 

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