Spirit Of The West – Old Material 1984-1986

Pride Of Taranna Series Pt. 22: She Said Boom #1: Spirit Of The West – Old Material 1984-1986

When I brought this home, my lovely wife said “that’ll be a throwback to university party days, right on.” In some ways she was correct and, in others, this disc points out a nascent, slightly different SOTW… 

I thought this from Amazon summed it up:

This aptly titled compilation captures the earliest and most traditional work of Vancouver folk-rockers Spirit of the West–complete with a hammed-up Scots accents and mist-swept tales of highland laddies and seafaring adventurers. It’s the sound of a group–at this point a trio featuring principal singer-guitarists Geoffrey Kelly and John Mann with multi-instrumentalist J. Knutson–finding its feet while betraying an obvious creative debt to old-world folk explorers such as Planxty and Fairport Convention. But then, the latter influence is hardly a hidden one considering SOTW take a crack at Richard Thompson’s “Time to Ring Some Changes.” Thin and unnecessarily glossy production mixes uneasily with the band’s supply of acoustic guitars on the disc’s first half, though “Down on the Dole” and “John Goodman” are a good indicator of both the strident politics and bright-eyed pop of later albums like Save This House. The album’s back half features a so-so live recording, with Kelly laying some fluid tin whistle over increasingly rocking arrangements. It would prove to be the cusp of success for a band with more to offer in future years. –Kieran Grant

More to offer? Hahaha SO MUCH MORE, Kieran!

I love that this CD is listed as Side One and Two, like the CD thinks it’s an LP… Side One, the studio stuff, was produced by Barney Bentall. Side Two was produced, engineered and mixed by Ron Obvious, recorded live at the Vancouver East Cultural Center in 1986.

All tracks here are brilliant. Interesting to hear SOTW as a trio.



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20 thoughts on “Spirit Of The West – Old Material 1984-1986

            1. keepsmealive says:


              My favourite (pronunciation) is the word don’t. Like, when we say it, it’s just don’t. Like, dohnt. Straight on. But ye Scots, it’s doh-ent. It’s like two words. Doh ent. I just love it.


              1. J. says:

                Haha. I guess it depends where you’re from. For me it’s just plain told don’t. Kinda like yours, maybe – dohnt or doant. Maybe.


                  1. J. says:

                    Perhaps from elsewhere originally or picking up another accent or pronunciation. I know a few folk who have picked up wee things.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Well, since we weren’t in university until the 90s, and weren’t even in high school when this stuff was recorded, we’d have to say public school throwbacks?


      1. jprobichaud says:

        Original vinyl pressings were made available on their website last Christmas on a super limited basis but I opted for Go figure because I preferred that album. I used to have Old Material on CD but sold it along with a boatload of other CDs as I’ve been culling my collection to make room for more vinyl. I agree, though, it is very good.


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