This is a Random Album Generator.
One album a day.
From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Oar

Alexander 'Skip' Spence

1969

Wikipedia

Oar

Rating

2.51

Votes

3144

Reviews

Like a review? Give it a thumb up to help us display relevant reviews!
View Author
4

Well, this is an interesting one, and I'm trying to figure out the context and time that it's from. I've not heard of this album or this person before. I'm hearing Leonard Cohen, Richard Hawley, Sufjan Stevens and the Flaming Lips. Some neat guitar work and psychedelic elements. I started reading about the history of this album. This was made in 1969, and it feels like a blueprint for a lot of the music I've enjoyed over the years. I started playing this album as I got on I-95 this morning and it didn't register for me until "Weighted Down (The Prison Song). The album is getting scratchy and his voice feels like it's struggling. It's an album that documents a time where the musician is going through some serious psychological trauma. And forgive me, but I'm really enjoying this beautiful breakdown.

👍
View Author
4

Had never heard of Skip and doing a bit of pre-reading I was ready to dismiss this out of hand. It's a surprising one, there's a variety of stuff on here and it never felt samey. War in Peace sounds like something Radiohead would produce and there's a range in his voice which adds to the appeal. Seems like Skip had a difficult life and you can feel it in some of these songs. It's not in any way polished but maybe that's part of the appeal. Overall, I enjoyed this.

👍
View Author
5

From the beginning, this is a biased perspective. I read Gibson's essay on Spence's pants while I listened to the front twelve, and I have a weakness for Gibson. Also read Spence's biography, of course, but the album ended up being far less devastating than I expected. That's a good sign for music, generally. Wasn't sure how much to like it, then found my attention being pulled to a huge number of songs compared to normal. Pretty much perfect arc, if at a shallow angle.

👍
View Author
4

I'm not sure what I expected, after reading about this album and then checking out other reviews. But this is pretty fantastic. Setting aside Spence's personal struggles for a moment, which necessarily underpin any discussion of this work, it's just really good. He floats pretty effortlessly from folk to psychedelic to bluesy rock, ethereal to dour. Spence is a talented guitarist with an interesting vocal range. It also appears he wrote, arranged and played these songs without much assistance from his producer, which is actually impressive. The fact that these songs were essentially demos works for them and the stripped down sound has allowed the album to age quite well. The only song that seems very much of the era is the first song, "Little Hands." The lyrics overall range from whimsical to disjointed and abstract, sometimes beautifully poetic. Consider them in terms of Spence's struggles, and some of them are pretty heartbreaking. This is the first album generated for me so far that surprised me in a really positive way. I will be listening to this one a lot in the future. Fave songs: Weighted Down, War in Peace, Grey/ Afro

👍
View Author
3

"hey what if we put only the drums in the right channel and everything else in the left"

👍
View Author
2

This starts a nicely melodic psychedelic folk country album with lots of creative songs. Then at about Afro/Grey is steers toward a much more random sequence of "songs". Takes a bit hit at the midway point.

👍
View Author
1

Composed after a stay in mental hospital

👍
View Author
1

Sounded like a mumbling pub singer

👍
View Author
1

A talentless retarded hobo.

👍
View Author
5

It's a really weird experience

👍
View Author
5

Wow! I didn't know this album. It's fantastic.

👍
View Author
4

Pretty good psych rock album - not exactly my favorite genre/time period, but it was still really good

👍
View Author
4

War in Peace best song. Pretty interesting

👍
View Author
4

Very interesting listen and one of my new favorites from this list so far. The sound of an accomplished songwriter...losing his mind.

👍
View Author
4

Jhonny cash? are you there?

👍
View Author
4

Gostosin

👍
View Author
4

Some great tracks and some filler at best

👍
View Author
4

Very chill album, good for background while working. Song 2 is a banger

👍
View Author
4

Surprised by how much I enjoyed this album I had never heard of. Perfect soundtrack for an early morning walk at sunrise.

👍
View Author
4

This album was like a rollercoaster for me. Shifting between super melodic, reverby tenor vocals layered on top of one bass note at a time to chanting with a snare drum to almost pre-rock ballads you can picture playing on a piano with a lone spotlight overhead. Overall a beautiful album, interesting to read about 'Skip' Spence's life while playing through.

👍
View Author
4

the dude is great, sometimes im surprised that everything on the album is him considering the diversity of singing and instrumentals, cant say all songs on the album are great but enough are

👍
View Author
4

Fragile, tender, warm, haunted, fragmented in parts, with a very odd soundstage - drums (where they appear) way over one side - a singular album, an enriching and challenging listen

👍
View Author
4

jesus, how fuckin' gone was this guy? (i looked him up after i wrote that...pretty fuckin' gone, i guess.) this was a rhythmically interesting album, which at times bordered on rhythmically challenging. and melodically challenging. but it ultimately won me over simply because it seemed so genuine, and not just the stoned ramblings of some egotist.

👍
View Author
4

Added!

👍
View Author
4

Very varied, moving between country, rock, psychedelic and more. Not heard this before,really fresh sounds

👍
View Author
4

Ok, this is the type of record that leaves me speechless. It's just beautiful. Listen to this album if you haven't already.

👍
View Author
4

I would say this album is very interesting, and I enjoyed listening to it. I feel like I would enjoy something from Skip that wasn't solo, so I will have to check out more work previous to this.

👍
View Author
3

Very off-putting at first, but it grows on you. The end of the album is the best part. Spotify has the expanded edition with snippets of "unfinished" songs (even if most of Oar proper is full of songs that could have used a little polish.) Not sure if Oar is essential listening, but it has its moments.

👍
View Author
3

Didn’t finish it . Not for me . Maybe if I was at a ranch and sitting on a rocking chair on the porch basking in the moonlight . Nice vibe

👍
View Author
3

Interesting stuff - sort of a Nick Drake vibe, but with a bit more psychedelia thrown in. 3-4 stars. Big fan of 'Broken Heart'

👍
View Author
3

Again, alright.

👍
View Author
3

This is some legit Can-con. Very cool record.

👍
View Author
3

Cool folky/blues/spacey/jammy music from an artist I had never heard of. The second half of the album is very experimental, almost like studio outtakes. Caught a "Sunshine of Your Love" tease in "War in Peace". Highlights: -Little Hands -All Come to Meet Her -War in Peace

👍
View Author
3

So odd. I can hear the mental illness. Wrenching and interesting.

👍
View Author
3

A very interesting psychedelic album.

👍
View Author
3

I really enjoyed most of the songs, but I wish the record would have been a little bit shorter. It got too repetitive after a while

👍
View Author
3

It was OK

👍
View Author
3

I wanted to like this more than I did. Kind of reminded me of Syd Barrett but not as good.

👍
View Author
3

J’ai bien aime mais plus psychedelique vers la fin. Quand meme surprenant pour une petite balade dans le bois. 3.90

👍
View Author
3

I really wanted to like this album but I was kind of bored.

👍
View Author
3

Psychedelic album; alright

👍
View Author
3

Fine

👍
View Author
3

Had never heard this but really liked it. Got weird! I'll throw it on every once in a while.

👍
View Author
3

Jotenkin tämä levy kuulostaa siltä, että kaveri olisi LCD-päissään yrittänyt paloitella bändikaverit palokirveellä ja sen jälkeen viettänyt sairaalassa puoli vuotta, kirjoittanut biisit sairaalassa ja suoraan sairaalasta päästyään karauttanut studiolle ja äänittänyt biisit ykkösellä purkkiin. Ja ne oli sitten siinä, tulee muuten hiotun oloisia. Näin ainakin tuottajan mielestä, eikä demoja tarvinut lähteä sen enempää uudelleenäänittämään. Biiseissä on joku tietty johnnycashmäinen karisma, mikä pitää otteessaan. Tietty myönnettäköön, että minulla on heikko kohta tällaiseen singer/songwriter ja kitara -musiikkiin. Heti alussa tuntuu, onko tässä kaksi eri laulajaa kuin Little Handsin jälkeen Cripple Creekissa lauluääni on niin erilainen - jälkimmäisessä kappaleessa tumman möreä, hivenen massahtava. Kokonaisuutena vähän liian pitkä ja venytetty levy (sama rikkinäinen radio, pahoittelut), jotta alkaisin keulimaan nelosen suuntaan.

👍
View Author
3

Hoo boy, this album is real slow and real sad.

👍
View Author
3

I found some of this really pretty good, I liked the ramblings and the sound and the guitar work. And what a backstory

👍
View Author
3

This was an album I’d never even heard about. Listening to the album and reading about its creation, it bears more than a passing resemblance to Syd Barrett’s solo work. Though this leans more on folk/Americana/country as opposed to Barrett’s blues roots. I will listen again

👍
View Author
3

not totally crazy about his voice, nice bluesy guitar

👍
View Author
3

Kings of Leon -aha shake heartbreak

👍
View Author
3

-I like the low voice on "Cripple Creek" -Great of the album was just very plain, boring rock

👍
View Author
3

It feels a bit like a rough diamond. There is something really good about this, yet there is also something missing. It sounds a bit incomplete. I did enjoy this a lot tho.

👍
View Author
3

Spence spent time in a mental facility after trying to use a fireaxe on his bandmates, and this album came out of it. It's a bit long and self-indulgent, but I guess he's allowed that if it's what he needs. Best track: Diana

👍
View Author
3

Ei tarjonnut ihmeitä vaikka ei mitään paskaa ollutkaan. Viimeisen 60v aikana monta tusinaa vastaavia artisteja. 2,5*

👍
View Author
3

from boring to ahead of its time

👍
View Author
3

The sound of one man losing his mind. This is definitely an album you need to listen to even though it may not be that easy. Sort of lo-fi country rock. Best Tracks: Little Hands; Cripple Creek, War In Peace

👍
View Author
3

It was alright. Like the bass a lot.

👍
View Author
3

Great and curious

👍
View Author
3

Primordial Jeff Buckley?! But a little too long

👍
View Author
3

Didn't grab me. Kind of boring tbh.

👍
View Author
3

Good folk music

👍
View Author
3

This is the first one I didn't quite make it through. There were a lot of songs I liked like Weighted Down, but I also found the vocal affects and left/right split of the recording pretty irritating at times.

👍
View Author
3

Fine - didn’t finish yet

👍
View Author
3

First time hearing of this guy. I really like it. I want to hear more of it. 3/5

👍
View Author
3

Nothing grabbed me

👍
View Author
3

Extraño. Experimental. Rock, country...

👍
View Author
2

Way before it’s time but not ready yet imo

👍
View Author
2

I love the work that he did with moby grape but I think his talent was spent at this point. It’s too bad, really make you wonder what could have been

👍
View Author
2

Hard to get through to be honest

👍
View Author
2

A few gems, but otherwise feels a bit like it was written in a van down by the river under a bridge. With lots of heroin.

👍
View Author
2

Omituinen levy, jonka taustat aukesi paremmin wikipediasta lukemalla. Jotkut biisit hyvinkin tavanomaisia ja jopa ihan mukiinmeneviä, mutta kokonaisuuden rikkoo monet todella erikoiset ja heikot kappaleet jotka tuntuu jopa jonkinlaiselta improvisaatiolta. Jokin levyssä silti kiehtoo, ja ehkä tätä pitääkin kuunnella vielä paremmalla keskittymisellä uudestaan.

👍
View Author
2

A dude songwriter.

👍
View Author
2

I hated almost every single moment of this album and after reading his tragic story and death here in Santa Cruz it was incredibly depressing as well. I feel like its so well regarded because of his story and not the music.

👍
View Author
2

This album has some good sounding music. The instrumentals are decent enough for similar era country/folk music. The lyrics can be hard to understand due to them sometimes no making sense to me and at other times they're muffled.

👍
View Author
2

Discount Jim Croce

👍
View Author
2

it was alright

👍
View Author
2

Pretty boring. A worse Syd Barrett.

👍
View Author
2

Liked Little Hands and Diana. The rest was not for me. The emphasis of a psychedelic core was a little overbearing.

👍
View Author
2

Eh

👍
View Author
2

Tää on varmaan joku legendaarinen kaveri, vähä valjuksi jää.

👍
View Author
2

Can't see anything special there

👍
View Author
2

Meh

👍
View Author
2

This album is mental. So is Skip apparently. Most of this is pretty poor and Lawrence of Euphoria is a genuine contender for the worst song I’ve ever heard. But also quite a few songs on here I really liked so he gets a 2

👍
View Author
2

Bob Dylan-Lite but with an even worse singing voice, which I didn’t even think was possible

👍
View Author
2

Sunshine of your love reference was my favorite part. Didn't really know what to make of this album. It was long, and quiet, a little boring but the singer's voice was interesting and the fact that this was called 'a soundtrack to schizophrenia' by reviewers... makes me wonder how to learn from it.

👍
View Author
2

Mumbling singer-songwriter whose lyrics and musicianship have lost a bit of the way. Too much acid, without the soul or funk.

👍
View Author
2

Gar nicht meins...

👍
View Author
2

Did not enjoy

👍
View Author
2

Another mumbling American whose genius is "misunderstood". Can play the axe tho. And chase his former band mates with one...

👍
View Author
2

Es un álbum curioso y entiendo que esté en la lista, pero no me parece que haya coherencia a lo largo de las canciones. Eso sí, me sorprende que saliera en 1969.

👍
View Author
2

Boooooring...

👍
View Author
2

The circumstances around the creation of this album are interesting (and a bit sad), but I can't say Columbia were wrong to think it's bad.

👍
View Author
2

Ihme settiä taas, säälikakkonen

👍
View Author
2

Didn't like

👍
View Author
2

Don’t really dig this. It’s got a Leonard Cohen feel to it, just not as interesting. It’s an achievement to do a whole album solo but this could have benefitted from a little bit more accompaniment. Moses and Dixie feel like highlights for me. Very unlikely I’ll revisit this one.

👍
View Author
2

This album definitely needs background reading to really be appreciated. But that's a pretty bad thing in my book. I'm judging this album purely on its musical merits and the music simply can't quite stand by itself. I'll give the guy that he was a surprisingly varied singer and that the instrumentation is very simple but passable, considering he did it all himself. I'll also give him that the music is full of feeling. But even considering that - these are only demos and they definitely sound like demos. In that light, a 2 (would give 2.5 if I could) is a pretty good score. If the music were fully fleshed out, played by a band and produced in a good quality, this would probably be a 4 with a possibility of going on 5. I liked Books of Moses, that one had a Doors vibe.

👍
View Author
2

Zoals de beschrijving beloofde een erg sombere plaat. Het verhaal erachter is op zijn minst opmerkelijk, maar de muziek spreekt me niet aan

👍
View Author
2

So interesting low country/psychedlic rock but I just found it too meandering.

👍
View Author
2

So I don’t really love this album so far. It’s not terrible, but I don’t really like his voice and singing style all that much. Honestly, I don’t even want to listen to the whole album. It’s just not my jam.

👍
View Author
2

A bit too folk country for me

👍
View Author
2

Interesting listen but not one i am likely to repeat.

👍
View Author
2

"What if every single folk album from the 60s except maybe slightly more dull?" It seems like Skip was just noodling around, thinking about maybe writing a few songs, and someone accidentally recorded it. AND YET SOMEHOW THERE'S LIKE 90 MINUTES OF ALBUM HERE. I forgot every song literally 2 seconds after it ended.

👍
View Author
2

Bit boring.

👍
View Author
2

12th October 2021 Mainly listened in the shower while at home home. Really interesting to read about Alexander spence and his struggles with mental health and how he wrote this album while in an asylum. I like that he was left totally alone in the studio and recorded all of this all on his own with the tapes running.

👍
View Author
2

Un altre descobriment de la llista, disc en solitari d'aquest Jefferson Airplane tancat per esquizofrènia. Em resulta més destacable pel seu posi històric (sembla que les composicions van ser gestades durant la seva estada al frenopàtic) que pels seus resultats. Folk rock psicodèlic, a mig camí entre l'intimisme depressiu d'un Nick Drake o el folk piscodèlic d'un Syd Barret amb tonades que semblen provinents de la seva banda mare. El conjunt, però, no destaca per una inspiració de primer nivell

👍
View Author
2

i mean… okay for a literal insane person it wasn’t that terrible… yes i would never voluntarily listen to it again however i have to give him a little credit for doing this while he’s him

👍
View Author
2

The guy on the cover looks smacked off his tits. the music is way to indie/Psychedelic/surreal for me. 2/5

👍
View Author
2

A bit slow and dreary for me. Has a country twang to it. Decent album

👍
View Author
2

Heartbreaking. The guy has talent. I like his singing style, and the mixing is impressive despite the fact he plays all the instruments. Doesn't sound too bad either. The best tracks are in the first half. Songwriting is unique and whimsical, and I appreciate his efforts, but they aren't particularly remarkable by any means. He has some diversity in his tracks, but the majority are misses. My favorite track is the psychedelic "War in Peace," although I'm also partial to "Margaret-Tiger Rug." I honestly do feel bad for the guy. His life sucks, and he tries to do something creative, but it doesn't hit the mark.

👍
View Author
2

Real weird. That's not necessarily a bad thing and I thought I might like it after the first song but it quickly devolved into indecipherability after that.

👍
View Author
2

Was a weird album. Then I read the wiki and get why. My heart already belongs to one psychedelic 60s rock icon who was certifiably insane and institutionalized. I don't need another. This guy didn't even mention 2 headed dogs once

👍
View Author
2

Sorry, Spence, but it's a Skip

👍
View Author
2

Does not like his voice... the style is too under the weather

👍
View Author
2

He’s a hippy

👍
View Author
2

Not a fan

👍
View Author
2

Very lame psychedelia. Not a fan

👍
View Author
2

Honestly, the story behind this album was far better than the music in it. It sounds like a bunch of demos that never got to get finished - which, spoiler alert, it was.

👍
View Author
2

I generally like psychedelic music. Not this one though.

👍
View Author
2

countryblues. I'm sure it's a sad story behind the record, but I just couldn't get into it.

👍
View Author
1

Rubbish

👍
View Author
1

hard to get through. almost unbearable.

👍
View Author
1

Could barely make it through the first few tracks and you want me to do this 22 times? No thanks. Horrible.

👍
View Author
1

Ein Album wie eine Wurzelbehandlung!

👍
View Author
1

Without knowing the context of this album, I would have given it one star. I'm giving it one star anyway because I'll never listen to it again. In context, there's some redemption to it, but altogether sad...

👍
View Author
1

Jos T Rex oli köyhän miehen David Bowie, niin tämä oli köyhän miehen Bob Dylan. Levy oli turhan pitkä ja mielestäni muutenkin aika turhanpäiväinen ja yllätyksetön. Ensimmäisen 20min jälkeen kuuntelu oli lähinnä kellon vilkuilua.

👍
View Author
1

boring

👍
View Author
1

Not as bad as lenny but pretty bad

👍
View Author
1

O Diana I’m in pain!!!! Mate we are all pain listening to this shit. I got to the 3 song and had suicidal thoughts if I had to listen anymore. Hope u didn’t waste ur money on producing this pile of 💩

👍
View Author
1

I did not know any of the songs and I did not care for any of the songs. I could have died without hearing this album.

👍
View Author
1

Alexander Spence has to be the luckiest man to ever live for two reasons: 1) He stumbled across someone that thought his music was worth a record deal and 2) this album slipped through the cracks when someone was making the list of 1001 greatest albums. 1/10.

👍
View Author
1

This album was far more interesting to read about than to listen to. Not sure what drugs I'd need to be on to actually enjoy it.

👍
View Author
1

No, these musings, mutterings and noodlings are not for me.

👍
View Author
1

If you enjoy hearing the real-time sounds of a guy singing songs with a terrible voice while in a mental breakdown with acoustic guitar in hand and sounding as if he's been awake for 24 hours drinking non-stop and sounding like he has never touched an instrument before, HAVE I GOT AN ALBUM FOR YOU... Nothing redeeming here - it sounds like a crude 4 track demo I would have made in my high school bedroom but without questionable language, fart noises, and silly giggling. Any/all of those would have improved things here. ...take "The Prison Song" - seriously, things like this make me unnecessarily angry. Not tuning the guitar/bass doesn't make it authentic - it makes it AWFUL. Sorry, that's not fair. It implies that tuning the guitars would have any effect on this - it wouldn't. <Please insert a gif of me diving headfirst through a skyscraper window here>. I love reading and hearing about the history of pop/rock music and what-if stories but honestly what the absolute bloody hell. Here's a what-if: what if this album never saw the light of day? It would have allowed anything else in the history of earth onto this 1001 list. 0/10 1 star only because I tried digging lower and there's nothing underneath.

👍
View Author
1

Hated it. Just all sounded the same.

👍
View Author
1

Got as far as broken heart before my will to live was similarly broken. What a load of melancholic guff.

👍
View Author
1

Demasiado plano, casi sin ritmo y sin voz destacable. Le falta de todo

👍
View Author
1

“Teetering near the precipice of sanity.”

👍
View Author
1

Terrible.

👍
View Author
1

You ever wonder how it feels to have to walk across a super muddy field? Where your foot sinks in all the way to your knee every step. If so listen to this album. I swear time literally slowed while listening to it. 22 songs and not 1 was worth a second play. Not sure why this is on the list. You must have to be on a few hits of acid or a fist full of shrooms to know.

👍
View Author
1

Disliked

👍
View Author
1

Music is okay. Not a fan of the mumbling rambling singing style so far. Reading about the guys life is sad and tragic and puts into prospective the music he created. While interesting, the music isn't my favorite and you definitely need to be in a certain mood to listen to it. War in Peace the album has come alive a bit, still going to keep listening. Back to a slow folksy sound that doesn't excite me much. War in Peace is probably my favorite track.

👍
View Author
1

1.5

👍