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  • 12 Dreams of Dr Sardonicus
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12 Dreams of Dr Sardonicus Original recording remastered

160 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, October 22, 1996
$46.99 $0.94
Audio, Cassette
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Editorial Reviews

Spirit was formed with the intention to combine jazz, rock, classical, and folk with a mystical orientation. Led by the family duo of Hendrix-inspired guitarist Randy California and his uncle, jazz drummer Ed Cassidy (whose shaved head--some 20 years ahead of its time--was the band's visual focus), Spirit had a few idiosyncratic hits such as "I Got A Line On You." The band didn't reach its prime until Twelve Dreams, after which they promptly broke up. A loosely constructed sci-fi concept album, it contains the band's biggest hit, the ecological "Nature's Way" (complete with booming kettle drums), the surreal rock of "Animal Zoo," and the orchestral psychedelia of "Life Has Just Begun." Bristling with ideas, energy, and California's meaty guitar, Twelve Dreams exemplifies the best of the late '60s experimentalism. --Steven Mirkin

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Prelude - Nothin' To Hide [Clean] 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Nature's Way [Clean] 2:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Animal Zoo [Clean] 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Love Has Found A Way [Clean] 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Why Can't I Be Free [Clean] 1:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Mr. Skin [Clean] 4:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Space Child [Clean] 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. When I Touch You [Clean] 5:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Street Worm [Clean] 3:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Life Has Just Begun [Clean] 3:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Morning Will Come [Clean] 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Soldier [Clean] 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Rougher Road [Clean] 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Animal Zoo (Mono) [Clean] 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Morning Will Come (Alternate Mono Mix) [Clean] 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. Red Light Roll On [Clean] 5:41$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 22, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002AF2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,761 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Paul Minot on July 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
A hearty "Amen" to all the five star reviews before. This is simply one of the greatest rock albums of all time, debatably the most successful concept album ever (probably due to the elasticity and emotional resonance of its "dream" theme), and in my opinion the best "headphone album" ever. Spirit made some wonderful tunes before, but were hampered by the laconic and inconsistent production of Lou Adler on their prior records. Fortunately they connected with David Briggs in time to produce this masterpiece of psychedelia prior to their untimely breakup. Interestingly, for a psychedelic album it is remarkably extroverted, emotionally engaging, accessible, and musically disciplined. Every damn song is memorable, and indispensible to the flow of the album. It manages to somehow collapse the emotional experience of a fitful night (Asleep? Awake? Drugged out?) into a breathtaking forty minutes or so, with stunning moments of beauty and sonic adventure. Thirty years down the line, this album refuses to sound dated, and showcases the instrumental and vocal talents of the band at their height. All you young ones (especially musicians) out there who think that they've heard it all from the 60's through the 90's, well if you haven't heard 12 Dreams (and Randy California on guitar) then you are very wrong. The only contemporary reference I can think of off-hand is OK Computer by Radiohead, but this album is more consistent and more fun than that one. Buy this record, and appreciate one of the pinnacle achievements of an era when musicianship and artistic vision was prized as a mark of hipness. Limp Bizkit and Snoop fans can pass--nothing of interest here.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album was first released when I was in college, and it never left my roommate's turntable. It was the best thing he ever did for me! This is not only one of the best albums of 1970, it's one of the best albums ever.
Though Spirit had their only bona fide hit with "I Got a Line on You" the year before Dr. Sardonicus was released, this album earns Spirit a permanent place in rock history. It is a stunning blend of rock, jazz, blues and superb musicianship.
This newly mastered edition includes four bonus tracks: two slightly different versions of songs from the original album and two additional Randy California songs. The first is the previously unreleased "Rougher Road" and the single "Red Light Roll On," which had been previously unavailable on CD. Like the original tracks, all songs were recorded in 1970.
This was the fourth and final album by the original lineup. All of them are worth owning and the two-CD restrospective Time Circle includes all but two tracks from Dr. Sardonicus in addition to numerous b-sides and previously unavailable material. But if you can only afford one album, The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus is the one to own. ESSENTIAL
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Sean M. Kelly on April 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Spriit was (and still is) sadly one of the most overlooked bands from the psychedelic era- perhaps it was due to drummer Ed Cassidy's famous bald shaved head; perhaps it was the fact that the music was more skin to the Soft Machine and other jazz-oriented bands of the day during the era when country/rock (the Dead, Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, etc) began to dominate California rock... whatever the reason, Spirit deserves greater attention and praise than it has received.
While they DID score a surprise hit in 1968 with "I Got a Line on You," it is without question the concept oriented lp "The 12 Dreams of Dr.Sardonicus" that will forever define the band. The songs, like the talent in the band, are enormous and special, spanning the gamut from the jazzy blues of the wonderful "Mr. Skin" (tribute to drummer Cassidy)to the out n out psychedelia of the gorgeous "Love has Found a Way," to the surrealism of "Animal Zoo."
"12 Dreams" remains one of the most consistent listens that I own from late 60's, early 70's rock n roll. This is due most to the brilliant musicianship of Jay Ferguson, John Locke, Mark Andes, Ed Cassidy, and Randy California. The wonderful interplay between these men is top-rate, with California's brilliance on the guitar meshing perfectly with stepfather Cassidy's jazzy drumming (he was drummer for the Rising Sons, featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder). The songs, as I mentioned earlier, are brilliant and flow wonderfully. The combination of the 2 equals an album that I can't put down for very long.
Now with alternate takes, Spirit's colossal lp comes to life again- better than ever. Fans of late 60's rock know about Spirit. The time has come for the rest of the world to do the same. An absolute no-brainer of a purchase. One of the most underrated and brilliant lps ever made. Period.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Gnarlito on March 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
In 1973, I was an un-soldier stationed at a remote U.S. army outpost in South Korea. We lived in metal Butler huts (hooches), 12 people per hooch; and most of the guys in my hooch were draftees like me. We spent a LOT of time sharing aromatherapy materials and listening to all kinds of music, including Eddie Kendricks, Pharaoh Sanders, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Al Green, Donny Hathaway, the James Gang...and Spirit.

Many nights I would fall asleep with the Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus playing in the background, over and over again, on a small portable cassette player that had been left running because someone had been too stoned to turn it off. The player was set up to auto-repeat every time it reached the end of the tape, so this album was literally the soundtrack of my own dreams for months. I never got tired of it. It's magical music.

These songs have always been out there just sort of weightless, floating above all of the other tunes in my musical subconscious. I've never completely figured out the lyrics to "Nothing to Hide" or "Life Has Just Begun" -- the lyric translations submitted online are just laughable -- but it doesn't matter. My own personal soundtrack has changed over the years, so I hear different things now than I did when these 12 songs first got under my skin, 34 years ago. Sardonicus still gives me goose bumps today.
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