Randy California

Euro-American/Shattered Dreams

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Two of Randy California's '80s solo albums, Euro-American and Shattered Dreams, were combined on one disc by Line in 1997. Randy California turned in Euro-American, his second solo album, ten years after his first, and it reflected his experiences in the interim. California had spent the decade leading various lineups of Spirit, including one full-fledged reunion of the original band, and the album featured all of them, albeit not all on the same track. Spirit had built up a considerable following in Europe, and California's bi-continental focus was expressed on the LP's two sides: the "American" one was given over mostly to guitar-dominated hard rock, while the "European" side was more varied, some of it featuring light pop, along with a cover of "Wild Thing." Shattered Dreams is a grab-bag of songs California has played for some time, though they are presented here in new recordings. There is "Downer," which first appeared on California's debut solo album, Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds; "Shattered Dreams" and "Hand Guns" were on his second solo album, Euro-American; and "Hey Joe" and "All Along the Watchtower" are covers closely associated with California's mentor, Jimi Hendrix. California hews to a guitar-drenched rock sound, and the only distinction between his solo work and the music he credits to Spirit is the backup personnel. Even that is violated here, as original Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy appears on the first two tracks, and original Spirit keyboard man John Locke and replacement Spirit bassist Larry Knight are on the second. By whatever name, California remains a talented Hendrix-steeped guitarist who has never quite succeeded as a frontman.

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