A Quick Obituary for Ed Cassidy

RIP Ed Cassidy, 60s icon and drummer of LA psychedelic band, Spirit.
He was born in 1923, a full generation older than everyone else on the scene. He played in swing bands in the 30s, served in the navy in WW2, and played in Spirit with his stepson, Randy California. He had a shaved head even in the 1960s, which was unique. He was an experienced showman and gave effusive performances.

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Soundwise, there are times in his solos where you expect the drums to spring forward, but instead they fall back, behind the beat. I came to see this style as the missing link between the psychedelic rockers of the 60s and the cool stylings of the jazz musicians favored by the Beatniks who preceded the hippies. Ed Cassidy was basically inserting cool jazz riffs of the b&w Kerouac/Ginsberg era into electric kool-aid acid rock, and he wore all black.
If you ever wondered what it would sound like if a vanful of hippies went back in time and crossed paths with their immediate counterculture ancestors, the Beatniks, take a close listen to some of Ed Cassidy’s drum parts from Spirit’s earlier albums, especially “The Family That Plays Together (other than the album’s hit single, “I Got A Line On You.”)

 

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