Pop: Album review - various artists More Oar - A Tribute To the Skip Spence Album Jericho

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The Independent Culture
SKIP SPENCE, who died earlier this year, was the American equivalent of Syd Barrett: a former member of Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape, the songs on his solo album Oar were, so legend goes, written during his six-month stay in a psychiatric ward, upon release from which he rode a motorcycle (in his pyjamas) straight to Nashville and recorded the lot, solo, in one day.

The resulting parade of whimsy and paranoia has become a cult favourite. The strain of vulnerable innocence in Spence's work is gently brought out here in Plant's winsome, acoustic "Little Hands" and the fairytale noir of The Durocs' "Margaret Tiger-Rug", while the darker shadows are more evident in Jay Farrar's "Weighted Down". Greg Dulli, Mark Lanegan, Diesel Park West and Mudhoney all offer diversely acceptable interpretations, while Beck and Tom Waits are perfectly matched with "Halo Of Gold" and "Books Of Moses", their versions respectively mondo-eclectic and ramshackle- hoarse.