SPIRIT CARAVAN (The Last Embrace) 2LP/2CD
I remember the day, when I heard about the sudden end of SPIRIT CARAVAN, because it was like shock. This was such a masterful band which released two timeless full-length, an awesome 10", and a hand full of compilation and 7" tracks. None of this tracks were crap or mediocre and whatever was the reason for the end of SPIRIT CARAVAN, this treepiece was a tight and energetic unit and apart of Wino's nature-given talent, drummer Gary Isom and bassist Dave Sherman were also two great creative players. Whenever this band played in Germany or Holland I took the chance to meet them and to witness their forceful shows. This reminds me to a lot of personal experiences with SPIRIT CARAVAN, but this shouldn't be part of this review. "The Last Embrace" is their tombstone and a tasteful compiled farewell done by the guys of Meteor City Records what means that this isn't one of this superfluous compilations.
"The Last Embrace" contains nearly every track from "Jug Fulla Sun" and "Elusive Truth", and only the magnificent "Dreamwheel" EP is missing and SPIRIT CARAVAN's cover-version of "Wicked World". And to make it more interesting one can listen to the early versions of "Powertime" or "Lost Sun Dance" and "Courage" from the ultra-rare SHINE (their first band-name) 7" and "Darkness and Longing" from the hard-to-find split 7" with Sixty Watt Shaman and both tracks from their last 7" for Tolotta Records. Fans of this band know and love all this tracks, but what makes this compilation to a must-have are the three here unreleased songs "The Last Embrace", "Brainwashed" and "Dove-Tongued Aggressor". While "The Last Embrace" is a melancholic number with acoustic guitar and a very spiritual vibe, the other two songs are heavy power groove killers with a driving rhythm section and inspiring political lyrics. This songs are making the end of SPIRIT CARAVAN more painful and I ask myself how the never released third album could have been sounded. Before I become to sentimental I like to recommend this compilation also to everyone who owns everything of this band, due to the the unknown songs. Wino, Gary and Dave - thanks for the wonderful music and the inspiring years!