Spirit: Potato Land (1973/1981)
They had a run of good-to-great albums in the late 60s, which, like other California bands of the era, managed a fascinating hodge-podge of rock, folk, blues, and psychedelia; they then broke up for awhile before regrouping for a few much less esteemed yet occasionally brilliant 70s albums.
In between incarnations, band founder Randy California hooked up with a few of the original band members to record a bizarre semi-concept album of sorts with the unwieldy title The Adventures of Kaptain Kopter & Commander Cassidy in Potato Land. It sat in storage for awhile, but a rough-sounding mix was released in 1981, and in the years since there have been various re-packagings with greatly improved sound and enough outtakes and alternate versions to make it difficult to determine exactly what does and does not constitute the proper album.
But the core of the record is intermittently fantastic. As with some of the Spirit albums of the later 70s, there is a bunch of meandering electronic experimentation, spoken-word narratives, and general Zappa-esque (or Funkadelic-esque) weirdness. But if you skip all of that -- and I ended up burning myself a copy of this which leaves that aside and sticks to the music -- there's still enough for a fascinating, if relatively short, album.
The highlight is the closing number, "My Friend," quite possibly one of the greatest songs you've never heard. Jangly guitars and buoyant synths and anthemic earworm hooks that will haunt you for days, it's the sort of thing I can imagine playing over the closing credits of every road trip movie ever. Why "My Friend" isn't an overplayed staple of FM radio is something I will never understand. Seriously, it's just great, go play it now and I can't imagine you'll disagree. Here's an audio rip:
Here's an audio rip of "We've Got A Lot To Learn":