Oar (studio album) by Alexander Spence

Oar by Alexander Spence
Year: 1969
Overall rank: 2,780th   Overall chart historyOverall chart history
Average Rating: 
77/100 (from 116 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution   Average rating historyAverage rating history
Award Top albums of 1969 (69th)
Award Top albums of the 1960s (249th)
Award Best albums of all time (2,780th)
Product Details

Condition: New

Alexander Skip Spence - Oar | [ Vinyl LP] | Music On Vinyl
Condition: New

ALEXANDER SPENCE - Oar [vinyl] - Vinyl - Original Recording Remastered - **NEW**
Condition: New

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Alexander Spence bestography

Oar is ranked as the best album by Alexander Spence.

Alexander Spence album bestography « Higher ranked This album (2,780th) Lower ranked (70,444th) »

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Oar track list

  Track ratingsTrack ratings The tracks on this album have an average rating of 77 out of 100 (all tracks have been rated).

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Rating: 77 (15 votes)Comments: 0
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Rating: 79 (15 votes)Comments: 0
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Rating: 78 (15 votes)Comments: 0
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Rating: 75 (14 votes)Comments: 0
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Rating: 78 (12 votes)Comments: 0
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Rating: 78 (12 votes)Comments: 0
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Rating: 76 (15 votes)Comments: 0
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Oar rankings

Oar collection

Oar ratings

Average Rating: 
77/100 (from 116 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution Average Rating = (n ÷ (n + m)) × av + (m ÷ (n + m)) × AV
av = trimmed mean average rating an item has currently received.
n = number of ratings an item has currently received.
m = minimum number of ratings required for an item to appear in a 'top-rated' chart (currently 10).
AV = the site mean average rating.

Showing latest 5 ratings for this album. | Show all 116 ratings for this album.

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03/12/2023 23:23 Rm12398  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,95776/100
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03/10/2023 17:44 Igtonumama  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 8,52360/100
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12/16/2022 05:32 Norshammar  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 81884/100
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12/08/2022 09:22 plasmicmist  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,81776/100
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11/05/2022 13:08 boppare  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 2,34178/100

Rating metrics: Outliers can be removed when calculating a mean average to dampen the effects of ratings outside the normal distribution. This figure is provided as the trimmed mean. A high standard deviation can be legitimate, but can sometimes indicate 'gaming' is occurring. Consider a simplified example* of an item receiving ratings of 100, 50, & 0. The mean average rating would be 50. However, ratings of 55, 50 & 45 could also result in the same average. The second average might be more trusted because there is more consensus around a particular rating (a lower deviation).
(*In practice, some albums can have several thousand ratings)

This album is rated in the top 5% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 76.6/100, a mean average of 75.6/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 77.0/100. The standard deviation for this album is 16.6.

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Oar comments

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From 03/18/2021 15:56
bland. dour. monotone. folk rock
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -1 votes (0 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
From 07/19/2020 23:44
I really like this album. It’s a niche album that reminds me a lot of Syd Barrett’s “The Madcap Laughs”. Coincidentally, both musicians were in similar situations when they made their albums (this one came out a year earlier). Oar isn’t supposed to be a masterpiece. It’s the back story behind the album and the story of Skip Spence that give the album extra mojo, although I do really enjoy the first half and think they are good songs with a lot of character. It’s a great album to listen to on a long car ride in a farmland open road kind of setting if you live in that kind of area. In conclusion, it’s not a spectacular, but it has character and is an enjoyable, easy listen. Weighed Down is my favorite track.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 02/21/2019 00:55
^strange album...
I´m not convinced..
maybe you should be in a special mood for this.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 06/08/2018 18:04
Crazy more people do not love this one. Beck gave me insight on this album and I will forever love him for remaking this album, but his work can't ever come close to this piece of art!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 03/01/2018 16:44
Psychedelic demos. Take them for what they are. We fly so close.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -2 votes (0 helpful | 2 unhelpful)
From 10/19/2017 20:26
This is an album which I've felt many ways about at many different times. When I first heard it I thought it was an emperor's new clothes situation. I heard all the glowing reviews, heard the story of Skip Spence, the way this ramshackle, indescribable album influenced a lot of my favorite artists like Uncle Tupelo and Tom Waits, and then I heard the album and I was like "Man, this is just sloppy.".

Then I came back to it, Something was calling me. There was something going on here. I just couldn't put my finger on it. I listened and I liked it! Then I listened again and I liked it more! Then, that moment came when it was 2am, I couldn't sleep, and the day was long behind and before me, I was a bit down and lost in my own head. I sat in my livingroom with almost no light outside of that emanating from my computer screen, and I just listened to this record. It was glorious. There is something here especially in tracks like "Weighted Down" and "Grey/Afro" and "Diana" which is low and so deeply broken hearted and lost that I just can't wrap my head around how Spence managed to capture such feelings.

And on other tracks, like the constantly off kilter, sweetness of the opener "Little hands", there is something weird happening. Like the music isn't where I would ever expect it to be, the drums and the guitars are doing things at weird times which don't make sense! But the result is something special and strange and peerless.

The record, again, is sloppy. And it is not a normal record at all. But the state of mind that the record captures is so rare, and its so unique and insightful into Spence's mental state that the album is just too good to ignore.

Oh and a few quick thoughts: its super cool that spence recorded everything by himself here. Or at least almost everything, I'm pretty sure he literally plays everything himself here. His voice is all over the place, and the interesting throughout, it makes me sad that a 22 or 23 year old can wheeze out lines like "Diana, I am in pain" with such heartbreak and realness. I mean the kid was a kid. But already was dredging up the ugliest realities of life that I wouldn't expect anyone to feel at all or if ever until much later in life. Another random rapid fire thought: the guitar playing in "War In Peace" is so sharp and screaming and intense its really jawdropping. "weighted Down" is the deepest blues you'll hear from anyone not named Blind Willie Johnson, or Tommy Johnson, or Blind Lemon Jefferson,e tc. Its on this track that I can hear some roots to similar ramshackle americana veins mined by Waits in albums like Mule Variations and Bone Machine.

Okay, that's all. This is an album almost sure to rise in my mind, due to just digging its claws deep into my psyche, until I can't listen to anything else. That inevitability hasn't happened yet. Still this is crazy good and probably should be higher than other albums on my list.

Rating: 9.1/10
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 01/08/2015 21:05
Haunting, delusional, hilarious, mournful..."Oar" is all of these, and embodies the essence of alternative country.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 12/20/2013 22:41
A hidden masterpiece - stretching the boundaries of sanity.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)

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Best Albums of 1969
1. Abbey Road by The Beatles
2. In The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson
3. Led Zeppelin II by Led Zeppelin
4. Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin
5. Let It Bleed by The Rolling Stones
6. The Velvet Underground by The Velvet Underground
7. Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake
8. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
9. Hot Rats by Frank Zappa
10. In A Silent Way by Miles Davis
11. Tommy by The Who
12. Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
13. The Band by The Band
14. Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire) by The Kinks
15. Crosby, Stills & Nash by Crosby, Stills & Nash
16. The Stooges by The Stooges
17. Green River by Creedence Clearwater Revival
18. Stand! by Sly & The Family Stone
19. Willy And The Poor Boys by Creedence Clearwater Revival
20. Karma by Pharoah Sanders
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