The Spirits (Having Flown) demos CD (cover below) is basically the album (minus “Until”).
There are no alternate versions and no examples of the songs at various stages of completion. There are also no unreleased tracks from these sessions.
Perhaps I should re-phrase that … I have no demos of unreleased tracks from these sessions!
Spirits (Having Flown)
The demos for this classic album are mostly just Barry singing to the backing tracks. These are pretty much the same as the actual released versions, without a lot of the backing vocals.
According to Joe Brennan’s entry for the album it took most of 1978 to record. A long time compared to their previous records.
Tragedy – This demo contains the ‘explosion’ affect that Barry did himself by
Too Much Heaven – begins with Barry count-in. This track does have some backing vocals (probably Barry overdubs). One excellent piece of info from Joe’s site is that there were 27 vocal tracks on the final version! The demo lacks the full orchestral feel of the final song, but doesn’t really suffer for it.
Love You Inside Out – again we get a Barry count-in and, again, there are Barry overdubs creating the harmonies and ad-libs.
Reaching Out – once more Barry counts down at the start. Since the final song is a simpler arrangement this is probably closer to the final song. A beautiful song and one of my favourites – has been from first hearing all those years ago! There is a slight lyrical difference in the second refrain with Barry singing “with a love wide open every way”. Whereas on the final version he breaks it up: “with a love, with a love wide open always” which works a lot better at filling the gap created by the music. Barry’s falsetto sounds a little flat, too, on the “There’s are woman going through me…” part.
Spirits Having Flown – the only song that kept the count-down on the final song. Again stealing a bit of info from Joe, the working title apparently was “Passing Thought”! As with all the demos this is very close to the final version with no lyrical differences. The only noticeable difference is the lack of harmony vocal from the “I am your hurricane…” line; instead we have a very lonely-sounding Barry falsetto which actually gives the song a slightly different feel.
Search, Find – This begins with just the drum machine beat leading into the familiar musical intro. One thing that is more prominent on the demo is the funky guitar. Sometimes the final arrangements lose little touches like that by putting too many instruments in the mix. Again this is just a Barry without any overdubs, so the fuller vocal sound of the final version isn’t heard here.
Stop (Think Again) – this is another song that is almost identical to the final track, except for the backing track. A lot of the pieces are present, like the horns but there is a more prominent guitar track and some slightly different electronic keyboard elements. This song certainly benefits from the addition of Robin and Maurice. The horns are more prominent on the instrumental fade than on the finished version. This is an ideal example of what I was saying before where certain instruments almost get lost amongst all the other instruments.
Living Together – a really noticeable difference on this one is with the musical intro. On this demo it’s all an electronic keyboard creating the “illusion” that became the actual intro. The lead vocal here is Barry but was the final version was recorded with a Robin lead. Out of all the songs this has the most lyrical differences. Another song that resulted from apparent over-mixing – the demo is a lot funkier sound than ended up on the album.
I’m Satisfied – this demo definitely sounds like Robin is singing a double lead – you can hear his distinctive falsetto. This isn’t so prominent on the final recording but if you listen to Robin’s lead on ‘Living Together’ and then listen to this demo … you’ll notice it.
The demo for “Until” isn’t present – if indeed there was one.