Christmas / Spirit of Christmas

Band members               Related acts

- Robert Bryden - vocals, guitar (1969-75)
- Robert Bulger - vocals, guitar (1970-72)
- Tyler Reizenne - bass (1970-75)
- Helge Richter - drums, percussion (1969-75)
- Lynda Squires - vocals (1969)
- Preston Wynn - vocals (replaced Robert Bulger)




- Age of Mirrors (Robert Bryden)
- Benzene Jog (Robert Bryden)
- Robert Bryden (solo efforts)
- Buzzsaw (Robert Bulger)
- Christmas
- Threshold (Robert Bulger and Tyler Reizenne) 






Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Lies To Live By

Company: Daffodil

Catalog: DAF 10047

Year: 1974

Country/State: Canada

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor edge and corner wear; gatefold sleeve; original inner sleeve with lyrics (note the photo is of the '90s reissue - we're selling an original copy, but were too lazy to take a digital image

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4

Price: $100.00

Cost: $66.00


Their career in neutral, the band found themselves beset by a host of business, creative and personnel problems. Concerned their progressive leanings wouldn't sell, Daffodil Records pushed the group to move towards a more marketable hard rock formula. The resulting disagreements over musical direction led to a rift in the band; Bulger particularly unhappy with the band's progressive leanings. The immediate result was an identity change, the band opting for the name The Spirit of Christmas. 

Given 1972's "Lies To Live For" was recorded amidst ongoing upheaval including Bulger's decision to quit during the recording sessions (vocalist Preston Wynn was quickly brought in as a replacement), it's surprisingly good. Musically the album found the band trying to find at least a partial compromise between their progressive leanings and Daffodil's desire for more commercial guitar rock. Lyrically the set's clearly a concept piece, though we'll readily admit the plotline's largely lost on us. Enough to say Bryden's lyrics are full of dark and disturbing imagery - probably explaining why critics were enthralled. Extended tracks such as "Voices In the Wilderness" and "The Factory" were definitely progressive in nature (hello mellotron), but they also displayed some attractive kickass guitar. Among the more interesting numbers were the mini-opera "War Story" and the "Beyond the Fields We Know" segment. Unfortunately, Daffodil executives weren't thrilled with the results, refusing to release the set. As a result the album sat of a shelf for the next two years, eventually seeing a limited release in 1974. In spite of strong reviews, the album failed to generate much in the way of sales; certainly not helped by the fact Daffodil was almost broke and unable to actively promote the collection. (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve.)

"Lies To Live For" track listing:
1.) (All the) Wrong Roads (Robert Bryden) - 3:19
2.) Stay Dead Lazarus (Robert Bryden) - 4:06
3.) Voice In the Wilderness - 4:19
a.) Graveyard Face (Robert Bryden - Robert Bulger - Preston Wynn) - 
b.) All Is Light (Robert Bryden - Preston Wynn) - 
4.) War Story
a.) Ballad of Jack Boot (Robert Bryden) -
b.) Requiem War's Peace (Robert Bryden - Robert Bulger - Tyler Reizenne - Helge Richter - Preston Wynn) - 
5.) The Factory - 8:33
a.) Where the People Are Made (Preston Wynn) -
b.) Everything's Under Control (Robert Bryden - Robert Bulger - Preston Wynn) -
6.) Beyond the Fields We Know - 11:26
a.) Prelude (I Don't Know Where I Am) (Robert Bryden) - 
b.) Thermopylae (Robert Bryden - Preston Wynn) - 
c.) Heaven's Lost (Robert Bryden - Preston Wynn) - 
d.) In Closing - (Preston Wynn -

By 1975 they band had formally called it quits. In case anyone cares, Bulger reappeared in Buzzsaw and Threshold (the latter with Reizanne). Bryden worked with Age of Mirrors, Benzene Jug and as a solo act, before turning to production work. The mid-'80s also saw a couple of brief reunion concerts.