Graded on a Curve:
Gary Wright,
The Very Best of
Gary Wright

Namaste, fellow seekers! And welcome back to the Vedic District and your host, Michael Paramahansa Yogananda Little! On this week’s turn of the cosmic wheel we’ll be discussing New Age seer and synthesizer-around-the-neck avatar Gary Wright, whose chakra-cleansing songs and mystical crystal revelations make him the most spiritually evolved being on our astral plane.

Wright was, arguably, pop’s first New Age musician. Forget George Harrison–who turned Wright on to Eastern religions while they were recording 1970’s All Things Must Pass–he refused to give up on rock and roll. And compared to Wright, Van Morrison and Stevie Nicks are mere earthbound materialists–the Bertrand Russell and Ayn Rands of rock, respectively.

It’s all there on the cover of The Dream Weaver, where a blissed-out Wright rests his head against what is either a telepod to other dimensions or the Findhorn Community’s very own jukebox–the man was staking his claim as the first New Age technocrat, enlisting the aid of machines to further the cause of the Harmonic Convergence.

And, boy, did Wright make a splash. Who, my fellow theosophists, can forget the Annus Mirabilis 1976, when a cosmic convergence brought us both David Spangler’s book Revelation: The Birth of a New Age and Wright’s June 11th appearance on The Midnight Special, where he cast a magickal sorcerer’s spell on an entire nation with his mesmerizing performance of “Dream Weaver”? Surely the stars were coming into alignment at last, and the Age of the Enlightened Unicorn was nigh.

Of course that exalted age never arrived, nor did Wright’s success last. But if the former Spooky Tooth keyboardist’s fleshly fame was fleeting, he has accepted it with Buddhistic resignation–having parted the veil of Maya, he knows all too well that all we are is dust in the wind. Yet he continues to mould a new reality closer to the heart with his ecstatic ectoplasmic musical emanations, which make the ideal accompaniment to both Kundalini awakening and sweatless tantric sex.

All of which makes it absolutely essential that you either buy (or mentally download from the faerie dimensions via clairaudience) 1998’s The Very Best of Gary Wright. Scoffers may mock it for its mushy mysticism, New Age greeting card sentiments, and less than memorable melodies. Then again, we more spiritually enlightened beings can take solace in the fact that these sad victims of pure reason are doomed to ride the cosmic wheel of quivering meat conception forever, or until they hop to it, get with the program, and buy a Vangelis album.

Besides, your worldly prisoners of the five senses are dead wrong. Its shimmering synthesizer wash and space blips make “Dream Weaver” one of the greatest songs of the soft-rock seventies, and a bong-load sing-along for the ages. And with its nasty gnostic funk groove, the immortal “Love Is Alive” is a scandalizingly earthly salute to the Cult of Venus. It boasts great sacred cowbell, too.

But Wright’s no two-hit wonder. Well, okay, strictly speaking he is a two-hit wonder, but the true seeker will find levitation vehicles aplenty on The Very Best of Gary Wright. The LP’s a veritable pleasure orb of delights, and may well be the long-sought Holy Grail of Arthurian Legend.

The astrologically inclined, for example, will grok the very dramatic “Water Sign,” on which Gary the tortured romantic sings, “I passed through your life but I could never hold on to you/You left my head confused ‘cause I love you and I knew you’d never stay.” Is his slippery inamorata a Pisces? A Cancer? A Scorpio? How are we supposed to read her chart, Gary, if you don’t provide us with the particulars?

And if you think that’s something, check out “Time Machine (Natural Fade).” Nitpickers will no doubt point out that Gary can’t decide whether he’s traveling through space (“You and I cross the universe, behind the stars fly”) or time, but there’s no beating the song’s soaring chorus. And then there’s the mind-dance friendly “Touch and Gone,” which really out to be entitled “Play That Funky Music, Dedicated Adherent of P.D. Ouspensky.”

What else? Folks who think they were Joan of Arc in a prior incarnation will dig “Who Am I,” on which Gary notes sagely, “Many lives passing by/All of them, once were mine” before descending into total befuddlement: “Who am I? Where am I?/Look what I’ve left behind/Why grow?/How far back must I go?” I don’t know, Gary. Must folks stop at the Druids. Before that, there’s really no one worth being.

Is The Very Best of Gary Wright a perfect collection? Not by a dragon’s tooth. To cite just one example, I really miss the breathtakingly concupiscent “Much Higher” from The Dream Weaver, wherein Gary throws a real tantric and surrenders to his base carnal self with the lines, “Let’s get it on/’Cause I need you tonight/I’m caught up in my desire.” Are you wet? So am I. This hot and heavy seduction number would steam the panties off Madame Blavatsky.

Fellow adepts of the esoteric, I cannot tell you what tomorrow will bring, although my guru Sri Eddie Van Chimnoy assures me that a great deluge will destroy the planet in exactly four weeks, but only after a race of aquatic superbeings transports the “Elect” (meaning Sri Eddie’s devoted followers) to the Lost Continent of Atlantis.

But I can tell you this: When I saddle up my spirit animal (a unicorn) and ride it across the Milky Way, it’s not Vangelis or Yanni or even Kitarō that’s playing on my mind jukebox–it’s Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver,” the most requested song at whale karaoke bars!

GRADED ON A CURVE:
A

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