From the Stacks

From The Stacks: Mike Pinera, ‘Isla’ (Test Pressing)

You might not recognize Mike Pinera’s name, but you’re probably familiar with his work. Blues Image, the guitarist’s band, had a top 5 hit in 1970 with “Ride Captain Ride,” a track that Pinera co-wrote. Fifty years later the song remains a mainstay of soundtracks and classic rock streaming/radio.

Later that same year, Pinera joined Iron Butterfly for their Metamorphosis album, and then we’re going to yada yada yada our way up to the early ’80s, when he played guitar on two Alice Cooper albums, Special Forces and Zipper Catches Skin.

So that’s where you probably know Pinera from, but what we’re looking at here is a test pressing of the artist’s first solo album, 1978’s Isla. It’s a cool record, very much a product of its time. It’s a bit all over the place, too, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Alone With You” sits in that space separating, say, soft jazz and disco, and “Good Thing” has a kind of Andrew Gold vibe. But it’s the album’s title track that’s the real keeper, a sort of black lights and doobies Robin Trower freakout that must have sounded great blaring from a Chevelle’s Sparkomatic tape deck:

Pinera is still gigging, and it looks like his prices are really reasonable. It would be cool to hear “Ride Captain Ride” played live, but for my 1,500 bucks I think I’d request a one hour “Isla” jam and fire up the strobe and black lights.

You can pick up a copy of Isla for 3-5 dollars, but test pressings always fetch a little more. I’d say $10-15 would be fair for this one. Happy hunting.

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