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Jefferson Airplane - Crown of Creation CD (album) cover

CROWN OF CREATION

Jefferson Airplane

 

Proto-Prog

3.89 | 90 ratings

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Garion81
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Following up the experimental After Bathing at Baxter's the Jefferson Airplane embarked on possibly their best recording. The fourth major release from the group and the now the musicianship and the songwriting are at the top of their game. I am just going to touch on a few of the tracks that I feel represent CoC.

Starting out with the title track Crown of Creation we see the Airplane again moving away from the pop/folk format of their biggest hits. Although coming in under 3 minute CoC moves through several musical passages. The bass and lead guitar dominating the first and then the vocals the other two ending with an acapella harmony at the end. Very innovative stuff for the time. The lyrics are cryptic and aimed at the generational split between old and young at the time. They are first time the lyrics start to move political.

The second song is Triad. This song was written by David Crosby of The Byrd's and Crosby, Still Nash and Young fame. Grace Slick takes the lead vocal of a song that penetrates societies morals at the time and again the generation gap. Other than its social comments it is not much other than a pleasant acoustic guitar song.

Not so much Lather though, Grace's tribute to her then boyfriend drummer Spencer Dryden who turned thirty. With a myriad of background sound effects, voices and a beautiful mix of acoustic guitar and bass this song is very deep. Like masons the band adds another layer with its guitarist Jorma Kaukonen buzz like lead guitar that simulates the weeping lady at the end. Very powerful stuff for 1968.

If You Feel a bright spirited rocker that feature Marty Balin on lead vocals. The song shows the great chemistry between Dryden, Kaukonen and bassist Jack Cassady. No dark political themes here or clash of the generations just some fun. "If you feel like love making if you feel like flying. Make love flying baby Make love flying." Finally, we go the albums closer House at Pooniel Corners. After arriving in your ears with the crash and distortion of a heavily fed backed guitar it adds a spooky sounding organ with Cassidy's great bass lines. The songs borrows the chourus once from the song Me, You and Pooniel from After Bathing at Baxter's but that is it's only nod to the previous song of similar name. This is to me one of the first progressive rock songs I can point too. The soaring guitar sound Kaukonen gets at point is very synthesizer like but of course we are still two years from that instrument being invented. Jack Cassidy plays bass like no one before him. Trading lead lines with Kaukonen and other times just filling in all space with that great bass. Drums are solid throughout and the vocals are haunting. The song is not overly long even for the time period but it is very different than many that came out. It does not follow convential pop song writting but keeps its consitancy and has high levels of muscianship.

All in all Crown of Creation is the Airplane at the top of their game. Volunteers released in 1969 ended their relevance on the proto-prog scene as after that one the band fell into factions but at least we have gems like this still around to retrace the ground. This is a great example of Proto-Prog top 5 material. 5 stars.

Garion81 | 5/5 |

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