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Jefferson Airplane - Long John Silver CD (album) cover

LONG JOHN SILVER

Jefferson Airplane

 

Proto-Prog

3.11 | 29 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Long John Silver' was the last studio album to be released by Jefferson Airplane during their heyday, and is one of this listener's favourites, alongside the wonderfully psychedelic 'After Bathing at Baxter's'. From the elaborate LP packaging - with all the cut-out notches and creases in place to fold it into a 'stash box' - the inner sleeve, and the inside showing a close-up photo of some potent looking dope (they could've gone one further and made it a scratch 'n' sniff !!), to some truly engaging and thought provoking material . The music sounds quite 'heavy', with Jack Casady's unique, fuzzy Bass playing very up-front in the mix (with a rare writing credit for the music of the title-track) and a foxy Grace Slick, in all her cynicism, really packs-a-punch with her vocals/lyrics (religious fundamentalists would've been trembling from the lyrics of the sombre 'Easter?' - I don't even wish to repeat some of the lines here). Title song is a primo example of rumbling acid-rock, the Bass powerful enough to shake the fault-lines beneath the 'city they built on Rock 'n' Roll', a song about a pirate 'robbing kings with his talking parrot', searing guitar-play from Jorma Kaukonen, too. It gets the album off to a very strong start, and is musically depictive of what to expect throughout. 'Aerie' (Gang of Eagles)' is breath- taking with soaring vocals from Grace, and superb melodies, the late Papa John Creach adding texture with his bluesy violin playing. 'Twilight Double Leader' is a full-on, lysergically charged rocker, one of Paul Kantner's finest moments IMHO (until Jefferson Starship's 'Freedom at Point Zero' appeared). 'Milk Train' is a Papa John tour-de-force, with a heavy arrangement and suggestive lyrics from Grace. 'Son of Jesus' is quite a controversial track by Kantner, owing to his lyrics (hinting at some of the theories presented in ' The Da Vinci Code', but in his 'Hippy' way) and is nothing more than a decent track - the weakest number thus far.

'Easter?' is down-beat, with fuzz-bass, Grace's piano playing, and some touching violin, Jorma is in there with some fine guitaring. I dearly love this piece, but it's not something you could call 'beautiful' or 'enjoyable' because of its bleakness. 'Trial By Fire' is pure Jorma, to the point of sounding more 'Hot Tuna' (Jorma and Jack's side project at the time) than the Airplane. A colourful and catchy tune for a change. The longest cut on the record is 'Alexander the Medium' (6min 50secs), more ramble from Kantner, its finest section is during its final minute or so, with Grace wailing gloriously over a heavy tri-tone riff. Thanks to that previous minute, the introductory riff of 'Eat Starch Mom' reminds of something off a Black Sabbath album, vaguely like 'Supernaut'. Anyway, it's a fine song to close off this great album. Easy 4.5 stars.

Tom Ozric | 4/5 |

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