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Jefferson Airplane - Bark CD (album) cover

BARK

Jefferson Airplane

 

Proto-Prog

2.68 | 33 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
1 stars Their first album of the 1970's, 'Bark' proved to be the beginning of the end for this most seminal of psychedelic groups. And the parallels are rather spooky. As the dreams of the 1960's faded in a welter of bad drugs, broken promises and changing trends, Jefferson Airplane suddenly became a band very much out of their own time, almost as soon as the sixties ended. Once a pioneering 'protest' group who spoke out vociferously on behalf of the West Coast-led counter-culture movement, the advent of harder forms of rock music, continuing intra-band squabbles and the escalation of the Vietnam war - amongst many other things - combined to turn the Jefferson Airplane dream decidedly sour. After an engaging-albeit-lightweight country-flecked debut('Jefferson Airplane Takes Off') the San-Francisco group would hit pay-dirt with both the appointment of new lead-singer Grace Slick and their epoch-defining success of their classic 1967 album 'Surrealistic Pillow', which featured the psychedelic anthems 'Somebody To Love' and 'White Rabbit'. 'Surrealistic Pillow' would be quickly followed by three more excellent albums before the decade was out - the experimental 'After Bathing At Baxter's', the glorious 'Crown Of Creation' and the serene, folk-inspired 'Volunteers' - turning the six-strong outfit into one of the most popular acts of the era. The success, however, would prove to double-edged. After 'Volunteers' the group would elect to take a much-needed break, during which time core member Marty Balin would leave. The second original member to defect after drummer Spencer Dryden, Balin's departure would prove costly. After reconvening during the early months of 1971, the remaining members and new arrivals Joey Covington(drums) and Papa John Creach(violin) would struggle for inspiration. With various side projects(such as Jorma Kaukonen's blues project Hot Tuna) proving a distraction, the resultant album 'Bark' would suffer greatly. A lumpen and uninspired effort, 'Bark' is seen by many as Jefferson Airplane at their lowest ebb. And they're not wrong. Replacing the psychedelia with folk and country elements, this is a wretched album that fails to deliver even one memorable tune. The jaunty 'Wild Turkey' aside - a track that at least features shreds of the group's playful energy - 'Bark' is essentially the soundtrack to the end of the hippie dream, and just as depressing. Great group's often fall hard, and Jefferson Airplane's 'Bark' is a prime example of an out-of-touch group struggling to adapt to the changing world around them. Sad then, and bad. Very, very bad.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 1/5 |

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