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Jefferson Airplane Crown Of Creation album cover
3.89 | 142 ratings | 18 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lather (2:55)
2. In Time (4:10)
3. Triad (4:50)
4. Star Trek (3:08)
5. Share A Little Joke (3:07)
6. Chushingura (1:16)
7. If You Feel (3:21)
8. Crown Of Creation (2:53)
9. Ice Cream Phoenix (3:02)
10. Greasy Heart (3:19)
11. The House At Pooneil Corners (5:48)

Total time 37:49

Bonus tracks on 2003 CD remaster:
12. Ribump Ba Bap Dum Dum (1:32)
13. Would You Like A Snack 3 (2:40)
14. Share A Little Joke (single Mono Version) (3:09)
15. The Saga Of Sydney Spacepig (7:55)
16. Candy Man (hidden track) (2:25)

Line-up / Musicians

- Grace Slick / vocals, piano, organ
- Marty Balin / vocals, rhythm guitar,
- Jorma Kaukonen / lead guitar, vocals
- Paul Kantner / rhythm guitar, vocals
- Jack Casady / bass
- Spencer Dryden / drums, percussion, piano, organ, vocals

- Charles Cockey / guitar, vocals
- David Crosby / guitar
- Tim Davis / congas
- Bill Goodwin / talking drums
- Dan Woody / bongos
- Gene Twombly / sound effects
- Frank Zappa / leader (13)
- Ian Underwood / piano & woodwinds (13)
- Donald Preston / keyboards (13)
- Arthur Tripp III / drums & percussion (13)
- Gary Blackman / ?

Releases information

Artwork: John Van Hamersveld

LP RCA Victor ‎- LSP 4058 (1968, US)

CD RCA ‎- 4058-2-R (1989, US)
CD RCA/BMG Heritage ‎- 82876 53226 2 (2003, US) Remastered by Bob Irwin with 5 bonus tracks (one hidden)

Thanks to akin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Crown Of Creation ratings distribution

(142 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Crown Of Creation reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars This aptly titled album is really exactly that: the crown of their creation. And the artwork is simply a good explanation of what this music can do to your mind. Actually all these compliments I throw at the airplane are always better than the rockets fired at those flying Nam at the time. Because no doubt about it, JA were depicting sarcastically what some (obviously those that detested JA) considered the crown of human creation: the a-Bomb. And this sombre (in theme because this bright coloured photo is anything but dark) artwork is also a bit appropriate to describe the apocalyptically stunning beauty of the album's content.

After the excellent experimental (but sometimes patchy) ABAB (resulting in lower sales too), Jefferson Airplane decided to pull themselves together and make a much tighter album, which would turn out to be their master decision. By now the group had bought a huge house close to the Golden Gate Bridge (where the flower-power be-ins where held at the park down the street), where the band chose to live under the same roof and make the band's headquarters. This resulted in the band becoming even tighter, and does it ever show in this album. Never has the Airplane wrote such an immaculate bunch of songs, even if they returned to the more concise Pillow album rather than creating a "son of" Baxter's. This hardly meant that these eternal rebels would be heading down the commercial alley though, and the progressive experimentations would still go on, as JA was still a step ahead of most of their cross-town rivals, but also cross-state, and around the globe with only The Beatles keeping up (the Fab Four even paid them a visit!).

Still keeping the raunchy RnR sound that was their rebellious foundation, JA goes a long way to make delicious-sounding melodies, where Grace is now taking the spotlight, but the other sun is bassist Casady and his bass thunder. Jack was not only one of the three greatest bassist of his time, but his extreme hippy look and demented playing made him one of the fan's centre of attention on stage. And the lyrics of this group were rarely left behind as they were often humorous: Lather and the age where you are too old (Grace's partner Spencer Dryden at reached the big three O) and the famous nose-blowing solo, Triad's call for a ménage-à-trois (Dave Cosby's song) and its ban and call to boycott from the establishment or the sombre humour Share A Little Joke. But this was not overshadowing the musical twist such as the type-writer percussions, the booming descending bass lines scattered throughout the album, the great acoustic guitar touches of In Time, the oppressive ambiances (JA did some of the darkest song ever before being finally topped by Univers Zero) .

None the least, the way the three singers are meddling in their voices is something spine-chilling, with Grace's voice almost-literally making love with Balin's or other times caressing the mike and our ears, they outdid some of the best folk rock duos from across the Atlantic, with Kantner always ready to triple the dose and Kaukonen holding in reserve for Star Track (he was the very worthy lead singer in the offshoot Hot Tuna) and Casady unleashing the thunderous bass behind him with his hollow-bodied Gibson E. Just in case you thought Baxter's Small Package was an accident, get a load of Chushingura and its electronic experimental diddles (well before a certain German trio) close to "musique concrete", written by their Dryden drummer! Just remember this is spring 68.

So far I've only described the tracks on the first side, but much more is to come! If the opening If You Feel is relatively straightforward, the title track's gloomy descending vocal line and the frightening lyrics (they are denouncing the fascism of certain authorities) and Casady's bed of bass lines. Greasy Heart is Grace's answer to Balin Plastic Lover in the Pillow album, and unfortunately the comparison does not sit well for Marty, whose role will soon decrease in the group. Grace superstar! Her constant acts of provocation were the newspapers of the establishment, which was not realizing this made her even bigger in life. Have I talked of the almost 6-min finale, yet? No? All the better, because this track is the absolute apex of the group!! For the second time in a few month, Robert Kennedy's dog Pooneil gets national attention (a great close-up picture graces the inner sleeve) a few months before his master's murder (he was on friendly term with the band). This is the emblematic track that they played on a rooftop downtown Manhattan (filmed by French avant-garde director JL Goddard), a full year before the Beatles would attempt the trick with more success. The song's apocalyptic atmosphere, certainly convinced the cops to close up shop before the song was over. Again the masterstroke is Casady's incredible bass, but everyone shines like the sun (or the explosion on the sleeve).

The bonus tracks in the remastered version could not possibly be of the calibre of the album, but they hold their own. Dryden's drum experiments with jazz buddies (including scatting) and the collaboration between Zappa and Grace Slick are ultra experimental, but unfortunately are not fitting with the album. But those two tracks will finish convincing everyone of the Airplane's prog credentials. And Dryden's Saga Of Sydney Space with its 8-min is simply flabbergasting, that his jazz credentials and will to experiment were not given as much attention as he should've gotten, but one thing for sure, he was the most adventurous of the lot.

Although this album is often overlooked compared to Pillow and Baxter's and less talked about the Volunteers, it is no small coincidence that this album bears its name. Clearly this record is the Airplane cruising at maximum altitude, soaring majestically like an eagle over the rest of the planet. If have probably placed 25 albums in my favourite 10, but I'll make it 26 with this one. Impeccable, implacable, outstanding and astounding.

Review by Heptade
4 stars Crown of Creation is, in my opinion, the crowning glory of JA's career (some beg to differ, I hear). This is the crystallization of their psychedelic vision. Surrealistic Pillow and After Bathing were quite adventurous for their time, as Jorma Kaukonen played around with feedback and Kanter/Slick's songwriting developed outside the boundaries of the pop song. On this album, they threw tradition completely to the wind. The title track is an excellent example, starting off as a driving rocker before ending with an unexpected ominous three-part vocal coda. Lather is one of the first psych folk songs, a beautiful and disturbing tale of lost innocence in a time of war. Triad presents Slick's Heinlein-esque vision of utopian free love. And the album's climax, The House at Pooneil Corners, features a repetetive, jerky beat, urgent, howling vocals and sonic experimentation. The Airplane took said experimentation further on this album than any other, filling the tunes with organic and electric effects and maximizing the potential of studio reverb. Marty Balin's role is slightly downplayed, as it would be in the future (he'd get his revenge with Miracles!), which is a small shame, but he still adds much to the songs with his more melodic singing style, a nice contrast to Slick's stridency and Kantner's flat intonation. The mood of the album is as apocalyptic as the cover, perhaps prophesying the crash and burn of the 60s libertarian ideal that the band had striven so hard to propagate. The next album Volunteers, would be much more of a rock and folk-influenced protest record, also good stuff, but without the otherworldly feeling of Crown of Creation. This is a nice companion record to Kantner's sci-fi Blows Against the Empire, which would be released a few years later, and Kantner/Slick's Sunfighter from around the same time, all of which are superior to the last few Airplane albums.
Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not a masterpiece, and not a best rock album around, but this is a very good rock record - actually a fine example of how a decent rock album should sound like.

We have to face it;this one sounds dated. If you are no fan of late-sixties-west-coast-Vox-Continental-fuzzed-guitar-driven sound, you probably won't like this one (or any other JEFFERSON AIRPLANE efforts).

However, this album contains half a dozen gems, brilliant lyrics all over the place and some incredible atmospheres - from merry to scary. For example, opening organ riff on "The House At Pooneil Corners" could easily be classified as heavy metal prototype, and a very successful and scary one, too. If only that Vox was replaced by guitar...however, this is a nice piece of psychedelia.

There are two ballads that stand out of the rest of the (very good) songs here: moody "Triad" and touchy "Lather". "Triad" is a mellow ballad with bluesy guitar overtones and beautiful Grace's voice singing about her love for two man at the same time. Brilliant. "Lather" is one of saddest songs ever written, and that should be enough to say. I will only mention genius middle part with vocal orchestrations of horns. Brilliant. Again.

Two more mainstream yet pleasant tracks are "Greasy Heart" and "If You Feel", both on hard-rockier edge, the last one with scent of hippie-idealism and lovely vocal harmonies. There is also excellent rocker "Crown Of Creation", again with vocal harmonies, excellent message, and it sounds so sincere. "Share A Little Joke" is another good tune with scary, psychedelic ending.

I must not forget "Chushingura". Clocking at one and a quarter minute, this instrumental experiment is one of the first, pioneering attempts of use of electronic music in pop music!

Brilliant. Again and again.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars After such a good realease as "After Bathing At Baxter's", can the Airplane deliver another great album ?

One has, of course, to remind that this work was released almost forty years ago (I review this album in December 2006 but will post it later). I can tell you that it is very difficult to judge this type of effort if at the time of release you were not a contemporary (you would need like a time machine to do so). Even if, like me, you are unfortunately 48 years old ! Needless to speak about the youngsters' feeling...

The opener "Lather" is a good psychedelic tune, on par with the best Airplane work (it is also one of the best song of the album). Grace vocals sound as the one of a naughty little girl that has a lot to be forgiven...

At the time of release this might have been a true revolutionary album : flower power, Californian psychedelic etc. Some songs though are a bit dull like "Triad", "Share A Little Joke", "Chushingura" (the poorest number of course. fortunately it last for just over eighty seconds) and "Ice Cream Phoenix".

This album is not as exilarating than its predecessor. Too little memorable tracks for me here. "Crown", "Greasy Heart" are the second and third highlight of this album. Grace is absolutely wonderful in her leading vocals role.

"The House At Pooneil Corners" is a great. It is my fave of the album. A very nice way to close it.

Of course, I am completely biased and under Slick hypnotic influence. She is one of the female singer I prefer (Patti Smith being the other one). Both have "g u t s" (pardon me ladies).

On this studio album there are no Airplane classics to raise the level like "Somebody To Love" or "White Rabbit". Some good tracks (five or six) but that's it. Three stars.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The third masterpiece in a row, but actually more 4,5 than full 5!

Well, I may be biased because I am a fan of JA, but "Crown of Creation" blew me out from the moment I heard the opener "Lather". Dedicated to drummer Dryden for his 30th birthday, this song brings psychedelic shivers with elegic and sad mood on the theme of passing youth and entering the "adult world". Grace's vocal is simply brilliant. The closer "House at Pooneil Corners" is pshychedelic masterpiece with heavy and menacing, dark rhythm - one of sadly overlooked track in many later anthologies.

After the experimentation on the previous album, The Airplane returned to a song- structured record, but kept interest in psychedelic/folk rock fusion and exploration of "revolutionary" and alternative themes in the globally dark year of 1968. The result is perhaps the best produced and the most creative album in their entire career. There is practically not a weak moment on this album, although David Crosby's free love statement in "Triad", Balin's aching tenor in "Share a Little Joke", and amazingly crafted Kantner-Slick songs "If You Feel", "Greasy Heart" and the title track are hightlights.

Excellent album from start to finish and even if you are not fan of Californian acid music scene or this band in particular, try to listen at least "Crown of Creation".

Review by 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.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars By the time Crown of Creation was released, in the legendary year 1968, Jefferson Airplane were at the top at their game - one of the tightest, most gifted outfits known to man, with two lead singers to die for, one of the best bassists on the market, and quite remarkable songwriting skills. As others have already stated before me, this album is their crowning achievement (pun intended), and a brilliant snapshot of a bygone age, undeniably full of turmoil, but also of a genuine desire to change the world - unlike our own jaded, cynical times. The cover art - inspired by the atomic nightmare that dominated Western society for four decades, only to be replaced by other kinds of nightmares - also symbolises the era, and might lead those who approach the album to consider it somewhat dated. Anyway, it can safely be said that Crown of Creation is both rooted in its times (mainly by its imagery and lyrical themes), and timeless in the emotion, musicianship and sheer beauty of its music.

Even though the band members all bring their valuable contribution to the final result, I believe Grace Slick is the real star of this album. She is not only a vocal force to be reckoned with, but infuses every one of the compositions with her commanding personality. An icon of the Summer of Love, one of the first female rock stars, and the beautiful, sophisticated counterpart of the rougher, more instinctive Janis Joplin, she puts to shame all the wishy-washy, ethereal sopranos that clutter the prog world of today. Her resounding contralto, with its unique vibrato, blends perfectly with Marty Balin's beautiful, melodic tenor, but more often than not takes to the stage alone, veering from fragile, almost childish (as in album opener Lather, a song reflecting the Sixties' cult of youth and fear of losing it), to powerful and domineering (as in Greasy Heart, with its strongly feminist lyrics), to soaringly lyrical (as in the controversial Triad, penned by David Crosby).

The highlights of the album are too many to mention. Balin, who is here all but eclipsed by Slick, gets his chance to shine on If You Feel,, and especially on the melancholy Share a Little Joke. On the other hand, the anthemic, rousing title-track is sung chorally by all the band members (though you can hear Grace's voice soaring above the others), sounding almost like a call to arms. The vocal effects on the album's closing track, The House at Pooneil Corners are also quite stunning - this song is probably the one offering on the album that points the listener to the future developments of progressive rock, a showcase for both guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's and bassist Jack Casady's incredible skills. The overall mood of the track is dark and menacing, like a sort of foreboding of the sudden, tragic end of the Summer of Love, and of all the ideals that grew out of it.

While I have some doubts as to whether Crown of Creation can really be considered 'proto-prog', I have no doubts whatsoever about its status as one of the masterpieces of rock music, and one of the seminal albums of the late Sixties. After Jefferson Airplane released another gem in Volunteers, things quickly started to fell apart for this iconic band. In any case, this is an album every self-respecting rock fan should listen to at least once in their lifetime, and one that most prog fans will thoroughly enjoy.

A fully-deserved five-star rating from me, who would also like to dedicate this review (like many others before it) to one of the biggest JA fans on this site - my dearest husband, Micky.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Crown of Creation" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, California based rock act Jefferson Airplane. The album was released through RCA Victor in August 1968. It´s the successor to "After Bathing at Baxter's" from November 1967.

The music style is American west coast rock with psychadelic leanings. Based on blues and folk music yet evolved into something a bit different. Highlights include opening track "Lather", the David Crosby penned "Triad" (the menage a trois lyrics must have been considered offensive by many in those days, and the song was originally rejected by Crosby´s band The Byrds), "Greasy Heart" and "The House At Pooneil Corners". The latter is the most adventurous song on the album. The first three mentioned are all Grace Slick led tracks. She sounds so confident and passionate on this album and there´s just something magical about the way she sings. Marty Balin´s vocals aren´t as prominent as they used to be which is a bit of a shame, as he has a distinct sounding vocal style and a strong voice.

Later reissues of "Crown of Creation" features quite a few bonus tracks. Some of which are rather experimental/avant garde styled, which is not something we´re used to hear from the band. "Would You Like a Snack?" is for example a collaboration with Frank Zappa and if you´re familiar with his avant garde rock style from those days (with Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention) that´s very obvious.

The musicianship is excellent. A tight playing rhythm section, great male and female lead vocals and harmonies and both beautiful acoustic guitar work and more hard rocking distorted guitar parts. There´s a nice aggressive edge to the way Jorma Kaukonen plays his riffs and guitar solos, which is a great counterpart to the tranquill acoustic folk oriented moments on the album.

The sound production is of a good quality and it was definitely the best sounding production the band had had up until then. Warm, organic, and pleasant yet edgy when it needs to be. It´s a very suiting production for the material featured on the album. Upon conclusion "Crown of Creation" is a hig quality release through and through. It´s a bit more well structured and not quite as experimental in nature compared to "After Bathing at Baxter's (1967)", but it doesn´t work any less well. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though not containing such evident hit songs as the hippie-hey-day records of this group had, this album presenting the matured group with fine songwriting skills and interesting artistic approach is very fine album still. Songs often cover themes of peace & love ideologies clashing with the standards of the society of the time of recording. Musically the folky side of the group is strongly present, and songs are recorded with thought, focusing to all kinds of supporting effects and fine arrangements supporting the compositions. The songs form a solid mellow, sad and hazy entity. Both rich harmony vocals of Grace and "the regular guys" are wonderful, bringing nice tension to the band's sound.

My favorite tracks are the opener "Lather", spinning a calming web around a tale of a person not following the conservative paths of his friends promoted by the family, but escape to individualistic and non-profit gaining directions. In the mellow song "Triad" Grace tells opinions about free love, making me sweat seriously. Following "Star Trek" is a bluesy rock number with really fine melodies, and I liked this too much. Title song naming the album is also a bluesy psych rocker hippie anthem which evolves interestingly, featuring nice jazzy passages and calmer moments where the rhythm fades away, and the composition is not returning to any earlier parts again. Last original song starts with killer Pooneil sounds, and closes the album with style. The other songs in the original album are good too, varying from mellow psych blues/folk rockers to aural noise experiment. I have heard some of the extra tracks featuring Frank Zappa and the fellows, but I'm uncertain if this small amusement tracks bring much extra value to the record musically.

If you know and like the evident hit records of this fabulous group, do not forget to check out this really fine record too.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This JA album is recorded still in their strongest period, but the sound is different from their most popular "Surrealistic Pillow" . Instead of acid-psychedelia with some folk and beat, there they play blues-rock based music. Sound is much more clear, plenty of guitar solos all around. Album is better focused and organised. Still some psyhedelia presents for sure, but generally all album is played more in early Zappa vein. All sound is more heavy and more rock.

As some minus I can mention that there are no more so perfect Grace Slick vocals in songs,I think their best works were "White Rabbit"and "Plastic Fantastic Lover". There female vocal is competent, but very average. But all the band sounds more as real band, not as few soloists and some musicians on back-up.

Still being sound of their time, album sound more modern. But anyway, don't think it will be too much interesting for newcomers. For fans of that era it's perfect evidence.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Crown Of Creation is Jefferson Airplane's fourth album and a follow-up to the experimental After Bathing at Baxter's.

This album might not be as experimental as its predecessor and some even consider it a stylistically conservative album that marks the return to the familiar sounds of Surrealistic Pillow. Still when listening to the bonus material taken from the era it's clear that the band was still very much in their psychedelic experimental phase. It's just that Jefferson Airplane decided not to show these tendencies on this studio recording. What we got instead was a surprisingly solid release that may not feature as many highlights as the two previous albums but instead offers us a pretty consistent performance from start to the very end.

Instrumentally the sound began to incorporate the electric guitar that might be considered a sign of times but I think that this style really fits Jefferson Airplane more than the acoustic experimental rock featured on After Bathing at Baxter's. The music on Crown Of Creation is the already familiar Jefferson Airplane style with some minor outbursts of experimental rock on Chushingura and the final track The House At Pooneil Corners. The former plays around with a high pitch sound that doesn't really go nowhere, luckily the composition is just over a minute in length and doesn't take away much from the overall flow of the album.

In conclusion it's safe to say that Crown Of Creation is my favorite of the three album streak that Jefferson Airplane began with the release of Surrealistic Pillow. The album might not be pushing the boundaries as much as After Bathing at Baxter's and instead falls somewhere between the two 1967 releases.

***** star songs: Lather (2:57)

**** star songs: In Time (4:12) Triad (4:54) Star Track (3:09) Share A Little Joke (3:07) If You Feel (3:22) Crown Of Creation (2:54) Ice Cream Phoenix (3:00) Greasy Heart (3:26) The House At Pooneil Corners (5:50)

*** star songs: Chushingura (1:18)

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Jefferson Airplane always seemed to skirt the line between a band that set trends and one that capitalized on fringe interests de jour. The band's formation and first album were steeped in a then-popular folk-rock/post-Beat style that garnered them plenty of attention as much due to timing and connections as for their talent. The follow-up 'Surrealistic Pillow', easily their most well-known recording, built on their meteoric rise to popularity and connections to several Summer of Love happenings by delivering the now timeless acid anthems "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit". And 'After Bathing at Baxter's' both heralded and parroted the sort of free-for-all decadent acid-trip improvisation that filled FM airwaves during 1966 and 1967.

By 1968 though, much of the left-end of the rock world was taking a decidedly country-rock direction, thanks to landmark albums by the Byrds ('Sweetheart of the Rodeo'), Buffalo Springfield and Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde'. Once again the Airplane was ready with a contribution of their own, this time in the form of 'Crown of Creation'. While the band certainly didn't abandon their acid/psych reputation completely with the album, there is an easily recognizable shift toward more restrained, organized and rhythmic jam compositions than on the prior two records. This can be heard most clearly on the title track, "If You Feel", "Share a Little Joke" and to a certain extent the throwback bluesy dirge "Star Track". "If You Feel" in particular displays an intriguing blend of acid guitar, blues rhythm and subtle American country-inspired chord progressions.

That's not to say the band didn't trip out a bit in the studio as well, as with a rare Spencer Dryden composition (the instrumental "Chushingura") and a pair of acid-tinged closing numbers "Greasy Heart" and "The House at Pooneil Corners" demonstrate. But overall this album is much more disciplined and restrained than anything the band had done since 1965, and as a result holds up quite well even today although it was in some respects a minor disappointment to the band's more extreme fans back in 1968.

Two songs stand out in particular, both for different reasons. "Triad", the David Crosby tune reflecting on a love triangle is a decadent tale delivered lustily by the apparently intrigued Grace Slick; and Slick's own "Lather" which memorializes her then-boyfriend's thirtieth birthday while at the same time taking a jab at band bassist Jack Casady's arrest for public nudity just prior to the studio sessions for the album. Both served to further cement Jefferson Airplane's reputation as a band that operated on the social margins in a way that undoubtedly endeared them even more to their fans given the contrary mood among many young people in the late sixties.

'Crown of Creation' tends to be overshadowed in the Jefferson Airplane discography by 'Surrealistic Pillow' with its hit singles, and the seminal anti-Vietnam protest album 'Vounteers'. And that's too bad because the quality of the music and solid song- writing deserve more recognition in the sixties acid rock canon. In the end the palatable nature of the music give it a timeless quality that leaves the album in good stead today, and for that a four (of five) star rating is not out-of-line. Well recommended both to fans of the band and to those who are interested in hearing what the equally influential acid, psych, folk and contemporary rock styles of 1968 sounded like when rolled all into a single recording.


Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The hangover album.

1967 San Fran was quite the party by all accounts, and Baxters summed up beautifully the craziness of the scene, a snapshot of "acid incense and balloons" as the song goes. It couldn't last of course and 1968 was a bit of a drag in comparison, even the Airplane were not immune. "Crown of Creation" is anything but its grandiose title, a huge drop off in majesty from the two previous stunners. The band sounds tired (which they were, being on a crazy schedule), the songwriting sounds phoned-in, and the album is the spiritual hangover of the four 'classic line-up' albums. I think that even those who like the songs of this set would admit it doesn't have the same fresh vibe of the previous two. That's not to say there aren't some gems of course.

Let's start with what's great, namely the first and last tracks. "Lather" is fantastic leftover psychedelia, a little present from Grace to her boyfriend Spencer who was turning 30. She sings of lost youth and a boy stuck in childhood as his friends come of age. What makes it work is the haunting childlike melody that is beautiful but eerie along with her clever, slightly deranged sounding delivery. The closer "The House At Pooneil Corners" is a drop dead classic, a monster split personality epic with apocalyptic tones on one side and breezy contrasting psych chorus on the other. The definitive version is the live rooftop performance they gave for Godard in New York, beautifully filmed by the master filmmaker. Search for it on YouTube, it's there in all it's glory. For the record they pulled this rooftop stunt two months before the Beatles copied it.

I'm afraid things go downhill from there. "Triad" is Grace doing a boring Crosby track, being as hypocritical about relationships as Kantner would later be about wealth. She chooses to exalt how sophisticated an open three-way relationship is, then she later admits in an interview she'd want no part of such a relationship...ok, thanks Grace. Marty sounds especially deflated on tracks like "Star Track" where he essentially lets the boys noodle for long stretches. Kaukonen and Casady were outstanding players who were stretching out on Crown as they were in the live shows, but their jamming isn't enough to elevate these proceedings to masterpiece level. The title track is particularly boring and repetitive, perhaps as uninspired as I've ever heard this line-up. Don't get me wrong, Crown is still a good album with enough to make it worth owning-it simply falls a bit short of the other three Airplane classics. Most rock fans are going to want to own all four albums by the classic line-up, from Surrealistic Pillow to Volunteers. An amazing band.

Review by Warthur
3 stars I actually prefer to this one to Surrealistic Pillow, since I find that by this point Jefferson Airplane's psychedelic freak rock had hit a more consistent tone. From the opening Lather, which transforms jarringly from a typical hippy-era lamentation about having to grow up to a depressing portrait of a person who is too developmentally challenged to join the real world, to the closing House at Pooneil Corners (stopping off to quote Stranger In a Strange Land as part of a defence of polyamory along the way in Triad), the album is dripping with the flavour of the Haight-Ashbury crowd of the 1960s. You don't get much closer to hippy ground zero than this mushroom cloud, at least in terms of the subject matter, though the actual music is far less interesting than many of their contemporaries' work, being fairly unpolished hippy-folk for the most part. More interesting for what they are singing about than what they are singing over, in other words.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars With the recent death of Paul Kantner I felt moved to review a JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album and this one seemed appropriate. Some have called this AIRPLANE's "Revolver" album. Released back in 1968 after the monster album "Surrealistic Pillow" and the experimental "After Bathing At Baxter's" both released in 1967. I have to say it's been a joy spinning this album and feeling like I'm being transported to the late sixties. I was a kid of 7 in '68 but there is a certain vibe to the music back then that makes me want to go back in time. In fact I've found myself searching for movies with 60's soundtracks that are set in the late sixties just because I feel nostalgic about that era.

"Lather" is such a great opener coming across as a Folk-like tune with humerous lyrics and best of all Grace's innocent sounding vocals that pretty much speak the lyrics. They add samples to this one as well. "In Time" features male vocals and some cool guitar sounds. Grace adds backing vocals and helps with the lead. This is a laid back number with a memorable guitar solo starting before 2 1/2 minutes. "Triad" is a David Crosby penned tune when he was with THE BYRDS and essentially he gave it to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE as it was too controversial for the times. Relaxed guitar melodies and a melancholic mood makes this one work. "Star Track" is catchy with male vocals. A wicked guitar solo starts before 1 1/2 minutes and lasts about a minute. "Share A Little" opens with drums and some aggressive guitar before it settles as male vocals arrive. I like the passion in the vocals 1 1/2 minutes in and the guitar that follows. The tempo speeds up late to the end with some innovative guitar expressions.

"Chushingura" is a short experimental instrumental. "If You Feel" has some wah wah guitar in it and it's quite catchy and uptempo. Some nice bass here as well. "Crown Of Creation" is where Grace's vocals shine as she sings with some power. Man I dig this one including the lyrics. "Ice Cream Phoenix" doesn't get mentioned much but I like the drumming and Grace's vocals after a minute. "Greasy Heart" is drug themed and it opens with some excellent guitar as Grace comes in singing like she owns this song. Love the guitar after 1 1/2 minutes as well as late to end it. "The House At Poonell Corners" is the longest track at almost 6 minutes and one of my favourites. A spacey and psychedelic intro as the vocals join in. Just killer! When it picks up it's very 60's sounding in a Pop-like sense but not for long as it turns dark with some nasty guitar as the vocals return. Dark lyrics as well.

Easily 4 stars and I like this better than "Surrealistic Pillow" despite the two anthems on that one. Just a pleasure.

Latest members reviews

3 stars JA came a bit more down to earth after 'After Bathing at Baxter's' which was a very experimental acid-rock album. Well, this is not completely down to earth of course! But it is fresher and has a lot of great songs. Here the band melded their psychedelic sound with some more commercial interes ... (read more)

Report this review (#638900) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Crown of Creation ? 1968 (3.2/5) 11 ? Best Song: In Time? Jefferson Airplane goes from acid pop to acid blues and now it's acid folk rock. Which means that Grace Slick has gone from Smart singer to Janis rip-off to hippie prophet? Isn't evolution a truly amazing spectacle when it's document ... (read more)

Report this review (#445868) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Jefferson Airplane are one of those timeless late 60's psychedelic acts, along with The Doors, Kinks, The Beatles etc. That paved the way for the true progressive music we all love. These bands played a huge part in the evolution in music, to something deeper than the average skiffle band. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#110527) | Posted by OGTL | Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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