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Sean Trane View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Jefferson Airplane
    Posted: August 09 2006 at 05:48
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?
 
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For around two years now, I have had the wish to include in our beloved Prog Archives Jefferson Airplane, as I believed these guys were pioneers and helped created the style of music we are on this site for. Although I would never even think of pretending that JA were a full-blown prog group, there is a tendency by proghead to dispel this group as psychedelic rock (which of course they certainly were also), but right from their start, this group will be at the centre of one of the most important moment of rock music’s history: the Haight-Ashbury’s Summer Of Love. Jefferson Airplane were at the forefront of the movement (musically anyway) and were constantly experimenting and opening the path for just about every single group, often even slightly ahead of the Fab Four. The object of this blog is to make progheads discover just how influential this band was (Donovan even wrote a tune where he propose to fly the Jefferson Airplane)

 

I will highlight in colour the feats I consider as progressive music firsts (or among the very firsts to happen).

 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jefferson Airplane - Takes Off
 
 
Jefferson Airplane - Takes Off album review, Mp3, track listing
 
 

Well now that Jefferson Airplane is finally in the Archives, I will try to show in my successive reviews of their album , just how progressive they were, usually at the head of progress and often a step ahead of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, but JA lacked that clean-cut image as their sulphuric reputation generally made the headlines in terms that the establishment really loathed them and what they stood for.

 

Retrospectively speaking, this album is very aptly-named as we have the embryonic Airplane, still close to their folk rock roots (both Kantner and Kaukonen were folkies hanging out in clubs around the bay area) and the way rebels assembled their bands together. The result of Marty Balin, a beatnick doodling in club ownership and toying with music, enticed Kantner to form a group, calling Kaukonen who himself called Casady from across the continent and findi,ng a local girl to handle the second twin lead vocals, the group was still missing a drummer, so Balin convinced this Canadian songwriter Skip Spence to become their drummer solely on his looks, nevermind that he had never played drums before. Rebel and RnR??? Ya betcha!! Now the least we can say is that JA’s take off is not really impressive and will remain only in history as the debut of an exciting adventure. It is actually quite hard to measure their two virtuoso’s (Kaukonen and Casady) abilities on this album tracks selection, as they are quite bland.

 

Not much for the proghead in this album, even if he looks/listens hard at it, as most of the tracks hover between blues, folk, folk rock and never really gets adventurous. Blame it on their inexperience and a rather poor line-up , a problem that would almost solve itself: their average female vocalist settled down and started a family, while Spence, obviously fed up with this unnatural drumming role, will leave to form the seminal Moby Grape. In would come their iconic Grace Slick (from another Bay area group called Great Society) with her two monstrous hits and the group had to resort to the LA scene to pry away the jazz-trained drummer Spencer Dryden, with the two newcomers quickly falling for each other. With all the right ingredients in the stew-pot and this next album to come, the face of this planet would change quite a bit as JA became the flagship of the Haight-Ashbury and the Summer of Love and the hippy generation. And their rebellious attitude insured these musos would never settle for the easy way out. Glad they did!

 
 
 
 
Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
 
 
Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow album review, Mp3, track listing
 
 

First JA album (but their second overall) to have the classic line-up, this album is really one of the cornerstones of psychedelic rock, the album that literally made the Haight-Ashbury scene, the album that put San Fran on the rock map, one of those albums that equalled any album of The Beatles’ influence, the album that allows all superlatives (including the launch of The Summer Of Love) without too much a feeling of exaggeration. Of course, the album might have aged a little, might seem a little tame with what came after it. But the young proghead must wonder: what if this album had not come through? Of course in terms of English psych/prog, there were albums that were definitely more adventurous, progressive, but none that really had an international impact as Surrealistic Pillow did.

 

Of course Pillow is still an album that suffered technical limitations of the era, relatively tight rules of record labels, and there are some rather standard tracks such as My Best Friend (still written by ex-“drummer” Skip Spence), Today (and its extreme hippy ideals of just living one day at a time on delightful drum rolls), 3/5 Of A Mile (a rocker built over a steady beat) and their monstrous hit Somebody To Love.

 

But on the other hand, this album is loaded with spine tingling moments, great musicianship, and novel ideas. Right from hearing the drum intro (Dryden is a jazz-trained drummer) of She Has Funny Cars leading to a descending bass line (Jack Casady is a master of the bass and helped write the book of rock bass playing with Jack Bruce and John Entwistle), you are well aware that things will “degenerate” into greatness: forty second into the track a superb succession of chord changes and the tracks picks–up again with Kantner and Balin going about their duo singing, and coming from the back Slicks comes counterpointing with her incredibly sensual voice turning, twisting, twiddling and circling around the males voices like she was their lovers (not yet in real life ;-) and performing oral lovemaking. Barely over three minutes, this song is one of more emblematic the Airplane ever did, but there would be so many more to come. Coming Back To Me is one of those incredibly delicate moments where Grace with her recorder (there were very few pop records using flutes prior to this album) underline’s Balin superb vocals (with a bit of imagination, this might just recall you a bit Crimson’s I Talk To the Wind) and an unusual length.

 

How Do You Feel is another flute-laden track. Embryonic Journey is the kind of track that will lead future Steve Hs to do acoustic pieces on their group’s album some five years later, and Kaukonen finally gets a chance to strut his stuff, and then comes the other nail into the wall structure of rock music: White Rabbit! What hasn’t been said about this outstanding and astounding track? Yes it refers to Alice In Wonderland; yes, it has incredible tension based on Spanish influences; yes, Casady’s bass intro is close to eighth wonder; yes, this is a bolero some four years before Crimson and ELP; yes, this track is MUCH TOO SHORT for its greatness. The album finishes on an ode to the dildo over a square beat (although some claim they are denouncing the plastic invasion in our lives) but a swirling bass line, and whistles enlightening it.

 

The bonus tracks that came with the definitive remastered versions are worthy and belonged to the recording sessions of this album, but do not really bring a plus, except in showing the blues side of the group (three tracks of the four real bonus) that would clearly later evolve in the offshoot Hot Tuna with the large jam improvs between Casady, Kaukonen and Dryden. Of special interest to frequent Airplane flyers is the superb Go To Her. Also included are the mono single versions of the two monster songs of the album.

 

Overall, nowadays it is easy to overlook this album’s real merits and dismiss it as just another good album, but retrospectively and looking back, this album was absolutely groundbreaking as would their next four albums, all recorded with the classic quintet. Not flawless, and certainly not full-blown prog-rock, but damn well essential to its birth.

 

 
 
 
First batch of reviews.Smile
 
 
 
 

 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?


Edited by Sean Trane - August 14 2006 at 02:50
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2006 at 08:00
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?
 
 

This blog is dedicated to Spencer Dryden who passed away still recently.

May you rest in peace, Spencer.

And flying the Airplane when you were not aboard was not quite the same.Cry

 
 
 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – After Bathing At Baxter's

 

 

 

After such an outstanding and astounding record as Surrealistic Pillow, and having sold by the hundred of thousand of units of it, Jefferson Airplane was in position to impose their view to their record label (RCA was Elvis’s label), and as the owners admitted to not understanding anything to rock music (as opposed to Elvis’s RnR), so they let the group have the freedom it asked. This was again a first, as not even The Beatles were allowed to produce their own record. As it would turn out, the Airplane was not yet ready to fly on its own wings, as this great album is sometimes heavily flawed and a good deal of it is due to the lack of presence of an outside artistic producer (if you except the presence of Al Schmitt as technical supervision). Nevertheless and in spite of its flaws and coming with a superb comics giant R.Cobb gatefold sleeve with great innerfold as well as an inside record sleeve, JA managed another stunning album. 

 

This album is divided into five series of songs that are inter-related within their section. This might just be reminiscent of the multi-movement suite of the early 70’s, but to say that JA is the forerunner in this case would be exaggerated if there were not Procol Harum’s In Twas Held In I. Actually, I was never sure if there was a concept to this album as it seems to describe a week’s worth of Airplane tribulations.

 

From the superb opening Ballad of You & Me and Pooneil (this was Robert Kennedy’s dog, as this political bunch of artistes were friendly with the potential future president) and which was anything but a ballad, the first section Streetmasse (almost 10 mins) evolves into the stunning RIO-like Small Package. This stunning 100 seconds is again showing that as a rock group, the Airplane was over a half-year ahead of the Fab Four’s Revolution 9. Outstanding!! Without much a rest, Dryden leads the group in the Young Girl Sunday.  The second movement (the wishful thinking War Is Over and its 6-min+) is probably the best-known as it contains their (flawed) hit Martha, where Grace is again playing the piper and Wild Thyme (H), most likely chanting their favoured herbs. Not the most prog, but definitely a rocking rebel moment on which the Airplane build their legend. 

 

Older Generation (their third suite) starts out rocking out loudly, but settles into the incredible Rejoyce where JA reaches maturity, with Slick literally spell-binding us with her voice (dealing with James Joyce’s Ulysses novel) while oboes and a bunch of other wind instruments accompany the lady art her piano. Not much is known about those backing musos (Grace blew a good flute, but this partition was probably out of her reach), but their arrangements are simply wonderful. If this is not prog (remember we are in August 67), I do not know what is.

 

How Suite It Is (no accident, uh? ;-) is their longest (12min15), mostly due to the lengthy jam-like Spayre Change which can be easily dispelled as messy if it was not for the formidable fusion Indian Raga laced with Spanish influences (remember the Rabbit and do not forget that Frisco was once Spanish) where Casady, Kaukonen and Dryden steel the show. Starting out as heavily descriptive music with an awesome bass work, the track slowly settles into a raga-groove with both Casady and Kaukonen pulling flamenco lines. Again years ahead of what Clack-Hutchinson would do some four years later.

The last suite Schizoforest (9-min+) starts out with an Indian harpsichord and the group just flows freely  but Grace pulls in some interesting piano plucking but does not dare go further! Too bad, it sounded mega-interesting, but the suite flows onwards until it calms down, but the Airplane is always ready to use air-holes to make your ride as bumpy and interesting as possible. Great job, guys, you may now land with all targets reached.

 

On this reissue of the remastered album, the bonus tracks are of little interest as they are alternate or single version of existing tracks of the album. Although there are some rather obvious flaws, JA wanted to do a more adventurous record and their certainly achieved this fully. Although at times patchy ABAB might just be their more progressive album. Warmly recommended, as one of the earliest example of psych was the twin brother of prog. And the Beatles just on their heels.

 

 

 
 
 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – Crown Of Creation

 

 

 

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 their 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 collab 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.

 

 
Second batch of reviewsWink
 
 
 
 
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?
 


Edited by Sean Trane - August 11 2006 at 04:29
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 11 2006 at 04:27
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?
 
 
 
Third series of two reviews with the end of the classic line-up
 
 
 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – Volunteers

 

 

Threatened of anti-Americanism for its anti-war stance and counter-culture championing, the Airplane countered with their next album (recorded a full year after COC) that they intended to call Volunteers Of America, but some charity organization blocked this, so the Airplane got revenge by displaying their patriotism in another manner: check the artwork and imagine the establishment’s reaction. However, it was impossible for JA to repeat their incredible artistic success of COC without making a “son of COC”, so the sextet went in a different folkier musical direction (returning to their roots really), but this album is overtly political: revolted by the R Kennedy assassination and the return to Republican rule, they just had allergies that had to come out one way or another.

 

Starting out on the Kantner protest classic We Can Be Together and the traditional Good Shepherd (arranged by Jorma), the album is off to a deceiving start especially compared with the previous three albums, but if those tracks remain good (and very good), the real dud is the (thankfully) short countryish Farm. Saving the first side of the album is Grace’s Hey Frederick, where Grace is reminding us of the previous album; she shines all the way through the 8-min+ of the track on her piano, while Jorma wails away and Jack (a bit under-mixed compared to the previous albums) is pounding the thunderous bass background. But even in this album highlight, there is a slight flaw as the group gets lost for about a minute while improvising, but catches up brilliantly. Another relatively weak track closes a deceiving first side.

 

While the first side closes off one another weaker track, the second side opens with another absolute Airplane classic, the Stills-Crosby-penned (him again ;-) Wooden Ships, which takes to the magic of tape effect intros (creaking masts waves and seagulls) has a delightful crescendo with one of Balin’s best  singing performance, Grace on piano  and Jorma pulling a superb solo. Just after this gem, comes another Slick-penned track which is reminiscent of the previous album and where Grace picks up her flute again (something she had not done in the previous COC), and reveals her anger, swearing and ranting openly. Casady is again providing some superb bass layers but is again under-mixed.

 

After two such great tracks, there was hope for another good album, but sadly the folk-country spirit returns and the album ends in a tailspin, with a sub-par title track even if it oozes rebellious revolution, it is a noisy (intended of course) call to rise and protest. Kantner still being quite a political rebel up to nowadays even though he has had major health scares. Unfortunately the album fails to raise this writer’s interest outside the three long tracks, and maybe one of the mistake done was to ignore two of the members’ contribution: Balin as the founder and Dryden’s experiments are what fails in this album.

 

The five bonus tracks on the remastered album are a live late-69 concert excerpts, just a week before the disastrous Altamont festival, where bikers would beat up (and kill one of) the audience members and Balin also. Nothing really essential in the bonus tracks, but interesting to notice the speeded-up Somebody, the updated Plastic Lover and the extended Wooden Ships. One gets to see just how much of a rock band they were.

 

This album would be the last really good and influential album, with Marty Balin now departing, as his role was fast eroding (only one partial credit on the album), but also Spencer Dryden leaving on grounds of exhaustion: he was doubling with Casady and Kaukonen in the Hot Tuna-aftermaths of JA concerts (the trio could play up to six hours a night), but his love affair with Grace was now over as she was now frequenting Kantner. The group also created their own label (which at the time was only done by the Beatles, The Moody Blues and the Rolling Stones) named Grunt (oh the humour!). What the Airplane will do after this album is really not quite as classic or influential as their albums up to now. Even if I do not appreciate this album as much as the previous ones, please be assured I am in a minority, even if I still call this album highly influential

 

AND

 
 
 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – Bless Its Pointed Little Head

 

 

Between Creation and Volunteers came out this live album, recorded in autumn of 68 in both the Fillmore East and West. This weirdly-titled (you don’t want to know how this came about ;-) live album came with an equally weird artwork depicting a drunken French-bereted Casady in a ballroom. This album is interesting in a few ways as it shows the different live facet of the Airplane that might not have been so obvious in their studio recordings. Indeed the blues facet was not shunned in studio, in concert it became more present and the backbone of the group (the three virtuosos, Kaukonen, Casady and Dryden) took on a lengthy and improvisational turn as much as was tolerable for the “singers” of the group. So much so, that this would lead to the trio actually creating their own unit (first called Hot sh*t, then Hot Tuna) and started opening the JA concert or doing aftershows as the trio was sometimes playing up to six hours a night.

 

Another first in JA concerts came the pre-recorded intros (here the track called Clergy), something to would be commonplace for some of the “prog” giants (Yes and RB’s Rainbow among others). Of course are present a good deal of the shorter and better known tracks, but there are plenty of other ones that were first released including the longer more jam-oriented tracks. Some covers such as the standard Rock Me Baby, the lengthy Bear Melt, Donovan’s Fat Angel (in which the Scott troubadour sang JA’s praises) and Fred Neil’s Other Side Of This Life. One of the striking thing is that most of the band’s shorter tracks (the “hits” if you wish) are all speeded-up, something rather usual and hardly noticeable in concert, but disturbing while sitting at home. Disappointingly, there are no tracks from their masterpiece Crown Of Creation and no preview of the album to come, Volunteers. The three bonus tracks on the remastered version of the album are well in the line of the album, exploring more the Baxter and Pillow albums.

 

So this album is not essential to progheads (the jams are fairly straightforward and do not go in uncharted or difficult terrain), but those confirmed JA fans will find it indispensable, especially those wishing to see the genesis of Hot Tuna.

 

 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 14 2006 at 02:56
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?
 
 
 
Last batch of reviews for their studio outputSmile
 
 
 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – Bark

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

With both Balin and Dryden out of the picture, and a record label of their own, the Airplane spent the start of the new decade regrouping and touring. While Marty Balin was not directly replaced (even his role had diminished, at least the group respected him enough not to find a substitute for him), they brought in this teenage kid that they had accepted in their Fulton Mansion, and he had learned to drum often replacing Dryden in Hot Tuna or in-house jams. So JA went from an older drummer, to a much younger one. But the line-up would actually see another change. In a complete surprise move, the group enlisted the 50 years old Papa John Creach: a Black blues violinist that was already connected to the group via the lengthy Hot Tuna jams.

 

By the time Bark had been released, almost two years had passed since Volunteers (well there was a typically JA-styled compilation actually called “The Worst of JA” released since), and the group had been busy getting the Grunt record label going and a few albums had been released and Hot Tuna was gaining more momentum. So it was not liked they did anything. But with the newcomers in the fold, the feeling had changed quite a bit and the album would actually be a bit of a disappointment for fans, but this writer does not think that Bark is any better or worse than Volunteers (which is definitely not been up to par to their previous album), just different. At first glance, it is easy to see that the group  once again opted for more concise and tighter song, with none exceeding the 4¾-mark.  Actually the first side of the album was of a rather high calibre with a trilogy of excellent songs from Feel So Good to Pretty As You Feel running through Crazy Miranda. All three of these tracks are definitely worthy of their earlier masterpieces: the Kaukonen-penned FSG Tuna (I know, but I could not help it ;-) is Hot (eeehmm!!! Toooo easy ;-), while Grace’s Miranda track show again her songwriting and piano skills. PAYF is one of the tracks where Papa John gets in his violin lines beautifully Jorma’s guitar. 

 

Unfortunately, the second side will not really follow suit and it has a real blunder in that stupidly-titled Never Argue With A German track, which would cause them harm. One of the things that the average Airplane flyers can complain about is that Casady’s bass is again slightly under-mixed, because musically speaking the man is still at the top of his game, but less audible. Part of was made the Airplane special (the Balin-Slick duel/duets) and Dryden’s crazy electronics doodlings was now history and for progheads, this was not good news.

 

As it turns out, the group had just waited too long between the over-rated but high-profile Volunteers and this much lower-keyed affair not as well distributed or promoted. Two years was simply too long a break and their dropping out of the public eyesight allowed others to step in the gap and get their share of sunshine exposure.

 

 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – Long John Silver

 
 
 
 

With young Joey Covington having flown from the nest (he would later reappear in Hot Tuna), the Airplane had to resort to a real outsider in the name of John Barbata as a new drummer. By the time this album came out in July 72, it was clear that the Airplane’s best days had gone and it was only a matter of time before it would be grounded indefinitely if not permanently. But the Airplane was not about to go out without a bang, and it came in the form of their gimmick artwork sleeve: It could be folded out and turned into a cigar-box while the inner sleeve represented the aligned cigars layer. But once it was pulled out, you could see the bottom of the box depicting a stash of weed (Jamaican Lamb’s Bread just in case you ask me ;-). Yet another way to rile up the establishment, but this kind of provocation was only possible because of their Grunt record label.

 
 

The Opening title track is a relatively strong start with Jorma pulling a scorching solo while Jack is soaring like he had not since COC (in terms of volume), especially with the follow-up Areie (aptly sub-titled Gang Of Eagles) is another superb (as usual) Slick track, where Papa John and Jorma trade licks over the hood of Grace’s piano. But unfortunately the rest of the tracks will not be up to par, even in the potentially explosive (lyrically anyway) Son Of Jesus.

 

Likewise the second side contains two excellent tracks like the typical Slick-track Easter (although it sounds like a remake of Aerie) and the Hot Tuna-like Trial By Fire is a very catchy (and Jack .is superb) The intended funny Alexander The Medium track falls a bit flat on its face, while their ultimate send-off (Eat Starch, Mom) is rather average. Again for the proghead, the harvest for gems is rather meagre, but remains another good rock album that many of their compadres would love to call their own.

 

Again for long-time frequent flyers, this album was slightly deceiving, but it remained qualitatively on the height of Volunteers and Bark. But sales were dwindling (a good deal of the fans were disappointed at Balin not coming back), the world was changing and it was some three years since the Airplane had lost their front rank in terms of groundbreaking music and political rebellion, and the Golden 60’s hangover was simply tenacious.

 

 

 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 14 2006 at 02:58
Future posts will include additional infos!
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 14 2006 at 03:01


Good work Sean!
    
And what about a review of their Live in Monterey to complete this excellent discography you made?


Edited by oliverstoned - August 14 2006 at 03:04

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 14 2006 at 03:31
there will be a few more things coming up!Wink
 
 
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

The aftermath:

After the Airplane finally landed, the members headed in different directions, but their respective paths kept crossing each other. Their official home site:

 

http://www.jeffersonairplane.com/

 

 

 

The backbone of the group had already decided to keep Hot Tuna going and went on for a lengthy career (still touring nowadays) first as a blues and folk band (mainly acoustic) and later during the mid-70’s released a series of classic Hard Rock albums of which can be noted: Burgers ***, Phosphorescent Rat **** and Hoprkov***.

 
album cover
 
 

The couple of Grace Slick and Paul Kantner started an interesting series of three solo (or duo) albums: Blows Against The Empire ( Jefferson Starship ) ****, Sunfighter ** and Baron Von Tolbooth And The Chrome Nun (with Quicksilver MS’s David Freiberg) ***. Warmly recommended and fairly similar in Spirit to JA is Blows against The Empire, especially the second side of the album.

 
album cover
 

Then with Marty Balin , the pair decided to reform the band, but being incredibly honest, they used a different name in Jefferson Starship. While the first albums are worth a listen (good rock, increasingly AOR as new albums got released), there is little for the proghead in those albums, until Balin and much later Kantner left. The group then shortened their name to Starship (following some bad blood between Kantner and the rest of the band while Slick was coming and going at will) and did some quite awful records until the late 80’s.

 

In parallel with JS, Grace Slick got a solo career on track, releasing four or five albums of which only the first is of real interest to progheads. Manhole**** and Dreams**.  Manhole is very warmly recommended to progheads with two excellent "progressive" lengthy tracks.

 

album cover
 

In 89, came out a new Airplane album with the classic line-up (minus drummer Dryden), but this album is not fondly remembered by fans.

 
 
 
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?

 

 

 


Edited by Sean Trane - August 16 2006 at 08:06
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 14 2006 at 22:23
holy sh*t brother...excellent  glad ...for once to having been on the losing side of a debate....  I would have missed this....  reading with pleasure sir!  Let me PM you those pics....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 15 2006 at 04:26
^^^^^^^^^
 
Thanks Micky, will publish them soon!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 15 2006 at 04:32
 
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?

Further reading or viewing:

 
 
 
Although you will find many references about JA in many rock history book, there is no better reading about this group than reading Jeff Tamarkin’s superb book called Got A Revolution! The Turbulent Flight Of The Jefferson Airplane. The author is a long-time fan and friend of the band and writes sensationally well without any parti-pris for anyone member. The book just received a second press (this time as a soft cover but no best-seller pocket-book size) early this year. You will have loads of fun reading the fun times the band had travelling through a fascinating era with the Bay area as a décor. This book is easily a 4,5stars on the Archives scale.

 

 

http://www.gotarevolution.com/reviews.htm

 


 
 
 
 

Also recent is the DVD called Fly Jefferson Airplane. This rockumentary is one of the better one I have been given to see (along with Colosseum) in a long time. With the full Airplane crew available (except the deceased Papa John Creach), a rather complete history of the group is undertaken cut by some rare TV show appearance, a few concert footage (Monterey a.o.). The only slight negative remark is that there are no shots of the 2400 Fulton Street Mansion or other images of the then-Frisco background.

 

 

 

 

 

Since this DVD release, classic line-up drummer Spencer Dryden passed away last year.

 

 

 
 
 
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU
 
 
 
Fly Jefferson Airplane, won't you fly?

 

 

 


Edited by Sean Trane - August 15 2006 at 04:35
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2006 at 06:21

I noticed that Sunfighter and Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun were not mentioned. I am hoping that this is an oversight, as I think both of the albums, which fell in the transition period between Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, are very good. Sunfighter is my favorite of the two, probably because of the more experimental nature of it, "Titanic", "Universal Copernican Chants", the title track and all showing Paul Kanter, as he did on Blows against the Empire, tending towards more science fiction based progressive sound. I have not heard Baron Von Tollbooth for some time, but I still love the song "Sketches of China" off of that album.

 
Another compilation that seems to be forgotten is Flight Log, which featured material from all of the JA and transition period releases except one, Early Flight, which I presume was released after Flight Log. Flight Log ends on the early Jefferson Starship album-Dragonfly and has an unreleased live song "Please Come Back". 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2006 at 08:05
Originally posted by darksinger

I noticed that Sunfighter and Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun were not mentioned. I am hoping that this is an oversight, as I think both of the albums, which fell in the transition period between Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, are very good. Sunfighter is my favorite of the two, probably because of the more experimental nature of it, "Titanic", "Universal Copernican Chants", the title track and all showing Paul Kanter, as he did on Blows against the Empire, tending towards more science fiction based progressive sound. I have not heard Baron Von Tollbooth for some time, but I still love the song "Sketches of China" off of that album.

 
Another compilation that seems to be forgotten is Flight Log, which featured material from all of the JA and transition period releases except one, Early Flight, which I presume was released after Flight Log. Flight Log ends on the early Jefferson Starship album-Dragonfly and has an unreleased live song "Please Come Back". 
 
 
 
 

The couple of Grace Slick and Paul Kantner started an interesting series of three solo (or duo) albums: Blows Against The Empire ( Jefferson Starship ) ****, Sunfighter ** and Baron Von Tolbooth And The Chrome Nun (with Quicksilver MS’s David Freiberg) ***. Warmly recommended and fairly similar in Spirit to JA is Blows against The Empire, especially the second side of the album.

 
album cover
 
 
I mention them, but Sunfoghter is definitely inferior to Blows and Baron is too Psyched-out for my tastes although Zappa could appreciate it. But I will re-check out Sunfighter soon. ThanksWink!!!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2006 at 08:11
excellent group..i love this thread
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 22 2006 at 06:02

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – Live At The Monterey Festival

 
album cover
 
 

For decades, the Airplane's performance at the Monterey Festival (which was part of their legend) was only seen with the movie performance of Today and High Flying Bird, which was only one fifth of their full set. At the start of the 90's, Thunderbolt Records released the full set, which was greatly awaited by fans. Now remember that this recording took place at one single (and legendary) event with all its flaws and lack of experience and technology. So if the recording is not excellent, it is actually quite good, still and quite acceptable for younger generations. Remember that the Monterey Festival took place between their Surrealistic Pillow's release and probably as they were nearing the end of writing the songs of ABA Baxter's.

With the intro presenting the band as "a perfect example of what the world was coming to" and Grace laughing with much of it, the groups launches its set by using their two aces right away: Somebody and Rabbit are first and third in the setrlist and played out faithfully. While Other Side Of This Life and High Flying Bird are both excellent, the gropup is only still getting warmed up and has not yet done any improvisations, playing the songs faithfully. With the superb She Has Funny Cars, they start to digress slightly and by the time of the last track on their set, they were getting warm and gave us ablistering 11-min version of You & Me & Pooneil, with blistering improvs and solos. Sadly the set is a bit too short (always is the case in Festivals) as it was clear that Kaukonen, Casady and Dryden were set for more.

 

Overall, this live album is just as essential as Bless Its Little Pointed Head and more so than the latter 30 Seconds Over Winterland, which came at the end of the group's life. Somehow, one can hope that one day, the full set that was recorded by cameras will also be available.

 

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – JEFFERSON AIRPLANE  (89)

 
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Jefferson Airplane progressive rock album and reviews
 
 

Well, I am not sure that JA needed to risk their legend on this album. But after the final crash of that awful Starship (which had lost its Jefferson moniker some four or five years earlier), which had no link at all with the original group, Grace Slick and the other reunited in its almost classic line-up. Everybody was present from either Hot Tuna or other projects. Only Spencer Dryden was missing, and from what I gathered, they simply thought he would not be interestred, which turned out to be false.

 

But was the Airplane going to succeed in a second take-off, or was this a just-once reunion? Well it turned out to be a one-shot deal and when listening to the album, we can safely say that, it was not going to last too long. After a strong start with the first three songs being of the calibre of bark or LJS, and the excellent Ice Age (Kaukonen-penned), unfortunately when you expect the album to really head for the higher atmosphere with the promising Summer Of Love, things come to an almost-crash. Indeed this Balin-penned track is a syrupy ballad, and no matter how much a frequent Airplane flyer you are, it is insipid and mediocre. Unfortunately, this was not just one air-hole; the flight would become quite turbulent for the rest of the album. On the up-side of things, one could've expected disaster with such a risqué album, but JA avoids a few traps that other classic bands fell into later: the usual awful drumming of that 80's period is not present here (well just one track). Their drummer does have the sound of 80's drummers but plays very much the 70's way throughout most tracks (well playing with Casady as your bassist will kick your butt in to shape), and although not great, the drumming is fitting. I wish groups like T2 or Procol Harum (with the awful Prodigal stranger album), had not fallen into this trap (set by the industry), but JA had too much a rebel attitude left in them, to refuse too much pressure. Unfortunately the second part of the album is made of sub-par tracks that have a filler feeling to them. The instrumental Upfront Blues being the better track in the end of the album, this gives a clear view that most of the members brought their own songs beforehand and therefore few (just one IMHO) were written collegially.

 

Hardly essential, even for the more die-hard fans, this album is not far from the level of Bark or LJS, and almost on-par with the better Jefferson Starship albums, and certainly better than the dreadful Starship crap discs.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
xx


Edited by Sean Trane - August 22 2006 at 06:04
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2006 at 13:45
Great job Hughes!  Excellent commentary even if I am one of those Volunteer lovers. Wink


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 29 2007 at 16:37
Clap Great work Hugues!
 
Although I never considered JA as part of "progressive rock", but rather psychedelic folk rock, given they are among my top favorites I must congratulate you sincerely.
 
Excellent essay!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 07 2007 at 14:57
Originally posted by Garion81

Great job Hughes!  Excellent commentary even if I am one of those Volunteer lovers. Wink


reading back through this blog...


same here... one of those nuts who thinks the Volunteers was actually amoung the best albums of the rock era.  Fantastic album... even if Baxters is and will always be my favorite album from them.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 07 2007 at 14:59
Originally posted by Seyo

Clap Great work Hugues!
 
Although I never considered JA as part of "progressive rock", but rather psychedelic folk rock, given they are among my top favorites I must congratulate you sincerely.
 
Excellent essay!
Star


same here.. which is why I opposed them.. but.. as I told Ivan when ELO was included...  the world didn't stop spinning. and the prog world is still going strong. and the site hasn't become a joke... at least not yet that is LOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 07 2007 at 15:55
This is now part of my official un-official buying guide for my collection hahahaa
Beauty will save the world.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 07 2007 at 15:57
Originally posted by Zappa88

This is now part of my official un-official buying guide for my collection hahahaa


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