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Jefferson Airplane - Takes Off CD (album) cover

TAKES OFF

Jefferson Airplane

 

Proto-Prog

3.18 | 73 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 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!

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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