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JEFFERSON AIRPLANE

Proto-Prog • United States


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Jefferson Airplane biography
Jefferson Airplane is one of the major psychedelic acts from US West Coast, with their great musicianship and their groundbreaking attitude which can be seen in their lyrics and album covers.
The history of Jefferson Airplane began in early 65 when Marty Balin, who had played in a folk group called the Town Criers in 1963 and 1964, invited the guitarist Paul Kantner to form a new band which would blend rock and folk. Then Kantner recommended the guitarist Jorma Kaukonen to join the band too. Balin wanted a female voice to contrast his voice and Signe Anderson Joined.

The band was completed with the bassist Bob Harvey and the drummer Jerry Peloquin. They started performing in small clubs and soon Peloquin and Harvey were fired and replaced by the drummer Skip Spence (later Moby Grape) and the bassist Jack Casady, an excellent virtuoso known as one of the best rock bassists ever. His technique was so good that later in his career he had to tap fingers together to make his bass lines less complex. They released their debut in early 1966, "It's no secret". Then Spence started to have problems with drugs, so he was fired and Spenccer Dryden was brought in his place.

They released the first album in 1966. Since the beginning, it showed psychedelic influences, which would grow till the end of the decade. After some months, Signe left to take care of her children and Grace Slick was recruited. They released in early 1967 their most successful album, Surrealistic Pillow, containing White Rabbit and Somebody to Love, their biggest hits. It was "the summer of love" and Jefferson Airplane became one of the most acclamated psychedelic bands, playing in the famous Monterey festival. In late 1967 they released an experimental album with long suites, After Bathing at Baxter's. Songs like Rejoice and Spare Chaynge show that Jefferson Airplane was among the pioneers of going a step further than the psychedelic rock. The next album, Crown of Creation is a bit less experimental, the sound is more deep (less "happy psychedelic") and considered by many their best album. HIghlights are the electronic experimental Chushingura and the fantastic The House of Pooneil Corners. In 1969 they released a partly-live album, Bless its Pointed Head, where all the virtuosity of Casady and Kaukonen can be appreciated. In late 69 they released another studio album, Volunteers, which had some great psychedelic songs and some prog-oriented acts, like Wooden Ships, Eskimo Blu...
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Surrealistic PillowSurrealistic Pillow
Remastered
Sony Legacy 2003
Audio CD$4.62
$4.15 (used)
The Essential Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/StarshipThe Essential Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship
Sony Legacy 2012
Audio CD$12.77
$12.76 (used)
Crown Of CreationCrown Of Creation
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2010
Audio CD$4.51
VolunteersVolunteers
Extra tracks
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2011
Audio CD$3.75
$4.38 (used)
The Worst Of Jefferson AirplaneThe Worst Of Jefferson Airplane
Remastered
Sony Legacy 2006
Audio CD$5.46
$4.64 (used)
White Rabbit: Ultimate Jefferson Airplane CollWhite Rabbit: Ultimate Jefferson Airplane Coll
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$4.78
$8.48 (used)
Woodstock ExperienceWoodstock Experience
Import
RCA 2012
Audio CD$10.51
$17.99 (used)
Jefferson Airplane Takes OffJefferson Airplane Takes Off
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2010
Audio CD$3.96
$3.95 (used)
After Bathing At BaxtersAfter Bathing At Baxters
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2010
Audio CD$4.09
$4.08 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Jefferson Airplane Long John Silver LP advert Time Out cutting 1972 USD $13.49 Buy It Now
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Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane (CD, Jun-2004, BMG (distributor)) USD $3.74 Buy It Now 27m 27s
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White Rabbit [Bootleg] by Jefferson Airplane (CD, Jan-2008, Brilliant) USD $4.54 Buy It Now 28m 31s
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE- GRACE SLICK, PAUL KANTNER 1967 - RCA LP VG/G USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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JEFFERSON AIRPLANE ?- Thirty Seconds Over Winterland UK LP Grunt w/SLEEVE INNER USD $16.17 Buy It Now 51m 42s
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1h 9m
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1h 37m
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3h 14m
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Jefferson Airplane Long John Silver Grunt Records FTR-1007 USD $25.00 Buy It Now 3h 19m
Last Stand at Winterland by Jefferson Airplane. USD $26.51 Buy It Now 3h 22m
Last Stand at Winterland: 1970 Radio Broadcast by Jefferson Airplane. USD $12.06 Buy It Now 3h 22m
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JEFFERSON AIRPLANE - After Bathing At Baxter's - RCA 60s psych rock LP + insert USD $4.00 [0 bids]
3h 29m
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JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Early Flight LP jerry garcia grateful dead skip spence PSYCH USD $3.99 [0 bids]
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3h 55m
Jefferson Airplane Vinyl Stereo Flight Log 1966-1976 LP 2 Record Set With Book USD $40.00 Buy It Now 4h
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4h 56m
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JEFFERSON AIRPLANE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 64 ratings
Takes Off
1966
3.61 | 186 ratings
Surrealistic Pillow
1967
3.80 | 113 ratings
After Bathing At Baxter's
1967
3.89 | 115 ratings
Crown Of Creation
1968
3.57 | 95 ratings
Volunteers
1969
2.71 | 41 ratings
Bark
1971
3.11 | 38 ratings
Long John Silver
1972
3.75 | 24 ratings
Paul Kantner, Grace Slick & David Freiberg: Baron Von Tollbooth & The Chrome Nun
1973
1.74 | 23 ratings
Jefferson Airplane
1989

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.41 | 28 ratings
Bless Its Pointed Little Head
1969
2.91 | 17 ratings
Thirty Seconds Over Winterland
1973
4.01 | 16 ratings
Live At The Monterey Festival
1991
2.69 | 13 ratings
Live At The Fillmore East
1998
4.00 | 2 ratings
Through The Looking Glass
1999
4.02 | 6 ratings
At The Family Dog Ballroom
2007
4.00 | 10 ratings
The Woodstock Experience
2009
3.83 | 6 ratings
Return To The Matrix - 02/01/68
2010
4.50 | 4 ratings
Live At The Fillmore Auditorium - We Have Ignition - 11/25/66 & 11/27/66
2010
3.83 | 6 ratings
Live At The Fillmore Auditorium - Early & Late Shows - Grace's Debut - 10/16/66
2010
3.75 | 4 ratings
Live At The Fillmore Auditorium - Late Show - Signe's Farewell - 10/15/66
2010

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.22 | 13 ratings
Fly Jefferson Airplane
2004

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 11 ratings
The Worst Of Jeffreson Airplane
1970
4.40 | 10 ratings
Early Flight
1974
3.67 | 4 ratings
Flight Log
1977
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Jefferson Airplane
1978
4.00 | 8 ratings
2400 Fulton Street
1987
3.00 | 2 ratings
White Rabbit & Other Hits
1990
4.50 | 8 ratings
Loves You
1992
4.04 | 7 ratings
Journey - The Best Of Jefferson Airplane
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Collections: Jefferson Airplane
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
Jefferson Airplane ('I Miti Musica' series)
2004
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Very Best Of Jefferson Airplane
2007
1.27 | 2 ratings
Collection 2CD: Jefferson Airplane
2008

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Come Up the Years
1966
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bringing Me Down
1966
0.00 | 0 ratings
My Best Friend
1966
5.00 | 1 ratings
Somebody to Love
1967
4.00 | 1 ratings
White Rabbit
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
Watch Her Ride
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
Surrealistic Pillow EP
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greasy Heart
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
If You Feel Like China Breaking
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Crown of Creation
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Plastic Fantastic Lover (live)
1969
3.05 | 2 ratings
Volunteers
1969
5.00 | 1 ratings
Mexico
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pretty as You Feel
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Long John Silver
1972
2.14 | 2 ratings
Selections From Jefferson Airplane Loves You
1992

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Surrealistic Pillow by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.61 | 186 ratings

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Surrealistic Pillow
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars After a turbulent start JEFFERSON AIRPLANE tried but fell short for "Take Off" on their debut despite the positive affirmations present in the album title. While the band got their feet wet in the gigging circuit and were a local cult favorite in the San Francisco Bay Area, the band was unsuccessful in making a dent further abroad however soon after the debut was released there were a few developments which sent the band in new directions and accidentally landed them in the worldwide spotlight as "The Summer Of Love" descended upon the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco. The original female vocalist Signe Anderson left the band only two months after "Jefferson Airplane Takes Off" was released because of her recently born daughter taking focus away from the band. Secondly drummer Skip Spence was sacked due to an unannounced vacation to Mexico but would go on to found Moby Grape. Spencer Dryden was recruited to fill the drummer's shoes.

The female vocalist role was, of course, filled by the prodigious contralto vox box of Grace Slick, whom the band had already known from her former band The Great Society which had played with JEFFERSON AIRPLANE on many occasions. Just a little trivia: Grace Slick is lineally descended from passengers of the Mayflower! The classic lineup of JEFFERSON AIRPLANE was complete and in early 1967 the band released their second album SURREALISTIC PILLOW just in time for the Beat Generation inspired movement of the "turn on, tune in, drop out" youth who were reinventing society and of course they needed a new soundtrack for a totally new way of thinking! JEFFERSON AIRPLANE were poised to be first in line to fill this new unforeseen need and soon they would find a pot of gold where no rainbow yet touched the ground!

In many ways SURREALISTIC PILLOW continues the sound laid down on the debut album. Although described as psychedelic rock by many, album number two primarily consists of Byrds inspired folk rock that take the influences of other contemporary artists like The Mamas & The Papas, Bob Dylan, The Yardbirds, The Beatles and Kingston Trio and added a touch of psychedelia to become one of the biggest hits of the entire year. The band's distinct sound of the combo vocal effect of Slick and Marty Ballin was the extra boost of mojo they needed to finally get their AIRPLANE flying high in the friendly skies. The album was released in February 1967 and shot up to number 3 on the Billboard charts in only a month and a half where it stayed for over a year and provided the only two top 10 hits of their entire career as a band. "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit" both hit the top 10 and became two of the biggest anthems of the entire 60s music scene not to mention the band's best known tracks.

SURREALISTIC PILLOW is one of those albums that divides my senses. On the one hand, this album is absolutely essential for a complete understanding of the hippie scene and The Summer Of Love in 1967. It is an inextricable part of a unique place and time in history and therefore has earned that mandatory placement in my music collection. However from an artistic point of view, i have never been blown away by this one. Personally i find only six of the eleven songs to be interesting and the rest are sort of throwaway tracks that do little for my senses. Secondly i find the album to be horribly paced with no rhyme or reason as to how the tracks are placed. Some of them sound like leftovers from the earlier album sessions. The album starts out quite strong with the catchy semi-psychedelic rock opener "She Has Funny Cars" which instantly shows how the band had improved over the debut as Grace Slick rocks the house with her magnetic charisma accompanied by the rockin' rhythms and fuzzed out bass. It is immediately followed by the excellent "Somebody To Love" which was actually recorded by Slick's brother-in-law Darby Slick for her previous band The Great Society." Somehow the song jumped ship with Slick and the rest is history!

Unfortunately the album derails from then on as "My Best Friend" sounds like a very bad attempt to imitate The Mamas & The Papas" which JEFFERSON AIRPLANE wasn't quite equipped to pull off. It only gets worse as the rest of the album is littered with forgettable folk ballads like "Today" and "Comin' Back To Me." Of the remaining tracks i only find "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds," "White Rabbit" and "Plastic Fantastic Lover" to be interesting. Of course, someone could write an entire novel about "White Rabbit" which really is one of the best songs ever written and its larger than life Summer Of Love spirit completely overwhelms anything else on the album and was incidentally the only track completely written by Slick herself. Considering that the two best tracks on the album were written by humans with the last name Slick, i wish that Ballin and Kantner would have given the Queen of Acid a bit more free reign in both the lyrical contributions as well as the songwriting.

For me SURREALISTIC PILLOW somewhat lives up to its name, not for the fact that the music is trippy as hell but more for the fact that it creates the cognitive dissonance of being an album that is utterly essentially as someone interested in the peace and love hippie era but leaves me cold when listening to as a whole. It's one of those albums that someone apparently had to be there at the time to appreciate in its proper context but for someone like me who wasn't around to see the movie to which the soundtrack was playing, it just doesn't hold up very well. Musically speaking other 1967 albums ranging from "The Doors," "Sgt. Pepper's," "Are You Experienced?" and "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" are much more suitable to my imagined Summer Of Love experience. So as an album for listening pleasure i only find SURREALISTIC PILLOW to be a good album for the six tracks and nothing more and personally find this album woefully overrated. Still though, it contains a few of the greatest tracks not only of JEFFERSON AIRPLANE's entire career but also in all the history of rock music and for that it deserves to be heard by all. For me this is only a 3 star album but i'll add an extra half star for its cultural significance but not here so rounded down!

 Takes Off by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1966
3.17 | 64 ratings

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Takes Off
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 'Summer Of Love,' one of San Francisco's most spontaneous, yet enduring movements where up to 100,000 disillusioned youth descended upon the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood forever changing the city's politics, demographics, fashion statements and most of all musical scene, it's a good time to reflect on all those great bands of the past who have been put on the shelf in the ensuing decades as musical flavors have broadened and diversified but never truly forgotten, of course. Of all the contributor's to the counter-culturally fueled San Francisco Sound including Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Santana, it was really JEFFERSON AIRPLANE who launched the whole psychedelic scene with their huge hits 'White Rabbit' and 'Somebody To Love' off their 1967 classic 'Surrealistic Pillow.'

All that would come soon but not before Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden would join the band and form the band's classic lineup which would finish off the 60s, the band started out much more in the folk rock arena primarily inspired by The Byrds, The Beatles, Weavers and Kingston Trio. After a few years of unsuccessful endeavors, the band was founded by guitarist Marty Ballin and would soon hook up with Paul Kantnor and David Freiberg. Soon thereafter they would discover Signe Toly Anderson and invite her to sing in their new group. It wouldn't take long for the band to release their debut album JEFFERSON AIRPLANE TAKES OFF which in a commercial sense really did just that. The band was virtually unknown outside of the San Francisco Bay Area and RCA only pressed 15,000 copies but the band's reputation found them instant success in the area where over 10,000 copies were sold alone thus prompting the label to repress immediately and found the album going gold without any successful singles and instead setting sail via word of mouth alone.

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE TAKES OFF is very much a product of its time. Although associated as one of the primary movers and shakers of the psychedelic scene, there is nothing on this debut release to prognosticate where they or the world would lead in only a year's time. This album is very much a folk rock album that encapsulates the jangle folk rock guitar sound of The Byrds, blues inspired riffs as heard on the opener 'Blues From An Airplane' and an attempt at a Mama's & Papa's male / female vocal interchange (but not nearly as harmonically successful). While the majority of the tracks are originals with shared writing credits from the Ballin / Kantner songwriting team, there are three covers as well. The excellent rendition of the Clay Warnick song 'Tobacco Road' first recorded by John D. Loudermilk in 1960, Dino Valente's 'Let's Get Together' and a rare lead vocal performance by Signe Anderson doing an energetic performance of the famous Memphis Minnie tune 'Chauffeur Blues' (originally released under the title 'Me And My Chauffeur Blues.')

Universally accepted as a true feel-good album of sorts, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE TAKES OFF does deliver a consistent feel of no nonsense 60s folk rock, however despite every track being a pleasant listen, the AIRPLANE doesn't really have much of an identity at this point either. While all songs are perhaps nice sing-alongs, they don't really stand out from the crowd of imitators who would follow despite JEFFERSON AIRPLANE having created a very unique sound for the day with a slightly countrified take on bluesy folk rock. I feel the Byrds influences are too strong and Anderson isn't allowed to shine as a vocalist enough despite her vocals not having the power of Grace Slick whose contributions would eclipse anything heard on this album. Unfortunately in an artistic sense, this debut album took off in name only. JEFFERSON AIRPLANE would in reality sit idol in the runway until Grace Slick made it through the check-in lines and handed in her boarding pass. The soundtrack for the hippie scene would have to wait a little longer.

 After Bathing At Baxter's by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.80 | 113 ratings

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After Bathing At Baxter's
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "After Bathing At Baxter's" seems to be the one a lot of Prog fans enjoy but I have to admit I rate it below "Surrealistic Pillow" and my favourite of theirs "Crown Of Creation". It is commendable that they didn't sit on the success of "Surrealistic Pillow" and just try to do another in that style. They seemed to be aware of what their contemporaries were doing(Zappa for example) and so they tried to make this more experimental and they also included several suites that make up this recording. The suites don't seem legit to my ears for a couple of reasons, and by todays standards this is far from experimental but remember this was 1967. I find the vocals and guitar do get on my nerves at times which certainly doesn't help in my enjoyment of it.

"The Ballad Of You & Me & Pooneil" opens with that extended guitar that is one of my highlights but then it kicks into a standard pop song. Not a fan of the vocals but that brief BYRDS-like guitar is cool before a minute. I also like the percussion/ guitar section around 2 1/2 minutes. The next track might have been something to rave about in 1967 but not now. My two favourite tracks are back to back. First up is "Martha" which comes across as a melancholic Folk song with Grace on vocals. I like the guitar 1 1/2 minutes in.

Next is "Wild Tyme" with Grace's strong vocals and the prominent guitar standing out. He rips it up a minute in. Excellent song. My other top three tune is "Rejoyce" with the abundance of piano and Grace's singing. There's an Eastern vibe around 2 1/2 minutes and I like the flute late. "Watch Her Ride" is catchy and straight-forward with male vocals. I like the bass on this one. "Spare Chaynge" is okay but nothing more. An experimental soundscape of guitar, bass and drums. If you want something like this but better check out some classic Krautrock. The closer is pretty good especially when the slow it down on the second part.

There's just too many negatives for my tastes to give this anything more than 3 stars.

 Crown Of Creation by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.89 | 115 ratings

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Crown Of Creation
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Volunteers by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
3.05 | 2 ratings

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Volunteers
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I first listened to the song "Volunteers" and to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE in the "Woodstock" triple LP album from 1970. This song is a very energetic political, anti-war song, somewhat simple (2-3 chords), but maybe the anti-war and "revolutionary" political messages of the lyrics were more important then than the music itself. It has the late very good session piano player Nicky Hopkins as guest. He also appeared with the band in the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Unfortunately, the original film of that Festival did not include songs played by this band although they were represented in both of the original LP compilations of the Festival which were released as "Woodstock" in 1970 and as "Woodstock 2" in 1971. It seems that they finally appear in a new version of the film done some 30 years or more after that Festival was organized.

"Volunteers" is maybe one of their most popular and known songs.

The B-side of this single also was taken from the "Volunteers" LP from 1969. In fact, it is the first song from that album, and this song in particular is longer but musically very similar in some parts to the "Volunteers" song but with more chords in the other parts of the song. It also has Nicky Hopkins on piano.

 Volunteers by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.57 | 95 ratings

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Volunteers
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars End of an era

"All your private property is target for your enemy. And your enemy is we."

Great line Paul though it does make me wonder what your bank balance is these days.

After the letdown that was "Crown of Creation" the Airplane came back with their last truly great album "Volunteers." Things had changed so fast in just a few years. Musically the band were perhaps influenced by their friends in the Dead, who had also moved from hallucinogenic explorations to a cross of harder rock tempered by a healthy dose of country-flavored hayride music. But while the Dead were happy to keep the lyrical themes mostly wide-eyed and road-ramblin', Kantner was getting angry and serving up plenty of good lefty rhetoric as noted at the top. Whatever currents were tossing them about in the chaos of this period, and it was very chaotic in the band, they managed to deliver what might be their finest work. It's certainly arguable: the Airplane's first five albums are all amazing in their own way and you can easily find people who will champion each of them as the best Airplane album. While "Volunteers" may lack the naive beauty of "Surrealistic Pillow" or the enjoyable insanity of "Baxters", it delivers some of their finest songs.

"Your worst enemy is yourself. There is no us and them. It's all us. We were very naive." -Grace

Recorded in the spring of 1969 and feeling very much like a last gasp, the album is bookended by Kantner's anthemic observations on the counterculture, "We Can Be Together" and "Volunteers" (co-written by Marty) which are very much sister tracks. They are equal parts anger and lament, trying to marshal the kids to stick together while at the same time calling for revolt. (He claims the band was not political and only commenting on what it saw.) The first is particularly effective in capturing the turbulence of what youth felt like at the time. The contrast of joy and anger is represented, musically and vocally, brilliantly by the melody and Marty and Grace's vocal. Oh my what a start! Side one then heads for Marin county for an afternoon in the country with "Good Shephard" and "The Farm." It wraps up with one of those fantastic mind-bending Grace tracks called "Hey Fredrick" with poetic lyrics and a sensual feel. Grace says the song is about doing what thou wilt when someone is saying you can't or you shouldn't. Not surprisingly Grace raises her finger again to the naysayers. Kaukonen lays some very hearty leads over the middle section. Yet again it is Slick who provides the band's most creative material.

"Turn My Life Down" was something of a quaint return to the sound of Surrealistic Pillow, the band coming full circle. The next track "Wooden Ships" is one of the best songs of the 60s, co-written by Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Kantner. The Airplane version is far more powerful and dramatic than the earlier CSN version, which is more dreamy and laid back. Both are excellent. "Eskimo Blue Day" is another very strong tracks with superb arrangements, Grace is so powerful here belting out the vocal which deals with change in our lives. If they didn't know the classic line-up was splitting after this album then it was pure luck that had them sounding so dramatic and road wise. You can feel the "end of the road" throughout this album, lyrically and musically. Just before the climactic title track is a short instrumental interlude where Grace plays a theme song of the Soviet Army on organ. Crazy as it sounds it work perfectly. No matter how serious the world was getting this band was not going to forget to have fun. It's one reason they are remembered so fondly after so many decades.

If someone wanted to get just one Airplane album I'd still push them toward Surrealistic Pillow or Baxters. But in reality all of their 60s albums are pretty much essential to a deep rock collection--a stunningly good run for an amazing American band. You can't go wrong with albums like "Volunteers." Dryden would be gone after this album, Balin next, and the Airplane would fold not long after.

"All in all, a good time was had by all who attended."

 After Bathing At Baxter's by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.80 | 113 ratings

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After Bathing At Baxter's
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Though the preceding Surrealistic Pillow was their breakout album, Jefferson Airplane's sound is sufficiently reconfigured on After Bathing At Baxter's that if you're looking for a followup to hits like White Rabbit you're probably going to be disappointed. With material ranging from naive psychedelic pop numbers to sound collages reminiscent of what Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were producing at the time, this album attempts to establish the Airplane as more than just a mere pop band.

No longer is there the weird division between standout tracks like White Rabbit and the more straight ahead blues rock numbers that acted as filler on Surrealistic Pillow; instead, all the songs are part of broader conceptual suites, a technique which perhaps suggests more than a few listens to Zappa and the Mothers' Absolutely Free. However, listened to against that album the true avant-garde force of the 1960s is revealed and the Airplane feel drab and self-absorbed by comparison. Indeed, the less nostalgia you have for the hippy era, the less staying power this album is likely to offer.

 Crown Of Creation by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.89 | 115 ratings

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Crown Of Creation
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.
 After Bathing At Baxter's by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.80 | 113 ratings

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After Bathing At Baxter's
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars I still remember to this very day the first time I've heard a Jefferson Airplane song. I've discovered an old Cassette tape that had many great songs like 'White Bycicle' from Tomorrow, 'SLAWBR' from Cream, Deep Purple and many more. In fact I only discovered the songs names many years later.

The song in question was 'White Rabbit' from Surrealistic Pillow (1967), it was so fresh and exciting even 30 years later. When I finally was able to listen to the whole album I was so disappointed...

It's not really different with their next album After Bathing At Baxter's (1967) released later in that same year. The band try to go further in their Psychedelic/Acid Rock sound (with hints and colors of Prog Rock), but their Blues Rock background pretty much destroy it for me.

Even though the band is trying to go on and even created some suites in the album, the general sound is more like a Blues Rock/Folk Rock album than a development. Even on their next album Crown Of Creation (1968) they were still the same band. They lost their momentum, they should get forward, instead they used their fame to serve as stagnation.

Not the album is bad, it's not, but it lacks depth.

 Crown Of Creation by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.89 | 115 ratings

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Crown Of Creation
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

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.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to Joolz for the last updates

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