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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jefferson Airplane

Bark

Review by Gary Hill

A late period disc from Jefferson Airplane, I almost hear this as a transition between what the Airplane was and what Jefferson Starship would be. Most of the album is along the lines of a slightly less psychedelic version of early Airplane, but there are a few tracks that really feel like Jefferson Starship. It’s a cool album with a lot of different flavors.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
When The Earth Moves Again

Opening on acoustic guitar, violin heralds the entrance of the rest of the group. This moves out from there in a folk music meets classic Jefferson Airplane approach. The vocal arrangement is unmistakably Jefferson Airplane. The violin screams over the top at various points along this ride.

Feel So Good
Not as easily recognizable as Jefferson Airplane, this is a fairly straightforward rocker. That said, it’s not a real hard rocking tune, but rather something closer to the Grateful Dead meet Jefferson Airplane. There’s some tasty guitar soloing later in the piece.
Crazy Miranda
This cut is far more like typical Jefferson Airplane. There’s a lot of piano in the mix and it has that great psychedelic air to it. It’s fairly intricate and progressive in its arrangement. This reminds me a lot of “Lather.” It’s one of my favorites on the set. 
Pretty As You Feel
A rather stripped down piece, this has a lot of character and style. There’s a little bit of a jazzy texture, but it’s got plenty of that classic Jefferson Airplane brand of psychedelia. This is another highlight of the set. There is some guitar work on this that makes me think of Peter Banks era Yes. 
Wild Turkey
This is a killer hippie jam. It’s an instrumental track that’s just plan awesome. 
Law Man
A ballad that’s also a rocker, this track feels more like Jefferson Starship than Jefferson Airplane, predicting the direction the group would later go. I like this a lot. It’s not as characteristic of Jefferson Airplane as some of the other music, but it’s a great tune, anyway. 
Rock And Roll Island
This rocker is very much classic Jefferson Airplane. It reminds me a lot of “Volunteers.” It’s a great tune and features some of Grace Slick’s best vocals of the whole set.
Third Week In The Chelsea
There’s a cool folk meets bluegrass element to this track. It’s a tasty tune that’s mellower, particularly in contrast to “Rock and Roll Island.” A harmonica solo later brings in some blues elements. I can hear some Arlo Guthrie at times on this piece.
Never Argue With A German If You're Tired Or European Song
Musically this is another that makes me think of “Lather.” The lyrics are all in German, though. There are some operatic moments, though and parts of this wander into progressive rock territory. It’s one of the more intriguing and experimental pieces on show. 
Thunk
This is a purely acapella (other than some piano in the first minute) track that is interesting, if a bit odd.
War Movie
Here’s another that makes me think of “Volunteers.” It’s a great rocker with classic Jefferson Airplane textures. It’s an excellent way to end the set on a high note.
 
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