Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off

Two appearances helped the Jefferson Airplane take off, the first being their appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. The songs performed above represent elements of their signature sound: "High Flyin' Bird" was a carryover from the band members' participation in the San Francisco Bay folk music boom of the mid-1960s, while "Today" was one of many love ballads composed by co-singer Marty Balin. 

One year later, the band appeared on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour to perform two of their greatest hits, "White Rabbit," which draws parallels between the imagery in "Alice In Wonderland" and psychedelic drug hallucinations, and "Somebody To Love." The songs appeared on the Airplane's outstanding 1967 album "Surrealistic Pillow." Grace Slick seems to perform both live against pre-recorded instrumentals. As you watch, you'll again see a liquid light show that was part of the stage setting for many psychedelic bands of the era:


mjmand said...

My Saturday Night Music for the week featured a much overlooked Bob Dylan live album called, REAL LIVE. The liner notes don't tell you much except that it was released in 1984. It was recorded on tour in Europe in 1984 with a great backing band that included Mick Taylor (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Rolling Stones) on guitar, and Ian McLagen (Small Faces, Faces) on keyboards. The other band members were Colin Allen (excellent jass and blues credentials) and Gerg Sutton on bass (very little information). The music is tight and will rock your socks off; and the ten songs selected span almost his entire career up to that point. Carlos Santana guests on "Tombstone Blues." This album is worth getting re-acquainted with (despite my poor grammar).

Jeff Tone said...

MJMand: Your grammar is fine (I'm not going to quibble about a preposition at the end of a sentence), and I'll heed your recommendation. I'm always up for more Dylan, so I'll either have to purchase the album or find someone from whom I can borrow it. Regarding Mick Taylor, I've lately taken another listen to "Time Waits For No One" and "It's Only Rock And Roll" and concluded that he was the best guitarist that the Stones ever had.

fleud said...

Grace Slick's vocals on these two songs in particular (like Janis Joplin's performance of "Ball and Chain" at Monterey Pop) always send chills up and down my spine.

A bit of historical trivia (apologies if you already know this): "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit" were originally by The Great! Society, which was largely a Slick family affair (brothers Darby and Jerry and Jerry's wife, Grace). A Great! Society Web site describes the Slicks as "wealthy bohemians".

Jeff Tone said...

Fleud: I didn't know that; thanks for the info. I checked the web site to see if they really put the exclamation point after "Great," and indeed they did. It was apparently added by the bass player's girlfriend.