måndag 13 februari 2017

Jefferson Airplane - Bless It´s Pointed Little Head (US 1969)

210:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition, utgången utgåva sedan 2005. Obi-fliken finns med, dock ej på bilden.)

Bless Its Pointed Little Head is a live album by Jefferson Airplane recorded at both the Fillmore East and West in the fall of 1968 and released in 1969. Four of the songs on the album do no
t appear on studio recordings. The studio songs that are performed, however, are now completely transformed into much heavier versions. Highlights of the album include Jack Casady's walking line bass playing which dominates the entire set and the blues number "Rock Me Baby" which is a harbinger of Casady's and Kaukonen's later band "Hot Tuna".

Of particular interest is the musician lineup on the Donovan cover "Fat Angel", which demonstrates the versatility of the band. Marty Balin plays bass, Casady is the rhythm guitarist while Kaukonen and Kantner share the lead guitar duties. The album closes with the eleven minute improvised jam "Bear Melt", notable for the exceptional rhythm understanding between drummer Spencer Dryden and bassist Casady.

During 1969 Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen launched their side project, a return to their blues roots, which they eventually dubbed Hot Tuna. This began as a duo, with the pair performing short sets before the main Airplane concert, but over the ensuing months other members of the Airplane, as well as outside musicians (including Joey Covington), often sat in for Hot Tuna performances.

During late 1969 Casady and Kaukonen recorded an all-acoustic blues album, which was released in the spring of 1970, and it was remarkably successful, reaching #30 on the US album chart. Over the next two years Hot Tuna began to occupy more and more of their time, contributing to the growing divisions within Jefferson Airplane that would come to a head during 1972.

The Hot Tuna project also led to the addition of a new band member. Covington had met veteran jazz-blues violinist Papa John Creach in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s; he invited Creach to sit in with the Airplane for a concert at Winterland in San Francisco on October 5, 1970 and as a result Creach was immediately invited to join Hot Tuna, and he soon became a permanent member of the Airplane in time for their fall tour.

This concert also marked a turning point of another kind for the Airplane -- it was a memorial for their old friend Janis Joplin, who had died in Los Angeles from a heroin overdose the previous day, and because of her death, her close friend Marty Balin refused to perform with the band that night.

During this period, Paul Kantner had been working on his first solo album, a science fiction-themed project recorded with members of the Airplane and other friends. It was released in December 1970 under the title Blows Against The Empire, and credited to "Paul Kantner/Jefferson Starship". This "prototype" version of Jefferson Starship included David Crosby and Graham Nash, Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart and Airplane members Grace Slick, Joey Covington and Jack Casady.

Jefferson Airplane ended 1970 with their traditional Thanksgiving Day engagement at the Fillmore East (the final performance of the short-lived Kantner/Balin/Slick/Kaukonen/Casady/Creach/Covington line-up) and the release of their first compilation album, The Worst of Jefferson Airplane, which continued their unbroken run of chart success, reaching #12 on the Billboard album chart.

1971 was a year of major upheaval for Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick and Paul Kantner had begun a relationship during 1970 and on January 25, 1971 their daughter China Wing Kantner was born. Grace's divorce from her first husband had come through shortly before this, but she and Kantner agreed that they did not wish to marry.

In March 1971, Airplane's founder and co-lead singer Marty Balin decided to officially leave the band after months of isolation from the others. Although he had remained part of the band's live performances after the band's creative direction shifted from the brooding love songs that he specialized in, an emerging drinking problem, compounded by the evolution of the polarized Kantner/Slick and Kaukonen/Casady cliques, had finally left him the odd-man-out. He had also been deeply affected by the death of his friend Janis Joplin and began to pursue a healthier lifestyle; Balin's study of yoga and new teetotaler lifestyle further distanced him from the other members of the group, whose prodigious drug intake continued unabated. This further complicated the recording of their long-overdue follow-up to Volunteers, as Balin had recently completed several new songs, including "Emergency" and the elongated R&B-infused "You Wear Your Dresses Too Short" (both of which would later see the light of day on archival releases).

On May 13, 1971, Grace Slick was injured in a near-fatal automobile crash when her car slammed into a wall in a tunnel near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Her recuperation took several months, which forced Jefferson Airplane to cancel most of their concert and touring commitments for 1971.

The band still managed studio dates during 1971. Their next LP Bark (whose cover featured a dead fish wrapped in an A&P-style grocery bag) was issued in September 1971 as the inaugural release on the band's Grunt Records vanity label. Although it was the final album owed to RCA under the band's existing contract, manager Bill Thompson eventually struck a deal with the company to distribute Grunt.

The single lifted from the LP, "Pretty As You Feel", was excerpted from a longer jam featuring Carlos Santana and featured lead vocals by Joey Covington, the song's composer. It was the last Jefferson Airplane single to place on the US singles chart, peaking at #60.

By this time, creative and personal tensions within the group were becoming a major factor. Even with the departure of Balin, the creative & personal divisions between Slick and Kantner on the one side and Kaukonen and Casady on the other persisted. (Jorma Kaukonen's song, "Third Week In The Chelsea," from Bark, chronicles the thoughts he was himself having about leaving the band). These problems were exacerbated by escalating drug use – namely Slick's alcoholism – which caused the Airplane to become increasingly unreliable in their live commitments and led to some chaotic situations at concerts. By the beginning of 1972 it was evident to most people close to the group that Jefferson Airplane was teetering upon collapse.

The band held together long enough to record one more LP, Long John Silver, which was begun in April 1972 and released in July. It was clearly a rather desultory effort from this once-great group, since by this time the various members were far more engaged with their various solo projects -- Hot Tuna, for instance, had released a second (electric) LP during 1971, which proved even more successful than its predecessor, while the sessions for Bark were interspersed with Hot Tuna and Kantner/Slick duo sessions. Though still a nominal member of the band, Joey Covington had immersed himself in the production of his own album with Peter Kaukonen and Black Kangaroo on Grunt; consequently, John Barbata (formerly of The Turtles and CSNY) played on most of the album and continued on for the promotional tour that followed. The Long John Silver LP is notable mainly for its cover, which folded out into a humidor (presumably for the storage of marijuana).

With the formal departure of Covington and addition of Kantner's old friend David Freiberg on vocals, Jefferson Airplane began a tour to promote the Long John Silver LP in the summer of 1972, their first concerts in over a year. This tour included a major free concert in Central Park that drew more than 50,000 people.

They returned to the West Coast in September, playing concerts in San Diego, Hollywood and Albuquerque, culminating in two shows at Winterland in San Francisco (September 21-22), both of which were recorded. At the end of the second show the group was joined on stage by Marty Balin, who sang lead vocals on the final song, "You Wear Your Dresses Too Short".

Although no official announcement was ever released, the Winterland shows proved to be the last live performances by Jefferson Airplane until their reunion in 1989. By the beginning of 1973 Casady and Kaukonen had left the group to concentrate on Hot Tuna and their recently acquired love of speed skating, which Freiberg had reluctantly taken up in an attempt to bolster group camaraderie. With Kantner and Slick, he would record the unsuccessful Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun before the creation of their own Airplane offshoot, Jefferson Starship; both Kantner and Slick would record further solo albums.

Jefferson Airplane's second live album, Thirty Seconds Over Winterland was released in April 1973. It is now best remembered for its cover art, which depicts a squadron of flying toasters, a design that the band later alleged was plagiarized for the famous "After Dark" computer screensaver design.

In 1974, a collection of leftovers -- singles and B-sides, including "Mexico" and "Have You Seen The Saucers," as well as other non-album material -- was released as Early Flight, the last official Jefferson Airplane album.

01. "Clergy" – 1:34
02. "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds" (Marty Balin) - 4:50
03. "Somebody to Love" (Darby Slick) - 4:03
04. "Fat Angel" (Donovan) - 7:35
05. "Rock Me Baby" (Traditional / Arranged by Jefferson Airplane) - 7:45
06. "The Other Side of This Life" (Fred Neil) - 6:45
07. "It's No Secret" (Marty Balin) - 3:30
08. "Plastic Fantastic Lover" (Marty Balin) - 3:55
09. "Turn Out the Lights" (Paul Kantner / Jack Casady / Jorma Kaukonen / Grace Slick / Spencer Dryden) - 1:21
10. "Bear Melt" (Paul Kantner / Jack Casady / Jorma Kaukonen / Grace Slick / Spencer Dryden) - 11:21

11. "Today" (Unreleased Live)
12. "Watch Her Ride" (Unreleased Live)
13. "Won't You Try# (Unreleased Live)