ARTIST: Jefferson Airplane
TITLE: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
YEAR RELEASED: 1966
CHART ACTION: #128
SINGLES: It’s No Secret, Come Up the Years, Bringing Me Down
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Blues from an Airplane
LINEUP: Marty Balin, Signe Anderson, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Skip Spence
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pre-Grace Slick and pre-hippie Jefferson Airplane release a rote folk rock album with a few highlights.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This was definitely Marty Balin’s group. He formed it, and shaped the sound of the album with his folk-rock songs. Sometimes co-written by Paul Kantner, and assisted vocally by Signe Anderson, Balin has some good hands helping him, but it’s definitely his show.
Bassist Jack Casady makes his impact felt right away with some melodic and powerful bass lines, while the guitars lack the usual fireworks of later years (though Jorma Kaukonen’s playing is elegant and precise). That musicianship helps elevate the slightly above average songs.
Balin’s material is augmented by three covers, which are the weakest tracks (they just sound off), and “Come Up the Years” is beautiful but skeevy. (It seems very much a Lolita tale). All in all, a record that wouldn’t make a ripple outside of folk-rock zealots, but then they changed Balin’s vocal assistance.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Skip Spence left soon after to form Moby Grape, and Signe Anderson left to form a family. They grabbed this singer named Grace to replace her…
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. B-sides and cuts left off because RCA didn’t like the very mild sexual references.
GRADE B: An OK folk rock record, but they’d turn into something else soon enough.