Category: Jefferson Starship

Jefferson Starship – Gold / Playlist: The Very Best of Jefferson Starship

ARTIST: Jefferson Starship Gold_Jefferson_Starship

TITLE: Gold / Playlist: The Very Best of Jefferson Starship

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation (s)

CHART ACTION: #20 US (Gold)

SINGLES: Top 40: Miracles (#3 US), With Your Love (#12 US), Count on Me (#8 US), Runaway (#12 US), Jane (#14 US, #13 UK), Find Your Way Back (#29 US, #29 UK), Be My Lady (#28 US), Winds of Change (#38 US), No Way Out (#23 US, #59 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Stranger, Layin’ it on the Line

LINEUP: Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Pete Sears, David Freiberg, Craig Chaquico. Marty Balin sang on their first four records. Mickey Thomas on the others (Slick missed one). Papa John Creach and John Barbata were also on the first four records, and Aynsley Dunbar and Donnie “Slugger” Baldwin on the later ones.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: “Let’s make a lot of money!”

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: At first, it wasn’t a total sell-out crash grab, as Marty Balin and Grace Slick wrote some interesting songs on their first two albums (“Caroline”, “Miracles”, “Fast Buck Freddy”, “Play on Love”). Then “Miracles” hit, and by gosh they loved that money. 71J8ovqYusL._SX522_

So they did the easy thing, releasing commercial album after commercial album, and after Marty Balin left, and Grace Slick took a sabbatical, they became just another rock band with a couple of great songs (“Jane” of course). Even with Slick back in the fold, they became more and more bland, and soon morphed into the vile thing called Starship.

The Gold compilation has 12 tracks (in its streaming form, on vinyl it was 10 with a single), and The Very Best of Jefferson Starship repeats some and adds tracks from their Mickey Thomas records, and avoids Starship entirely.

When you listen to classic Airplane, then stuff like “With Your Love”, you gotta shake your head, and admire the audacity of the sellout.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Balin left due to the aftermath of Grace Slick’s infamous drunken incident in Germany. But first, he sang “Light the Sky on Fire” (#66 US), which was used in the Star Wars Holiday Special. Yep.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. I myself had to make the Playlist stuff myself since that’s not streaming, and I added a couple of other tracks.

 GRADE B-: Baby boomer selling out for cash. Hmmm….

Jefferson Starship – Dragon Fly

ARTIST: Jefferson Starship Dragon_Fly_(Jefferson_Starship_album_-_cover_art)

TITLE: Dragon Fly

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION: #11

SINGLES: Ride the Tiger (#84)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Caroline, Hyperdrive

LINEUP: Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Pete Sears, Papa John Creach, David Freiberg, Craig Chaquico, John Barbata. Marty Balin wrote and sung Caroline.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After futzing around for four years, Kantner and Slick actively launch Jefferson Starship as a full-time band, and instead of being pretentious like late Airplane they become bland.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I am sure the old hippies who put on this album were wondering what the hell happened to the ol’ Airplane hellraisers. This is polished, slick (no pun intended Grace), corporate sounding rock and roll. It does have a fiddle player, which maybe differentiates it a little, but other than that, this is ready made for 70’s rock radio.

Sure, their later albums were rather blah and didn’t sell well, and the Kantner and Slick collaborations were more vanity projects than anything, but you’d never suspect they’d turn into this – but they did. Of course, this stuff sold because it was safe and well played and executed. It’s just that the songs were very meh.

There are two things that redeem this album. One, Chaquico is an excellent guitarist and he helps some of the duller songs shine with his playing. Two, Caroline is a wonderful ballad from Marty Balin. That song basically saved the record – it filled seven minutes, spared us of something else and is a brilliant way to end side 1. They should have trimmed it to become a single, but AOR radio played it.

NOTES & MINUTAE: Slick also released a solo album in 1974 called Manhole. Not many people bought it.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  No.
GRADE:  C+: I exiled two of the dullest tracks and kept six of them. All in all, this album is just…there. LATE NOTE: Decided to go with a compilation.