Jefferson Airplane - Bark (1971)

Jefferson Airplane were one of the best-known bands of San Francisco’s legendary 60s psychedelic rock scene. They were pioneers of the genre and the first band from the area to achieve mainstream commercial success.

By the end of the 60s, Jefferson Airplane's heyday as one of the most prominent musical groups of the counter-culture was coming to a close. They had played all three rock music festivals of the decade - Monterey, Woodstock and Altamont, though it was at the latter that Marty Balin was knocked unconscious by a Hell's Angel, and the debacle of the Altamont Free Concert has since come to represent the death of the 60s. A disillusioned Spencer Dryden was then dismissed from the group, to be replaced on the drums by Joey Convington (Dryden re-surfaced a couple of years later with the New Riders Of The Purple Sage). Meanwhile various members were being distracted by side projects, with Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady working on their blues group Hot Tuna, and Paul Kantner releasing a science fiction themed solo album (credited to Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship, and featuring numerous musician friends).
Though they kept touring, the band released no albums in 1970. However they did release the fantastic single "Have You Seen The Saucers" b/w "Mexico", perhaps the last great Airplane songs. These would later be included on the compilation album Early Flight. However shortly after this Marty Balin (the original founder of the group) departed, as he'd had enough of the non-stop drug use of the rest of the band.
When it finally came to recording a new album, the Airplane consisted of Grace Slick (vocals/piano), Paul Kantner (vocals/rhythm guitar), Jorma Kaukonen (lead guitar/vocals), Jack Casady (bass) and Joey Covington (drums). Despite the growing tensions and distractions among the band, they succeeded in putting together a perfectly fine album, even if it didn't quite rate as highly as their classic 60s releases. Bark was perhaps a bit uneven, but some of its highlights were truly fantastic, most notably the dark, bluesy jam "Pretty As You Feel" (featuring an uncredited appearance from Carlos Santana) and Kaukonen's folky "Third Week In The Chelsea" (about the thoughts he was having about leaving the band). Bark also notably featured the electric violin of Papa John Creach, who was playing with Hot Tuna at the time. He joined the Airplane as a full member shortly after the album's release.

Volunteers (1969) <|> Long John Silver (1972)
More from Jefferson Airplane


No comments: