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December 5, 2013 / thackersam

December 4 – Wednesday – Jefferson Airplane – The Worst of Jefferson Airplane

The beauty of this album is that I not only get to hear “Today” and “Somebody to Love” again, there are three really powerful songs from the Volunteers album on it. Jefferson Airplane seemed to have always been controversial but never more so than with the release of Volunteers, which is motivated by anti-establishment, anti-racism, peace and love sentiments. Following the cautionary “Good Shepherd” and preceding the more in-your-face “Volunteers,” the song “We Can Be Together,” which blends the voices of the three lead singers, contains the line “Up against the wall, mother f-er,” which both lyrically and musically fits into the song very nicely. Again, they sang the actual word, in harmony, but I have chosen not to write it as not to offend anyone who may be. I myself am not. It was major for the times though, really major.

The album side to which I did aerobics ended with the song “Volunteers.” It starts with the lines: “Look what’s happening out in the streets. Gotta revolution. Got to revolution.” It was just a little weird going from the sneer at conventional society to Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” I think these Jefferson Airplane albums represent the best memories I have of that era of becoming more politically aware and protesting against the Viet Nam war. Good times. Maybe the sound is termed psychedelic rock for other reasons, because it sure has transported me far back in time. It brings back such recollections, which is good for me cause I live in the past anyway.

Keep in mind the description of the Volunteers album as I relate this story: Now, my parents’ generation had Kate Smith, a heavy-set woman well-known for her rendition of the very patriotic “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin. One day, I was hanging out at the previously mentioned record store, when a young guy comes in to return a record. He pulls the album out of his bag showing the manager that he purchased Volunteers by the Jefferson Airplane, then proceeds to pull the record from the sleeve. “Kate Smith,” he says. Yes, Kate Smith’s God Bless America was in every one of the Volunteers album sleeves in the store. It was funny. Kate Smith was a vocal opponent of “indecency” and Jefferson Airplane was considered quite indecent and subversive.

There are tons of Jefferson Airplane stories I could write about, but I’ve already gone on too long, and I only have the two albums. I do want to mention all the members of the group because, well because I should. Marty Balin, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen and Grace Slick.

Another good workout.Volunteers

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