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The Worst of Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane

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Albumrecension

Originally released in 1970, just as Jefferson Airplane's influence and fortunes were peaking — and maybe a little bit past that peak, as they were in the process of losing both Marty Balin and Spencer Dryden from the lineup — The Worst of Jefferson Airplane was one of the few best-of albums of the period that it felt cool to own. Some of that had to do with the fact that a lot of care was taken with the design, from the lettering and logos on the label and jacket (re-creating the RCA Victor emblems going back to the early-'30s 78-rpm era) right through to the rough texture of the paper used on the original LP edition's jacket and the color and texture of the matching LP inner sleeve; no one seeing this in a record store browser was going to mistake this for some slapped-together exploitation of the group's back catalog, or the work of a bunch of record company hacks. But mostly it was cool because the music selection was solid, bold, and challenging down to the last note, while being accessible as a "pop" release (which most "best-of" albums inevitably are at some level), while representing all the major phases of the band's history and development and all of the creative personalities involved at or near their respective peaks, all on a single platter. It found room for the most stunning lyrical moment in Marty Balin's whole career, on "Today," but also reached out to the live Bless It's Pointed Little Head for "Plastic Fantastic Lover," which offered one of the finest performances on bass by Jack Casady of their entire output. The only obvious omission was Paul Kantner's collaboration with David Crosby and Stephen Stills on "Wooden Ships," but in fairness, the latter song was on the Airplane's then-most-recent album, which was already pretty well represented here. This reissue adds two songs, the jaggedly played yet beautifully harmonized "Watch Her Ride" and pounding, driving "Greasy Heart" (both of which probably just missed the cut for the LP back when), stuck together right in the middle of the song lineup. Their presence does extend the value of the original album, but the real treat here is the remastering by Bob Irwin of Sundazed Records, which has brought out a lot of details — basslines that were formerly obscured; rhythm guitar parts that one never heard so cleanly or so well; vocals by Grace Slick, Marty Balin, and Paul Kantner that now seem as finely nuanced as they are powerful. And the fidelity also puts Jorma Kaukonen's lead guitar on numbers like "It's No Secret," "Crown of Creation," etc., practically right between your ears. The packaging has also been enhanced and now re-creates — or at least acknowledges — the artwork and design of the original LP release. And it's still the neatest single-platter synopsis of the Airplane's classic sound in all of its permutations that one can find.

Biografi

Bildades: 1965 i San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Aktiva år: '60s, '70s, '80s

Jefferson Airplane was the first of the San Francisco psychedelic rock groups of the 1960s to achieve national recognition. Although the Grateful Dead ultimately proved more long-lived and popular, Jefferson Airplane defined the San Francisco sound in the 1960s, with the acid rock guitar playing of Jorma Kaukonen and the soaring twin vocals of Grace Slick and Marty Balin, scoring hit singles and looking out from the covers of national magazines. They epitomized the drug-taking hippie ethos as well...
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