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Album Review

This is something of a family album, co-credited to Paul Kantner and his partner at the time, Grace Slick, and featuring on its cover a photograph of their infant daughter, China. It also features the family of San Francisco Bay Area musicians, including David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, and other current members of Jefferson Airplane and future members of Jefferson Starship. Its style of loosely arranged acid rock music and radical left political lyrics is similar to such recent albums as the Kantner/Starship Blows Against the Empire (December 1970) and the Airplane's Bark (August 1971), which were made by most of the same players. But Kantner and Slick's usual stridency is not counterbalanced by substance as much as on earlier efforts, perhaps because they were making too many albums too quickly to keep up the quality of their songwriting. Still, anyone who enjoys the sweet-and-sour unison singing of X's John Doe and Exene Cervenka should listen to Sunfighter to see where they got it from.

Customer Reviews

For completists...

About half of this 1971 record sounds like 1970's "Blows Against the Empire", being built mainly on Kantner's acoustic guitar, Slick's acoustic piano, and vocals from the two together with some help from the rest of the PERRO crew. In other places it sounds more like 1971's "Bark" (e.g. "Silver Spoon") or 1973's "Baron von Tollboth" (e.g. "Earth Mother", which might be the last Airplane-related song to feature Spencer Dryden on drums). At the time it didn't sell well and didn't make much of an impression on FM radio. So is it a lost gem? Nope. But I'd recommend one song, "When I Was a Boy I Watched the Wolves"--a very good song with terrific contributions from Peter Kaukonen (mandolin) and Jerry Garcia (violin). And it's certainly nice to have the record available on iTunes for us Jefferson Airplane completists.

Some of their finest work in this, some not so fine

I have to mention that Grace Slick's "Silver Spoon" is possibly her most brilliant recording ever. Fiercely intelligent and clever and uncompromising, even if it's totally insane and out of left field. That, and "When I Was a Boy I Watched the Wolves" make this a must-have record for me. It's one of Paul's best songs, and features Grace singing "I imagine you calling yourself "Big Fang" I imagine you run with the pack" which is as great as her line in "House at Pooneil Corners" "the moon circles like a vulture." Then there are a number of pleasant and even lovely songs, "China," "Look at the Wood," "Earth Mother," "Diana," mostly in a folkier vein than Airplane fans may have really been looking for--though most of the Airplane albums, like most of the Beatles albums, really aren't that hard-rocking, looking at things from a later perspective. Then there are "Sunfighter" and "Holding Together," the big, cast of thousand Kantner productions. Not his most memorable compositions, and while maybe in the right mood, one can summon up a certain fondness or at least tolerance for these, it's probably easier to skip them in playback....

Yes it is aGem

Perro to the rescue


Born: March 17, 1941 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter and rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner was a founding member of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. Kantner was the first person approached by singer Marty Balin about putting together a folk-rock group in the mid-'60s in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jefferson Airplane was among the first and the most commercially successful of the San Francisco acid rock psychedelic groups of the '60s. The group began to fragment at the end of the decade, and Kantner released a solo album, Blows...
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