Thursday, 15 February 2018

"In The Court Of The Crimson King: 40th Anniversary Series" by KING CRIMSON (October 2009 Panegyric CD and DVD-A Reissue - Robert Fripp and Steve Wilson Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





This Review Along With 300+ Others Is Available In My
SOUNDS GOOD E-Book on all Amazon sites
1960s and 1970s MUSIC ON CD - Volume 1 of 3 - Exceptional CD Remasters
As well as 1960s and 1970s Rock and Pop - It Also Focuses On
Blues Rock, Prog Rock, Rock-Fusion, Psychedelic and Underground
Just Click Below To Purchase for £3.95
Thousands of E-Pages - All Details and In-Depth Reviews From Discs
(No Cut and Paste Crap)


"…Outside Looking Inside…"

There can't be too many album covers as iconic as this - Barry Godber's startling painting still having the capability of shock and awe - even now. But then everything about King Crimson's debut album was more than a little different and ready to shake up the old and herald in the new. The birth of Progressive Rock some say. Well here we go at a rebirth on CD - because this 2009 Steve Wilson/Robert Fripp overseen Remix and Remaster is the nut's butts in every way. Here are the cat's foot and the iron claw (and that's just the CD)...

Released October 2009 - "In The Court Of The Crimson King" by KING CRIMSON is a 40th Anniversary Series CD and DVD reissue on Panegyric KCSP1 (Barcode 633367400123) and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 - 2009 STEREO MIX remixed from original multitrack master tapes - (78:15 minutes):
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (including "Mirrors") (7:24 minutes)
2. I Talk To The Wind (6:00 minutes)
3. Epitaph (including "March For No Reason" and "Tomorrow And Tomorrow") (8:53 minutes)
4. Moonchild (including "The Dream" and "The Illusion") (9:02 minutes) - [Side 2]
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (9:31 minutes)
Tracks 1 to 5 are the original Stereo album "In The Court Of The Crimson King" - released October 1969 in the UK on Island ILPS 9111 and December 1969 in the USA on Atlantic SD 8245

BONUS TRACKS
6. Moonchild (Full Version - 12:16 minutes)
7. I Talk To The Wind (Duo Version - 4:56 minutes)
8. I Talk To The Wind (Alternate Mix - 6:37 minutes)
9. Epitaph (Backing Track - 9:06 minutes)
10. Wind Session [21st Century Schizoid Man Intro - 4:31 minutes]

DVD - AUDIO CONTENT:
Tracks 1 to 5 - Original Album Remixed In MLP Lossless 5.1 Surround and DTS 5.1 Digital Surround (track names as per Disc 1)

Tracks 6 to 10 - 2009 Stereo Mix (track names as per Disc 1)

Tracks 11 to 15 - Original 2004 Master Edition - Simon Heyworth Remaster (track names as per Disc 1)

Tracks 16 to 20 are Additional Audio Content is in MLP Lossless Stereo 2.0 and  PCM Stereo 2.0 (track names as per 6 to 10 on Disc 1)

Tracks 21 to 25 are The Alternate Album
21. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Instrumental)
22. I Talk To The Wind (Studio Run Through)
23. Epitaph (Alternate Version)
24. Moonchild (Take 1)
25. The Court Of The Crimson King (Take 3)
[Note: 21 to 25 are alternate takes mixed for the first time from the original studio recordings]

DVD - VIDEO CONTENT
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Edit). Film from Hyde Park concert 5 July 1969 available for the first time with original audio from the actual performance

The matt outer slipcase houses a gatefold card digipak within - the CD having the cover artwork while the DVD has the inner smiling face (with fangs!). The oversized 16-page colour booklet is a surprisingly short affair - reissue credits, some liner notes from guitarist ROBERT FRIPP, a repro on the centre pages of the album's inner gatefold, some live photos (a fun shot of Barry Godber in a record shop holding the album looking at his handywork on the front cover) and an appreciation of the album and its historical placing by SID SMITH. But the real deal is in the indepth Steve Wilson/Robert Fripp Remix and Remaster - and wow is a word that jumps to mind. Every track of this overly familiar album is improved and I'm amazed also at the quality of the bonus material - especially on Disc 1.

Designed to scare the knackers of your aging Uncle Bob - "21st Century Schizoid Man" kicks off proceedings with a fuzzed-up vocal wallop. It's never been a favourite of mine but I know others worship at its anarchic feet. What is not dismissible however is the power of the sound. It comes at you head-on and feels like you're hearing the record anew - what an unbelievably powerful racket they made. After the madness of "Schizoid Man" -the flute-laden softness of "I Talk To The Wind" and Greg Lake's hippy lyrics now feature stunning delicacy that was hard to get on original vinyl LP. Its six-minutes are suddenly warm and cackle-free in those quiet parts - frankly frank it sounds beautiful. We're into Moody Blues Mellotron territory for the very Crimson "Epitaph" - with those acoustic guitar strums plinging in your speakers with fabulous clarity. At about 6:20 when the song goes into a soft break - the drums and bass are 'so' good and that Mellotron is just `there' in the mix rather than swamping the whole thing. "Mankind is in the hands of fools..." Greg Lake sang on "Epitaph" and it's a bit worrying just how relevant those lyrics still are.

If any one track showed improvement most it would be the trippy Side 2 opener "Moonchild". Its soft guitar and vibes part at about 2:24 now sound gorgeous- and while tape hiss is still in evidence - it's not been crushed out by Wilson or Fripp - but controlled. They've allowed the centre section to breath and the delicacy of Robert Fripp's playing allied with Ian McDonald's vibes and the percussion of Michael Giles is now what you hear. And it stays that way until the Jazz flip-out towards the end. In fact its nine-minutes now feel so AMBIENT and ENO - but years before these phrases become common terminology. It ends on the epic title track with that huge Mellotron/Vocal refrain sounding clearer than ever. The drums, booming bass and acoustic guitar have lovely separation too when they kick in while the madrigal reprise ending is properly full on. A genius beginning of an album that still sounds so far ahead of its time it's embarrassing.

The extras are shockingly good - I love the 'Duo Version' of "I Talk To The Wind" with Robert Fripp on acoustic guitar with Ian McDonald giving it some reeds - it just so pretty - Fripp's playing amazingly fluid and musical. The 'Alternate Version' is over a half-minute longer than the album cut and features different solos (with the same gorgeous sound quality as the album cut). There's a "one, two, three, four..." count-in before we get the epic Mellotron beginning of "Epitaph" and then - no lyrics! It sounds great but strange! What it does do is to allow you to concentrate on the playing - which is incredible - and you can almost 'feel' EMERSON, LAKE and PALMER being formed as Lake plays...

The DVD is jam-packed if not a tad repetitive with the endless mixes - but for most - the important set of tracks here is the `Alternate Album' with a great `Take 3' of "The Court Of The Crimson King". And it doesn't have the nonsense that is "Wind Session" which is faffing about in the studio with well `wind' and sounds ("it's meant to be frightening...but it's not..."). The Surround Mix (which I heard on a mate's system) is mindblowingly good - and makes me realise why so many audio fans go nuts for 5.1 - especially when it’s done properly.

Subtitled "An Observation by KING CRIMSON" - this album has arrived at legendary status - especially in the last few decades. And on the strength of this quality reissue - that's hardly surprising. Well done again to Steven Wilson and the good people involved...

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic: 40th Anniversary Series" by KING CRIMSON (October 2010 Panegyric CD and DVD-A Reissue - Robert Fripp and Steven Wilson Remasters) - A Review my Mark Barry...







This Review Along With 300+ Others Is Available In My
SOUNDS GOOD E-Book on all Amazon sites
1960s and 1970s MUSIC ON CD - Volume 1 of 3 - Exceptional CD Remasters
As well as 1960s and 1970s Rock and Pop - It Also Focuses On
Blues Rock, Prog Rock, Rock-Fusion, Psychedelic and Underground
Just Click Below To Purchase for £3.95
Thousands of E-Pages - All Details and In-Depth Reviews From Discs
(No Cut and Paste Crap)


"...In This Faraway Land..." 

1973 was a strange year for Prog Rock. By all accounts the genre should have been stabbed in the Tolkien, kicked in the Third Eye and left for dead in a Topographic ditch. But it prevailed even more than it had done in 1971 and 1972 – the years of Yes, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, Focus, Van Der Graaf Generator - the Vertigo Spiral, Harvest, Charisma and Deram Nova labels and of course – the mighty King Crimson over on Island Records (Atlantic in the US).

KC were already one of the most cultish of Progressive Rock bands to have ever spanked the planks - "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" managing a decent No. 20 spot on the UK LP charts in April 1973 when many other genre names couldn't get arrested. At the opposite end of the commercial abyss - Pink Floyd had unleashed the album monster "The Dark Side Of The Moon" a month earlier – a record that has virtually defined chart longevity for five decades straight (prisms and pyramids ahoy) - while Mike Oldfield was clanging on his "Tubular Bells" in May. The whole broody, moody and musically adventurous lot of them were huge albums – absolute global goliaths really. Hell - Yes would even put the sprawling and deeply challenging double-LP set "Tales from Topographic Oceans" on the No. 1 spot in Blighty in December – a staggering achievement in 1973 and quite probably impossible to achieve in 2018. Which brings us to this fifth platter from England’s defiantly different KC – a sextet of musical birds body parts in jelly...

The last Remaster stab at this so-so album came in 2000 for a 30th Anniversary Edition (Simon Heyworth and Robert Fripp did the honours) - but this '40th Anniversary Series' Edition has had the magic and nimble fingers of STEVE WILSON around it's sunny throat - and once again the Porcupine Tree boy wonder has brought forth nuances that I for one hadn't heard before (the DVD-A includes the 2000 Remaster and Flat Transfer versions too). Here are the Talking Drums...

UK released 22 October 2010 - "Larks' Tongues In Aspic: 40th Anniversary Series" by KING CRIMSON on Panegyric KCSP5 (Barcode 633367400529) is a CD and DVD-Audio Reissue and New Remaster that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 CD (68:02 minutes):

2012 Stereo Mix
1. Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) [Side 1]
2. Book Of Saturday
3. Exiles
4. Easy Money [Side 2]
5. The Talking Drum
6. Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II)
Tracks 1 to 6 are their fifth studio album "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" - released March 1973 in the UK on Island ILPS 9230 and April 1973 in the USA on Atlantic SD 7263. Produced by King Crimson (Engineer Nick Ryan) - the LP peaked at No. 20 and No. 61 on the UK and US album charts.

BONUS TRACKS:
7. Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Alternate Mix)
8. Book Of Saturday (Alternate Mix)
9. The Talking Drum (Alternate Mix)

Disc 2 DVD-AUDIO, NTSC, Region 0 (Code Exempt):
AUDIO CONTENT

1. Original Album Remixed In MPL Lossless 5.1 Surround
2. Original Album Remixed In DTS 5.1 Digital Surround
3. 2012 Stereo Album Mix In MPL Lossless Stereo (24/96)
4. 2012 Stereo Album Mix in PCM Stereo 2.0 (24/48)
5. Original Album Mix (30th Anniversary Edition from 1999)
6. Original Album Mix Alternate Takes and Mixes in PCM Stereo 2.0 (24/48)

VIDEO CONTENT (Dual Mono)
1. Improv: The Rich Tapestry Of Life
2. Exiles
3. Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part i)
4. Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) as Broadcast on Beat Club

KING CRIMSON was:
DAVID CROSS – Violin, Viola, Mellotron
ROBERT FRIPP – Guitars, Mellotron and Devices
JOHN WETTON – Bass, Vocals and Piano
BILL BRUFORD – Drums
JAMIE MUIR – Percussion and Allsorts

Like the other issues in this series the outer card slipcase and 2-disc foldout digipak contained within are aesthetically nice but only in a limited sort of way. The loose 16-page booklet leaves much to be desired despite a short and informative set of liner notes by noted writer and Prog music nut – SID SMITH. There's a snap of a 5-piece Crimson in London's Command Studios in January 1973 recording the album as well as other outtake photos - the stickered American LP artwork is pictured and the inner lyric bag that came with both UK and US issues is here too as - a live shot of the band on stage at The Rainbow Theatre in London in December 1973 (including a trade advert for the show) - a small shot of the Rare Promo-Only US EP on Atlantic Records and a Billboard advert for the 'new' LP and Tape of April 1973.

Downsides - the print is tiny and there are no photos or memorabilia pictured under the see-through CD trays (both sides lazily left blank) and the digipak itself has all the imagination of a common cold. Hardly exciting in any way and when you consider just how stunning the Jethro Tull 'Book Format' reissues are (I think there's eight now all of which have received universal fan worship and rightly so) – the presentation on all of these so called 'Definitive' 40th Anniversary Series Editions is staggeringly ordinary by comparison. But that's where the carping ends because on these babies - it's all about the sound...

All that 96 kHz and MPL Lossless techno jiggery-pokery mentioned on the card slipcase aside - the Audio is amazing right from the get go. For this Panegyric reissue ROBERT FRIPP and STEVE WILSON (of Porcupine Tree) carried out the 2012 multi-track mix from original tapes - whilst SIMON HEYWORTH (of Nick Drake fame), ROBERT FRIPP and ANDY MILES did the Stereo and 51. Surround Mastering at Super Audio Mastering Studios (DVD authoring by NEIL WILKES at Opus Productions). The DVD-A 'contains a complete album's worth of alternate takes and mixes, plus 43 minutes of previously unseen filmed performance of the band'. It all 'feels' clearer than the '30th Anniversary' reissue put out by Virgin in 2000.

From the moment that the percussive pinging of "Part I" of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" kicks in - the sound is sweet and continues so for 13:35 minutes. When that huge riffage does emerge it may be time to turn this sucker down but you will of course want to turn it up again to catch those beautifully played violin passages (madness and sweetness in the same song). John Wetton's voice isn't the greatest for sure on the unreasonably short "Book Of Saturday" – a moment where Crimson sound closest to Yes (at least musically). Side 1 ends with 7:41 minutes of "Exiles" - again so clean during that building fade in. Without doubt one of my favourite tracks on an album I'm not that pushed on - the violin, acoustic guitars and Mellotron parts are beautifully present in this mix.

The cleverly structured "Easy Money" talks of suspect dudes in 'moccasin sneakers' - fabulous audio to that Bass break - but again for me Wetton's voice just let’s the side down a tad. "The Talking Drum" is another seven-minutes of whirling winds and far away electronic buzzing bees that soon emerge into a sly percussive pattern - violin taking the enjoyable romp home. Part II of the title track takes no prisoners and goes straight into that cool guitar grunge - returning to familiar sounds as it progresses - and again all of it so impress sonically. With "Exiles" it's my second fave-rave on the album.

I've listened to the 5.1 Surround Mix (on a friend's set up) and I can only describe it as 'powerful' with a capitol 'P'. I'm reminded of hearing those 'Quad' albums back in the Seventies - instruments coming out of speakers that you'd swear you've never heard before. As with all of these reissues - I can understand the completist reason for the Flat Transfer of the album but it’s just that - flat - and after the Wilson version - hard to go back to.

To sum up – their fifth studio outing "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" isn’t my fave-rave KC LP (never has been) - but this gorgeous CD and DVD-A Audio makeover by Steve Wilson and Robert Fripp has made me hear it again – and favourably. 

And despite my reservations about that so-so presentation – you keep coming back to the Audio – the best this Lark has ever sounded...and that's ultimately the best fan news...

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

"Crown Of Creation" by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (2003 RCA/BMG Heritage 'Original Masters' Expanded Edition CD Reissue - Bob Irwin Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...





This Review Along With 300+ Others Is Available In My
SOUNDS GOOD E-Book on all Amazon sites
1960s and 1970s MUSIC ON CD - Volume 1 of 3 - Exceptional CD Remasters
As well as 1960s and 1970s Rock and Pop - It Also Focuses On
Blues Rock, Prog Rock, Rock-Fusion, Psychedelic and Underground
Just Click Below To Purchase for £3.95
Thousands of E-Pages - All Details and In-Depth Reviews From Discs
(No Cut and Paste Crap)


"...Pictures Of Mountains..."

Like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones – musically Jefferson Airplane grew in staggering leaps and bounds in the mid to late Sixties. The songwriting difference between their rather cutesy Byrds-like debut "Jefferson Airplane Takes Off" in August 1966 and their fourth platter "Crown Of Creation" delivered in September 1968 is frankly breathtaking. It was rightly revered back in the day and still is now.

They really did live up to that space-age-music moniker foisted on them by RCA Records on the rear cover of their 1966 debut album – here comes the 'Jet Age Sound'. Let's get to the details of this digital doozy...

UK and USA released August 2003 - "Crown Of Creation" by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE on RCA/BMG Heritage 82876 53226 2 (Barcode 828765322621) is an Expanded Edition 'Original Masters' CD Reissue with Four Bonus Tracks (one of which is Previously Unissued) and pans out as follows (50:22 minutes);

1. Lather [Side 1]
2. In Time
3. Triad
4. Star Struck
5. Share A Little Joke
6. Chushingura
7. If You Feel [Side 2]
8. Crown Of Creation
9. Ice Cream Phoenix
10. Greasy Heart
11. The House Of Pooneil Corners
Tracks 1 to 11 are their fourth studio album "Crown Of Creation" - released September 1968 in the USA on RCA Victor LSP-4058 (Stereo-Only) and December 1968 in the UK on RCA Victor RD 7976 (Mono) and SF 7976 (Stereo). The STEREO Mix is used for this CD reissue.

BONUS TRACKS:
12. Ribump Ba Bap Dum Dum
13. Would You Like A Snack
Tracks 12 and 13 first appeared on the 1992 US 3CD Box Set compilation "Loves You" on RCA 61110-2. "Would You Like A Snack" is a co-write between Grace Slick and Frank Zappa
14. Share A Little Joke (With The World) (Mono Single Mix)
Track 14 is the B-side of the US 7” single to "Greasy Heart" released March 1968 on RCA Victor 47-9496
15. The Saga Of Sydney Spacepig – Previously Unreleased (7-minute Spencer Dryden song recorded May 1968)

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE was:
MARTY BALIN – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
GRACE SLICK – Lead Vocals, Organ and Piano
JORMA KAUKONEN - Lead Guitars and Vocals
PAUL KANTNER – Rhythm Guitars and Vocals
JACK CASADY - Bass
SPENCER DRYDEN – Drums, Vocals, Piano, Organ and Percussion

The 12-page liner notes are courtesy of band-expert and uber-fan JEFF TAMARKIN who authored "Got A Revolution! The Turbulent Flight Of Jefferson Airplane" issued on Atria Books the same year as the CD reissues (2003). Amidst the text you get several black and white and colour snaps of the sextet looking hip in varying shades, beany hats and pudding-bowl haircuts (the six-plate photo in the centre two-pages is very cool).

But a major disappointment and laziness is that the inner lyric sheet that came with original US LPs with the picture of a contented looking Brumus on the front is missing. Robert Kennedy’s dog Brumus (the band hung out with such luminaries) was supposed to counter the Hiroshima Atom Bomb photo on the front and rear of the album – a sort of a nod towards easy-going peacefulness if you want it. And of course the lyrics are missing too as is that Inner Bag advertising their other audio wares (I want a complete RCA Victor Catalog for 25c). Bit of a bummer that...

Grace Slick, Marty Balin and Kaukonen all get quotes in the text – Grace a 27-year old model at the time and a huge out-front focus for such a radical band. As the songs had way more depth lyrically that the boy-girl slots on the debut – age (turning 30), politics (Vietnam) and coping with life and fame all seep into view. It’s a good read and an enlightening one too.

But the big news here is a BOB IRWIN Remaster from original tapes. Listening to brilliant tunes like the sophisticated and beautiful "Lather", the San Francisco Sound of multi-voiced cool in "Ice Cream Phoenix", the heavy-guitars social-commentary of "The House Of Pooneil Corner", the put-your-lips-close-to-my-face sweetness of "In Time" or even their fabulous take on David Crosby’s ethereal "Triad" – the album is a virtual showcase for what happens when a band is allowed to go for it – allowed to grow. Irwin had a lot of his Audio Engineer plate when he stepped up to Remaster this most beloved of West Coast bands and especially this album and right from the off - you can hear he did a bang-up job. "Lather" sounds fantastic and it just doesn’t let up from there on in.

Other moments include is the jabbing guitar of "If You Feel" where you can’t work out if the "...feel like laughing...feel like love..." lyrics are an invitation or a sly slag off. Kantner’s "Crown Of Creation" tells the youth to believe in themselves. The Bonus "Ribump Ba Bap Dum Dum" turns out to one and half minutes of the band goofing off on silly words and even with a great drum sound is a bit of nonsense. "Would You Like A Snack" sounds like Grace fronting The Mothers Of Invention and is again hard to take in that Trout Mask Replica kind of a way. The 10:25 minutes of the Previously Unreleased "The Saga Of Sydney Spacepig” Is a sprawl of guitars, band jamming and rants at the CIA and is probably the Plane at their wildest. Nice one baby...

"...You are afraid...embarrassed too...no one has ever said such a thing to you...you cannot do that...it breaks all the rules..." – Grace Slick sang on the quietly hurtful "Triad" wondering what can we do – why can’t life be simple –how do we navigate relationships and the heart. Although it was someone else’s song (David Crosby) – it’s words somehow sum up the turmoil and beauty that was this great American band. Buy and enjoy (and it's cheap too)...

Monday, 12 February 2018

"Jefferson Airplane Takes Off" by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (2003 RCA/BMG Heritage 'Original Masters' Expanded Edition CD Reissue - Bob Irwin Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...






This Review Along With 300+ Others Is Available In My
SOUNDS GOOD E-Book on all Amazon sites
1960s and 1970s MUSIC ON CD - Volume 1 of 3 - Exceptional CD Remasters
As well as 1960s and 1970s Rock and Pop - It Also Focuses On
Blues Rock, Prog Rock, Rock-Fusion, Psychedelic and Underground
Just Click Below To Purchase for £3.95
Thousands of E-Pages - All Details and In-Depth Reviews From Discs
(No Cut and Paste Crap)


"...Let's Get Together..."

Some debut albums do literally 'take off' into the stratosphere - open up a whole new world of music - and Jefferson Airplane's August 1966 starter is one of those records. Under thirty-minutes all told - and 52-years on in 2018 - the San Francisco sound is still influencing and shaping today’s Rock.

Five guys and one gal - the six-piece were young and primed - ready to take on the world and the edginess of the music reflects this (at this stage they were fronted by Folk Singer Signe Toly Anderson who would be replaced with Grace Slick). They would pump out "Surrealistic Pillow" only months later (December 1966) and sell over a million albums of that monster breakthrough – itself followed by "After Bathing At Baxter’s" in December 1967 and the mighty "Crown Of Creation" in September 1968. Heady days indeed...

But here is where those creative engines began to roar. And despite the more famous and critically acclaimed platters that followed – I’d argue that its time to look back in affection at the beginnings of the ‘Jet Age Sound’. Let's get to the details of this rather cool digital doozy...

UK released September 2003 (July 2003 in the USA) - "Jefferson Airplane Takes Off" by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE on RCA/BMG Heritage 82876 50352 2 (Barcode 828765035224) is an Expanded Edition 'Original Masters' CD Reissue with Eight Bonus Tracks (two of which are Previously Unissued) and pans out as follows (61:57 minutes);

1. Blues From An Airplane [Side 1]
2. Let Me In
3. Bringing Me Down
4. It's No Secret
5. Tobacco Road
6. Come Up The Years [Side 2]
7. Run Around
8. Let's Get Together
9. Don't Slip Away
10. Chauffeur Blues
11. And I Like It
Tracks 1 to 11 are their debut album "Jefferson Airplane Takes Off" - released August 1966 in the USA on RCA Victor LPM-3584 (Mono) and LSP-3584 (Stereo) and October 1971 in the UK on RCA Victor SF 8195 (Stereo only). The STEREO Mix is used for this CD reissue.

BONUS TRACKS:
12. Runnin' 'Round The World (Mono Uncensored Single Version)
Track 12 first issued as the B-side to their February 1966 debut US 45 "It's No Secret" on RCA Victor 47-8769
13. High Flying Bird
14. It's Alright
Tracks 13 and 14 first appeared on the 1974 US compilation LP "Early Flight" on Grunt Records CYL1-0437 (recorded December 1965)
15. Go To Her (Early Version - Version 1)
Track 15 first appeared on the 1992 US 3CD Box Set compilation "Loves You" on RCA 61110-2
16. Let Me In (Original Uncensored Version)
17. Run Around (Original Uncensored Version)
18. Chauffeur Blues (Alternate Version - Previously Unissued)
19. And I Like It (Alternate version - Previously Unissued)

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE was:
MARTY BALIN – Lead Vocals
SIGNE TOLY ANDERSON - Vocals
JORMA KAUKONEN - Lead Guitars
PAUL KANTNER - Guitars and Vocals
JACK CASADY - Bass
ALEX 'SKIP' SPENCE - Drums 

The 12-page liner notes are courtesy of band-expert and uber-fan JEFF TAMARKIN who authored "Got A Revolution! The Turbulent Flight Of Jefferson Airplane" issued on Atria Books the same year as the CD reissues (2003). Amidst the text and picture of a battered Master Tape box on Page 6 - you get several black and white and colour snaps of the sextet looking hip in varying dark-glasses, stripped shirts and flying jackets - carrying self-monikered guitar cases like they were the Second Coming. Cited as one 'the' great debut albums (they’d only been together a year) - Tamarkin makes a good case for that being so - even if the lack of initial US sales and a September 1966 chart debut at No. 208 reflected a not-so-together record label and an American Music Press still in its Pop Culture infancy ("Pet Sounds", "Blonde On Blonde" and "Revolver" were busy re-writing the musical landscape during that epoch-making year).

But the big news here is a BOB IRWIN Remaster from original tapes. As lovers of the band will know "Jefferson Airplane Takes Off" came out Stateside in three different variants in 1966 (Mono and Stereo LPs in all three cases). Using the Bonus Tracks provided (12, 16 and 17 specifically for the first two pressings) - this CD reissue will allow fans to sequence all three STEREO versions. Shame the Mono isn’t here but you can’t have it all. Speaking of aural delights - famously the album didn't arrive in the UK until October 1971 when RCA Victor put out only the 'RE' STEREO version (England never did get the Mono mix).

A bit about those variants. The first pressing had an 'uncensored' version of "Let Me In" as Track 2, an extra track at the end of Side 1 called "Runnin' Round The World" and an 'uncensored' version of "Run Around" over on Side 2. Both "Let Me In" and "Run Around" were deemed to have had racy and drug-orientated lyrics - so were dropped and re-recorded - finally appearing on Version No. 3.

Using this CD - you can sequence 'almost' all of the rare 12-track original 1st version in Stereo as follows:
Side 1: Tracks 1, 16, 3, 4, 5 and 12
Side 2: Tracks 6, 17, 8, 9, 10 and 11
Track 12 is unfortunately the "Mono Uncensored Single Version' and not the Stereo Cut but you get the picture

The second 11-track version drops "Runnin' Round The World" but still has the 'uncensored' "Let Me In" and "Run Around" - sequence as follows:
Side 1: Tracks 1, 16, 3, 4 and 5
Side 2: Tracks 6, 17, 8, 9, 10 and 11

The third and final 11-track version (used to this day) again doesn't have "Runnin' Round The World" but does have the re-recorded 'censored' versions of "Let Me In" and "Run Around" - sequenced as per Tracks 1 to 11 on the CD above

BOB IRWIN had a lot of his Audio Engineer plate when he stepped up to Remaster this most beloved of West Coast bands and right from the off - you can hear he did a bang-up job. The drums and guitars of "Blues From An Airplane" may be crudely panned across the speakers but man are they clear and what a great 'hey hey make me happy' opening salvo - even if they do sound too dangerously close to The Byrds. Balin and Kantner provide the edgy Monkees vibe of "Bringing Me Down" - a wicked 60ts raver - while they return to Byrds territory again with "It's No Secret" - a hooky little winner and easy to see why it was chosen as their debut 7" single.

John D. Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road" is one of those adaptable tunes Rock bands just can't leave alone. Originally issued in 1960 - Loudermilk's own '...my Mama died and Daddy got drunk...' version on Columbia Records wasn't a hit. But England's 'Nashville Teens' thought otherwise and charted it big in October 1964 (probably heard the Frank Ifield version in 1963). Alerted to its nasty little groove thereafter - the song became G-L-O-R-I-A unstoppable. Lou Rawls did a Soul cover of it (also in 1964) - Blues Magoos psyched it in 1966 – War and Eric Burdon funked it up in 1970 – pushing the song to a staggering thirteen and a half minute social workout. Hell even Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen had a go in 1986 (Dr. John voodoo big hair and all). But it's the Airplane's version that has that fabulous Sixties cool about it. I love it...

Side 2 opens with another Balin/Kantner shuffling ballad - "Come Up The Years" - a 'love me' and 'somebody help me before I fall apart' song - beautiful sound off the Remaster. For me "Run Around" is the first emergence of a distinctive Jefferson Airplane sound - Balin having enough of his girly's hands running around his brain. Chet Powers' gorgeous "Let's Get Together" is another adaptable beauty - come on people get together and love one another - Signe finally getting her moment to vocally shine (Chet Powers would later join Quicksilver Messenger Service).

The tragically fragile 'Skip' Spence gets his second contribution "Don't Slip Away" (the other is the album opener "Blues From An Airplane") - both co-written with Marty Balin and it's a melodic winner too. Memphis Minnie would probably have loved the Airplane's spirited cover of the song she made famous "Chauffeur Blues" (written by Lester Melrose). Given full-throated lead - Signe goes for it and wins. Lead Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen ends the album with his Balin co-write "And I Like It" - a fabulous Bluesy amble where the band already show that soon-to-be legendary obstinacy in the defiant lyrics. 

"...This is my time...this is my dream...and you know I like it..." - Paul Kantner sang on the whacking album closer with a conviction that spelt out their future. And man was he right...even if it did mean casualties and well as joy along that crazy flight path...

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc