John Mayall-Blues From Laurel Canyon

JOHN MAYALL-BLUES FROM LAUREL CANYON
JOHN MAYALL-BLUES FROM LAUREL CANYON(1968)

 

John Mayall is a British blues guitarist, organist, songwriter and singer. His career has lasted over fifty years, and he was the originator of the band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Although Mayall may not be a recognisable, household name, he was very influential in the early British blues scene in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Many of the musicians who played with Mayall in the Bluesbreakers would go on to become very famous, such as Eric Clapton of Cream, and Mick Taylor of The Rolling Stones among many others.

John Mayall in 1970
John Mayall in 1970

Though not technically considered a pioneer of psychedelic music himself, he was present in the time when the psychedelic movement was prevalent. He lived in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California, that was a hotbed of the psychedelic movement in the late sixties and early seventies. Famous musicians, most notably Jim Morrison of the Doors, and many others lived in Laurel Canyon in the psychedelic era.

Blues From Laurel Canyon was released in November 1968. The album is about the experiences that Mayell encountered, and people that he met, when he visited Laurel Canyon around a year before making the United Sates his more permanent home. The songs on the record is sort of a diary of his time during the visit. He must have had some good experiences while on the visit, as he ended up living there from 1969 to 1979.

The album was quite influential for a blues record. It opens up with Vacation, which starts off with the sound of an airplane flying, supposedly into Los Angeles on the beginning of Mayall’s vacation. After the plane intro, the song goes into some hard driving drumming along with organ and guitar. It is a blues record, but starts off with a psychedelic feel. Mick Taylor, later from The Rolling Stones, had an impact on the record.

The next song on the album, Walking On Sunset, is a straightforward blues number, with great harmonica, which Mayall features on many of his songs.

Laurel Canyon Home is a slow blues tune with great piano throughout. Lyrically, it is easy to understand what Mayall is conveying, he is impressed and awed by the beauty of the canyon, and is genuinely happy to be there.

2401 is a hard driving blues guitar masterpiece, in my opinion, joined in by some nice harmonica. This song is more blues rock, with a great slide guitar middle performed by by Mick Taylor. The song is about Frank Zappa’s home in Laurel Canyon.

Ready To Ride is another great blues song with more harmonica, and that distinct voice of Mayall, which to be honest, is not one of my favorite vocalists. His great guitarwork and songwriting ability more than make up for his voice. Not to mention the star power that Mayall helped develop in the Bluesbreakers.

Medicine Man is a slow blues tune with basically Mayall’s vocals and harmonica. A good tune, but may bore someone who is not inclined to like blues. It shows the ability to slow the blues down, as opposed to rocking out the blues in other parts of the record. The harmonica work is a plus also.

Somebody’s Acting Like a Child starts with a smooth jazzy drum intro , followed up by nice organ work, and a great Mick Taylor guitar solo. Great tune, that is both bluesy and jazzy.

The Bear is a song about Bob “The Bear” Hite from the group Canned Heat. It is a good tune, with great blues guitar, and piano. It is one of my favorite songs on the album.

Miss James is a song about a woman who Mayall heard about, then finally met, then realised she was a hooker that people were talking about. The song has wonderful organ throughout, and is very entertaining.

For true blues aficionados, First Time Alone is a great song. For others not so inclined to be into the blues, they are likely to skip to the next song. There is some good guitar work in the song, with mostly Mayall vocals. It is enjoyable, but slow, an acquired taste.

Long Gone Midnight is a song filled with organ, a nice guitar solo and a slow drum beat. Not a bad song, but not one of the better one’s on the record.

Fly Tomorrow is the last, and longest song on the record, and is about Mayall’s flight back to Britain after his vacation at Laurel Canyon. It is a great, guitar driven song, and ends the record on a high note. Mayall would be back to Laurel Canyon soon enough.

This is a really good offering from one of the premier British blues artists during the psychedelic era. To me it is basically a concept album about a time and place that is truly indicative of what the psychedelic era was all about, except that it is a blues record. Good stuff!

Rating: A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jefferson Airplane-Takes Off

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE-TAKES OFF
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE-TAKES OFF(1966)

 

The Jefferson Airplane is a psychedelic rock band that formed in San Francisco, California in 1965. They are considered the seminal band that helped shape the San Francisco Sound in the psychedelic era in the mid to late 1960’s. The band is considered one of the most influential groups of the era from San Francisco, rivaled only by The Grateful Dead.

Early Jefferson Airplane with Signe Toly Anderson.

The original, “classic” members of the group were Grace Slick, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, and Spencer Dryden. However, their debut record was recorded before Grace Slick joined the band. Signe Toly Anderson was on the first record, but left shortly after it’s release in 1966, and was replaced by Slick.

The Jefferson Airplane’s debut record, Takes Off, was released in August 1966. As stated before, Grace Slick was not on the album.

Takes Off is considered to be the beginnings of a genre of music that was to define the counterculture movement of the middle to late sixties and into the early seventies. It is an important work, with a fresh, new sound that would become known as the San Francisco Sound. It was not, in my opinion, a record that broke new ground musically, there was no great surprises here, just a well executed debut record that was very listenable and enjoyable. What was to become by the next record would be monumental in the history of rock music. But the debut was something new, but unextraordinary.

There are two notable cover songs on the record, Tobacco Road, and Let’s Get Together. Both songs are covered by other bands also, and are very popular in American culture. The Youngbloods had a big hit with their version of Let’s Get Together, titled Get Together in 1967. The Jefferson Airplane did a good job of covering both songs.

The song that kicks off  Jefferson Airplane’s recording career, and arguably the psychedelic movement in general, is Blues From An Airplane, the first song on Takes Off. It is a worthy track, and shows the musical proficiency of the band, and the formation of a new sound.

The second song on the record, Let Me In, was considered highly sexual for the times, and there are two versions, one censored, and one uncensored. By today’s standards, it wouldn’t be an issue. It is a great song, with some excellent guitar work in the middle of the track. Great early psychedelia.

Bringing Me Down is a classic psychedelic song with that psychedelic guitar style that would become so prevalent and recognisable in the genre.

It’s No Secret is my favorite song on the record, with Marty Balin’s spectacular vocals which make the song work so well. The guitar work in the middle of the track is classic psychedelia, a preview of what was to come.

Another one of the best songs on the debut is Come Up The Years, a track that starts out slow, with beautiful vocals and lyrics. It is a song about a man who is interested in a younger woman, and lamenting that she is not older. When I listen to this song, I get that feeling, as I so often do, that I wish I was a bit older, so I could experience that it was like to be around in the psychedelic era. The best music, from the greatest era, in my opinion.

Run Around is another song that was considered controversial, and has a censored and an uncensored version. It starts off with a twangy guitar intro, and great vocals. This is another highly enjoyable tune, classic sixties feel.

Don’t Slip Away is a good track, one of the weaker songs on the record, in my opinion, but nevertheless quite enjoyable. There are no bad songs on the record, and even the weaker one’s are very musically  sound, and all have great vocals.

Chauffeur Blues is a song that is lead by Signe Toly Anderson singing lead vocals, and is a straightforward blues piece. It is a good song, but I consider it to be one of the weaker songs on the record, considering that the majority of the rest of the album is excellent.

The last song on the record, And I Like It, is a bluesy piece that starts of with some jazzy drums, and is sung beautifully by Marty Balin. A good tune made great with the Balin vocals.

When listening to this record, there is some important musical history taking place. It is a great debut for one of the most influential bands in rock history. The Jefferson Airplane help launch a revolution, both musically and culturally, and are considered the cream of the crop in the world of psychedelic music.

Rating: A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Alarm Clock-Incense & Peppermints

STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK-INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS
STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK-INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS

The psychedelic band, Strawberry Alarm Clock, began in Los Angeles in 1967. They have had many lineup changes over the course of their career. Their music has been described as psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop, and sunshine pop.

Strawberry Alarm Clock’s debut record entitled “Incense and Peppermints,” was released in 1967, and the song Incense and Peppermints reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

The record being reviewed here is the compilation album entitled “Incense & Peppermints,” which may be confusing because it has an ampersand in place of the word “and” on the original debut. This review is of the songs listed on the compilation.

The first song on the compilation is their biggest hit, and most recognisable song Incense and Peppermints. It became a huge number one hit and is remembered as their signature song. It is my favorite Strawberry Alarm Clock song, and to watch the video below, I get that trippy feeling that is what these psychedelic bands were going for back in that era.

The next song on the compilation, Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow is a song that is pretty self explanatory. It is slow, mellow, and just the right song for the lazy summer day in the sun, or the rain, psychedelic sixties style. Or take it indoors, turn down the lights, fire up the lava lamp, and do whatever people did back in the day. I wish I was around then to enjoy the vibe, but as I’ve stated before in other reviews, I just missed all the fun.

Birds In My Tree is the next song which starts out like it is going to be hard, but slows down when the vocals kick in. It is another feel good mellow song of peace and hope, at least that is how I interpret it.

Sit With The Guru is a happy song, and is a tune that perfectly describes what the phrase sunshine pop means. Listen, get happy, and feel good is the message.

Tomorrow is the next song on the compilation, another feel good trippy tune with some great harmonies. A beautiful song.

Barefoot in Baltimore is another song with great harmony parts, and it is a tune that seems to show a scene in the hot summer hanging out in Baltimore. Another feel good song to me, if not a bit about the hardships of growing up in the city.

Good Morning Starshine is another tune that can be considered sunshine pop, and it has been covered by many musicians, but this version is my favorite.

Birdman of Alkatrash is a silly spoof about the birdman of alcatraz, and has Donald Duck make some appearances. It was the b-side of the number one hit Incense and Peppermints. It is a garage rock sounding song that many people seem to dislike. I think it’s fun, and it makes me wonder what the guys were on when they recorded it.

Strawberries Mean Love is my least favorite on the compilation, and I still like it. It is kind of slow and drawn out, which works for this band most of the time.

The last song on the compilation, Starting Out The Day, is an upbeat tune that makes me feel that everything is alright with the world, at least back in the psychedelic sixties.

I was actually confused myself when I purchased the cd, because I thought it was Strawberry Alarm Clock’s debut album. After listening to it multiple times, and doing some research, I realized that this is a compilation, and I like it so much, now that I know better, I need to get all their studio albums. Much more great music to be discovered by Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Rating: A

Quicksilver Messenger Service

QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE(1968)

 

 Quicksilver Messenger Service

 

Quicksilver Messenger Service was a psychedelic rock band that got their start in San Francisco, California in 1965. The band originally consisted of David Freiberg, Gary Duncan, Greg Elmore, and John Cipollina.

They are known for their classic psychedelic guitar sound, and their long jam songs, that lead to the comparison to their San Francisco band neighbors The Grateful Dead. Their jam songs were more polished and rehearsed than The Dead, who were more into improvisation.

Though Quicksilver Messenger Service never became as popular as fellow San Francisco area bands The Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane, they did become very successful not only in San Francisco, but for psychedelic music lovers all over the world. They have many top 40 albums to their credit.

Quicksilver Messenger Service is the self titled debut album of the band that was released in 1968. It is a short record, just under thirty two minutes, but the final song on the album, The Fool, comes in at over twelve minutes. It is a masterful work, with awesome guitar work throughout the song, and in some spots, reminds me of The Doors classic tune The End.

The album starts out with a catchy cover song, Pride Of Man, that is one of my favorites on this short album. Many musicians and bands covered Pride Of Man, but Quiksilver’s version is considered one of the best.

Dino’s Song is classic San Francisco psychedelic rock, commonly known as the San Francisco Sound. This song represents this part of the genre that is quintessential San Francisco with echos of The Airplane as well as The Dead, and many other lesser known bands of the area. It is a great song, that is immediately recognisable as being West Coast San Francisco psychedelia.

The next song is Gold and Silver, a instrumental piece that has jazz elements to it, great jazz drums, as well as what could be considered smooth jazzy guitar work. All the while maintaining its strong psychedelic guitar feel in parts of the song.  This instrumental is very underrated in my opinion, and I feel this is one of the better instrumental pieces of the psychedelic era.

It’s Been Too Long is another psychedelic song with great guitar work, but this one has a little bit of a country feel to it. It shows the musical range of the band, from rock, to psychedelia, to jazz and country.

Much of the guitar work on the record has a bit of a twang to it, which gives the album as a whole a bit of a country feel to it. Not so much that it is a predominant part of the music,but it supports it. A great blend of sounds that gives the album a sophisticated, clean feel.

The last song on the album, The Fool, is a lengthy, twelve minute jam that is outstanding. There are times during the song where the guitarwork is is masterful, as stated before, but is worth repeating. It is one of the greatest jams every recorded in my opinion. When performing in concert, Quicksilver would extend this song into a longer jam. It is worth the price of the cd for this song alone. Outstanding record from beginning to end, some of the best music of the psychedelic era.

Rating: A


 

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy-Is Spreading/The Great Conspiracy

THE PEANUT BUTTER CONSPIRACY-IS SPREADING(1967)/THE GREAT CONSPIRACY(1968)

 

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy was a psychedelic pop and rock band that got their start in Los Angeles, California in 1966. They sounded much like The Mamas and the Papas, although they did develop the own signature sound.

The band is noted for having one of the first female vocalists in a rock band, Barbara Robison, also known as Sandi Robison, and sometimes as Sandi Peanut Butter.

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy never became very popular outside the region of Los Angeles, but for awhile they had a good following there.

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy 1966

This review is of a double album on one cd that features their first two studio recordings, “The Peanut Butter Conspiracy is Spreading” and “The Great Conspiracy”, as well as three bonus tracks. Both albums are a nice mix of psychedelic rock and pop, and are very enjoyable.

Their only hit on the charts was It’s A Happening Thing, the first song on their debut album and was directly related to the Flower Power movement of the sixties, and early seventies. It is a very catchy, upbeat tune that sounds somewhat like The Mamas and the Papas, only more psychedelic, and features the beautiful voice of Barbara Robison.

Another catchy song from the debut was Why Did I Get So High, and although at first listen I thought it was about getting high on drugs. A closer look at the lyrics though, makes me believe it is about love and heartache. It is a great, psychedelic, folksy tune.

Dark On You Now is another song off the first record that is classic psychedelia all the way. A great song to groove to on a hot summer day in Southern California in 1967, if only I was born to experience it first hand. One of the better songs I have encountered on my journey through listening to the awesome music of the sixties and early seventies.

The first track on the second album “The Great Conspiracy,” Turn On A Friend(To The Good Life) is a another excellent song, with great harmonies, as is many of the tunes on both records. More classic psychedelic pop, with a message.

Livin, Loving Life is a beautiful song showing just how wonderful a voice that Robison had. It cannot be understated that she had one of the most beautiful voices in rock.

With female vocalists like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick dominating the scene at the time, Barbara Robison is often overlooked. But she had in my opinion, an absolutely outstanding voice, specially suited for the psychedelic sixties.

Living Dream is another great song on the second album, very slow, and mellow, very psychedelic. Robison’s beautiful, haunting vocals are on display here, and it makes me wish she didn’t die so young. There was more music in her, but she was gone by 1988. I wonder if she would have recorded more had she lived.

It is funny how such a talented band, with wonderful music, doesn’t become more popular. Though they never received the full recognition they deserved outside of the LA area, they remain a band that should be listened too and enjoyed. They represent the psychedelic sounds of the sixties well, and will not be forgotten.

Rating: A


 

The Doors

THE DOORS(1967)

 

The Doors are arguably the most popular band of the psychedelic era. Sure, there were other big names right up there with them. Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and The Beatles.

But, in my opinion, The Doors were the cream of the crop, the single most important band of the sixties and early seventies, with the most iconic and beloved frontman in rock and roll history, Jim Morrison. No other rock and roll star has the following, and the mystery, like Jim Morrison. Now, that can certainly be disputed if one wants to dispute it. But that won’t hold water here, as you see, I’m kind of biased, and I’ll be the first to admit it.

The Doors were a band that got it’s start in Los Angeles, California, in 1965, when Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek happened to run into each other on Venice Beach, after having previously gone to school together  at UCLA.

The Doors

Jim was hanging out writing lyrics, and Ray encouraged him to share some lyrics. Ray was mesmerized at what he heard. The Doors were officially born.

Robbie Krieger and John Densmore would round out the group, and that, as they say, is history.

The Doors took their name from a book by Aldous Huxley, “The Doors of Perception.” All of the Doors, especially Jim Morrison, were avid readers, and much of the material that was written was inspired from poetry. Jim Morrison considered himself a poet first, and a rock star second, and he had a hard time coming to grips with his rock star status.

The first song on The Doors debut album titled, “The Doors” is Break On Through (To The Other Side). In my opinion, the meaning of this song could be twofold. On the surface, this song seems to be about suicide, of breaking on through this life into the next. I believe it is a journey to transform oneself into another stream of consciousness, whether it means through meditation, psychedelic drugs (LSD), alcohol, or whatever one chooses to obtain this state. It is a song about exploration, trying to reach a higher level of consciousness.

The next song, Soul Kitchen is about an actual soul food restaurant that Morrison used to frequent on Venice Beach called Olivia’s. He used to like to eat there because the food reminded him of being at home. It made him feel good, and many times he stayed late and he was kicked out so the restaurant could close. The lyrics to the song are great and self explanatory.

The Crystal Ship is the next song, and it is open to interpretation. Back in the sixties, the song probably was interpreted as a drug high, or maybe an acid trip. According to drummer John Densmore, however, when asked about the meaning many years later, said that it was a song written by Morrison about the breakup with his girlfriend Mary Werbelow, stating that it “was a goodbye love song.” It is a slow, mellow tune, and it seems to me that Densmore was probably right about the true meaning.

Twentieth Century Fox is a play on words to describe a modern woman. The lyrical content makes this very clear, and even though this is not one of The Doors most more popular songs, it is a favorite of mine.

The Alabama Song is translated from German to English, was written by  Bertolt Brecht, and was covered by The Doors as well as David Bowie. There is some interesting history behind the song to check out here.

There would be no justice in writing about The Doors debut album without the discussion of the song Light My Fire. The song was a number one hit for the band, and has one of the most distinctive keyboard solos in the history of rock music.

The original version of the song had to be cut down for radio play to under three minutes, which all but eliminated the long keyboard solo. The solo takes the listener on a psychedelic musical ride in the middle of the song, but there are pieces of keyboard work at the beginning and end of the song also. Light My Fire is one of the most recognisable songs of the psychedelic era.

Back Door Man was written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1960 and was covered by The Doors on the debut album. It is a song that is very sexual in nature, and they did a brilliant job covering it.

The next three songs on the debut, I Looked At You, The End of the Night, and Take It As It Comes are more lesser known songs to the average fan, but they are great pieces nonetheless, as there are no fillers in the record, in my opinion.

The End is the last song on the record, as well as the longest, and is considered as another of the most recognisable and well loved songs in The Doors catalog. The song has many meanings and is opened to many interpretations. It got the band in quite a bit of trouble in the era of the sixties, although now it would be considered tame in these times. It is one of my favorite songs of all time.

The Doors were one of a kind, and their lead singer has standed the test of time as one of the most beloved figures in the history of rock music. The Doors and Jim Morrison are more popular today than ever, and has won over many younger fans throughout the last fifty years. One of my all time favorites, and a must have record if you love classic rock music.

Rating: A+


 

Love-Forever Changes

 

LOVE-FOREVER CHANGES

 

Love is a psychedelic band that originated in Los Angeles, California. They were popular in the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s. Though considered a psychedelic band, they drew musical inspiration from many types of genres, including folk, jazz, blues, hard rock, and even some flamenco. Love never was a big hit on the charts, however they are considered on of the great bands of the psychedelic era of the late sixties, early seventies.

Love was one of the first bands that were diverse, both racially and musically. They were first signed by Elektra Records, along with Elektra’s most popular band, The Doors. Jim Morrison of the Doors once wrote that Love was one of his favorite bands. I can see why.

Forever Changes, Love’s third album, is considered by many to be one of the top rock records of all time. Arthur Lee, Love’s lead singer, is highly respected in the music industry, with his voice sometimes being compared to Johnny Mathis.

Alone Again Or is the first track off of Forever Changes, and starts out with the acoustic guitar which leads into drums and behind the scenes flamenco guitar. There is a great flamenco horn solo in the middle of the song that really makes it pop. Horn arrangements are a recurring theme throughout the record, and this was one of Arthur Lee’s favorite parts of the record. He liked the use of horns throughout the album.

The next song, A House is Not a Hotel, is one of the more recognisable songs on the record, and has a great psychedelic guitar solo. Arthur Lee’s voice shines on this piece, and he has a distinct sound that at times really does mimic Johnny Mathis.

Andmoreagain is a beautiful song, slow, silky, and when Lee inserts “Thrum pum pum pum” at time during the tune, I always think of The Little Drummer Boy, but that’s just me.

Old Man is a slow, mellow, hauntingly beautiful psychedelic folksy song, and Lee’s vocals are superb. I never tire of hearing any of the songs on Forever Changes, and the music on this record never gets old, and is always fresh. I listen to it over and over and it always is stellar.

The Red Telephone is a rather pessimistic song, with Lee’s vocals on full display, and even a bit of a droning, repeating phrase toward the end of the tune, “They’re Locking Them Up Today, They’re Throwing Away The Key, I Wonder Who It’ll Be Tomorrow, You Or Me.”  I  almost got a hint of a pre-rap, rap, but on further listen, I decided I didn’t really believe that.

Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale is, in my opinion, a masterpiece, own of my favorite Love songs. It has a lot to it, the long awkward sounding title, some great horn arrangements, a bit of flamenco guitar, and Lee’s voice brings together one of the best songs of the psychedelic era.

Live and Let Live is, at first a humorous song, then gets more serious lyrically, and is another great song, as is the whole record from beginning to end.

Bummer in the Summer is probably my least favorite song on Forever Changes, and I still love it, which shows how much I dig the record.

The album ends on a high note with You Set The Scene. It closes out one of the top albums of all time, critically acclaimed, even though Love was never a big hit on the charts. It makes me wonder, how a group this good was never appreciated more, but like a fine wine, Forever Changes gets better every time I listen. A timeless record, and one that absolutely deserves many, many listens.

Rating: A+


 

 

 

Grace Slick & The Great Society-Collector’s Item

GRACE SLICK & THE GREAT SOCIETY-COLLECTOR’S ITEM(Reissue single cd 1971. Recorded 1965-1966)

 

 

The Great Society was a psychedelic band that got it’s start in San Francisco, California in 1965. Though the band was a unit for only around a year, they laid the groundwork for the psychedelic, counterculture movement that originated in San Francisco. The band had a very popular, and soon to be mega famous  lead singer, Grace Slick. She was at the head of the psychedelic era, and although famous in the San Francisco area at the time of  The Great Society, she would become an absolute star when she joined The Jefferson Airplane in 1966, around a year after The Great Society began.

The Great Society included Grace’s then husband Jerry Slick, as well as her brother in law, Darby, Jerry’s brother. They were inspired by The Beatles, and got their name from President Lyndon Johnson, who was President at the time, who’s policies of The Great Society was a popular phrase of the time.

Grace Slick & The Great Society Collector’s Item is a reissue of their previous two albums, Conspicuous Only In Its Absence and How It Was released as a double album and single cd. It is considered a precursor to the Psychedelic music scene known as The San Francisco Sound.  

Both of the Great Society’s only records were concerts performed at The Matrix in San Francisco. The sound quality is not bad and it catches the band playing some covers and originals, and Slick’s voice is beautiful. One can tell that she would be a rising star in psychedelic music. Every song, in my opinion is quality, both musically and vocally. This is one of the best records to listen to in order to get a great taste of what was to be forthcoming in the genre of psychedelic rock.

The first song on the record is a cover tune called Sally Go Round’ The Roses, originated by a group called the Jaynetts. The Great Society does an excellent cover of this song. It starts of the record nicely and shows the musicianship of the band, and the voice of Slick.

Didn’t Think So is another song that is mellow, and brings out the beauty in Slick’s voice. Someone To Love is the name of the original song performed by the band, and though normally associated with the Jefferson Airplane, is actually a Grace Slick original written by her brother in-law Darby, before she became the lead singer of the Airplane. It was the only song by The Great Society that charted. Of course, the Airplane would make it their own, change the name to Somebody To Love, and turn it into a bigger hit. Both versions are different, and personally, I like The Great Society’s version a bit better.

The Great Society played a cover of Bob Dylan’s Outlaw Blues on the record, and shows the range of Slick’s voice, from singing psychedelic rock, to the blues, without missing a beat. Her singing shines throughout the record, and would become unmistakable in rock music for years to come.

White Rabbit was another hit for the Jefferson Airplane that was first Slick’s song with The Great Society, and would become one of the Airplane’s finest. As with Somebody To Love, the Great Society’s version was quite different than that of the Airplane. And once again, I like the Society’s version better. This version is quite a bit longer than the Airplane’s hit, with a much longer, and in my opinion, better intro. Although, the radio version is more haunting sounding, just much shorter.

The last song on the record is Father, the longest song, and an awesome instrumental that features great guitarwork, sax, and though no vocals on this one, Grace Slick contributes in other ways. This is an excellent way to wind down the brief recording career of The Great Society. Though their career was very short with the lineup that the band had, they are considered important in the development of the San Francisco Sound, and psychedelic music in general. And the band propelled Grace Slick onto The Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and then finally, Starship. She is considered one of the best female vocalists in rock music. A must have album for psychedelic music fans.

Rating: A