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The Essential Jefferson Airplane Original recording remastered

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, April 26, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

32 well-chosen tracks spanning the Airplane's entire flight, with notes by the band's biographer, Jeff Tamarkin! Includes the hard-to-find single versions of Martha; Have You Seen the Saucers?; Share a Little Joke , and Mexico , plus White Rabbit; It's No Secret; Volunteers; Lather; We Can Be Together; Watch Her Ride; Good Shepherd; 3/5 of a Mile in Ten Seconds , and more.

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Filling the double-disc void left by the excellent but sonically inferior and out-of-print 2400 Fulton Street: An Anthology, The Essential Jefferson Airplane digs deeper into the San Francisco band’s catalog than the many single disc collections available. Less expansive, but with better sound than the three disc box set, Jefferson Airplane Loves You, this 32 track compilation covers the band’s seven albums and two live offerings, giving nearly equal time to all. Not held in as high esteem as their Bay Area compatriots the Grateful Dead, the Airplane successfully combined Marty Balin’s expressive voice on such lovely folk-tinged love songs as "Comin' Back to Me," the apocalyptic visions of "Wooden Ships" (co-written by the Airplane’s Paul Kantner with David Crosby and Stephen Stills), the edgy, psychedelia of "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil" and the politically charged rallying cry of "Volunteers." Singer Grace Slick provided a photogenic focal point and dynamic interplay that meshed perfectly with the band’s three male vocalists.

Disc one clocks in at a relatively anemic 50 minutes, leaving nearly an unused half hour that could have included such influential album tracks as the band’s version of Donovan’s "The Fat Angel," "Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon," "Triad," and "Wild Thyme." Regardless, this is a well-chosen selection (with first-rate liner notes from J.A. historian Jeff Tamarkin) that highlights the Airplane’s diverse influences as it echoed and exemplified the turbulent end of the '60s/beginning of the '70s. --Hal Horowitz

Recommended Jefferson Airplane Discography


Surrealistic Pillow

After Bathing at Baxter's

Crown of Creation

Volunteers

Live at the Fillmore East

Jefferson Airplane Takes Off

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B0007YP17G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,167 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Jefferson Airplane Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This may be the most inexpensive way to acquire their non-album single Have You Seen The Saucers?/Mexico, released during a transitional period between Volunteers and Bark. The mono single mixes of Martha and Share A Little Joke are also included, though these are also to be found as bonus tracks on their parent albums, After Bathing At Baxter's and Crown Of Creation. Unfortunately for collectors the opportunity to include the mono single version of The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil has again been passed over.

The rest of the two discs is taken up with a fairly sensibly chosen selection from their albums Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, Surrealistic Pillow, After Bathing At Baxter's, Crown Of Creation, Bless It's Pointed Little Head, Volunteers, Bark, Long John Silver, and finally two live tracks from 1972 that appeared on 30 Seconds Over Winterland, including the eleven minute Jorma Kaukonen epic Feel So Good. Tracks that were also A-sides or B-sides have been favoured and We Can Be Together, from Volunteers, is the edited B-side version.
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The band went through several changes in line-up, but the "classic" Jefferson Airplane that emerged from the 1960s San Francisco music scene consisted of Marty Balin, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden, Paul Katner, Jorma Kaukonen, and Grace Slick. Then and now it is best known for two songs, both of them with Grace Slick on the vocal, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit"--but although she emerged as an icon of the era, Jefferson Airplane was much more than a vehicle for Grace Slick or vocalists Martin Balin and Paul Katner. Let The Mamas and the Papas do all those pretty harmonies; Airplane was rough and racous, more concerned with raw energy, a tangle of vocals and twisted instrumentals that made a web of folk, middle-eastern, and electric guitar. And it was everything middle class parents of the 1960s and early 1970s feared.

It is easy to forget how incredibly subversive the band was, with many of their best known songs--"White Rabbit," "Lather," "Mexico" among others--very specifically about drug use. But it is really the anthem-like songs that are most indicative of what the band could do, songs that openly attack the social mores of the day. "Crown of Creation" is a blatant attack on "the establishment," including jaw-dropping lyrics such as "soon you'll obtain the stability you strive for in the only way it's granted--in a place among the fossils of our time." "We Can Be Together" is a call to arms; "Volunteers" is a flat-out call to revolution. It's all kickass stuff.

Jefferson Airplane would change with the times and go on to become the more slick-sounding Jefferson Starship and finally, after a legal battle over the band's name, Starship--and the sort of thing they did in the 1960s would be described as "psychedelic music" and largely dismissed as a dead genre.
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1 Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This would be the definite compilation if tracks so vital like "Today" (from Surrealistic Pillow) or "Won't you try / Saturday afternoon" (from After Bathing at Baxter's) were included. In general, it contains the milestones of the JA career plus a few hard to find songs, the sound quality is very good, and for new Airplane fans is maybe the best budget package available.
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They never include "Young Girl Sunday Blues" in any of their compilations, which is one of Marty Balin's best songs. Also, where is "Today".
The rest is typical Jefferson Airplane hits. I still believe 2400 Folsom Street is the best compilation.
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Just so so. Bought it because there were songs on it that I already didn't have. Some of the recordings sound down right awful. You'd think with todays technology, they could have been cleaned up, and if not, don't include them.
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I'm a child of the 60's and realized with all the great music I've acquired throughout the years,I neglected to update my CD collection and add Jefferson Airplane who I grew up listening to A LOT! I had practically everything they'd put out on LP's, but when I seen this collection I had to get it and I couldn't be happier. This has about ANYTHING they done that you'll remember and relate to. If you want a GREAT Collection of their hits, this is all you need!
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By arnold on November 29, 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
this is an awesome collection of Jefferson airplane. songs like it's no secret, she has funny cars, somebody to love,white rabbit, volunteers, wooden ships, mexico and many others.
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Hours of excellent music from the 60's ~ 70's by Jefferson Airplane, even has the mono version of White rabbit and the stereo version too.
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