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Grace Slick & The Great Society

4.5 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 5, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

This actually is Grace's pre-Airplane band! Includes the original versions of White Rabbit and Somebody to Love .
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 5, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: February 5, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SBME SPECIAL MKTS.
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • ASIN: B0012GMW84
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,814 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Reviewing this album under normal criteria is difficult. Recorded live on what must have been some fairly rudimentary equipment in San Francisco's Matrix Club in 1966 the sound quality is much better than you could reasonably expect, but still pretty basic. And the group? Well they can certainly play but their sound is closer to a highly competent, left field "garage" band than the sophisticated musical interactions of Jefferson Airplane which, of course, with the exception of Grace Slick, they're not. And the songs? Well, here's where it gets more interesting for in amongst a lot of fairly mediocre stuff there are several excellent and insidiously unforgettable workouts, in particular "Arbitration", "Grimly Forming" & "Sally Go Round the Roses", all of which have a driving power that's up there with the best from mid 60's San Francisco.

So, star rating so far?... probably three. But that's not really what's going on here. First off this is one of the very few recordings of "hippie" music at a time when it was at its most determinedly innovative. Listen to some of the rudimentary but creatively wonderful guitar solos & arrangements and you're plugging into something quite unique... a live recording of a band that's pushing the boundaries out into uncharted areas. And then there's Grace Slick herself, stamping her vocal authority over it all and pushing the music even further out through her still unsophisticated but soaring range that makes you realise why San Francisco's best group wanted her out front. Plus, if that's not enough, you get her very different and intensely delivered original versions of the two "killer" Airplane songs - "White Rabbit" & "Somebody to Love" - that were to catapult them and her to international fame.
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Format: Audio CD
Grace Slick & the Great Society, a band that deserves a lot more credit than people, Grace included, give it. I found this band completly on accident and... I must say, it was the best mistake I ever made.

I am a fan of Jefferson Airplane, and though, I agree that this band is not as sophicticated as Jefferson Airplane, it is, indeed an important one. After listening, it was clear to see that Jefferson Airplane might not have been what they were without this band. It was deffenatly an experiment, but one that pushed boundaries, something that not too many are brave enough to do. The songs are edgy for it's time and obvioiusly a building block for Grace Slick's later greatness.

This group litterly became one of my favourites over night. It puts me in an indescribable mood that I have yet to feel from any other musical group. Yes, to most they sound mildly amiturish, but, it's their unknowingness and ability to experiment and improvise that truely makes them great. It's basically a must have for anyone who is a serious fan of the '60's San Fransciso musical scene.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I was a kid back in the tumultuous Sixties only audiophiles could afford decent sound equipment. The rest of us were reduced to putting the microphones of our cassette recorders up against the speakers of our AM radios if we wanted to record our favorite songs. The resulting tapes always sounded like they'd been recorded in a storm drain, but there was an authenticity to those crummy recordings that no amount of high-tech can ever match. We LOVED those songs, we WANTED those songs, and by God we were gonna HAVE those songs.

Listening to these early Great Society recordings gives me the same feeling. The Great Society has acheived a near-mythic status as the proto-Jefferson Airplane in the collective memory of the San Francisco-Flowers-In-Your-Hair veterans brigade. It is hard to admit that The Great Society was "such a half-assed band," as Grace Slick described it. It's a certainty that there are scores of dusty reel-to-reels of better and more deserving unknown bands of that era hidden in broom closets throughout America.

But The Great Society had two things going for it that no other Frisco bar band of the era could match, those being a repetiore of good songs (and not just "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit" either), and Grace Slick. The raw musicianship of The Great Society puts you in mind of your college roommate who played Bob Dylan tunes all day on his $75 beach guitar. Like him, at least they tried really hard to sound like something. Still, they are utter tyros. Their sincerity is wonderful, and their ability to sample varied phrases from others' songs is effective, but it doesn't make them at all "innovative" or "the first psychedelic band of the era" as other reviewers would have it.
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Format: Audio CD
Being quite the fan of Grace Slick, Jefferson Airplane, and other 60s groups, I bought this album only having heard two songs on it--"Daydream Nightmare" and "Outlaw Blues". At first I was a little puzzled--The Great Society sounded different than any band I'd ever heard before. After listening to it about two more times, I realized this uniqueness was a good thing! They sound a little rougher than your average 60s band, and they were--Grace, her first husband, and her brother-in-law assembled this band out of a few of their friends and it only was around for about a year. The Great Society definitely isn't a band for everyone, but if you love interesting-sounding music, want to hear some of the earlier forms of psychedelic rock, or are just curious about how Grace Slick sounded before the *smoother* recordings of Jefferson Airplane, this is the band for you!

A quick review of all the songs:

Sally Go 'Round the Roses: A great way to open this CD. Pay special attention to the instrumental break in the middle--it's amazing! (Any time this group does an instrumental solo, it will be VERY good.)

Didn't Think So: In my opinion, one of the weaker songs on this album, but a fine song just the same.

Grimly Forming: An overall fantastic song to listen to with intriguing lyrics and another great instrumental section. (I love the tambourine--it adds an interesting air to the song.)

Somebody To Love: Yes, here it is--the ORIGINAL version of the Jefferson Airplane hit, written by Darby Slick, Grace's brother-in-law. This has a much less *psychedelic* sound than the JA version, but they're both equally as good.

Father Bruce: This is a very catchy song written about Lenny Bruce as if he were a preacher. Fun to sing along with.
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