Local Wire

Jefferson Airplane

More than the Grateful Dead, San Francisco's Jefferson Airplane defined the summer of love's hippie ethos: lysergic lyrics ("White Rabbit"), an anti-authoritarian, us-versus-them attitude, and sonic eclecticism (rock, folk, jazz, blues, and world music). Sweeping Up captures all this, with the original Airplane at the peak of its powers. Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen rips one mind-warp solo after another, while Jack Cassidy's fluid bass ripples underneath the smooth/tart vocal blend of Marty Balin and Grace Slick (which kinda sounds like early X). Alas, some of this live set hasn't aged well. Balin's soul-guy posturing on "You Wear Your Dresses Too Short" would embarrass the Blues Brothers, and those counterculture lyrics that once were so edgy now seem silly and naive. Still, there are two kick-ass Fred Neil covers.
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Mark Keresman