8/11/2009

Jefferson Airplane - The Woodstock Experience (2CD Remaster)

Jefferson Airplane - The Woodstock Experience (2CD Remaster)

Jefferson Airplane: The Woodstock Experience contains 24 tracks (10 from album Volunteers, 14 from Woodstock). In 1969, Jefferson Airplane was the band to book at a major festival. The first act to be confirmed for Woodstock, they set the precedent for all that followed. Their performance early Sunday morning was the perfect greeting to a rising sun, and the material from their forthcoming album, Volunteers, awakened the Woodstock generation to a new day.

Sony/BMG's Legacy imprint decided to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock by issuing a slew of double-disc deluxe packages by catalog artists who played the festival. Each slipcase contains the featured artist's entire performance at Woodstock and as a bonus, an LP sleeve reproduction of a classic album issued near the time the festival occurred, as well as fine, individually designed 16" X 24" double-sided posters. Of the five volumes in the Woodstock Experience series, the Jefferson Airplane's volumes is simultaneously one of the most compelling and frustrating. Musically, this is one of, if not the greatest live performances we have on tape of the band at the peak of their ability and creativity, prefacing the release of their Volunteers album (included here as well) three months after this gig. There are five previously unissued tracks in this set -- six if you include the introduction. They include Fred Neil's "The Other Side of This Life,"(that kicks off the set), "3/5 of A Mile in 10 Seconds" "Wooden Ships," "The Ballad of You, Me & Pooneil," the traditional blues "Come Back Baby," and the Airplane's set closer "The House at Pooneil Corners." The Airplane's set is a long one, the longest in the Woodstock Experience series, clocking in at over 90 minutes, but it's enthralling throughout. Whether it's the electrified versions of the tunes from Surrealistic Pillow -- "Plastic Fantastic Lover," "White Rabbit," and "Somebody to Love," or the 14-minute space rock in "The Ballad of You, Me & Pooneil," from After Bathing at Baxter's with its massive bass solo by Jack Casady, or the ragged but righteous "House at Pooneil Corners" from Crown of Creation, the Airplane prove here that they could rock with the best of them. Their set as a whole is explosive and full of surprises, with excellent vocal work from Grace Slick and Marty Balin, and very sophisticated interplay between Jorma Kaukonen, Paul Kantner, Casady, guest pianist Nicky Hopkins, and drummer Spencer Dryden.

That's the good news. The bad news is the package itself: Sony Legacy blew it by following a format rather than considering the music first. The other volumes in the series also include a catalog album. And it's always the first disc. This presented a problem because the Airplane's set was so long. The label's design department chose to follow format rather than serve the music properly. They sequenced the band's concert performance to begin after the last track of Volunteers on disc one -- it can be a complete buzzkill unless you just begin disc one at track 11. What would have made more sense would have been to either issue these CDs by themselves, or to begin Volunteers after the last song of the Woodstock gig to better preserve the integrity of the gig itself. It's true that the concert would still have been broken up on two discs, but the break would have come at the beginning of the long encore. Marks off for this, but the music itself is simply stellar throughout...T. Jurek

mp3
320 @
2000mustangs

Line-up

* Grace Slick - vocals
* Marty Balin - vocals
* Paul Kantner - guitar
* Jorma Kaukonen - guitar, vocals
* Jack Casady - bass
* Spencer Dryden - drums
*Nicky Hopkins - piano

Tracklist:

CD 1

01 We Can Be Together 5:47
02 Good Shepherd 4:22
03 The Farm 3:13
04 Hey Frederick 8:33
05 Turn My Life Down 2:56
06 Wooden Ships 6:27
07 Eskimo Blue Day 6:35
08 A Song for All Seasons 3:29
09 Meadowlands 1:04
10 Volunteers 2:08
11 Introduction prev. unreleased 0:23
12 The Other Side of This Life prev. unreleased 8:17
13 Somebody to Love 4:31
14 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds prev. unreleased 5:30
15 Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon 5:06
16 Eskimo Blue Day 6:55

CD 2

01 Plastic Fantastic Lover 4:35
02 Wooden Ships prev. unreleased 21:25
03 Uncle Sam Blues 6:12
04 Volunteers 3:16
05 The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil prev. unreleased 15:29
06 Come Back Baby prev. unreleased 6:05
07 White Rabbit 2:27
08 The House at Pooneil Corners prev. unreleased 9:17

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Howdy Sam, this is a great post. I have never heard the entire JA Woodstock performance.

Just a note, disc 1 contains the first disc of the Flight box mixed in with the Woodstock first disc. Thought you might want to know.

Thanks for all your hard work on this rare gem!

Muckinfuggly

Anonymous said...

Or it could probably be a technical difficulty screw-up on my end.
Thanks again for this and the Black S and the Troggs.

Muck

O.B. Dan said...

I didn't get Disc 1 of the Flight box, unless it is the entire Volunteers album, in the same exact order.

Regarding Sam's assessment, including Volunteers where it is placed goofs things up, but really, including it at all is a waste. The live gig runs something like 99 minutes, and a few of the songs in the set are from Volunteers.

Taking away the Volunteers tracks, and making an mp3 (with a slight crossfade from track 16 disc 1 to track 1 disc 2 with no counter-crossfade) makes a nice listen, and divides nicely into a 2 CD set, with a little digital razzle dazzle.

And the remaster...? Fantastic - enough so I'm going to make a new Volunteers CD from this download. Great separation!

Antonio said...

how can I download the cds?

....excellent page...congratulations!!!

samantha said...

dll - CD 1 - Track 1-5...

martin41smith said...

Thanx for this, loving that sixties vibe!