JEFFERSON AIRPLANE The Bonus Track Reissue Series (1966-1969) + Volunteers & Bark Sessions


If you’re hanging on to ancient, 80s versions of Jefferson Airplane CDs, dump ‘em. The mastering on some of the early releases is atrocious and the growing number of reissues that followed got downright confusing. In 2003 & 2004, however, the band’s catalog was overhauled by the great Bob Irwin (of Sundazed fame) and bonus tracks were ponied up for this series of (thus far) definitive remasters of JeffAir’s indelible psychedelia. I never bought bonus reissues for Bark or Long John Silver, apparently because they weren’t made (if my quick search is any indication), but you can get these essentials from $3 to $6 each at Amazon. As a bonus, we’ve also included two sets of rare, outtake session recordings from 1969’s Volunteers and 1971’s Bark.

Takes Off (1966)
In 1966, before fame would find them, Jefferson Airplane were still revolutionary… as part of the burgeoning, San Francisco music scene that was quietly inv
enting “psychedelic folk” music. Most of the writing is by Paul Kantner and Marty Balin, but the female lead vocals, by Signe Anderson, still seem out of place after all these years of hearing Grace Slick. The clean, primitive recording techniques, however, are preferable to the gobs of trendy echo used by producer Rick Jarrard on Surrealistic Pillow. Not your quintessential Jefferson Airplane album, but nearly all of the recognizable characteristics are already in place. Amazon.

Blues From An Airplane (2:13)
Let Me In (3:00)
Bringing Me Down (2:24)
It’s No Secret (2:40)
Tobacco Road (3:31)
Come Up The Years (2:33)
Run Around (2:40)
Let’s Get Together (3:36)
Don’t Slip Away (2:34)
Chauffeur Blues (2:28)
And I Like It (3:20)
Runnin‘ ‘Round This World (2:26)BONUS TRACK
High Flyin‘ Bird (2:36)BONUS TRACK
It’s Alright (2:17)BONUS TRACK
Go To Her (Early Version) (4:09)BONUS TRACK
Let Me In (Original Uncensored Version) (3:31)BONUS TRACK
Run Around (Original Uncensored Version) (2:35)BONUS TRACK
Chauffeur Blues (Alternate Version) (2:50)BONUS TRACK
And I Like It (Alternate Version) (10:36)BONUS TRACK
Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
Consider this… Surrealistic Pillow is probably the album most responsible for the glut of nameless, faceless, now forgotten psychedelic acts that littered the musical landscape of 1967-68. Label execs and talent scouts, weaned on, and still thinking in terms of, fads and a 6 month shelf life, spread out across California with open-ended contracts in an attempt to re-capture the staggering sales success of Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic brew. But, this was a rare alignment of the stars, thanks to the only two compositions Grace Slick brought with her into the Airplane’s fold, “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love” (the latter written by bro-in-law, Darby Slick). After the indoctrination of drugs and self-indulgence, however, future psychedelic acts (the real ones, that is) were rarely this commercially viable again. Including the Airplane. Amazon.

She Has Funny Cars (3:11)
Somebody To Love (2:58)
My Best Friend (3:01)
Today (3:00)
Comin‘ Back To Me (5:18)
3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds (3:42)
D. C. B. A.-25 (2:37)
How Do You Feel (3:31)
Embryonic Journey (1:54)
White Rabbit (2:31)
Plastic Fantastic Lover (2:38)
In The Morning (6:22) – BONUS TRACK
J. P. P. Mc Step B. Blues (2:38)BONUS TRACK
Go To Her (4:03)BONUS TRACK
Come Back Baby (2:57)BONUS TRACK
Somebody To Love (Mono Single Version) (2:59)BONUS TRACK
White Rabbit (Mono Single Version) (5:21)BONUS TRACK


After Bathing At Baxter’s (1967)
Released in 1967, After Bathing At Baxter’s was an early test of meddle for Jefferson Airplane, one of the first psych bands to find themselves at the crossroads of art and commerce. Quite unexpectedly, they were pressured to choose between the commerciality of Surrealistic Pillow and what they were alternately offering up to live audiences up and down the West Coast. JeffAir honorably followed their muse… and the result is one of the great psychedelic albums of all time. Throughout ABAB, the patented psych harmonies of Slick, Balin and Kantner are magically inventive, carrying the purity of the era like a freak flag into the present. Jorma Kaukonen’s fuzz guitar explorations were, and are, the essence of psychedelia. You can even hear the Airplane out-Mother The Mothers of Invention on “A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You, Shortly.” The 11 minute version of “The Ballad Of You Me And Pooneil” aptly showcases the band’s live prowess, which would be further explored on Bless Its Pointed Little Head. Amazon.

The Ballad Of You & Me & Pooneil (4:35)
A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You, Shortly (1:34)
Young Girl Sunday Blues (3:36)
Martha (3:26)
Wild Thyme (H) (3:11)
The Last Wall Of The Castle (2:41)
Rejoyce (4:04)
Watch Her Ride (3:11)
Spare Chaynge (9:13)
Two Heads (3:13)
Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon (5:07)
The Ballad Of You & Me & Pooneil (Live – Long Version) (11:08)BONUS TRACK
Martha (Mono Single Version) (3:29)BONUS TRACK
Two Heads (Alternate Version) (3:19)BONUS TRACK
Things Are Better In The East (Demo Version) (6:41)BONUS TRACK


Crown Of Creation (1968)
Crown of Creation is an alternately quiet and powerful release – and a truly democratic one, too, with shared space for all the band’s songwriters. Curiously for such a cohesive effort, the album was recorded in bits and pieces throughout 1968, in between gigs when time permitted. Paul Kantner scores big with the totally Jeffersonian title track, while Grace Slick’s oblique “Lather” remains one of the band’s more memorable ballads. The addition of David Crosby’s “Triad” is a perfect fit, too. On the streaming Baxter’s track above, you can hear the influence of Frank Zappa (a bit of a hidden Spencer Dryden trademark, as it turns out), but this expanded version’s bonus track, “Would You Like A Snack,” is actually a co-write by Zappa and Slick, and features performances by Art Tripp, Don Preston & Ian Underwood of The Mothers. Amazon.

Lather (2:58)
In Time (4:14)
Triad (4:56)
Star Track (3:12)
Share A Little Joke (3:10)
Chushingura (1:21)
If You Feel (3:22)
Crown Of Creation (2:54)
Ice Cream Phoenix (3:03)
Greasy Heart (3:27)
The House At Pooneil Corners (5:55)
Ribump Ba Bap Dum Dum (1:33)BONUS TRACK
Would You Like A Snack (2:40)BONUS TRACK
Share A Little Joke (Mono Single Version) (3:09)BONUS TRACK
The Saga Of Sydney Spacepig (10:30)BONUS TRACK


Bless Its Pointed Little Head (1968)
One of my biggest musical regrets is not seeing these guys in their prime, and Bless Its Pointed Little Head captures that psych abandon and inter-band chemistry in spades. Reportedly, it’s each member’s favorite Airplane album, probably because it documents what they did night after night on the road. Fittingly, it was recorded at The Fillmores East & West. The expanded version offers three previously unreleased tracks. Amazon.

Clergy (1:35)
3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds (4:39)
Somebody To Love (4:16)
Fat Angel (7:37)
Rock Me Baby (7:49)
The Other Side Of This Life (6:45)
It’s No Secret (3:31)
Plastic Fantastic Lover (3:53)
Turn Out The Lights (1:25)
Bear Melt (11:28)
Today (3:45)BONUS TRACK
Watch Her Ride (3:19)BONUS TRACK
Won’t You Try (5:30)BONUS TRACK


Volunteers (1969)
Still my favorite JA album, for its ballsy, in-your-face declarations and finely tuned execution (despite how gloriously loose much of the album is). Ideas like “we are all outlaws in the eyes of America” spoke to a generation of misfits and drug users, who would fervently raise their fists to sing along with revolutionary rhetoric like “Up against the wall, motherfucker,” just before sulking back to the couch for another hit. The live bonus tracks were recorded in November, 1969 at the Fillmore East. Amazon.

We Can Be Together (5:48)
Good Shepherd (4:23)
The Farm (3:14)
Hey Frederick (8:34)
Turn My Life Down (2:57)
Wooden Ships (6:28)
Eskimo Blue Day (6:36)
A Song For All Seasons (3:30)
Meadowlands (1:04)
Volunteers (2:09)
Good Shepherd (Live) (7:20)BONUS TRACK
Somebody To Love (Live) (4:11)BONUS TRACK
Plastic Fantastic Lover (Live) (3:22)BONUS TRACK
Wooden Ships (Live) (7:00)BONUS TRACK
Volunteers (Live) (3:27)BONUS TRACK

——————————————————————————-


Volunteers Sessions (1969)
Bark Sessions (1971)

Two gatherings of outtakes and studio jams. Volunteers was, for some, Jefferson Airplane’s apex, while the follow up sessions for Bark, from December 1970 and January 1971, found the band already splintered apart, with both Marty Balin and Spencer Dryden leaving the fold. The sound on these unreleased boots is kinda thin, but still interesting for fans of the studio process. On the acoustic version of “We Can Be Together,” you can hear Paul Kantner first debuting the song, offering asides on how it should go as he plays.


Volunteers Sessions
Volunteers (Take 18) (2:17)
We Can Be Together (Extended Intro w/Lead Guitar Overdub) (6:23)
We Can Be Together (Acoustic Demo Version) (6:16)
We Can Be Together (Take 75 Master w/Lead Guitar Overdub) (6:14)
Good Shepherd (w/Vocal Overdubs) (4:32)
Good Shepherd (Alternate w/Vocal Overdubs) (4:36)
The Farm (w/Acoustic Guitar Overdubs) (3:07)
The Farm (Alternate w/Acoustic Guitar Overdubs) (3:15)
Turn My Life Down (Demo Version Take 33) (3:06)
Wooden Ships (Vocal Take 1) (8:32)
J. P. P. McStep B. Blues (Backing Track) (8:28)
A Song for All Seasons (Alternate Take) (3:32)
Hey Frederick (w/Lead Guitar Overdubs) (6:58)
Hey Frederick (Alternate Take w/Lead Guitar Overdubs) (7:15)

Bark Sessions
Pretty As You Feel (13:48)
Banjo (5:50)
Wild Turkey (4:24)
Jam 1 (11:30)
Jam 2 (11:27)
Jam 3 (6:34)
Jam 4 (13:19)
Feel So Good (10:25)

 

17 Comments

  • 1
    Willard
    June 20, 2011 - 14:13 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • 2
    Brian
    January 3, 2012 - 23:00 | Permalink

    Jefferson Airplane!! THE soundtrack of my late teens/early 20’s. Tokes/tabs/music….I fed my head AND remember it! They played here in Winnipeg sometime late ’67 early ’68 but I couldn’t make it. A friend told me they wandered through the audience before the concert, talking/toking/mingling. When “Baxter’s” came out we got one of the first copies to hit the city [advantages of a friend working in the largest record shop in town] and, properly ‘primed’, parents away for the weekend, we settled in to listen to the Airplane’s newest hits. Not quite a disappointment but definitely not what we were expecting. Strangely, hearing it ‘straight’ next time it made sense. Wonderful, psychedelic sense!!! “After Bathing At Baxter’s” and “Bless It’s Pointed Little Head” [one of the most most powerful, energy packed 'live' recordings of all time] are my favorite J.A. albums. I can listen to them anytime, anywhere. I’ve got all these remasters but the two “Sessions” are downloading now. Many thanks for the posting, Willard.

    -Brian

    • 3
      Willard
      January 4, 2012 - 08:14 | Permalink

      I’m with you buddy. Anytime I hear JeffAir it takes me right back.

  • 4
    KDNYfm
    May 15, 2012 - 11:45 | Permalink

    I have Pillow and Takes Off in my vinyl collection, and actually they are there for my ‘completist’ type attitude towards Moby Grape.
    Surrealistic Pillow is still my fave JA album, some great tunes on here! Today, Comin Back to Me, Embryonic Journey and Plastic Fantastic Lover…not to mention the obvious…although I really have to get that image of Jim Carrey out of my head every time I hear Somebody to Love…
    Thanx for sharing as usual Willard!
    Al

  • 5
    Mike
    November 23, 2012 - 20:39 | Permalink

    Thanks for the useful info and comments. You may want to add that there’s a hidden bonus track at the end of the Surrealistic Pillow CD — an alternate instrumental version of D.C.B.A.-25. Also, Darby Slick, who wrote Somebody to Love (originally recorded as Someone to Love) wasn’t Grace’s one-time hubby; he was her brother-in-law.

  • 6
    Willard
    November 23, 2012 - 20:49 | Permalink

    Thanks for the catch and details.

  • 7
    Russell
    February 5, 2013 - 21:00 | Permalink

    I’ve been going thru a JA re-trip the past few months. thanks for all this kickass stuff (esp. the Bark sessions!!)

  • 8
    collectedpoems
    July 23, 2013 - 11:21 | Permalink

    hi. new link for crown of creation? fyi, looks like the surrealistic pillow link is dead too. thank you!

    • 9
      Willard
      July 23, 2013 - 13:40 | Permalink

      New links up, thanks CP.

  • 10
    collectedpoems
    July 23, 2013 - 13:41 | Permalink

    thank you!

  • 11
    roger
    August 17, 2013 - 23:59 | Permalink

    Thank you.

  • 12
    Anonymous
    August 31, 2013 - 13:58 | Permalink

    Thanks for a great collection I really enjoyed listening to these again.

  • 13
    Anonymous
    January 16, 2014 - 00:55 | Permalink

    many tanx! Sorry, but I had to hear Plastic Fantastic Lover again.

  • 14
    Bob 1950
    February 1, 2014 - 10:08 | Permalink

    Jorma Kaukonen is one of the most underrated guitarists in rock history. JA is also,in my opinion THE most underrated rock band.So much songwriting,singing and instrumental talent. I also think that the band suffered from having a female front person. They also suffered commercially because they were considered a PSYCHEDELIC band. That tag does apply to the band but I think it pigenholes them. Some of their music was soft and lovely. This stigma also applies to a band like country joe and the fish who are better known for the fuck cheer than their music.

  • 15
    Rhod
    September 5, 2014 - 21:47 | Permalink

    Thanks Willard

    I am getting into the Airplane for the second time and find their albums great listening that evokes a whole lot of memories.

    regards

    Rhod

    • 16
      Willard
      September 5, 2014 - 22:38 | Permalink

      Hearing JA always takes me back to my drug-taking days.

  • 17
    Ace
    September 14, 2014 - 01:48 | Permalink

    Thank you. The original Jefferson Airplane was better than Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane.

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