Jefferson Airplane – Takes Off (1966)

LPFrontCover1.jpgJefferson Airplane Takes Off is the debut album of American rock band Jefferson Airplane, released in August 1966 as RCA Victor LSP-3584 (stereo) and LPM-3584 (mono). The personnel differs from the later “classic” lineup: Signe Toly Anderson was the female vocalist and Skip Spence played drums. Both left the group shortly after the album’s release and were replaced by Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden, respectively

RCA executives found some of the lyrics too sexually suggestive. They had the band change the lyrics in “Let Me In” from “I gotta get in, you know where” to “You shut your door, now it ain’t fair”, and “Don’t tell me you want money” to “Don’t tell me it’s so funny”. In “Run Around” they had the line “Blinded by colors come flashing from flowers that sway as you lay under me” altered to “that sway as you stay here by me”. With “Runnin’ ‘Round This World” the executives insisted that “trips” in the line “The nights I’ve spent with you have been fantastic trips” referred to taking LSD, though the band insisted it was merely common slang. Even replacing the word “trips” with a guitar apreggio did not placate RCA’s concerns with the line’s sexual connotations and refused its inclusion on the album, and the recording remained unreleased for the next eight years.

The album’s release drew little press attention at a time when mainstream newspapers did not normally cover rock releases and the rock press was yet in its infancy. Crawdaddy! highlighted the album on the cover of its January 1967 issue, which included a three-page review by the magazine’s assistant editor Tim Jurgens, who called the album “faulted” yet “the most important album of American rock” of 1966. (by wikipedia)

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The debut Jefferson Airplane album was dominated by singer Marty Balin, who wrote or co-wrote all the original material and sang most of the lead vocals in his heartbreaking tenor with Paul Kantner and Signe Anderson providing harmonies and backup. (Anderson’s lead vocal on “Chauffeur Blues” indicated she was at least the equal of her successor, Grace Slick, as a belter.) The music consisted mostly of folk-rock love songs, the most memorable of which were “It’s No Secret” and “Come up the Years.” (There was also a striking version of Dino Valente’s “Get Together” recorded years before the Youngbloods’ hit version.) Jorma Kaukonen already displayed a talent for mixing country, folk, and blues riffs in a rock context, and Jack Casady already had a distinctive bass sound. But the Airplane of Balin-Kantner-Kaukonen-Anderson-Casady-Spence is to be distinguished from the Balin-Kantner-Kaukonen-Casady-Slick-Dryden version of the band that would emerge on record five months later chiefly by Balin’s dominance. Later, Grace Slick would become the group’s vocal and visual focal point. On Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, the Airplane was still Balin’s group. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Signe Toly Anderson (vocals, percussion)
Marty Balin (vocals, guitar)
Jack Casady (bass)
Paul Kantner (guitar, vocals)

Jorma Kaukonen (guitar)
Skip Spence – drums)
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Spencer Dryden (drums on 15., 18. + 19.)

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Tracklist:
01. Blues From An Airplane (Balin/Spence) 2.13
02. Let Me In (Balin/Kantner) 2.59
03. Bringing Me Down (Balin/Kantner) 2.24
04. It’s No Secret (Balin) 2.39
05. Tobacco Road (Warnick[n) (*) 3.30
06. Come Up The Years (Balin/Kantner) 2.32
07. Run Around (Balin/Kantner) 2.40
08. Let’s Get Together (Kantner/Anderson/Balin/Powers) 3.35
09. Don’t Slip Away (Balin/Spence) 2.34
10. Chauffeur Blues (Melrose) 2.28
11. And I Like It (Balin/Kaukonen) 3.20
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12. Runnin’ Round This World (from Early Flight) (Balin/Kantner) 2.25
13. High Flying Bird (from Early Flight) (Wheeler) 2.17
14. It’s Alright (from Early Flight) (Balin/Spence) 2:17
15. Go To Her” (from Jefferson Airplane Loves You) Kantner, Irving Estes 4:09
16. “Let Me In (from Jefferson Airplane Loves You) (Balin/Kantner) 3.31
17. Run Around (uncensored version) (Balin/Kantner) 2.35
18. Chauffeur Blues (alternate version) (Melrose) 2.49
19.1. And I Like It (alternate version) (Balin/Kaukonen) 8.16
19.2.. Blues From An Airplane (instrumental; hidden track) (Balin/Spence) 2.10

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