I liked hearing directly from Jorma Kaukonen. His words were very personal and revealing. I came away from the book with a better appreciation of who Jorma Kaukonen really is as a person and a musician. His challenges were shared in an honest fashion. As they say, the truth will set you free.
The first album I owned by Jefferson Airplane was Crown of Creation, their fourth album. I was a late bloomer to the album rock sound of JA. I was familiar with their hits “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love” from extensive AM and FM radio airplay in 1967. It took me longer to establish an immediacy with their album content.
I’ll never quite understand why I didn’t own Surrealistic Pillow first as it was their most accessible and known album.
I fully embraced Crown of Creation when it was released in September of 1968. I loved many of the songs on this album. I was working part-time in a grocery store in those days, so I had a little more “pocket-money” to spend on vinyl LPs. I remember picking it off the rack on the wall at the record store in downtown Norwalk that I haunted frequently. The cover with its fiery mushroom cloud called to me.
My favorite track on Crown of Creation is “Lather“. It was written about Spencer Dryden (drummer), Grace Slick‘s lover then turning 30. I love when the word, “Child” is whispered at the beginning of the song…
According to the Wikipedia article on Lather (The Song):
“But Lather still finds it a nice thing to do,
To lie about nude in the sand,
Drawing pictures of mountains that look like bumps,
I love how Hot Tuna keeps on trucking. They released last month, Steady As She Goes, their first studio recording in over 20 years. It is a stellar recording which captures and expands the Electric Hot Tuna sound I’ve come to relish and witness all these years 🙂
I’ve been playing Steady As She Goes through the DELL PC and the Bose Sound Dock . Microsoft Zune supplies the Hot Tuna recording as a Windows Media Audio file, 192kbps which is equal to Audio CD output level. I’ve resisted the urge to buy the digital download for the car as I am waiting on the deluxe edition 2-lp vinyl+ release sometime in May? This edition is mastered at half-speed and pressed on 180 gram HQ. I’m always a sucker for “deluxe editions”. This specialty package includes new artwork, which I love to hold and look at, plus a full CD of the album. It also has a temporary tattoo which I think is very cool 😉 Maybe the Fur Peace Ranch Store will sell them separately so I can wear this tattoo to their next concert (hint, hint).
There ain’t a clunker or uneven track on Steady As She Goes, all twelve tracks cook. I think it was an incredibly smart move of Jorma, Jack and company to head up to Woodstock, NY and record at Levon Helm‘s studio. They achieved a warm, engaging sound there. Larry Campbell‘s production ability continues to amaze and impress me. His co-operation with Hot Tuna is very clear throughout the recording. I hear his fiddle and guitar on various tracks.
What can I say about Jorma and Jack, I have dug their interplay ever since JA. I am gaining a strong appreciation for the contributions that Barry Mitterhoff (mandolin and many more instruments…) and Skoota Warner (drums) make as they enhance and extend Hot Tuna’s electric sound.
I especially love the vocals by Teresa Williams (she’s married to Larry Campbell) she asserts herself well. Teresa’s voice is a fresh dimension to Hot Tuna’s sound. She has a gutsy blues sound which counter balances Jorma’s vocals with distinction. Electric Hot Tuna growing into a virtual quintet is a cool prospect. I don’t feel compelled to compare Teresa Williams to Grace Slick at all. To my ears they are each unique vocalists, I love how each of them sings and emotes, personally I don’t think its fair to make such a comparison to either of them.
Congratulations to Hot Tuna and Red House Records you have a solid hit on your hands here. Job well done all!