Jefferson Airplane

Captain Consciousness Presents Jefferson Airplane

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Fourteen of the 20 songs on this disc of unreleased live 1966 Jefferson Airplane were recorded at a couple of gigs in January 1966 at Vancouver. (Not that you would necessarily know this from looking at the sleeve notes; the psychedelic lettering is virtually impossible to read.) These are the only live recordings of the Skip Spence-era lineup to have escaped into wide circulation, and as such have considerable historical value. As music, it's only fair. The fidelity is mediocre, although listenable, and the playing is not as tight or powerful as it would be even on the several bootlegs of unreleased live Airplane shows from late 1966. Most of the set is taken off their first album, but it's remarkable for the inclusion of several covers not found anywhere else, and ones that you wouldn't have suspected to have been part of the Airplane's early repertoire -- "In the Midnight Hour," "Lay Down Your Weary Tune," the Byrds' "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," "Kansas City," and Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do." Of these, "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" and "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" sound about exactly as you'd expect them to, but the blues and R&B items are clunky and whitebread, not working nearly as well as the folk-rockers. The CD ends with six tracks from late 1966 (the date given is September 30, 1966), when Signe Anderson was in her final days with the Airplane. The sound and performance on these are notably better than the Vancouver recordings, but the tracks have long been available on other bootlegs, some of which (such as Flight Log) offer a much more complete version of the show, with 11 songs.