Jefferson Airplane

Cleared for Take Off

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British label Acrobat's Jefferson Airplane title Cleared for Take Offcontains live and (possibly) outtake material from the band's heyday, recorded circa 1966-67. The group runs through songs contained on its first two albums, Jefferson AirplaneTakes Off and Surrealistic Pillow, with a few curiosities. "Don't Let Me Down," never featured on a regular Jefferson Airplane album, is a nine-minute showcase for lead singer Marty Balin that gives way to improvisation. Lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's "Come Back Baby," misnamed "Jorma's Blues," is a song that didn't get on to record until his spin-off band Hot Tuna's second LP First Pull Up, Then Pull Down, in 1971. "Thing" is an instrumental. While the disc may be legal technically, it is certainly unauthorized, and it suffers most of the disadvantages of bootlegs. The sound is often distorted; tracks start, stop, and fade abruptly; and the annotations are scant and sometimes inaccurate. (In particular, the song list is incorrect, with "She Has Funny Cars" shown as appearing as the fourth track when it is really the tenth track, and all the tracks from four to nine are thus off by one.) These major caveats accepted, a fervent Jefferson Airplane fan probably will want to hear these examples of what the group sounded like at their popular peak, particularly on the extended version of the hit "Somebody to Love," with vocal embellishments by Balin.

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