Jefferson Airplane

Feed Your Head: Live 1967-1969

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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder

A live Jefferson Airplane anthology of dubious legality (but evidently fair game in England, whence it comes), apparently overlapping Mastertone's equally shadowy White Rabbit CD from 1998, showcasing their sound on a dozen numbers, most of them from Surrealistic Pillow. The disc opens promisingly enough with "Other Side of This Life" (incorrectly labeled on the CD), highlighted by some nimble and powerful drumming by Spencer Dryden and slashing lead guitar from Jorma Kaukonen, plus Grace Slick and Marty Balin in excellent voice and miked really close. The quality of most of the live tracks is so good, that it's difficult to fathom precisely which gigs they were recorded at. "White Rabbit" actually is the studio cut, with the channels reversed and the volume and treble pumped up, as are "Don't Slip Away" and "My Best Friend," while "Today" is most definitely live, complete with some obvious damage to the source tape, wrong notes, and wildly shifting dynamics. "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds" is clean enough to be a studio cut, except it's definitely live, though from where and when is anyone's guess. Amid the frustrating shifts in tone, origin, and quality, one also gets a reminder -- on "This Is My Life and I Like It" -- of just how fine a blues singer Balin could be in his time. Perhaps if the Airplane members themselves could get behind a release like this, it would lead to something coherent, and more than spottily revelatory.

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