Hot Tuna

First Pull Up Then Pull Down/Burgers

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Hot Tuna's second and third albums, 1971's First Pull Up Then Pull Down and 1972's Burgers, are combined onto one package with this release. Taken together, the albums are about a minute too long to fit onto one CD, so this is a two-CD reissue rather than a single-disc release. Both of these records saw Hot Tuna expanding into different directions, though maintaining a good deal of continuity with the kind of folk-blues with which they'd established themselves on their self-titled debut. Like that debut, First Pull Up Then Pull Down was a live recording (after an unfinished attempt at a studio LP), with the crucial difference that it featured a different and more electric band, with Papa John Creach adding fiddle. The main influence, however, remained blues, especially on covers of two songs by Reverend Gary Davis and "Come Back Baby," which Jorma Kaukonen had been performing with Jefferson Airplane since that group's early days. Burgers was Hot Tuna's first studio album, and though blues remained a big part of the repertoire (especially on "Keep on Truckin'" and Kaukonen's heavy blues-rock original "Ode for Billy Dean"), by now their scope had widened considerably. Kaukonen's "Sea Child" was an obvious highlight as its psychedelic rock was more in line with most of what he'd done with the Airplane than the rootsier stuff on which Hot Tuna tended to concentrate. But there was also some good-time music as indebted to bluegrass, ragtime, and folk-country as straight blues, including "Highway Song," on which David Crosby added vocals. Hot Tuna's debut is still regarded by fans of the band with great affection, but this is a good way to experience the group's evolution over the course of its next two albums, with an illustrated booklet and historical liner notes.