Friday, November 28, 2014


Jefferson Airplane tore down the walls and got a revolution with the free and easy acid anarchy of this controversial classic.  After spearheading the psychedelic movement with 'Surrealistic Pillow', the group continued to challenge themselves and their audiences with the heavier sound of albums like 'After Bathing at Baxter's' and 'Crown of Creation', and the live 'Bless Its Pointed Little Head'; all of which were commercial successes, despite the fact that radio was reluctant to play their singles.  By the time they came to record their next album, the group had secured artistic control and went into Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco with its state-of-the-art Ampex MM-1000 professional 16-track tape recorder.  The sessions were produced by Al Schmitt and engineered by Rich Schmitt and featured Grace Slick on vocals, piano, organ, and recorder;   Paul Kantner on vocals and rhythm guitar;  Marty Balin on vocals and percussion;   Jorma Kaukonen on lead guitar and vocals;   Jack Casady on bass;  and Spencer Dryden on drums and percussion;   with Nicky Hopkins on piano;  Stephen Stills on hammond organ;  Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar;  Joey Covington on congas and chair;  David Crosby contributing sailboat;  Ace of Cups adding vocals on "The Farm" and "Turn My Life Down";  and Bill Laudner providing lead vocals on "A Song for All Seasons".  

After the album was recorded, the group took part in the Woodstock Music & Art Fair where they played several songs from the album.  The release of the album was complicated when the actual Volunteers of America charity took umbrage with their intended 'Volunteers of Amerika'; so it was shortened to 'Volunteers'.  Despite having no hit singles, the album went to thirty-four in the UK and thirteen in the US, where it was certified gold.  It would be the final album with the band's classic lineup, as Marty Balin and Spencer Dryden would leave the group.

"Wooden Ships" was written by  David Crosby, Paul Kantner and Stephen Stills in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a boat named "Mayan" owned by Crosby.  It had appeared on 'Crosby, Stills, & Nash' earlier that year.

If you smile at me, I will understand
'Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
In the same language
I can see by your coat, my friend
You're from the other side
There's just one thing I got to know
Can you tell me please, who won the war ?
Say, can I have some of your purple berries?
Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive
Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy
Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline, let us be
Talkin' 'bout very free and easy
Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cries
Stare as all human feelings die
We are leaving, you don't need us
Go, take your sister then, by the hand
Lead her away from this foreign land
Far away, where we might laugh again
We are leaving, you don't need us
And it's a fair wind blowin' warm
Out of the south over my shoulder
Guess I'll set a course and go

live at Woodstock

live at Woodstock

"We Can Be Together / Volunteers"

full album:

Side one
1. "We Can Be Together"   Paul Kantner 5:48
2. "Good Shepherd"   traditional, arranged by Jorma Kaukonen 4:21
3. "The Farm"   Kantner, Gary Blackman  3:15
4. "Hey Fredrick"   Grace Slick 8:26
Side two
1. "Turn My Life Down"   Kaukonen 2:54
2. "Wooden Ships"   David Crosby, Kantner, Stephen Stills 6:24
3. "Eskimo Blue Day"   Slick, Kantner 6:31
4. "A Song for All Seasons"   Spencer Dryden 3:28
5. "Meadowlands"   traditional, arranged by Slick, Kantner 1:04
6. "Volunteers"   Marty Balin, Kantner 2:08

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