Grace Slick & The Great Society
added: 12 Apr 2014
// release date: 12 Apr 2014 // label: Retroworld
reviewer: Andy Snipper
Everybody must have heard the wondrous ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane with haunting vocals by Grace Slick but not too many have heard her in the band she fronted before joining the Airplane – The Great Society. Remarkably, it doesn’t fare badly in comparison - not at all.
As you might expect the music is acid tinged and spacey with Slick’s vocals up front but the rest of the band were no slouches either and David Milner and brother-in-law Darby Slick’s guitars along with Slick’s husband Jerry on drums and Bard DuPont on bass make a very good sound – for the time.
The tracks here were all recorded live – after Jefferson Airplane made their mark this was released as a cash-in – and this collates two albums: ‘Conspicuous By Its Absence’ & ‘How It Was’. The sound is pretty lightweight – it was recorded on 4 track – but the band are actually pretty good and Slick’s voice has the same haunting tone that she made her trademark.
You get versions of ‘Someone To Love’ (JA recorded it as ‘Somebody To Love’) and ‘White Rabbit’ which Slick brought with her to Jefferson Airplane and it is fascinating to hear them in an early version without reverb and ‘effects’ on the tape.
The gonzo guitar break on 'Arbitration' is great fun and the band really cook on opener 'Sally Go Round The Roses'.
You might expect the album to pall after a few minutes but the music is good enough to stand repeated listening - and the band were on course to their own place in San Francisco fame before Slick was poached by Airplane and the band imploded.
Essentially it is a curio but actually one that stands in its own right. One for fans of the San Francisco scene and the Airplane in particular but good music too.
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