Special 16

California Rocks the Folk

1965-1966, The First Installment...

Recently the first Jefferson Airplane album was re-issued in mono on vinyl. I bought this record in mono while I was in Junior High, and it is not only a distinctive sounding recording, it also sounds wonderful. So I wanted to build a show around record and also play some interesting and important sounds not just from the San Francisco area but also from the Los Angeles area. This effort led as well to a second folk rock show, which will come later.

Recently there has been much fuss over Triangle and Bradley’s Barn by the Beau Brummels. They were the major success for Autumn Records in 1965, charting as early as January. The first set includes two of their best early tracks. Also heard is a Vejetables A-side and a track by the Tikis that was not issued at the time. Like the entire show, everything in this set is from vinyl. Almost all of it is in mono as well.

The mid-section of the show features both sides of Takes Off. I have prefaced side one with the B-side of the first single, It’s No Secret. It was released in February, 1966, almost seven months before RCA chose to release Takes Off. No other Jefferson Airplane album sounds like Takes Off. The group had a different drummer, Alex ‘Skip’ Spence, before joining Moby Grape, and a different female singer, Signe Anderson, NOT Grace Slick. While 1966 saw the band become looser and edge toward something like the 'psychedelic sound' that appears on After Bathing At Baxter’s and Crown Of Creation, on this very first album, the group really does have a folk rock sound, though quite a unique one. Jack Cassidy’s bass playing and sound are very much a part of this, since it is deeper and more probing than any bass sound I can think of on comparable 'folk rock' recordings from the period. Jorma Kaukonen’s guitar playing uses sharp, tinny and sometimes jagged tones and much of what he does is blues abd r&b based, quite different than the chiming guitar sounds of Byrd’s records, of than what is heard in the opening set of this show. The singing may not be as aggressive as it became when Slick joined, but leader Marty Balin is surely finding his voice on material like And I Like It—and he did develop and get better, as can be heard on the live recording of that song on Live at The Fillmore Auditorium 10/1/66: Late Show: Signe’s Farewell. Signe also sounds great and her talents deserve to be better known.

The show closes with four wonderful tracks from the first Peanut Butter Conspiracy album. Best known for strong harmonies and the vocals of Sandi Robinson, perhaps the standout in this set is The Market Place, featuring great lead guitar, and fantastic production by Gary Usher. It stands up to any similar recordings by David Lindley’s band Kaleidoscope.

[note: I Still Love You and all four by Peanut Butter Conspiracy are stereo; all others are in mono]

Set 1

  1. I Still Love You
  2. Darkest Night of the Year
  3. Sad Little Girl
  4. Don't Talk To Strangers
    Beau Brummels

Set 2

  1. Runnin' Round This World
  2. Blues From An Airplane
  3. Let Me In
  4. Bringing Me Down
  5. It's No Secret
  6. Tobacco Road
    Jefferson Airplane

Set 3

  1. Come Up The Years
  2. Run Around
  3. Let's Get Together
  4. Don't Slip Away
  5. Chauffer Blues
  6. And I Like It
    Jefferson Airplane

Set 4

  1. Twice is Life
  2. Dark On You Now
  3. The Market Place
  4. You Sholud Know
    Peanut Butter Conspiracy


Posted on April 2, 2013 .