Saturday, February 22, 2014

Jefferson Airplane: When The Earth Moves Again

I have two albums in my collection that came in brown paper wrappers – one of those was designed as a knock off of an A&P bag – Jefferson Airplane’s “Bark” from 1971. “Bark” was the first release on Jefferson Airplane’s own label Grunt Records.

While a handful of other artists recorded for Grunt, the great majority of releases were from the Airplane and its spinoff groups and solo projects. It was also the band’s first album without Marty Balin who would later rejoin Jefferson Starship in 1975.

The first cut on “Bark” was a song that was neglected for single release, but received a modicum of album radio play was “When the Earth Moves Again.” Personally I prefer the mix on the Airplane’s live album “Thirty Seconds over Winterland,” which was released in 1973. Be that as it may, I am featuring both versions of the song.

I feel that the live version better becuase the vocals have more punch. Perhaps this is because David Freiberg, an alumnus of Quicksilver Messenger Service,” joined Grace Slick and Paul Kantner singing lead on this Kantner composition. The guitars are also hotter in the mix as well.

No singles were issued from “Thirty Seconds over Winterland.” Although the reviews of “Bark” were mixed, it peaked on the album chart at #11; “Thirty Seconds Over Winterland,” which I also have as an import, was one of the bands poorer charting albums with a peak at #52.

The personnel on both cuts were slightly different. While both releases featured long time JA members Slick (vocals), Kantner (guitar & vocals), Jorma Kaukonen (guitar), and Jack Casady (bass), some changes appeared by the recording of the live tracks at San Franciso’s Winterland Ballroom in August and September 1972.

In addition to adding Freiberg on vocals, Johnny Barbata (from The Turtles) replaced Joey Covington on drums. Papa John Creach, who had been performing with Airplane spinoff band Hot Tuna, was enlisted as a sideman on “Bark.” He played on three of the album’s cuts including “When the Earth Moves Again.” By 1972, Creach had become a full-fledged member of the band, albeit the oldest member at 55 – but looked much older at the time.

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