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Jefferson Airplane|Volunteers

Volunteers

Jefferson Airplane

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Controversial at the time, delayed because of fights with the record company over lyrical content and the original title (Volunteers of America), Volunteers was a powerful release that neatly closed out and wrapped up the '60s. Here, the Jefferson Airplane presents itself in full revolutionary rhetoric, issuing a call to "tear down the walls" and "get it on together." "We Can Be Together" and "Volunteers" bookend the album, offering musical variations on the same chord progression and lyrical variations on the same theme. Between these politically charged rock anthems, the band offers a mix of words and music that reflect the competing ideals of simplicity and getting "back to the earth," and overthrowing greed and exploitation through political activism, adding a healthy dollop of psychedelic sci-fi for texture. Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's beautiful arrangement of the traditional "Good Shepherd" is a standout here, and Jerry Garcia's pedal steel guitar gives "The Farm" an appropriately rural feel. The band's version of "Wooden Ships" is much more eerie than that released earlier in the year by Crosby, Stills & Nash. Oblique psychedelia is offered here via Grace Slick's "Hey Frederick" and ecologically tinged "Eskimo Blue Day." Drummer Spencer Dryden gives an inside look at the state of the band in the country singalong "A Song for All Seasons."
The musical arrangements here are quite potent. Nicky Hopkins' distinctive piano highlights a number of tracks, and Kaukonen's razor-toned lead guitar is the recording's unifying force, blazing through the mix, giving the album its distinctive sound. Although the political bent of the lyrics may seem dated to some, listening to Volunteers is like opening a time capsule on the end of an era, a time when young people still believed music had the power to change the world.

© Jim Newsom /TiVo

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Volunteers

Jefferson Airplane

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1
We Can Be Together (Remastered 2004)
00:05:47

Jerry Garcia, Steel Guitar - Joey Covington, Percussion - Nicky Hopkins, Piano - Jorma Kaukonen, Guitar - Stephen Stills, Organ - Spencer Dryden, Drums - Grace Slick, Vocal - Jack Casady, Bass - Marty Balin, Vocal - Al Schmitt, Producer - Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Paul Kantner, Vocal - Paul Kantner, Guitar - Ace Of Club, Vocal - Jefferson Airplane, Performer

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Good Shepherd (Remastered 2004)
00:04:22

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Al Schmitt, Producer - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - Jorma Kaukonen, Arranger

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
The Farm (Remastered 2004)
00:03:12

Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Blackman, Composer - Al Schmitt, Producer - Gary Blackman, Lyricist - Kantner, Composer

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Hey Frederick (Remastered 2004)
00:08:32

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Grace Slick, Composer - Grace Slick, Lyricist - Al Schmitt, Producer

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Turn My Life Down (Remastered 2004)
00:02:57

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Richie Schmitt, Engineer - Al Schmitt, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Wooden Ships (Remastered 2004)
00:06:26

Jerry Garcia, Steel Guitar - Joey Covington, Percussion - Nicky Hopkins, Piano - Jorma Kaukonen, Guitar - Stephen Stills, Organ - Stephen Stills, Composer - Stephen Stills, Lyricist - Spencer Dryden, Drums - Grace Slick, Vocal - Jack Casady, Bass - David Crosby, Lyricist - David Crosby, Composer - Marty Balin, Vocal - Al Schmitt, Producer - Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Vocal - Paul Kantner, Guitar - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Ace Of Club, Vocal - Jefferson Airplane, Performer

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Eskimo Blue Day (Remastered 2004)
00:06:37

Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Grace Slick, Composer - Grace Slick, Lyricist - Al Schmitt, Producer

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
A Song for All Seasons (Remastered 2004)
00:03:31

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Spencer Dryden, Composer - Al Schmitt, Producer

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Meadowlands (Remastered 2004)
00:01:06

Paul Kantner, Arranger - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Grace Slick, Arranger - Al Schmitt, Producer - Traditional, Composer

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Volunteers (Remastered 2004)
00:02:03

Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Al Schmitt, Producer - Marty Balin, Lyricist - Marty Balin, Composer

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
Good Shepherd (Live)
00:07:25

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - Jorma Kaukonen, Arranger

(P) 2004 BMG Music

12
Somebody To Love
00:04:10

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Darby Slick, Lyricist - Darby Slick, Composer

(P) 2004 BMG Music

13
Plastic Fantastic Lover (Live)
00:03:21

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Marty Balin, Lyricist - Marty Balin, Composer

(P) 2004 BMG Music

14
Wooden Ships
00:07:00

Stephen Stills, Composer - Stephen Stills, Lyricist - Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - David Crosby, Composer - David Crosby, Lyricist

(P) 2004 BMG Music

15
Volunteers
00:03:26

Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Marty Balin, Lyricist - Marty Balin, Composer

(P) 2004 BMG Music

Presentación del Álbum

Controversial at the time, delayed because of fights with the record company over lyrical content and the original title (Volunteers of America), Volunteers was a powerful release that neatly closed out and wrapped up the '60s. Here, the Jefferson Airplane presents itself in full revolutionary rhetoric, issuing a call to "tear down the walls" and "get it on together." "We Can Be Together" and "Volunteers" bookend the album, offering musical variations on the same chord progression and lyrical variations on the same theme. Between these politically charged rock anthems, the band offers a mix of words and music that reflect the competing ideals of simplicity and getting "back to the earth," and overthrowing greed and exploitation through political activism, adding a healthy dollop of psychedelic sci-fi for texture. Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's beautiful arrangement of the traditional "Good Shepherd" is a standout here, and Jerry Garcia's pedal steel guitar gives "The Farm" an appropriately rural feel. The band's version of "Wooden Ships" is much more eerie than that released earlier in the year by Crosby, Stills & Nash. Oblique psychedelia is offered here via Grace Slick's "Hey Frederick" and ecologically tinged "Eskimo Blue Day." Drummer Spencer Dryden gives an inside look at the state of the band in the country singalong "A Song for All Seasons."
The musical arrangements here are quite potent. Nicky Hopkins' distinctive piano highlights a number of tracks, and Kaukonen's razor-toned lead guitar is the recording's unifying force, blazing through the mix, giving the album its distinctive sound. Although the political bent of the lyrics may seem dated to some, listening to Volunteers is like opening a time capsule on the end of an era, a time when young people still believed music had the power to change the world.

© Jim Newsom /TiVo

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