Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 4/3/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Sunday’s album was #667:

Jefferson Airplane – After Bathing at Baxter’s

The bass player owns this album. Jack Casady’s growling, spiraling climbs, slinking funky rhythm and burning chords defined the Airplane at peak altitude, 1968. Add to that Paul Kantner’s stinging rhythm, Jorma Kaukonen’s crazed, jagged twelve-string leads, Spencer Dryden’s jazz-influenced drumming and Grace Slick’s presence (on the wane at this point) and you have a psychedelic rock classic. Kaukonen’s anxious ballad The Last Wall of the Castle, Slick’s darkly hypnotic James Joyce homage, Rejoyce and Kantner’s ferociously incisive Young Girl Sunday Blues are all great cuts. So is Two Heads, pulsing along on Casady’s bass chords. Watch Her Ride and Wild Tyme are slamming upbeat numbers; The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil a big crowd-pleaser and Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon a reversion to the folk-rock of Surrealistic Pillow. There’s also the woozy instrumental Spare Chaynge, which sounds like Jorma and Jack jamming out after way too much ganja, forgetting that the tape was rolling. It was also the last good studio album the band did. Here’s a random torrent.

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April 4, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 10/2/10

OK, we’re in catch-up mode today. More news and reviews coming in a few hours. In the meantime, every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Saturday’s album is #850:

Hot Tuna’s First Album

As Jefferson Airplane inched closer toward a Jefferson Starship sound, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady were obviously restless: Hot Tuna began simply as a side project where the band’s guitar/bass brain trust could explore the delta blues that Kaukonen loved so much. This is one of those accidental albums, an audience recording of a 1969 show at a San Francisco folk club that the band decided to release despite all the crowd noise – because it’s so casually brilliant. Kaukonen was a great rock player but here he shows that he was already a formidable blues guy, and Casady’s thick, intertwining melodic leads make a perfect match. Along with some occasional, innocuous harmonica, the duo wind their way through a mix of upbeat, adrenalizing stuff like Hesitation Blues, I Know You Rider and Rev. Gary Davis’ Death Don’t Have No Mercy along with a gorgeously laid-back version of Leroy Carr’s How Long Blues. But the highlight is the five-and-a-half-minute original instrumental Mann’s Fate, as much a showcase for Casady as Kaukonen, which over the years has become iconic in acoustic guitar circles. The rest of Hot Tuna’s albums from the 70s are mostly electric and while they have their moments, they never reach the ecstatic heights of this one. In the 80s and 90s, however, Kaukonen would rightfully gain recognition as one of the greatest blues players to pick up a guitar: pretty much everything he’s done since then is worth hearing. Here’s a random torrent.

October 3, 2010 Posted by | blues music, lists, Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 4/27/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Monday’s song is #457:

Hot Tuna – Mann’s Fate

Recorded live to two-track in a crowded San Francisco coffeehouse in 1969, this instrumental captures ex-Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady at the peak of their fiery improvisational powers. From the duo’s debut lp; as you’d imagine, there are innumerable versions floating around and they’re all excellent. The link above is a vintage youtube clip from around the time the album came out (although the visuals don’t sync).  

April 27, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 12/13/08

Today’s is #591:

The Jefferson Airplane: Young Girl Sunday Blues

Another cut from our growing Top 666 Songs of Alltime list (click at top right): post-Summer of Love madness, the Airplane at their most focused and intense, Jorma Kaukonen’s twelve-string sailing over Jack Casady’s crescendoing, growling bass. From After Bathing at Baxter’s, 1968; mp3s are at all the usual sites, but look for a smaller file; much of what’s out there is live and very dodgy-sounding.

More new posts on the way (technical difficulties keeping us from putting links up, so lots of stuff on hold): reviews for Dub Colossus, Zikrayat, Aimee Mann, Victrola Victrola, Redhooker all coming soon along with our end-of-the-year Top 20 NY-Area Concerts, Top 100 Songs and Top 50 CDs lists, check back in a couple of days…

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment