Tag Archives: Stephen Stills

Rocks In The Attic #787: Jefferson Airplane – ‘Woodstock, Sunday, August 17, 1969′ (1969)

RITA#787To say that they were both the intended headliners (of the Saturday and Sunday nights respectively), both Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix did a hell of a lot of endless jamming during their sets. It’s taken me years to appreciate Hendrix’s set, I fear it may take me even longer to appreciate the Airplane’s.

The sixth individual Woodstock performance LP in my collection (joining Santana, Janis Joplin, Sly & The Family Stone, Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix), this marks the first time Jefferson’s Airplane early Sunday morning set has been available on vinyl.

RITA#787aThere’s definitely something causing this rambling lack of focus – possibly a mixture of tiredness, the after-effects of drugs, and a general bubbling anger at having to play at such an ungodly hour in the morning. Or maybe it just helps when you’re stone-cold sober and pregnant, like Joan Baez during her far more coherent Friday headline slot.

Still, the Airplane’s set delivers some real gems. Somebody To Love gets rolled out two songs in, and the band preview their upcoming studio album Volunteers by playing the title track and their version of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s Wooden Ships (co-written by Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner with Stills and Crosby). This song would also be performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young during the electric part of their set later that day.

RITA#787bBut this is Woodstock, and so the highlight of Jefferson Airplane’s 90-minute set is Grace Slick’s hippy anthem, White Rabbit, which makes an appearance as their penultimate song of the morning. Forget Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock, written later in a fit of regret and jealousy at having missed out on the proceedings, this is the song that defines the festival.

This album is the latest in a range of individual Woodstock performance LPs – long may they continue – with this one released by Real Gone Music. It’s a triple-LP in ‘New Dawn’ transparent blue vinyl, housed in a three-panel gatefold sleeve with liner notes. A free gift came with the album when purchased directly from Real Gone’s website – a Jefferson Airplane pillbox with three sections in the shape of the CND / peace symbol – perfect for storing your brown, green and orange LSD.

Hit: Somebody To Love

Hidden Gem: Volunteers

RITA#787e

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Rocks In The Attic #144: Joni Mitchell – ‘Blue’ (1971)

Rocks In The Attic #144: Joni Mitchell - ‘Blue’ (1971)This is one of those classic albums that is so well-known, but for all the right reasons. There is no pop hit on this album that might bring the casual listener to it, like Big Yellow Taxi on the earlier Ladies Of The Canyon. It’s hard then to decide what is the hit and what is the hidden gem on this album. I’d say All I Want has to be the hit. As the first song, this really says ‘Blue’ to me, more than any other song on the album, even the titular song. For a hidden gem on the album, I could pretty much choose every track. I’ve opted for California as I really like the super-slow fade-out at the end of the song, with Mitchell singing against Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s pedal steel guitar (Stephen Stills and James Taylor also play on the album).

Blue was introduced to me through the first series of the Classic Albums TV programme, and it’s remained a favourite ever since. I prefer it to Ladies Of The Canyon as it works much better as one whole piece of work. Whereas Ladies Of The Canyon exists as a collection of songs, Blue is more cohesive with a number of themes that run throughout the album. The style of guitar playing she employs in All I Want and Carey are also highlights for me.

For some reason, listening to this reminds me of driving over Snake Pass, between Manchester and Sheffield. It’s funny that music does that. I’m presuming I was listening to the album during that journey once, and then on a repeat trip my subconscious reminded me of the association and I played it again, further cementing the connection between the two.

Hit: All I Want

Hidden Gem: California

Rocks In The Attic #80: Les Rythmes Digitales – ‘Darkdancer’ (1999)

Rocks In The Attic #80: Les Rythmes Digitales - ‘Darkdancer’ (1999)My good friend Danny Beetle got me into LRD when we were DJing together. I ended up buying all the 12” singles from this, plus the full album. Danny once saw Stuart Price (the guy behind LRD) browsing through the records at Manchester’s Vinyl Exchange. That’d be a pretty sweet sight to see.

I remember once, I was DJing on a Friday or Saturday night. It was still relatively early so there were only a few people in. A young girl got up from her table walked over to my booth and asked me if I had any “Lez Ryth-mez Digita-lez”. I guess she didn’t do too well in French. I ended up taking pity on her, not laughing in her face, and playing some anyway.

There are two big hits off this record – Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat) which I think was used on a Sunny Delight TV ad; and (Hey You) What’s That Sound? which Price gives a full writers’ credit to Stephen Stills on (the song is based on the lyric from Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth).

This is LRD’s second album – I’ve never heard the first one – and not long after this was released he was poached by Madonna to become her musical director. This isn’t bad a bad record to listen to, given that effectively it’s a dance album. His leaning towards 80s sounds akin to the like of The Pointer Sisters and Georgio Moroder make this an interesting enough listen.

Hit: Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)

Hidden Gem: Sometimes