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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner: 1941 - 2016

The Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner: 1941 - 2016. Rest in Power.

A possibly little known fact is that The Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner co-wrote “Wooden Ships" with David Crosby and Stephen Stills.

"Wooden Ships" appeared as Track #6 on The Jefferson Airplane's album Volunteers in 1969.

The song "Wooden Ships" evokes images of escaping an apocalypse, possibly nuclear annihilation. Survivors climb aboard the "wooden ships" and set sail across the water. “Silver people” -- trying to restore order after the massive devastation -- try to stop them. However, the people aboard the "wooden ships" refuse to be stopped from completing their voyage.

“Lead her far from this barren land
Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cry and
Stare as all you human feelings die.”

"Wooden Ships" theme of a dystopia world resulting from the machinations of the elite wantonly spreading fear and destruction. The escapees on the "wooden ships" have lost hope but will no longer be silent and sit idly. The "Wooden Ships" passengers are going to “somewhere where we might laugh again” -- a hippie dream far from the Warz on Terrorz (TM).

And -- of course -- Was It Really All Just A "Hippie Dream"?

Or -- just maybe -- The Hippies were Right, afterall...

And the wooden ships
Are a hippie dream
Capsized in excess
If you know what I mean

So please don't kill the machine
So please don't kill the machine
So please don't kill the machine

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At 1/30/2016 01:28:00 PM, Blogger Chris Miller said...

Man Neil sure did play a lot of great songs last year

At 2/04/2016 10:39:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

"For me, it all begins with listening."
--John Luther Adams

Thanks to TW for a very nice tribute to Mr. Kantner. I've been playing a lot of Airplane over the past few days; it's always great music to return to. With the bounties of the internet, there are so many more performances and outtakes, so much previously unheard music to check out.

I recall Neil saying back at the time of Ragged Glory that he's a big fan of the whole "San Francisco Sound" that (for me anyway) is embodied in the twin guitars of Paul and Jorma, the twin vocals of Grace and Marty, and the great rhythm section of Jack and Spencer. And the tour for Ragged Glory was the first time I saw Sonic Youth live--my initial fandom due in large part to how much they reminded me of Jefferson Airplane.

One of my all time favorite films is the Coen Brothers' "A Serious Man". If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest that you do sometime. Music from the Airplane dominates, including "Somebody To Love" which is on the soundtrack immediately after the prequel. Part of the drama involves a confiscated transistor radio, which is returned to Danny Gopnik when he makes a (very stoned) visit to see Marshak, the Zen Rabbi and head of his synagogue, as the finale and capstone of his Bar Mitvah. The scene is priceless (but the Rabbi leaves out Jack and Spencer!):

"These are the members of The Airplane!"

Another great (and also very stoned) scene includes The Airplane's song "Today" as a crucial element:

So thanks again to Paul for his great music and vision...Mazel Tov and "Be A Good Boy"!

"Sometimes a note will suggest just a hint of the realms of emotion that opened up to me in that moment, the sense of utter wonder, the shattering revelation."
--Peter Guralnick from "Searching For Robert Johnson"

At 2/04/2016 12:09:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Thanks, as always, Mr H.! We like The Coen Bros films. Especially the obscure ones like Barton Fink & Hudsucker Proxy. We'll have to check out "A Serious Man" sometime.

pass the popcorn


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