Great Society

Here’s an obscure psychedelic classic by San Francisco’s Great Society. You used to hear this spooky take on Sally Go Round the Roses on the free form FM stations on occasion in the ancient daze when a DJ was hip to the band. Recorded in 1966, released in ’68 after the Airplane became superstars (Grace Slick began in this band), check out Darby Slick‘s guitar extended solo….way ahead of the curve, he soon went off it entirely, when he went to India to really get deep into the roots. (Check him out on Facebook). Also, dig Peter Van Gelder‘s soprano sax in the long vamp that leads into White Rabbit. If any other rock band was getting that far out (as they used to say) with the Trane inspired reed work in 1966 I’ve never heard ’em, and notice how naturally it folds into Darby Slick’s raga inspired solo that follows. Grace Slick’s vocals blended in perfectly. Brilliant and vastly underrated stuff by a band that even more than most at the time, didn’t seem especially concerned about being rock stars, let alone making top forty singles. I had an early vinyl version of these recordings–think it was a double LP–way back when, have no idea where it went. Somewhere stoned, no doubt. Feed your head.

Grace Slick

An old jazz piano playing buddy of mine was telling me yesterday how back in 1967 this hippie chick he was dating (ahem) took him to see Jefferson Airplane at the monthly love-in in Griffith Park. He really liked the Airplane–a lot of jazz cats did–but the hippie chick insisted on standing right in front of the stage. The PA was so huge and so ridiculously loud that he was deaf for two weeks. He was mad as hell at that hippie chick, but continued dating her. Ahem. But it turns out the real reason he did not leave the front of the stage was he could not take his eyes off of Grace Slick. She was so beautiful. He even remembered how short her mini-skirt was. Jazz piano players seem to remember those things, even fifty years later. One minute they’re talking about Ray Bryant, the next Grace Slick’s underwear.