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Jefferson Starship - 1978 Earth



ARTIST: Jefferson Starship
ALBUM: Earth
LABEL: Grunt
SERIAL: BXL1-2515
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1997, BMG, 07863 66878 2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Marty Balin - guitars, vocals * Grace Slick - vocals * Paul Kanter - guitars, vocals * Craig Chaquico - guitars * Pete Sears - bass, keyboards, vocals * David Freiberg - guitar, keyboards, vocals * John Barbata - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Love Too Good * 02 Count On Me * 03 Take Your Time * 04 Crazy Feelin' * 05 Skateboard * 06 Fire * 07 Show Yourself * 08 Runaway * 09 All Nite Long

WEBLINKS: www.jeffersonstarship.com


Background
The original cover of 'Earth' featured movie poster lettering in silver foil inspired by the film 'Star Wars' which looked impressive, but for many fans who longed for the days of the groups earlier albums 'Red Octopus' and 'Dragonfly', this record was considered weak and in many ways a complete sellout. Perhaps, it's true the band had lost some of its progressive motivation, but even more significant was internal problems which were tearing the group apart and would come to a head on the European leg of the 'Earth' tour with the departure of Grace Slick in a drunken stupor, abrasive comments and a not too happy German audience.


The Songs
Nothing on this record is comparable to the groups classic 'Miracles' or their previous hit single from two years earlier 'With Your Love', but there are some decent tunes here. To start, and I can't believe I am saying this, the opening tack 'Love Too Good' with Slick on vocals is classic Jefferson Starship. Never a favourite vocalist of mine, here she is restrained giving the song an atmospheric and airy vibe. 'Count On Me' was the albums first single and it's not too shabby either, with a nice acoustic guitar and Marty Balin's trademark vocals. Much has been made of Sam Cooke's influence on Steve Perry, but give a listen to 'Crazy Feelin' and tell me Perry didn't cop some stylizations from Balin as well! This song got some much needed airplay on FM radio, but it's 'Runaway' that became a huge hit in the summer of 1978 and for reasons I could never figure out? Sort of a re-write of 'Miracles', the song lacks the same magic and goes on for way too long, although the 45 single version was edited for maximum AM radio play entering the US top twenty.


In Summary
Following the end of the disastrous tour, drummer John Barbata suffered injuries in a car accident and was promptly replaced by Aynsley Dunbar who of course was unhappy in his role with Journey. The group with Balin on lead vocals went into the studio and recorded 'Light The Sky On Fire' with Dunbar as an extra track for the greatest hits package 'Gold' and even made an appearance on a 'Star Wars' Christmas special, which I watched at the time and would love to see on 'You Tube' one day! Balin left a short time later bound for a solo career with a modicum of success while, Paul Kanter and company enlisted Mickey Thomas as vocalist for 'Freedom At Point Zero' and the rest as they say, is AOR History..


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Comments
#1 | super80boy on August 08 2015 23:46:04
The album starts out with a few subdued compositions with acoustic guitars and piano, but lead off 'Love Too Good' is a winner with Grace Slick at the helm. I do like the frantic 'Skateboard', which gets things going in the urgency department complete with more Slick vocals. 'Runaway' has a somewhat catchy chorus. The closing 'All Nite Long' is a standout.
 
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