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Jefferson Starship - 1974 Dragon Fly

ARTIST: Jefferson Starship
ALBUM: Dragon Fly
LABEL: Grunt Records
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: 1997, RCA, 66879-2 * 2007, Sony BMG, A 710529


LINEUP: Grace Slick - vocals, piano * Marty Balin - vocals * Paul Kanter - rhythm guitar, vocals * Craig Chaquico - lead guitar * Pete Sears - bass, keyboards * David Freiberg - bass, keyboards, vocals * John Barbata - drums, percussion * Papa John Creach - violin

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ride The Tiger * 02 That's For Sure * 03 Be Young You * 04 Caroline * 05 Devils Den * 06 Come To Life * 07 All Fly Away * 08 Hyperdrive

Cover art by the great Peter Lloyd whose talents graced albums by Kansas and Starcastle, I loved the design of 'Dragon Fly' so much I purchased a t-shirt in 1976 featuring the cover and wore it proudly throughout high school. It never got me a date, but I felt cool wearing it amongst the lemmings and their Foghat and Aerosmith outer wear. From a very long time ago, Jefferson Starship (which in reality was the Jefferson Airplane with new guitarist Craig Chaquico and bassist Pete Sears) - beamed down an astounding debut to the masses in 1974. No mean feat considering the Airplane related acid rock/political pop Paul Kantner and Grace Slick had been turning out in the interim with 'Sunfighter' and 'Blows Against The Empire'.

The Songs
The newly energized Jefferson Starship toured prior to recording 'Dragon Fly' which might account for the sound of a band with phaser's on stun and 'Ride The Tiger', a riff pumping anthem augmented by violinist Papa John Creech is proof this was a band on a mission. Thank god, Marty Balin who left the Airplane in 1971, decided to come back to the fold as 'Caroline' is the album's jewel with Balin sounding like Steve Perry's dad and Pete Sears' haunting harpsichord wrapping around the beautiful melody. The new kid on deck - Craig Chaquico makes his presence known throughout the record with his meandering and fluid reach for the stars guitar style and even Slick restrains her oversized ego and shrill for the most part. 'Come To Life' and 'All Fly Away' are the records forgotten classics and well worth a listen, leading up to the epic 'Hyperdrive' and here Grace's high pitched warble is welcome, taking on the role of an all-knowing star goddess and the Jefferson Starship at their most progressive.

In Summary
More touring followed this time with an album to support, but it would be another year before Jefferson Starship would supernova into a major player with the top five single 'Miracles' and a number one album in 'Red Octopus'.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on May 21 2009 12:06:32
Funnily enough, I picked this up on CD for just under a couple of quid only the other day.
One of Jefferson Starship's better works.
#2 | gdazegod on May 21 2009 13:48:31
My older sister had a few of their pre 'Freedom At Point Zero' albums. I never quite got into their 1974-1978 era. Mickey Thomas' arrival changed all that!
#3 | Eric on May 21 2009 17:11:24
In my opinion 'Freedom At Point Zero' was a different band since you can still hear a lot of the 60's vibe in the music up to that point with 'Spitfire'and 'Earth'. With that said it took me quite a few years to get into the Jefferson Airplane, but I've warmed to a few of thier albums, including thier '73 live album which might get a review here at some future date.

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