BFL1-0717 Dragon Fly
Produced by Jefferson Starship and Larry Cox
Released on October 1974
US CHART POSITION #11 . . . GOLD RECORD
Find it at GEMM
BFL1-0717 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

K ronomyth 11.0: MEET THE JEFFERSONS. As the Airplane was winding down, Paul Kantner and Grace Slick split their time on solo albums that loosely collected a lot of the same players, so that you could argue their solo records were really just extensions of the Airplane’s journey. In 1974, the pair decided to create a new band from the remaining Airplane parts--John Barbata, Papa John Creach, David Freiberg--and round it out with then 20-year-old guitarist Craig Chaquico and multi-instrumental Englishman Pete Sears, both of whom had appeared on Slick’s most recent solo album, the unfortunately titled Manhole. Co-credited to Kantner and Slick, Dragon Fly featured eight tracks of partly mystical and partly mainstream rock, more than half of them written or co-written by the pair. The album went gold on the strength of songs like “Ride The Tiger” and “Caroline,” the latter featuring a briefly returning Marty Balin on vocals. A reader of Progrography once asked me if I thought Jefferson Starship was a progressive rock band, and I would nix the notion here. A lot of classic rock bands, many of them formed in the psychedelic ‘60s, were pushing artistic envelopes that sometimes got mailed to strange and exotic destinations: Santana, Grateful Dead, CSN, The Doors. San Francisco, nexus of the hippie stoner bands, nurtured an experimental environment where music was written to transcend the real. As Paul Kantner sings on the opening ride, “We got something to learn from the other side.” And while Dragon Fly does feature some musical flights of fancy (“Hyperdrive,” “Devils Den”), it’s felicity not alice aforethought. Put enough talented musicians together, some of whom have an artistic or mystical bent (Kantner, Slick), and you’re bound to detect the scent of prog in the air from time to time. But Jefferson Starship is just a part of the California Dream that embraced drugs, spirituality, youth, love and music. As with a lot of 70s rock bands (Santana, Eagles, Blue Oyster Cult), endless songwriting permutations exist, including collaborators outside the proper band (Robert Hunter, Tom Pacheco), which makes Dragon Fly a hard album to pin down stylistically. Without the full-time participation of Balin, Dragon Fly has fewer ballads than the subsequent Starship records (Octopus, Spitfire, Earth), but otherwise it’s of a piece with those albums.

BFL1-0717 back cover BFL1-0717 lyric sleeve
BFL1-0717 back cover BFL1-0717 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. RIDE THE TIGER    (Paul Kantner/Grace Slick/Byong Yu)    5:06
  2. THATS FOR SURE    (Jerry Gallup/Craig Chaquico)    4:56
  3. BE YOUNG YOU    (Grace Slick)    3:45
  4. CAROLINE    (Paul Kantner/Marty Balin)    7:27
  5. DEVILS DEN    (Grace Slick/Papa John Creach)    3:59
  6. COME TO LIFE    (David Freiberg/Stephen Schuster/Bob Hunter)    3:44
  7. ALL FLY AWAY    (Tom Pacheco)    5:24
  8. HYPERDRIVE    (Grace Slick/Pete Sears)    7:39

CREDITS

PAUL KANTNER -- rhythm guitar, vocals
GRACE SLICK -- piano, vocals
JOHN BARBATA -- drums, percussion
CRAIG CHAQUICO -- lead guitar
PAPA JOHN CREACH -- violin
DAVID FREIBERG -- bass, keyboards, vocals, piano, organ
PETE SEARS -- bass, keyboards, piano, harpsichord, organ
Marty Balin -- lead vocal (4)
Larry Cox -- engineer
Pat Ieraci (Maurice) -- production coordinator
Paul Dowell -- amp consultant
Steve Mantoani -- recordist
Acy Lehman/Frank Mulvey -- art directors
Peter Lloyd -- illustration

return to JEFFERSON STARSHIP discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/UK/CAN October 1974 Grunt LP BFL1-0717 lyric sleeve
US 1974 Grunt LP SFD1-0717 quadrophonic stereo
JPN   RCA LP 6256 lyric insert
US   RCA LP AYL1-3796  
EUR   RCA LP NL8-3796  
US January 28, 1997 RCA CD 66879 digital remaster
JPN 1998 Grunt CD BVCM-7331 20-bit digital remaster

 

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