BFL1-1557 Spitfire
Produced by Larry Cox and Jefferson Starship
Released on July 1976
US CHART POSITION #3 . . . PLATINUM RECORD . . .
UK CHART POSITION #30
Find it at GEMM
BFL1-1557 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 3.0: SEVEN-HEADED HYDRA. Spitfire is the spitting image of Red Octopus, minus the contributions of Papa John Creach (or, for the philosophers out there, the absence of a violin that was already absent). The hit single was again another Marty Balin ballad, “With Your Love,” and the album furthered Starship’s winning ways. Amazing, considering that the band was hardly a band at all. Balin continued to bring in songs from his extracurricular associations (“Cruisin’,” “Love Lovely Love”), Paul Kantner dug deeper into his own strange dimension (“Song to the Sun”) and Grace Slick’s acid-spitting dragon queen seemed increasingly out of place in it all. The Grateful Dead and Fleetwood Mac somehow managed to feed its individual egos in a more orderly fashion; Jefferson Starship offers a rich banquet without a trace of table manners. They’re a female-fronted rock band, psychedelic dinosaur and soft-rock peddler rolled into one monster. At this point, it’s obvious that I’m not buying into the Jefferson Starship experience. They need to manage their portfolio better; consolidate rather than diversify. Or dazzle us with diversity, which isn’t happening either. I think I would prefer a solo album by Balin, Kantner or Slick at this stage, knowing that they had some actual skin in the outcome, rather than Spitfire’s mediocrity by committee. Of course, Starship fans will tell you this is a solid album, but you’d have to be wearing some pretty big blinders not to see the band disintegrating before your eyes. Miraculously, Starship again sailed toward the top of the charts with Spitfire despite its sputtering 70s rock songcraft and internal turbulence.

BFL1-1557 back cover BFL1-1557 picture sleeve
BFL1-1557 back cover BFL1-1557 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. CRUISIN'    (Charlie Hickox)    5:27
  2. DANCE WITH THE DRAGON    (Paul Kantner/Grace Slick/Marty Balin/Craig Chaquico/Pete Sears)    5:02
  3. HOT WATER    (Grace Slick/Pete Sears)    3:17
  4. ST. CHARLES    (Paul Kantner/Marty Balin/Jesse Barish/Craig Chaquico/Thunderhawk)    6:38
  5. SONG TO THE SUN
      OZYMANDIAS    (Paul Kantner/Craig Chaquico/John Barbata/David Freiberg/Pete Sears/Grace Slick)    1:39
      DON'T LET IT RAIN    (Paul Kantner/China Wing Kantner)    5:36
  6. WITH YOUR LOVE    (Marty Balin/Joey Covington/Vic Smith)    3:33
  7. SWITCHBLADE    (Grace Slick)    4:01
  8. BIG CITY    (John Barbata/Joel Scott Hill/Chris Ethridge)    3:20
  9. LOVE LOVELY LOVE    (Jesse Barish)    3:31

CREDITS

MARTY BALIN -- vocals
JOHN BARBATA -- drums, vocals, percussion
CRAIG CHAQUICO -- lead guitar, vocals
DAVID FREIBERG -- bass, vocals, keyboards, arps
PAUL KANTNER -- rhythm guitar, vocals
PETE SEARS -- bass, keyboards, melatron, organ, moog, piano
GRACE SLICK -- vocals, piano
Bobbye Hall -- percussion and congas
Dave Roberts -- string and horn arrangements
Steven Schuster -- sax (5)
Larry Cox -- engineer
Pat Ieraci (Maurice) -- production coordinator
Jefferson Starship -- art direction
John Langdon -- label art
Shusei Nagoka -- illustration
Ron Slenzak -- cover photography
Chris Whorf/Tim Bryant-Gribbitt -- album design

return to JEFFERSON STARSHIP discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/UK/CAN July 1976 Grunt LP/LPQ/CS BFL1/BFD1/BFK1-1557 picture sleeve, avail. in quadrophonic
JPN 1976 Grunt LP RVP-6087 lyric insert
US 1981 Grunt LP AYL1-3953  
GER   Grunt LP NL8-3953  
US/UK/GER August 23, 2004 BMG Heritage CD 62871 digital remaster
JPN   Grunt CD BVCM-7333 20-bit remaster
US August 4, 2009 SBME Special Markets CD SBMK-749265  

 

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