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Four Never-Before-Released Live Albums By Jefferson Airplane

The argument rages on, but for many music fans in the ’60s, the best live band from the Bay Area was Jefferson Airplane. Formed during the summer of 1965 in San Francisco, the group triumphed in 1967 with Surrealistic Pillow, one of the key recordings of the Summer of Love, containing the hits “Somebody to Love,” “White Rabbit” and “Today.” The Airplane featured three master instrumentalists (Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Spencer Dryden) and three vocalists: Grace Slick (replacing original singer Signe Anderson in 1966), Marty Balin and Paul Kantner. The Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees made a total of eight studio albums and released a smattering of live albums including 1969’s Bless Its Pointed Little Head.

But what most fans don’t know is that there are vast reserves of never-released live material by Jefferson Airplane capturing key moments in their history. On October 26, 2010, Collectors’ Choice Music Live will release four previously unreleased live albums: Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/15/66 Late Show — Signe’s Farewell, Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/16/66 Early & Late Shows — Grace’s Debut, Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 11/25/66 & 11/27/66 — We Have Ignition, and Return to the Matrix 2/1/68.

The first three releases document the astonishing growth of the band, and follow the near-seamless absorption of Grace Slick’s voice and material into the Airplane’s sound just as they were entering the studio to record Surrealistic Pillow. The fourth release captures the group triumphantly returning to their home turf at Marty Balin’s club The Matrix for a relaxed, exploratory set in an intimate setting, performing material from their first four albums, including Crown of Creation, seven months before its release. Taken together, the four releases confirm that at its best, when Jorma was soaring, Jack rumbling and the three voices joining in ecstatic melisma, no other band could ascend to the heights attained by the Airplane. Hand-picked by a team of devotees, annotated by frequent Airplane flyer Craig Fenton (author of the book Take Me To A Circus Tent: The Jefferson Airplane Flight Manual), and featuring rare photos inside handsome digi-packs, these concerts distill and express the dream and promise of the Haight-Ashbury scene.

• Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/15/66 Late Show — Signe’s Farewell: The Grace Slick era of the Airplane has understandably received most of the attention paid the band over the years. But they had released a good album (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) and were already a powerful live outfit before Slick came aboard. The 10/15/66 release not only marks the first appearance on CD of a live recording featuring Signe Anderson with the band, but also her very last show. Both Marty Balin and the Fillmore’s Bill Graham give her shout-outs. Songs include “3/5ths of a Mile in Ten Seconds,” “Tobacco Road,” “Midnight Hour,” “High Flyin’ Bird” and “Chauffeur Blues” (which Grace never performed out of respect for Signe, who’d made the old blues tune her own). It was the end of an era. But a new one was about to begin the very next day, and is the subject of the 10/16/66 release.

• Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/16/66 Early & Late Shows — Grace’s Debut: The 10/16/66 volume chronicles the first set of concerts featuring Grace Slick as a member of the Airplane, a mere day after Signe Anderson officially left the band. The band has yet to add the material Slick brought to the band (“Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit) to the set list, but Grace’s harmony work with Marty and Paul is impressive, and you can literally hear her confidence growing from the first set to the second. The album contains “The Other Side of This Life,” “Let Me In,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Run Around” and “High Flying Bird,” plus versions of “3/5ths of a Mile in 10 Seconds” and “Tobacco Road” with the new line-up, and Leiber & Stoller’s “Kansas City,” which has never appeared on any Airplane studio or live album. Surrealistic Pillow photographer Herbie Greene contributes photos. Things would never be the same for the band or for ’60s rock.

• Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 11/25/66 & 11/27/66 — We Have Ignition:  CCM Live subtitled these shows We Have Ignition as they believe this is when the Airplane transformed from a high-flying bird into a psychedelic spaceship (but not yet a Starship.) It’s difficult to believe, when comparing these November shows with Grace’s live debut on 10/16/66,  that only six weeks have elapsed. Not only has the band (particularly guitarist Jorma Kaukonen) progressed as musicians, but the infusion of Surrealistic Pillow material some four months before the album hit the stores shifts the focus of this folk-rock band to rock. Included are “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” “High Flyin’ Bird,” “Bringing Me Down,” “ D.C.B.A-25,” “My Best Friend,” “Go to Her,” “She Has Funny Cars,” “3/5ths of a Mile in 10 Seconds,” “Skip Spence’s “J.P.P. McStep B Blues,” “White Rabbit,” “Today” and more.  Two rarities are a mind blowing, 9:45-minute version of “The Other Side of Life” (performed for a photo session) that neither its author, the folk singer-songwriter Fred Neil, nor the band could ever have anticipated, and the only known recording of an instrumental known in some quarters as “My Grandfather’s Clock.” This is the Airplane at its early apex.

• Return to the Matrix 2/1/68: The Airplane returned to the first club they ever played, the Matrix, in 1968 for a 103-minute show at the height of their commercial prowess. They band premiered two songs from the Crown of Creation album (which was months away from being released): “Share a Little Joke” and an instrumental version of “Ice Cream Phoenix.” They also performed “Blues From an Airplane,” a song from its first (pre-Slick) album. Also here: “Somebody to Love,” “Young Girl Sunday Blues,” “She Has Funny Cars,” “Two Heads,” “Martha,” “Kansas City,” “Other Side of this Life,” “Today,” “Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon,” “It’s No Secret,” “Watch Her Ride,” “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” “Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil,” “White Rabbit,” “Fat Angel” and  “3/5ths of a Mile in 10 Seconds.”

My Morning Jacket Announce New US Tour Dates

Shortly after completing their recent tour with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Louisville’s My Morning Jacket will be taking their celebrated, exhilarating live show back on the road this August.  Jim James, Tom Blankenship, Carl Broemel, Bo Koster, and Patrick Hallahan will come together in San Diego on August 11th to kick start another series of their special performances that no other band can replicate.

Sub Pop’s Avi Buffalo will be supporting the group for the San Diego date as well as their LA show at The Greek Theater.  The run will also include a stop at Denver’s Mile High Festival, and MMJ will be supporting Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on several dates.  The band is both thrilled and humbled to have been asked to open for the legend.

For all of the Jacket’s headlining dates, the guys will be donating $1 from each ticket to a local charity.  See below for the full list of organizations along with links to their websites for more information.

MMJ Tour Dates

* = supporting slot for Tom Petty
# = with Avi Buffalo

08/11:  San Diego, CA - SDSU Outdoor Theatre #
San Diego Coast Keeper (www.sdbaykeeper.org)

08/12:  Los Angeles, CA - The Greek Theatre #
School On Wheels (www.schoolonwheels.org)

08/15:  Denver, CO - Mile High Festival

08/17:  Chicago, IL @ Charter One Pavilion
Mercy Home (www.mercyhome.org)


08/19:  Boston, MA - Comcast *

08/20:  Burlington, VT - Champlain Valley Lawn
Combat Paper Project (www.combatpaper.org)

08/21:  Boston, MA - Comcast *

08/24:  Newark, NJ @ Izod Center *

08/25:  Holyoke, MA @ Mountain Park
WomanShelter (www.womanshelter.org)


08/27:  Pittsburgh, PA @ Station Square Amphitheater
Just Harvest (www.justharvest.org)

08/28:  Rochester, NY @ CMAC
Finger Lakes Land Trust (www.fllt.org)

08/29:  Philadelphia, PA @ Great Plaza
Greensgrow Philadelphia Project (www.greensgrow.org/philly)

BoomBox Set to Ring in the New Year at Mile High

photos by Sam Holloway- for the Grateful Web

The electronic musical duo BoomBox, known for their non-stop dance parties and explosive live shows, will be playing two extraordinary late night New Years 2008 shows in Denver. Recognized as an innovative driving force on the music scene today, the brainchild of DJ / producer Russ Randolph and singer / songwriter / guitarist Zion Rock Godchaux pushes the boundaries of creativity and originality to unmatched heights..

Kicking it all off on Tuesday, December 30th at Owsley's Golden Road, the headline show will feature special guests Melvin Seals and JGB as well as Steve Kimock and Friends opening the night. BoomBox will take to the stage from 1:30am to 4:30am, keeping the party going until the early morning hours. Individual tickets for the first night are available online.

On New Year's Eve, BoomBox moves the party down the road to the Crown Plaza Hotel in the heart of downtown Denver. Hosting their very own late night NYE show destined to be another all night extravaganza, festivities will begin immediately following the Widespread Panic show. The extended BoomBox set will feature an appearance by the Everyone Orchestra and will no doubt feature several other surprise guests converging upon the Mile High City for the special night. Expect the likes of Melvin Seals, Steve Kimock and members of Hot Buttered Rum as BoomBox jams into the early morning.

Help protect Utah's spectacular Nine Mile Canyon

ancient paintings in the 9 Mile Canyon- for the Grateful Web

If the Bush administration and a Denver-based natural gas company get their way, Utah's remarkable Nine Mile Canyon may soon be transformed into a massive industrial zone.

We need your immediate action to halt this destructive scheme in its tracks. The deadline for submitting comments on the plan is May 1!

Please go to http://www.savebiogems.org/redrock/takeaction right away and tell the Bureau of Land Management to reject this disastrous proposal, which would put more than 800 new natural gas wells in the Greater Nine Mile Canyon area - home to the greatest concentration of rock art sites in America.

The BLM has just released a study that grossly underestimates the impacts of proposed natural gas development on the region's irreplaceable cultural and natural values.

The plan calls for drilling non-federal wells in Nine Mile Canyon itself, along with dozens if not hundreds of wells in side canyons and other public wildlands now being considered for designation as a national historic district.

Nearly 200 wells would be drilled in the remarkable wilderness-quality lands of the Desolation and Jack canyons.

As a result of existing natural gas drilling in the Nine Mile Canyon region, compressor stations already run nonstop and dozens if not hundreds of heavy trucks hustle up and down the canyon around the clock.

Yet despite the serious threat of expanding these activities into the Desolation and Jack Canyon wildlands, the Bureau of Land Management has failed to propose protection for them as "wilderness study areas."

Please go to http://www.savebiogems.org/redrock/takeaction and urge Bush administration officials to protect the natural and cultural values of Nine Mile Canyon.

Thank you for taking action to safeguard this vital stretch of America's Redrock Wilderness.