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Paul Kantner and Grace Slick - Sunfighter

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 29 / 6 / 2018

Paul Kantner and Grace Slick - Sunfighter
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


Carl Bookstein reflects on Paul Kantner and Grace Slick of San Francisco’s Jefferson Airplane's musically innovative 1971 album 'Sunfighter', which has recently been reissued,

Consider the legendary 1960's-formed, San Francisco-based band Jefferson Airplane. That iconic band’s power couple Grace Slick and Paul Kantner had a daughter China Slick in January of 1971. The child is held aloft on the cover photo of Kantner and Slick’s album 'Sunfighter', which was released in November of 1971. The child is held aloft by two arms, over sea and setting sun: One arm is Grace Slick’s, the other Kantner’s. On the album opener 'Silver Spoon', Grace Slick sings “Throw down all of your silver spoons/Eat all the raw meat with your hands,” followed by a hum of a violin. The song, a bit strange, is nevertheless highly inventive. Slick is backed by a building orchestral arrangement. It is a powerful vocal by Slick, a great rock singer always, and an over-the-top musical arrangement. It is a fascinating start to a unique album. On the title track 'Sunfighter', Paul Kantner takes the lead vocal. The lyrics are politically charged. “There ain’t no more room here, on this planet to grow.” “Going to try and pull you through,” Kantner sings with lyrics about people making a mess of the land. “Sunfighter, gunfighter… I see you and I like it here.” 'When I Was a Boy I Watched the Wolves' is solid rock and roll. It includes some stinging electric guitar, with Kantner and Slick singing about running with the wolf pack. It is a number that builds in its propulsive energy and momentum. A lovely harmonic number, 'Million' has the lyrics of “All of us waiting for the rain to wash away the dust from our bodies” am=nd “Standing on the edge of civilization… Good morning San Francisco ladies/Good morning San Francisco crazies.” 'China' is an epiphany tribute to Kantner and Slick’s newborn daughter China. “Her voice cuts over the sea even when it’s storming/I hope she sees some things that’ll make her turn happy/…It all comes in./I see in her new face a clear beginning.” “Once the earth was a garden” is the 'Earth Mother 3' lyric, a song with a folk meets bluegrass feel, “It gave us all we need.” It speaks of a dichotomy of hope and darkness that feels ever relevant in current times. “Don’t worry anymore…Children are your salvation… o the sound of a living dream.” 'Holding Together' is the evocative closer. “I see the empire is breaking down from the inside,” is a lyric that rings truer than ever today. Speaking of the song’s muse, Kantner sings, “Look for Rosemary to open the door for you/And she sees you and she needs you” and “We’re looking for you and we need you.” Speaking of the Earth and man, 'Sunfighter' shares a muse that rang true in the war- torn Vietnam era, as did so much of the music of Jefferson Airplane. It is a muse worthy of listening to and considering again today.

Track Listing:-

Have a Listen:-

Picture Gallery:-
Paul Kantner and Grace Slick - Sunfighter

Paul Kantner and Grace Slick - Sunfighter

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