Jefferson Airplane: Jorma Kaukonen, Paul Kantner (guitar, vocals); Papa John Creach (violin); Grace Slick (piano, vocals); Jack Casady (bass); John "Goatee" Barbata (drums, tambourine); Joey Covington (drums).
Additional personnel: Sammy Piazza (drums).
Reissue producer: Paul Williams.
Recorded between March and May 1972. Originally released on Grunt. Includes liner notes by Jeff Tamarkin.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
LONG JOHN SILVER was Jefferson Airplane's last studio album until a 1989 reunion album, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE.
The original Airplane's final studio effort will go down in history as a victim of circumstance. By the time it was made in 1972 vocalist Marty Balin was long gone, and with the emergence of Paul Kantner and Grace Slick as the predominant power center of the group, the creative role of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady had diminished. Thus, band morale was generally low, as were public expectations, and ultimately the album was roundly dismissed by band and public alike.
Hindsight shows this to be a grievous error. LONG JOHN SILVER found the Airplane solidifying their spacey folk-rock sound. There was less psychedelic abandon, but it was replaced by sturdy song structures and more focused arrangements. On the title track and elsewhere, Jorma still wails in his unique way, and Papa John Creach's fiddle enlivens "Milk Train," but the real stars of this album are the songs, which are uniformly strong. The feel here is somewhat statelier, more deliberate and thoughtful, but LONG JOHN SILVER still gives off an agreeably earthy feel.