Jack Casady (bass), Jorma Kaukonen (guitar) HOT TUNA September 11, 2018 Albuquerque. Photo by Mark Weber
Jack Casady (bass) HOT TUNA September 11, 2018 Albuquerque. Photo by Mark Weber
Jorma Kaukonen (guitar) HOT TUNA September 11, 2018 Albuquerque. Photo by Mark Weber
This piece of tape montage is credited to Gary Alfred Blackman, Spencer Dryden, Bill Thompson. It’s not strictly musique concrete as there are elements of sound manipulation that was inherent & part & parcel to reel-to-reel recording machines (ie. you could bump the reels as they spun at 15ips or 30ips) And the echo-y reverb was used and other multiple feeds —- From what I understand, musique concrete only used untamper’d and found recordings then layered in collage form (the Sixties was full of this sort of exploration, you got to remember that reel-to-reels were finally within the price range of us hippies —– See Zappa’s “Help I’m a Rock” and John & Yoko’s “Revolution #9” as other musique concrete creations, AND Zappa’s masterpiece LUMPY GRAVY Lp)
My feeling is that a drumset track is the music bed they started with. Subsequent drumset fragments were overdubbed. All of the way through there is drumset(s), percussion, vibraphone (glockenspiel?), harpsichord, possibly marimba. *these are standard instruments a trained percussionist keeps around, even if he is known as a drummer in a famous rock band.
I’ve always thought of this as the Intro to “Young Girl Sunday Blues” and on the Lp it didn’t have a separate track, it was part of the “Young Girl” track —- The CD gives them separate track I.D.s
00:50 :: orchestra bells play a strain of “We Three Kings”
00:53 – 1:01 :: harpsichord plays Thelonious Monk ending refrain to “In Walked Bud”
1:16 :: is that Frank Zappa? Saying “I don’t understand” – probably not, but it was my first thought
1:27 :: “No man is an island” from English metaphysical poet John Donne’s “Mediation 17” written in 1623 *Many of us Sixties generation were reading John Donne and such like back then, so it was no surprise to hear it here in the mix
1:33 – 1:34 :: the hilarious rejoinder “He’s a peninsula!” runs right into the downbeat to Marty’s song “Young Girl Sunday Blues” brilliantly and powerful and hard hitting (with the marvelous line: “Today is made up of yesterday and tomorrow / Young girl Sunday blues and all her sorrow” among a passel of great lines)
Bill Thompson (1944-2015)was the manager of Jefferson Airplane.
Gary Alfred Blackman was a poet/writer who lived in the Richmond District of San Francisco (north of the Golden Gate Park) On the web I found: born June 26, 1941, died March 31, 2006 in Honolulu.
Marty Balin got away from us Sept 27, 2o18.
In the Ralph Gleason’s book THE JEFFERSON AIRPLANE AND THE SAN FRANCISCO SOUND (1969 – I see I have the first printing of this from June when I was but 16) the interview with Spencer reveals his deep jazz background in Los Angeles prior to joining the Airplane, and further into the interview he talks about his interest in electronic music “just putting crazy things together, you know, stream-of-consciousness-type things . . . I’ll tape pieces of tunes together. . . working madly with this home equipment here . . . like I might want three sentences off a Lenny Bruce record sandwiched in between one line of Mick Jagger and two bars of Grace Slick . . . and then put that on another track with Edgar Varese in the background . . . and get all that to coordinate”
Page 154 of Jeff Tamarkin’s great Airplane book GOT A REVOLUTION! (2003) is the most revealing thing I’ve found on this track (altho, I wouldn’t say Frank Zappa was Spencer’s “muse” —- these guys were contemporaries and friends and came out of the same brain space and influences) —— From Jeff’s research it shows that the track was Spencer at the helm, in the studio, and the other two listed “composers” were brought in after the music bed was in place —- AND mystery solved: it’s Blackman who yells “No man is an island!” I’ve always wondered who it was, and it’s Thompson who counters: “He’s a peninsula!” which has always struck me as pot head humor, purely —- Been there, done that ———- AND Tamarkin’s research reveals that the title of the track came from a fortune cookie!