The Second Disc

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Feed Your Head: Morello Label Revisits Grace Slick’s “Dreams”

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Grace Slick - DreamsGrace Slick certainly made waves in 1998 when she proclaimed to VH1 that “all rock ‘n’ rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire.”  Ten years later, she reiterated her feelings to ABC News, commenting, “It’s sad somehow when you watch people who are doing things that my daughter calls ‘age inappropriate.’”  So even as many of her contemporaries are still rockin’ into their seventies, the now-73 year old Slick has been painting and enjoying her retirement from music.  Luckily, Slick left plenty of music behind.  In the steady stream of reissues from her Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship periods, however, Slick’s four-title solo catalogue is often overlooked.  Cherry Red’s Morello label is rectifying that with a reissue of her 1980 RCA solo album Dreams.

Recorded in 1979 with producer Ron Frangipane, Dreams arrived during Slick’s hiatus from Jefferson Starship.  She had departed the band following 1978’s Earth and sat out for 1979’s Freedom at Point Zero before returning to the Jefferson fold for 1981’s Modern Times.  Dreams marked a return to solo recording for the striking singer; her only previous solo LP had come in 1974 with Manhole.  Whereas that album featured Jefferson Airplane/Starship bandmates and associates like Paul Kantner, Jack Casady, John Barbata, Craig Chaquico, Pete Sears David Freiberg and Peter Kaukonen, Dreams was recorded outside of their sphere of influence with Frangipane producing and arranging, and Scott ZIto as Slick’s “right hand man.”

Released in March 1980, the Grammy-nominated Dreams was the most successful of Slick’s four solo records.  It charted at No. 32 in the U.S. and No. 28 in Great Britain.  The single “Seasons” was released in the U.S. to promote Dreams; in the U.K. the choice was title song “Dreams.”  The U.S. A-side (which reached No. 95 on the Billboard chart) was composed by Slick, who wrote five of the album’s nine tracks.   “Dreams” was written by Sean Delaney, who also participated in solo recordings by KISS’ Gene Simmons and Peter Criss, and first appeared on Delaney’s 1979 album Highway.  Zito, who would go on to compose all of the music for Slick’s next solo effort in 1981, wrote two songs on Dreams: “Face to the Wind” and “Angel of Night.”  Rounding out the album’s line-up, Gary Gegan was tapped for the flamenco-styled “El Diablo.”  Stylistically the album was quite varied, with Slick also touching on psychedelia and rock, and experimenting with orchestration (provided by Frangipane) on some cuts.

After the jump, we have more details plus the full track listing and order links!

Less than a year later, on January 28, 1981, Slick returned with an album entirely co-written with Scott Zito, Welcome to the Wrecking Ball!  Though she was back on Jefferson Starship’s Modern Times released just months later in April (which bore the cheeky credit “Introducing Grace Slick”), Slick hadn’t completely abandoned solo recording.  Her final solo album to date, 1984’s Software, featured key contributions from Peter Wolf and Mickey Thomas, both of whom would help shape the next chapter of Slick’s career in the Jefferson-less Starship.  Slick departed Starship after two LPs and such massive hits as “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”  Following a brief reunion with Paul Kantner, Marty Balin, Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen as Jefferson Airplane in 1989, Slick retired from the spotlight.  Since then, she has made only occasional appearances onstage and on record, instead concentrating on drawing and painting.

Morello’s reissue affords a welcome chance to revisit Dreams.  Perhaps the rest of Slick’s solo catalogue will follow?  Dreams has been expanded with one bonus track, the U.K. Edited Radio Version of “Dreams.”  Alan Wilson has remastered the album, and it includes brief liner notes from Michael Heatley.   You can order at the links below!

Grace Slick, Dreams (RCA LP AFL1-3544, 1980 – reissued Morello, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. Dreams
  2. El Diablo
  3. Face to the Wind
  4. Angel of Night
  5. Seasons
  6. Do It the Hard Way
  7. Full Moon Man
  8. Let It Go
  9. Garden of Man
  10. Dreams (U.K. Edited Radio Version  – originally released as RCA PB 9534, 1980)

Written by Joe Marchese

November 26, 2013 at 11:43

5 Responses

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  1. I, shamefully and without permission, used “Seasons’ as a finale in a children’s theater production I was directing in the 90’s. Great, great song and great album. Apologies to Grace and the RCA, but the song (as I recall) got a thunderous applause!

    genebennett

    November 26, 2013 at 12:35

  2. “She had departed the band following 1978’s Earth and sat out for 1979’s Freedom at Point Zero before returning to the Jefferson fold for 1981’s Freedom at Point Zero.” I’m confused, typo or were there two albums called “Freedom At Point Zero”?

    Ernie

    November 26, 2013 at 14:13

  3. “Luckily, Slick left plenty of music behind.”

    and luckily she gets in the low six figures when “Somebody To Love” is used in commercials or movies.

    bob

    November 26, 2013 at 17:17

    • For a while there, you couldn’t make a movie set in 60’s without “White Rabbit.” I’m pretty sure it was a law or something.

      Shaun

      November 26, 2013 at 23:31


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