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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!

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Written by Joe Marchese

November 26, 2013 at 11:43

More “Essentials” Arrive From Jefferson Airplane and Starship, Martina, Run-D.M.C., Incubus

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Tomorrow might be Halloween, but there’s nothing scary about Legacy Recordings’ four latest additions to the Essential series roster!  Today sees the release of career-spanning anthologies from a diverse group of artists: alt-metal rockers Incubus, hip-hop pioneers Run-D.M.C., country queen Martina McBride and ever-evolving Bay Area legends Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship!  All of these double-CD anthologies combine familiar hit singles, album tracks and rarities to create what might become the definitive surveys of each artist’s career.

The Essential Incubus follows Legacy’s issue earlier this year of Incubus HQ Live, preserving a string of live performances from the summer of 2011.  For that release, frontman Brandon Boyd ruminated on Incubus’ career as “twenty years, seven albums, multiple live albums, EPs, DVDs, somewhere in the ballpark of 1,500 live shows and an etcetera stint that would go on for a paragraph.” Well, the band’s full C.V. is reflected on The Essential, its 28 alt-metal tracks blending alternative rock, metal, funk, rap, hip-hop, techno and even jazz (and everything in between).  Every one of the band’s sixteen Billboard Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock chart hits are present on the new compilation, including the four songs which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart: “Drive,” “Megalomaniac,” “Anna Molly” and “Love Hurts.”  All songs have been remastered.  The Essential Incubus makes a fine companion to 2009’s Monuments and Melodies and includes new liner notes from Gary Graff.

Run-D.M.C. is still regarded today as one of the most influential groups in rap and hip-hop.  The Essential Run-D.M.C. spans the period between 1983 and 2001, one year before Jam Master Jay was murdered and the group disbanded.  Legacy’s 29-track anthology celebrates the group with selections from seven albums, one expanded reissue, and even a various-artists anthology.  The first rap group to earn RIAA platinum and multi-platinum albums and MTV’s choice for The Greatest Hip-Hop Group of All Time, Run-D.M.C. made an impression on the national consciousness with 1986’s Aerosmith collaboration “Walk This Way” and again in 1987 with “Christmas in Hollis,” immortalized in the film Die Hard.  Noah Uman has produced the new compilation, and authorized biographer Bill Adler provides new liner notes.

After the jump: Martina McBride and the Jefferson Airplane family take off – plus complete track listings and pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 30, 2012 at 13:01