Saturday, June 11, 2011

1967: White Rabbit

Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit


As FiL reminded us, 1967 was the year that psychedelic music arrived, led by Magical Mystery Tour, but with many artists ready and able to follow. Alice in Wonderland was a natural reference point for a generation whose motto was, “tune in, turn on, drop out”. And no one expressed the Alice connection better than the Jefferson Airplane and lead singer Grace Slick, with White Rabbit. But of course, this is also a 1967 song that has endured, and that means that it has been played to death. So I switched it up a bit. White Rabbit as usually heard has a running time of 2:30, and indeed, this version goes silent at that point. But then the band comes back in without the vocals, and does an extended jam on the tune that extends the playing time by almost three more minutes. This is not the aimless noodling that jam bands are so often accused of these days; rather , this is a tightly imagined instrumental variation on a theme, with almost jazz-like flourishes. Amazon calls this the “mono single version”, which explains the sound quality. I don’t know how this version came to be. If any reader has that information, please share it in the comments. Thanks.

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