Search - Paul Kantner :: Blows Against the Empire

Blows Against the Empire
Paul Kantner
Blows Against the Empire
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

Paul Kantner, Blows Against the Empire


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CD Details

All Artists: Paul Kantner
Title: Blows Against the Empire
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 1/1/2005
Re-Release Date: 9/13/2005
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Styles: Folk Rock, Country Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 828766797428


Album Description
Paul Kantner, Blows Against the Empire

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CD Reviews

First, I was irridescent, then I became transparent...
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 09/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First of all, acknowlegements for the use of part of a line from Starship written by Kantner, Slick, Balin and Blackman. In the liner notes, Paul Kantner tells of how he wrote to Robert Heinlein to ask permission to use some of his ideas in the project to which Heinlein replied with some astonishment that his ideas had been used many times before but only Kantner had written for permission.

Secondly, Amazon has the tracklist wrong to the extent that the radio slots for the album are at the end and not the beginning.

Thirdly, I do not want to duplicate my review of the first CD release of this album which can be found on Amazon's pages and which I pretty much stand by today.

Fourthly, I think that this remastering is truly excellent. I say this first and foremost because of the sound. The first time around sounds dark and murky in comparison but here the sound is pristine revealing much more in the process and giving the vocals a lot nore clarity in particular. And, if you never knew why Paul Kantner appreciated Grace Slick's vocals so much you sure do here. Listen to the bonus track of her demo version of Sunrise it is astounding. The Garcia contributions also benefit enormously from the remastering and it makes one wonder how awesome he would have become as a pedal steel guitar player if he had chosen that particular route had he not preferred to go back to the regular (sic) guitar. All of the instruments and vocals are greatly improved.

Next the bonus tracks. Although they do not add per se to the original album as new songs they certainly elaborate on their development. Let's Go Together is presented with alternative lyrics but after several plays I must confess to preferring the original album. I could be getting old and conservative I guess which may account for that. The two demos, Sunrise and Hijack show how the album versions evolved and the remaining two SFX and Starship are valubale too but in different ways. I can only speculate as to whether Garcia and Hart actually called the track SFX but the first thing that came to mind was San Francisco International as in airport or perhaps Space Station. Regardless the effects are great and particularly so on headphones. Finally the live version of Starship is particularly welcome if only because it is an official live version very reminiscent to my ears, of the sound on Bless It's Pointed Little Head. It certainly is a positive indication of what the sound might be if the whole thing were performed live. There are two secret tracks, which Amazon had listed as the first two tracks of Radio Spots for the album which i find cute but also a liitle sad as reminders of the gestation of the Starship from the Airplane but otherwise do not detract from the overall excellence.

Finally the packagaging. Reproducing the original booklet is a nice plus although at my age and with glasses it is a little hard to read. Thank the deity it is not a mini-disc version. But again it is really nice to have and also I really enjoyed the liner notes. Not to do down Jeff Tamarkin, who did a sterling job on the other albums, these liner notes are a little more in keeping with the times in which the album was recorded. More like a insider orientation with subjective aspects, they are a little more rebellious and open and esoteric.

All in all I really really think that this album has stood the test of time even though popular music has changed so much. Releasing it at this time with it's conjunction of the second major diaster of the Bush presidency (three if you count Iraq) may be accidental but it does draw on some parallels with it's original release during the closing years of the Vietnam war. However, the anti-war movement is more divided and muted now than it was then. I was struck by the irony of the line Amerika hates her crazies as I dropped my teenage daughter off at school this morning (what sort of music do you call this she asked as she got into the car)when conformity is the order of the day in the new millenium.

Finally I have to mention the artwork which always impresses me.

FIVE STARS PLUS (please Amazon - just this once can I give it 6 stars."
"At first I was irridescent...then I became
J. H. Minde | Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The original Jefferson Starship album of 1970 with a lineup that includes members of Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, The Grateful Dead, and Crosby Stills and Nash as one expanded group of musicians (of course, there was always some crossover anyway), BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE is a concept album that breaks new ground in its presentation as a musical science fiction novel on vinyl (now CD), and a Hugo Award nominee for best sci-fi story.

Paul Kantner transmutes the scornful separatism of the antiwar movement and the drug culture into an epic of planetary exodus in which spirituality, psychic phenomena and Eastern philosophies are wedded to Western technology in a seamless, life-affirming whole of discovery and renaissance.

In this troubled era, BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE has regained its relevance. There is always the future. There is always hope. Kantner and Co.'s master plan, to hijack the starship, is really a clarion call to retake our own destinies on planet Earth: "Dear Brumus, the ship will be ours and you have to roll with it...and though your master's head's blown off you'll have to go with it..."

The original sound quality of the album though layered and textured, was merely average but has been much improved on the remastered reissue. The extra tracks are studio outtakes and alternate versions of the songs that make up this album, and although it is interesting to see how BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE evolved, on the other hand it's an unnecessary frippery.

A very untraditional album, BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE "will carry you well past Gideon, and the people you see will leave you be, more than the ones you've known before.""
Still Among My Top Five All-Time Favorites.
Cliff Walker | Portland, Oregon | 02/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Long before the Star Wars sound effects crew did it, Paul Kantner and Jerry Garcia threw the nearest vacuum cleaner into the mix to emulate the sounds of outer space!

I don't need to add to what's been written except to say that at the tender age of 13, having only recently succumbed to the very real psychedelic temptations that presented themselves in 1970, we really didn't know what to think of this "Hijack the Starship" motif! It didn't dawn on us that this was only Sci-Fi, and we honestly wondered if there really might be a bona fide conspiracy afloat. The other intriguing part (not to mention the sheer quality of the musicianship, here, particularly Gracie's piano) was the mention of my birthday (I was adopted in Marin County).

This album is truly the climax of the Utopian dream as it had been put to music over the four or five years preceding.

I will say that whatever other versions you get, a used copy of the full package original vinyl (with book AND sleeve) is a must. I saw a slightly partied copy for less than five bucks not too long ago.

Regarding "Let's Go Together," I quite frankly prefer the original take (the so-called alternate lyrics version) over the one we all know and love. Yes, that's what I said, the original version is the "alternate" and the "official" version is literally a hack of that version. If you listen very (very) closely (with good headphones) to the vinyl version (the one that we all know and love), you will hear quite plainly the places where he overdubbed Gracie's vocals with his own, changing the lyrics as he went along. It's almost as if Kantner, working after hours, long after the rest of the crew had pronounced this one "done," just couldn't leave it alone, that he just had to somehow rework it so that it would fit into his "Starship" motif. (Paul Kantner? lacking even the tiny amount of creativity it would have taken to let "South America" be symbolic of "Bright Andromeda"!?)

That's all I have to say, except to repeat that this is one of the all-around best albums I've ever heard -- despite its hopelessly poor sound quality. (The first CD was among the most pathetic commercial productions ever, second only to Velvet Underground Live at Max's Kansas City. The first Blows CD was produced from a commercial cassette tape! I'm *serious*! [I'm also an audio engineer by trade.] I cannot distinguish between the two in a blind test, and nobody that I've challenged over the years could either! Its loudest moment was still a full 18 dB below zero!) And no, I haven't heard this release, but have the one where the "alternate" "Let's Go Together" replaced the commonly known track.)"