Jefferson Starship – Dragon Fly (1974)

Starship_Dragonfly4 out of 5 Stars!

I find that 1974’s Dragon Fly is a rather underrated and occasionally forgotten platter, probably not too surprising considering it was one of the “transition” albums between two bands, Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. After Paul Kantner’s “project” concept album Blows Against The Empire, which included Airplane alumni, four years passed before he recruited some additional musicians to release Dragon Fly, updating the band’s overall sound.

To me, this album is one of Jefferson Starship’s best, with the songs “That’s For Sure” and the rollicking title track—quickly to become a stable on FM radio stations—not only displaying the power of the revamped group’s trademarked gang vocals, but also the true potential of guitarist Craig Chaquico and violinist Papa John Creach. The melodic playing of bassist Pete Sears, creating a formidable rhythmic team with drummer John Barbata, proved highly impressive, while Grace Slick’s vocal performances on tracks such as “Devils Den,” “Hyperdrive” and “Be Young You” providing (as usual) the essential chills of excitement.

But it’s Marty Balin’s captivating “guest appearance” on the exceptional track “Caroline,” with Grace performing her stellar ad-libbed background vocals, that created the magic and most likely inspired the group to continue forward with Balin included in the permanent line-up, and eventually, to mega-success with its next album, the classic Red Octopus.

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