Bless Its Pointed Little Head (Live)

Bless Its Pointed Little Head (Live)

The live album Bless Its Pointed Little Head is a seething slice of top-grade psychedelic rock recorded when the band was near its peak. Culled from 1968 shows at the Fillmore East and West, these performances feature the volatile chemistry and unexpected musical contrasts that defined the Airplane’s sound. Familiar numbers like “Somebody to Love” and “Plastic Fantastic Lover” gain a heightened intensity in these versions, with singers Marty Balin and Grace Slick harmonizing with a palpably desperate edge. Previously unreleased tunes like the seething “Bear Melt” (featuring Slick at her most bewitching) and a high-gliding cover of Donovan’s “Fat Angel” are even better. The band manages to achieve swirling instrumental counterpoints without losing the bedrock beat. Deserving of special praise is guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, whose playing fuses blues, raga and other styles with fury and finesse. The interpersonal frictions that would send the Airplane crashing a few years later are absent here and they show how wondrous they could be when their finely blown minds were acting as one.

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