Thursday 25 February 2021

GRACE SLICK solo albums


Album Review of: 

This is Grace Slick. But there’s none of that laser-voice supernatural intensity you associate with ‘Grace Slick’. With the Airplane/Starship in suspension, Grace did a quartet of solo albums that seemed unfocused and ill at ease with the post Haight-Ashbury meltdown. Although unkind critics at the time labelled it her Shirley Bassey album, 1980s ‘Dreams’ was the best received. This reissue adds the bonus singles-edit of the big power-ballad title-song that briefly graced the UK Top 50. And yes, from “Dreams” through to the grandiose sweeping closer “Garden Of Man” it’s over-the-top orchestral dramas worthy of Jim Steinman. “Seasons” has a Mary Hopkin la-la-la children’s chorus. “El Diablo” is a pleasantly exotic flamenco excursion – and ‘pleasant’ is not a word you’d normally associate with Grace! There’s some dated indulgent guitars-on-boosters plank-spanking, but little evidence of the Sex, Drugs And Rock ‘n’ Roll Grace of ‘Volunteers’. Is this really the voice that played LSD-games with the White Rabbit? If she had misgivings about this curious career-evolution she never betrays it. The self-styled ‘Queen of the Nut-house’ gives it every nerve and sinew. Yet it’s not entirely a disGrace, the benefit of the intervening years reveals moments to discover and enjoy.

Published in: 
‘R2: ROCK ‘N’ REEL Vol.2 No.43 
(Jan/February)’ (UK – January 2014)



Just don’t mention Miley Cyrus. Some years before ‘Hannah Montana’ was even born, Grace Slick was already riding that Wrecking Ball. Perfectly cast as the chemically-fuelled acid ice-queen of psychedelia, Grace found adapting to musical landscapes following the messy fragmentation of Jefferson Airplane-Starship, somewhat problematic. She adopted different guises across four solo albums, each with a separate and not-entirely satisfactory character. These two-for-one albums (no bonus tracks) follow ‘Manhole’ and her big shot at power-balladry, ‘Dreams’. Using the same producer, engineer and guitar trio of Ron Frangipane, Ed Sprigg and Scott Zito ‘Welcome To The Wrecking Ball’ from 1981 tries on a clean AM-radio friendly guitar-heavy AOR sound, with the grit of Grace’s strident contralto set to attack. She adds lyrics to four tracks, including the jack-hammering title and the anti-militarist marching-feet and tape-effects of standout “No More Heroes” – even if it does steal melodically from “Bang Bang”. From 1984, ‘Software’ radically shifts focus to electro-digital modernity with Linn-programming from ex-Zappa and future-Starship Peter Wolf, with sharply satiric Techno-Pop near-hit “All The Machines” poking fun at gadget-addiction. Despite its flaws, Miley Cyrus – even riding her wrecking-ball naked, just ain’t in the same league. 

Published in: 
‘R2: ROCK ‘N’ REEL Vol.2 No.52’ 
(UK – July/August 2015)

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