The Great Society – Live At The Matrix 1966
(Floating World Records – 2018)
An early pre-Jefferson Airplane band where you'll discover psychedelia, blues and late 60's rock including a really early version of the later famous hit 'Somebody To Love' that is credited here as 'Someone To Love'.
To shorten the story a bit, when Grace Wing married Jerry Slick, they decided to form a band after being turned on by what the then Jefferson Airplane were doing, of course at that time with Signe Andersen on lead vocals. Grace was at that point, currently a model but fronting a band seemed more fun than changing costumes every ten minutes.
With Jerry's brother, Darby Slick on guitar, The Great Society were born and played in San Francisco. They tread the boards then Darby who was really into Indian music decided to persue it further, led to Grace losing interest in that band with the band soon falling apart. Then luck would have it, she was offered a place as frontlady of Jefferson Airplane , taking the songs 'White Rabbit' and 'Somebody To Love' with her – the latter actually penned by Darby (not Grace) after a then girlfriend not coming home that night. The rest, as they say is history....
So as you probably realise, this album is a trip into the live archives from reel to reel tape but sounds like it was recorded yesterday because even though it's in mono as it comes across so fresh. There's the bluesy rock groove of 'Father Bruce'; 'Down Home Girl' that The Rolling Stones recorded early on or 'Get Out My Life Woman' with some strong bass notes and much more to discover on here like the uneasy 'Born To Be Burn' for example or even a standard like 'Black Crowe Blues'.
One that all the fans of Grace Slick, Jefferson Airplane and of course The Great Society need to hear. Oh and even those who are curious how the original hippy sound started too. We may be able to just about blame it on these guys and girl and maybe Northern India too.
By Glenn Milligan