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Jorma Kaukonen

And Vital Parts - Rockpalast: West Coast Legends, Vol. 2

Review by Gary Hill

This album is a 1980 live performance from Jorma Kaukonen. He’s probably best known as one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane and for his band Hot Tuna. This is a killer album that features a sound that’s got some of that Airplane element in places. It’s also got a punk rock edge a lot of the time and some serious real deal blues on many of the tracks. There’s not a thing wrong with the blistering performances. The mix seems at times a little bass heavy, but that really works well for me because I’m a recovering bass player. The only complaint involves the packaging in that there is a problem with the track listing. One of the early songs isn’t listed on the sleeve and it throws all the rest off. Of course, if you just listen straight through, who cares what the song titles are?


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Money Money

This is a killer blues jam. It’s hard edged and tasty and very much real blues. Some of the bass work on this is amazing and there are great vocal and guitar performances, too.

Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
While this is every bit the same level of real blues and every bit as crunchy, it’s a bit more stripped down. There are hints of punk rock in the way this is arranged.
To Hate Is To Stay Young
This is a definite change. There are elements of Kaukonen’s legacy with Jefferson Airplane here, but the whole thing is delivered with a punk rock kind of intensity. This is a real powerhouse.
Wake Up Dead Man
Take the last track and purge most of the Airplane references and bring back a little of the old school blues. You’ve got a great idea of what this sounds like. There’s an issue with the CD track listing, but that will be addressed in the next track.
Jelly Raw Blues
Things get a little weird here, at least in terms of the CD labeling. The cover says that this eight minute plus hard rocker is called “Jelly Raw Blues.” The thing is, as they start the band says that it is “a song called ‘Wake Up Dead Man’” and those words are used in the chorus. So, there’s some mislabeling here. Still, this slow groove is delivered in some killer hard rocking style and is a highlight of the set, no matter what you call it.
Junkies On Angel Dust
As a continuing problem with the CD labeling, this old school, hard edged blues number is introduced as “Jelly Raw Blues.” It’s a great tune, naming problem or no naming problem. There is some killer slide guitar on the track.
Death Don't Have Mercy
And, now we get the song that’s introduced as “Junkies on Angel Dust.” Again, it doesn’t matter what you call it because this is an awesome track. It’s got a lot of that old Jefferson Airplane sound, but brought into the modern age. I also hear a healthy helping of Led Zeppelin in the mix. It’s one of my favorites on show here.
Walkin' Blues
While the slow blues of this cut would fit the title it’s given, the lyrics reveal that it should actually have the name of the previous piece. This is very definitely a traditional blues piece delivered with just a hint of punk rock.
Valley Of Tears
And, here we have “Walkin’ Blues,” which is, again, mislabeled. It’s a hard edged blues jam that feels like the classic blues rock of the 1970’s.
Straight Ahead
As you might guess, this is “Valley of Tears.” It’s another that has a lot of old school Jefferson Airplane built into it, but with a more raw, modern twist. They turn it out into a killer jam, taking this thing to nearly thirteen minutes.
Unknown Track
OK, really, this song is “Straight Ahead,” but the CD sleeve only lists ten cuts, and this is number eleven. It’s another that could, with a different arrangement, have been a Jefferson Airplane song. It’s got a tasty extended jam in the middle.
 
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