I was a junior in high school
in 1975. And though I was still in high school, I did a weekly record review segment on the local college radio station
. I think I went on the air
right after Drum and Bugle Corps
For the most part I don't remember what albums I reviewed - much less what I said about them. But I do know this: at the end of 1975 I rated Red Octopus as the album of the year.
No longer Jefferson Airplane and not yet Starship, this was the first official Jefferson Starship album. Marty Balin, the founder of Jefferson Airplane, had drifted away from the band for awhile, but was back in the fold and penned the song that would drive this album to #1 on the charts - Miracles. And on Red Octopus Papa John Creach would work with the band for the last time.
The band had shed their counter-culture persona. There's no psychedelia or political satire - just a series of varying tempo lovesongs. Some great lovesongs. In Miracles, Balin and Grace Slick team up to sing one of the most erotic songs to ever grace the Top 40 charts.
In the days when pop music was mainly sold on black vinyl, it was rare that an album was produced that could really be listened to from start to finish without finding at least one clunker; Red Octopus was one of those rare occurrences. There are no throwaway tracks just to fill out a side. Each track has some merit. At least enough that in 1975 it garnered my vote for album of the year.
Red Octopus Track Listing
1. Fast Buck Freddie (Chaquico/Slick) - 3:28
2. Miracles (Balin) - 6:51
3. Git Fiddler (Creach/Moore/Parker) - 3:09
4. Ai Garimasu (There Is Love) (Slick) - 4:15
5. Sweeter Than Honey (Balin/Chaquico/Sears) - 3:21
6. Play on Love (Sears/Slick) - 3:43
7. Tumblin' (Balin/Freiberg/Hunter) - 3:26
8. I Want to See Another World (Balin/Kantner/Slick) - 4:35
9. Sandalphon (Sears) - 4:09
10. There Will Be Love (Balin/Chaquico/Kantner) - 5:04
Marty Balin : Guitar, Vocals
Grace Slick : Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
Paul Kantner : Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm), Vocals
John Barbata : Conga, Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Craig Chaquico : Guitar, Vocals
Papa John Creach : Violin, Vocals
Pete Sears : Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
David Freiberg : Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Bobbye Hall : Conga, Percussion
Irv Cox : Saxophone