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Jefferson Airplane — Wooden Ships
Album: Volunteers
Avg rating:
6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 445









Released: 1969
Length: 6:10
Plays (last 30 days): 0
(UPS) EARTH JULY 1975
Black sails knifing through the pitchblende night
Away from the radioactive landmass madness
From the silver-suited people searching out
Uncontaminated food and shelter on the shores
No glowing metal on our ship of wood only
Free happy crazy people naked in the universe
WE SPEAK EARTH TALK
GO RIDE THE MUSIC

If you smile at me you know I will understand
Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
In the same language

I can see by your coat my friend that you're
From the other side
There's just one thing I got to know
Can you tell me please
Who won?

You must try some of my purple berries
I been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive

Wooden ships on the water very free and easy
Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline leave us be
Very free and easy

Sail away where the morning sun goes high
Sail away where the wind blows sweet
And young birds fly

Take a sister by her hand
Lead her far from this barren land

Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cry
Stare as all your human feelings die
We are leaving, you don't need us

Go and take a sister by her hand
Lead her far from this foreign land
Somewhere where we might laugh again
We are leaving, you don't need us

Sailing ships on the water very free and easy
Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline leave us be
Very free, and gone

No (repeats)

No c'mon,
Go ride the music
C'mon ride it child
Comments (148)add comment
9 for me. More majestic, mysterious and powerful. 

 
Skydog wrote:
8, I like this better than CS&N
 

8, I like this better than CS&N
Horrible big time
 Hannio wrote:
Jorma shines in this.
 
Absolutely, today one of the most under appreciated guitarists from that time.  If you can catch him alone or even better, with Hot Tuna definitely do so. 
 vandal wrote:
horrible
 

I concur.  I guess you had to be there.   {#Chillpill}
 Hannio wrote:
Jorma shines in this.
 
true dat!  (double true!)
It's a dystopian future set!

Jefferson Airplane - Wooden Ships
Big Head Todd & The Monsters - Drought of 2013
Talking Heads - (Nothing But) Flowers
 
 Relayer wrote:
I don't get this song at all. It never actually seem to start or follow into any sort of form. Sounds like a bunch of hippies around a campfire all trying to sing a song that none of them actually know. I give this version a 1.
 
nailed it.

horrible
This is the original version for me.  CSN's came later.  Love them both, but this one a little more because of Gracie.
No Sir! Don't like it!
 rcurrier wrote:

You make it sound like that's a bad thing.
 
{#Lol}
 Relayer wrote:
I don't get this song at all. It never actually seem to start or follow into any sort of form. Sounds like a bunch of hippies around a campfire all trying to sing a song that none of them actually know. I give this version a 1.
 
You make it sound like that's a bad thing.
Love this song.  If you don't, you weren't there but I was!
I don't get this song at all. It never actually seem to start or follow into any sort of form. Sounds like a bunch of hippies around a campfire all trying to sing a song that none of them actually know. I give this version a 1.
Listen to ol' Grace bellowin there.  Sure is earnest.

This is the first version of Wooden Ships that I ever heard. I've always thought of it as the original by which I measure other versions, though CSN's version has a different emotion. Jefferson Airplane though holds its true meaning for me. But of course, my opinion "doesn't mean shit to a tree".
this is one band i really don't 'get'. guess you had to be there. y'all enjoy

 tulfan wrote:
Interesting version but not a hint of rythym to be found within its boundless parameters
  Very well put.

Interesting version but not a hint of rythym to be found within its boundless parameters
Jorma shines in this.

Not a cover.  Paul Kantner, David Crosby and Stephen Stills wrote this song (on a boat, supposedly)! 

Many performed it, this is one of the better versions, mostly due to Grace Slick's amazing voice.

But all versions are great.



 Ubaldo wrote:
Great cover!  Go, Grace!  {#Yes}
 
Cover? Paul Kantner shares a writing credit on this tune, son. It ain't a cover.
 LowPhreak wrote:
Jack was always one of my fave bassmen. 
 
:indeed:


It's the rain, it's the lousy job situation, and then it's the Jefferson Airplane to put me in a black funk this afternoon. Yuck. Changing the channel
40+ years old...
wow, man.

 

 Daveyj64 wrote:


The clothes and hair styles then....The continual self indulgent "Me" generational thinking that continues to pervade our society...dreaming is nice and all, but when it got to actually doing something about it, the Me kids pretty much decided to look after themselves and raise the bar on greed and selfishness....American history has pretty much mirrored the boomers...the 50s was a childhood, the 60s was the rebellious teens/20s...the 70s was the lost, well what do I do wth my life...the 80s were the well I wanna make lots of money, so lets be greedy...followed by the continual shift in the 90s to the right politically as they reach old age and get more rigid in thier thinking...but throughout it all, its been "gee, how great we were/are"..while actually having very little to show to back that up. I mean consider this....since the Boomers got the right to vote..we have had Nixon twice (1 and 1/2+Ford), Carter(purely a reaction to Nixon/Watergate) Reagan twice, followed by Bush..Clinton twice, and one of those due entirely to a right leaning third party candidate, followed by Bush twice...Not really a very anti-war voting history
 
I suppose this is akin to pissing into the wind, but... You have somehow bought into a cartoon history of the latter twentieth century and accepted that this cartoon mirrors the reality. Fine. But, your super-oversimplification of complexity is just the Classics Illustrated version of a cartoon. Maybe it's a manga for your entertainment. Jolly good entertainment, but maybe a tad over-simplified? By the way, Dan Quayle was what American got when the "boomer" generation came to power. There's another cartoon image.

OK, I get it, this is the anti-war/postapocalyptic set,

 - Talking Heads - (Nothing But) Flowers
 - Big Head Todd & The Monsters - Drought of 2013
 - Jefferson Airplane - Wooden Ships
 

Nice thematic grouping. Normally, I'd say BRAVO! But I just can't get past this version of Wooden Ships. It's so discordant that it's actually painful to listen to. I guess they were making a "statement" there - war is painful, yada yada, I agree - but this version is just miserable. Please, please can we have the CSN classic instead?


I've never heard the Airplane version of this song before, but it's got its merits. I might have to hear it a couple of times to form an opinion, because I still hear the CSNY version of it.  In this version, I really love Grace Slick's soaring vocals above the "voice of reason" vocals of Paul Kantner. So far, it's pretty good - I always love alternate versions of a song.

Um, hands have stopped working. Checking out now.
 That_SOB wrote:
Messydiner wrote : " WTF?  The sixties were weird man"

 Really? Like which part ? The amazing social revolution, the anti-war protests, getting high,
dreaming of a world without war (peace), the music, the attempt to make the world a better place to live in ?
Could you be a bit more specific ?
 

The clothes and hair styles then....The continual self indulgent "Me" generational thinking that continues to pervade our society...dreaming is nice and all, but when it got to actually doing something about it, the Me kids pretty much decided to look after themselves and raise the bar on greed and selfishness....American history has pretty much mirrored the boomers...the 50s was a childhood, the 60s was the rebellious teens/20s...the 70s was the lost, well what do I do wth my life...the 80s were the well I wanna make lots of money, so lets be greedy...followed by the continual shift in the 90s to the right politically as they reach old age and get more rigid in thier thinking...but throughout it all, its been "gee, how great we were/are"..while actually having very little to show to back that up. I mean consider this....since the Boomers got the right to vote..we have had Nixon twice (1 and 1/2+Ford), Carter(purely a reaction to Nixon/Watergate) Reagan twice, followed by Bush..Clinton twice, and one of those due entirely to a right leaning third party candidate, followed by Bush twice...Not really a very anti-war voting history
Jack was always one of my fave bassmen. 
Great cover!  Go, Grace!  {#Yes}
I think I prefer the CSN version. I really prefer it.
A different take on a song jointly written by Paul Kantner & David Crosby.  A lot of people think this is the original.  Both versions were released about the same time.  Both have the stamps of their creators I think.  Grace's vocals add a whole different layer.  Good stuff.{#Dancingbanana}
 RedGuitar wrote:

It may have just been referring to purple berries.

 
or the apocolypse...scavenging for food...and it always sparked a sci fi imagine for me too.


 More_Cowbell wrote:
Is Grace always supposed to be off key... painful!
 

Thank God for mute.
This album took me a new land when I was just 16, believe it or not without the consumption of any drugs or booze. That came later, but the music's spirituality still is with me today. I'm still a hippie at heart, a child of the universe. Peace, love and harmony to everyone.
cannot hold a candle to csny
Is Grace always supposed to be off key... painful!
 messydiner wrote:
"You must try some of my purple berries
I been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive"

WTF?  The sixties were weird man, was it really so cool to make weird metaphors for drug-use?  I guess this is the band that wrote "White Rabbit", so maybe that question answers itself.  {#Rolleyes}
 
It may have just been referring to purple berries.

Thank goodness for CSNY
...Cause I'm feelin' so Bohemian like you! LOL
Just love this version {#Music}
Please put a cork in this one.
 MojoJojo wrote:
So, did they build this city?  If so - on what?  
 

{#Roflol}
hmmm...guess this is what the brown acid does to ya? ;)
 messydiner wrote:
"You must try some of my purple berries
I been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive"

WTF?  The sixties were weird man, was it really so cool to make weird metaphors for drug-use?  I guess this is the band that wrote "White Rabbit", so maybe that question answers itself.  {#Rolleyes}
 

Try not to make such a fool of yourself.
Hard to believe, but first time I've ever heard this version.  Thank goodness.
 etwilson wrote:
It's not a cover, both versions came out at the same time and and it was co-written by Crosby, Stills and Kantner together.
 
Thanks for that information, I was also thinking it was a cover. I think both versions are watertight.

Messydiner wrote : " WTF?  The sixties were weird man"

 Really? Like which part ? The amazing social revolution, the anti-war protests, getting high,
dreaming of a world without war (peace), the music, the attempt to make the world a better place to live in ?
Could you be a bit more specific ?


Must have been some serious acid being used when they recorded this thing.
So, did they build this city?  If so - on what?  
4 to 2. This really annoys me.
I gave it a 7...you can dance to it.  Actually I was surprised the ratings were so low.  I have to agree with the person who said that this version captures the mood of the song;  the whole album captures a particular outlook on life, politics, and community that I always thought was very powerful.  You can hear it in the opening and closing anthems ("We Can Be Together" and "Volunteers").

For all the comments about acid and hippy bs, the Airplane at this point had become very clear-eyed about the state of the movement and where it was headed.   It's like they knew we were going to lose, or had lost already, but still believed in the dream. 

We can be together.


I think this is excellent, but nothing can beat the Crosby, Stills and Nash version.  I like how both are so similar yet different in tone.

 Misterfixit wrote:
The war?

I thought we knew that already.

We do?  Then tell me please, who won?

I honestly don't know what to think of this song.  It's really left me stumped.
"You must try some of my purple berries
I been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive"

WTF?  The sixties were weird man, was it really so cool to make weird metaphors for drug-use?  I guess this is the band that wrote "White Rabbit", so maybe that question answers itself.  {#Rolleyes}
 Dabbitt wrote:
Worst cover of a great song ever?
 
I think Paul Kantner gets co-writer credits, so it may not even be a "cover."

edit:  Oops.  Somebody had already put this out.  My bad.  I'll retreat back into my corner now.
 tiggers wrote:
Enough of this tuneless meandering hippy nonsense. Just utterly dreadful in every way.
 I couldn't agree more...  not with your POV, but with the sentiment and vision put forth in this song, a vision most certainly needed nowadays to counter such hate filled judgmental pronouncements as yours convey.


 Enrique wrote:
It goes to show that the original is not always best.
 
This is the very first post for the song from 2002 that needs correcting.
A rare case in which both versions are considered "original."


Great minds think alike.
{#Arrowd}{#Arrowd}{#Arrowd}



 Dabbitt wrote:
Worst cover of a great song ever?
 
It's not a cover, both versions came out at the same time and and it was co-written by Crosby, Stills and Kantner together.
Brings back memories from my youth that I can't remember
 Dabbitt wrote:
Worst cover of a great song ever?
 
No,not in the least.
Extremely bad cover.
IMO
{#Confused}
Worst cover of a great song ever?
now that's MUCH better
Meh.
 wim06 wrote:
Yes, but outstanding great superb hippy bullsh*t!

 
Agreed!  PEACE


Music does not have to be perfect, to be wonderful, I've always like this version, especially for the tremor, almost wailing in Grace Slick's voice....you can almost hear a burial dirge quality to it...in memory of the men/women lost in that dreaful excuse for a war.....some things never change.

I have a dislike for Jefferson Airplane that I can't explain, or understand. This song grates on my nerves, and for some reason I had it on 3. moved to 2, just because they do know how to play instruments which is more than I can say for myself.
"Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era-the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of "history" it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time-and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights-or very early mornings-when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . .

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

And that, I think, was the handle-that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting-on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark-that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."
- Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream)
I've only heard the CSN version.  It's always a little weird the first time you hear a different version of a tune you know well.  I had to wonder which was a remake of the other, but the all knowing Wikipedia claims "Both versions are considered to be original versions of the song, although they differ slightly in wording and melody."  huh.  OK, I suppose.  I guess the same folks are doing them both, more or less...

I think those ships are burning now...{#Fire}
In David Crosby's liner notes for the 1991 box set Crosby, Stills & Nash, he says this cryptic, apocalyptic, anti-war song was "Written in the main cabin of my boat, the Mayan. I had the music already Paul Kanter wrote 2 verses, Stephen wrote one and I added the bits at both ends." He goes on to say that the songwriters "Imagined ourselves as the few survivors, escaping on a boat to create a new civilization."
This is marginal.  Doesn't hold a candle to the original.

bloody awful. . .

{mute}

1


 keller1 wrote:

As brutal as the CSN version is wonderful.  I don't know why bandwidth is wasted on this version.

1.


 
AGREED.  Love this song - really dislike this version of it.

 toterola wrote:
Dick Nixon thought these guys were the most dangerous group of radicals in the counter-culture music biz. He wanted them arrested for sedition when they put this album out.
 
According to his notes and "lists", Nixon apparently thought John Lennon was the most "dangerous" entity in the music business, so much that Lennon had his visa revoked. Old Milhous certainly had a great amount of contempt for Jefferson Airplane as well.




great song...


Enough of this tuneless meandering hippy nonsense. Just utterly dreadful in every way.

As brutal as the CSN version is wonderful.  I don't know why bandwidth is wasted on this version.

1.


love that JK edgy, haunting guitar
 Misterfixit wrote:

Tricky Dick .... let us never forget him, his ilk, and such niceties as "The Huston (Houston) Plan".

 
Ah yes Tricky indeed.  But this song blows me waaay back to my early years as a kid growing up the child of a US Air Force NCO in the Far East.  Japan, Philippines, Taiwan and all the rest...if there was a US air base there I've visited it (or lived near it).  In hindsight I had a hell-uv-a childhood different from most American kids; especially for the times.  Anyway, at the time the Taiwanese were blatantly copying most of the (then vinyl) LP's and music of the US.  They'd copy it on some fairly crappy vinyl then turn around and sell it to the military men for....oh....25cents (US) an album.  The vinyl didn't last long, but usually long enough to transfer to tape.  This Jefferson Airplane Volunteers album was one of the first to which I did just that.  Hands down I thought this song was the better version. 

And I still do today.  ;-)


 paraclete wrote:
Wonderful . . . . "Tell me please, who won?"

 
The war?

I thought we knew that already.

 toterola wrote:
Dick Nixon thought these guys were the most dangerous group of radicals in the counter-culture music biz. He wanted them arrested for sedition when they put this album out. That very fact makes this deserve a "10", even if the bridge had been Gracie farting through a kazoo!

BTW, this is 40 years old this year. How's that grab ya'? {#Meditate} {#Roflol} {#Wave}

 
Tricky Dick .... let us never forget him, his ilk, and such niceties as "The Huston (Houston) Plan".

Dick Nixon thought these guys were the most dangerous group of radicals in the counter-culture music biz. He wanted them arrested for sedition when they put this album out. That very fact makes this deserve a "10", even if the bridge had been Gracie farting through a kazoo!

BTW, this is 40 years old this year. How's that grab ya'? {#Meditate} {#Roflol} {#Wave}

Xeric wrote:

Me, neither. Somebody spare me the looking it up—which is the cover?

 laramieu wrote:
CSN was first but Kantner help to write it
 
Years ago when Rolling Stone was still a newsprint foldover, they interviewed David Crosby. Among the most amazing range of topics the interview covered, one was how he in his pre-Byrds days hung with Kantner and David Freiberg (Quicksilver Messenger Service and later Jefferson Starship) in Venice in SoCal. According to Crosby when the gigs were in short supply, they eked out a living burglarizing the community. The story may be semi-apocryphal, but the point I took was that these guys who would populate some of the most influential bands in the coming decade all knew each other from Before They Were Famous. BTW, the Airplane had already recorded "Triad," another Crosby song, on Crown of Creation—I recall because Stills and Nash refused to do it as CSN.
 rtrudeau wrote:
This one's better.


 
They're both good, but personally, I give this version a slight edge.

 nagsheadlocal wrote:

 
While we can debate the "better" cover, this one still is great in it's own right.  Evocative of the era, and for me, hitting all the right emotional chords.  What we all love about RP is the diversity, and hearing songs matched up with others we would not normally put together'

If this came out now I would shit all over it in the forum.  The fact that it is old legitimizes it totally...

that, and the fact that Grace Slick was kind of a babe.
Thanks, Bill, for the flashback!
{#Clap}
Still ridin' the music!

Thanks Bill, nice to hear something old and in the way.  Like others, enjoy both versions for different reasons.  Just good to hear the variety on RP.

I mean really, when was the last time you heard this on the radio and some 20 min earlier, Starship Trooper and in between the Tlking Heads.  

Whole reason why I started supporting RP 2+ years ago. 
 rtrudeau wrote:
This one's better.



Stephen Stills was on Bob Edward's Weekend radio show recently and said they shot that photo on a whim and then realized it was out of order - it's Nash, Stills and Crosby as they sit.

So they went back to the site to re-take the photo and the house had been torn down in the meantime.
 


Super song - Sad cover
Wonderful . . . . "Tell me please, who won?"

 wim06 wrote:


Yes, but outstanding great superb hippy bullsh*t!

 

Indeed! Bring on the hippie bullsh*t! Let's wave our freak flags high!

Now lessee...where are my flowered bellbottoms, leather vest, headband and beads...


EssexTex
(Bee Cave, Texas)
Posted: Jul 22, 2008 - 06:37 < Reply >

AphidA wrote: hippy bullsh*t

Were you a cop in 60's Alabama?

Or model your life after the antagonist in Joe?

This one's better.




i can barely listen to this.....    i think i'm scarred forever.

Nothing but flowers... Drought of 2013... Wooden Ships...
Is there something Earth shaking going on like the meltdown of our financial markets? Presidential election? hmmm...

 Jelani wrote:
I've never heard this before and I really like it. I like CSNY's narrative aspect a little better, but I like the dynamics of this much better.
 

I've always loved both versions of this song.  Completely different feel to them. 

I've never heard this before and I really like it. I like CSNY's narrative aspect a little better, but I like the dynamics of this much better.
It's not so much about the song as the memories it brings back!
AphidA wrote:
hippy bullsh*t
Were you a cop in 60's Alabama? :shifty:
AphidA wrote:
hippy bullsh*t
Yes, but outstanding great superb hippy bullsh*t! :daisy:
Doormouse wrote:
This is the anthem that sent me into the country to find out how to live a life of quality. Wow! Great to hear this - Are you aware of the massive talent on this track? Now if I could only find the Stanley Owsley product to go with this energy. :daisy:
Yep, spun my head off too back in the day, Owlsleys' concoction would no doubt kill me now!
Pales in comparison to the original, especially with Grace's out of tune "ad libbing" in the background.
wow is this excruciatingly bad.
Now I know there's a devil. :fire: jojopodo wrote:
God exists! He's saved me from hearing this cover ever before in my life. Hopefully I'll never hear it again... :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:
Lawdy, does this bring back memories - Thank God I can still remember . . . Loved this album.
God exists! He's saved me from hearing this cover ever before in my life. Hopefully I'll never hear it again... :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:
johkir wrote:
Nice segue after Big Head Todd & The Monsters - Drought of 2013!
And redux today . . .
didn't the freaks come from LA and the hippies from San Fran? or was that just FZ's point of view
What comes around goes around.
We called one another "Freaks". The word "Hippie" was a media creation. Our culture was co-opted by the very system we rebelled against. The irony hasn't escaped me. I never tire of this tune.
More self indulgent stoner dreck - please give us a break or send over the acid (man :wink: ) as I sure as hell need some to make listening to this bearable.
Nice segue after Big Head Todd & The Monsters - Drought of 2013!
Representing the time spirit very well (in the first place).
laramieu wrote:
CSN was first but Kantner help to write it
Thank you. Bill just said the same, only the other way--Crosby helped! Interesting tune, though for the moment I'm still partial to the CSNY version.
Xeric wrote:
Me, neither. Somebody spare me the looking it up--which is the cover?
CSN was first but Kantner help to write it