Manhole

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Joe Viglione
Manhole was the last of the experimental Jefferson Airplane, and Grace Slick's first official solo album. While Bark and Long John Silver, the final stages of the original Airplane, displayed the excessive psychedelic nature of the musicians within the confines of their group format, Blows Against the Empire, Sunfighter, and Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun allowed for total artistic expression. Manhole concluded this phase with 1974's other release, the Jefferson Starship's Dragonfly. By taking the name from Paul Kantner's Blows Against the Empire solo project, Dragonfly began the renewed focus on commercial FM which would turn into Top 40 airplay. Manhole is the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Joe Viglione
Manhole was the last of the experimental Jefferson Airplane, and Grace Slick's first official solo album. While Bark and Long John Silver, the final stages of the original Airplane, displayed the excessive psychedelic nature of the musicians within the confines of their group format, Blows Against the Empire, Sunfighter, and Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun allowed for total artistic expression. Manhole concluded this phase with 1974's other release, the Jefferson Starship's Dragonfly. By taking the name from Paul Kantner's Blows Against the Empire solo project, Dragonfly began the renewed focus on commercial FM which would turn into Top 40 airplay. Manhole is the antithesis of that aim, but is itself a striking picture of Grace Slick as the debutante turned hippy being as musically radical as possible. To the kids who think she's the cool singer on the mechanical Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Manhole is an alien concoction, but it works on many levels as great head music. The title track itself is almost 15-and-a-half minutes of orchestrated underground rock with Craig Chaquico on lead guitar; Jack Casady on bass, along with Ron Carter; voices from David Crosby, David Freiberg, Slick and Paul Kantner; mandolin by Peter Kaukonen; and a 42-piece orchestra (51, if you include the fragments of the Airplane/Starship onboard). It's fun stuff, but looking back one wonders how they maintained a distribution deal for Grunt records with R.C.A., the material being so far from commercial. The title track has a left-hand piano part which "was stolen from an improvisation by Ivan Wing", Slick's father, and the epic is rife with Spanish/English by the singer, translated in the booklet with Slick's "phonetic Spanish spelling." Again, this is total underground excess, but it is actually more than listenable than it looks on paper, and for fans, it has the serious/eccentric nature of this woman who emerged as a big, big star due to her quirky personality having the talent to back it up. Attacks on the government and Clive Davis in the elaborate booklet only prove all involved were not out to make friends, but songs like "Come Again? Toucan" are compelling and intriguing, more so than some of what would constitute 1981's Welcome to the Wrecking Ball, which contained more elements of guitarist Scott Zito than the star. On Manhole, the music is wonderfully dense, macabre, exhilarating, and totally out there. This is a great portion of music from the lead singer of one of America's great music groups. Maybe David Freiberg's "It's Only Music" deserved to be on an Airplane project or solo LP of his own, but it sounds great and works. "Better Lying Down" is Grace Slick and Pete Sears re-writing Janis Joplin's "Turtle Blues," a nice change of pace from the heavy instrumental backing of the other tracks. Slick is in great voice, and reflecting on the album years after it was recorded, the conclusion is that Manhole has much to offer fans. Compare this to Deep Space -- recorded live at the Hollywood House of Blues in the 1990s to see the difference between capturing the time and trying to recapture the magic. Despite the eye toward success and the more serious nature of that later project, it just doesn't have the charm of this artifact from the glory days. It's also a far cry from the 1980s, when Slick returned with three more solo outings: Dreams, Welcome to the Wrecking Ball, and Software, projects which differ vastly from Manhole. The hard rock of Wrecking Ball and the synths and post-Kantner Starship feel of producer Peter Wolf's collaborations on Software show a woman dabbling with other rock formats. Put those three discs in a boxed set with Manhole, and you have true culture shock from a major counterculture figure. Manhole is orchestrated psychedelia at its finest with the voice from "White Rabbit" stretching that concept across two sides.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/18/2002
  • Label: Acadia Records
  • UPC: 805772801523
  • Catalog Number: 8015

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Jay (2:46)
  2. 2 Theme from the Movie "Manhole" (15:24)
  3. 3 Come Again? Toucan (4:37)
  4. 4 It's Only Music (4:30)
  5. 5 Better Lying Down - Pete Sears (3:12)
  6. 6 Epic (#38) (7:11)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Grace Slick Primary Artist, Guitar, Piano, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
James "Thunderbird" Davis Violin
Jack Scott Bagpipes
Ron Carter Bass
Pete Sears Track Performer
Paul Kantner Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, 12-string Guitar, Glass Harmonica, Track Performer
Peter Kaukonen Bass, Guitar, Mandolin
Jack Traylor & Steelwind Track Performer
Craig Chaquico Guitar
Eric Allen Percussion
Clive Anstee Cello, Celli
John Barbata Percussion, Drums
Stan Barrett Percussion
Jack Casady Bass
David Crosby Vocals
Alan Dalziel Celli
Gary Duncan Guitar
Jack Ellory Flute
Terry Emery Percussion
Kenneth Essex Viola
Robin Firman Cello, Celli
David Freiberg Organ, Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, 12-string Guitar
Hans Geiger Violin
John Georgiadis Violin, Concert Master
Colin Graham Bagpipes
Alan Hakin Percussion
Philip Hill Oboe
Michael Jones Violin
Michael Laird Trumpet
Chris Laurence Bass, String Bass
Iain MacDonald Bagpipes, Pipe
Angus MacKay Bagpipes
Dennis McConnell Violin
Terence McDonagh Oboe
Andrew McGavin Horn, French Horn
Robin McGee Bass, String Bass
Douglas Moore Horn, French Horn
Harold Nash Trumpet, Bass Trumpet
Seeder Pears Bass
Raymond Premru Trumpet, Bass Trumpet
Frank Reidy Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Paul Scherman Violin
David Snell Harp
John Underwood Viola
Tim Walker Guitar
George Whiting Trumpet
Scott Zito Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Carlos Villa Violin
John Coulling Viola
Tom Duncan Bagpipes
Jack Greenstone Violin
Calum Innes Bagpipes
Terence Macdonaugh Oboe
Keith Marjarom Bass, String Bass
Bram Martin Cello, Celli
Angus McTavish Bagpipes
James Merrett Bass, String Bass
Bernard Monshin Violin
Fred Parrington Violin
John Ronayne Violin
Alan Traverse Violin
Michael "Busta" Jones Violin
Bruce Lee Voices
Paul Vocals
William Stewart Bagpipes
Chris Taylor Flute
Alex Taylor Cello, Viola
Peter Harvey Trombone, Bass Trombone
Technical Credits
Grace Slick Producer
Paul Kantner Producer
Mallory Earl Engineer
David Freiberg Producer
Keith Grant Producer, Engineer
Bob Matthews Engineer
Steven Schuster Arranger, Producer, Orchestral Arrangements
Jeff Tamarkin Liner Notes
Pete Tytler Art Recreation
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Glorious

    I recently heard this album again for the first time since 1975. It's as glorious as I remember. I even remember most of the words. Myself and friends would sing along to it, with total abandon. In later years it inspired me to travel to Spain.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    It's about time

    There is not much to say about this classic -- just buy it and listen to it, in the proper framework of mind. After all, "It's only music". We were so desperate for this album years ago that we had a virgin LP shipped from Australia and then burned onto CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    it is about time that this true masterpiece is re realesed

    great listening great painting.dancing tape

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Finally re-released: A Lost Treasure

    Buy this CD immediately, just in case ''Manhole'' disappears from the scene again. I was always sorry that my original album disappeared, and I was reduced to hearing brief tracks that I had put on a Grace Slick compilation tape years ago. Grace's voice soars to aerie heights on this one, and the orchestra swells to excess throughout. Also, you've got to love the title! This CD needs no further recommendation. True fans will be reunited with an old friend.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews