A Sound Review

Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame singer, song writer, guitarist Marty Balin was an interracial part of The Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship for over 30 years, providing that distinctive tenor vocal tone for many a classic Airplane and Starship song.

He was truly instrumental in successfully transforming the band's sound through three decades, with both his voice and song writing prowess.

This rare, 2008 Marty solo performance captured at Boston's Esplanade half-shell, touches upon his entire career including four Airplane tracks, three Starship numbers, one solo number and a riveting cover of the Bruce Cockburn underground classic "If I Had A Rocket Launcher."

This is a treat for Balin and Airplane fans alike as it' the first-ever solo DVD released for Marty, however it must also be said that the quality of the video, we'll say, leaves a little to be desired.

Assorted audio and video drop outs make for a somewhat uneven viewing, but if it is the rare material you are after, then this is right up your alley.

The casual Airplane-Starship fan might not fully realize the scope of Balin's influence on the two bands over the years, putting his fingerprints all over the music for three decades, most notably perhaps with the late 60's, San Francisco-soaked influence of "Volunteers", "3/5ths Of A Mile In Ten Seconds" and of course, "White Rabbit", with Grace Slick vocals coming courtesy of Didi Stewart.

But, Balin also greatly influenced the 1970's transformation to the Jefferson Starship, a seamless transition through the Balin hit singles such as "Count On Me, "Miracles" and "Runaway."

Toss in the early 80's solo hit "Hearts" and you've got a well-rounded collection of Balin influences.

Also included in the DVD are interviews with original Airplane lead singer Signe Andrson as well as music journalists Jeff Tamarkin and Craig Fenton.

However, the real gems of this package are indeed, the eight bonus live and studio tracks recorded from 1995 through 2008.

Three tracks were recorded in June of 2008 at the very intimate Newbury Media Studio in Boston, while three others were recorded outdoors in 2007 at Bratfest in Madison, WI.

One bonus track even reveals simply Marty and his acoustic guitar, sitting on a bed in (it appears to be) a hotel room. Pretty intimate and cool stuff for any Balin fan.

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