Audio speaking, "Miracles" has the most dynamics of any vinyl record I've ever heard. Starts out very softly then builds to a loud crescendo. Don't crank up the volume when you start playing this song. Amazingly, it doesn't distort. Overall, I find the whole album average but you gotta' give em' credit for showing up anyway.
Marty Balin was back as a full-time member of the band, on an album that was surprisingly the best selling record of any incarnation of the Jefferson Airplane. I however was not a fan.
Red Octopus never came off as a cohesive engagement, Grace Slick got her prerequisite songs, Pete Sears got his featured moments, Papa John Creach was given his instrumental, and the rest of the band had their featured moments, reminding me more of the Beatles White Album, a mere collection of songs, rather than a group achievement. Of course, the number “Miracles,” with its lush string arrangements fit perfectly with the times, was the FM radio hit, and certainly brought into the fold listeners who’d completely overlooked the radical Jefferson Airplane (Starship), or knew nothing of their past drug fueled incarnation and simply liked the song, one that featured a less radicalized version of the band.
I could go on and list the other shortcomings of the album, Paul Kantner’s embarrassing lyrics, the inaudibility of Papa John (though who knew what his place in the band was for sure), with the remaining material coming off as mostly filler, a mere shadow of who this band had once been, proving that all it took was one single radio friendly hit to make this album a best seller. Matter of fact, it was a long held rumor in 1975, as good acid was drying up, (laughing) that Red Octopus was the product of a fifth column of CIA agents, riding under the guise of the Jefferson Starship, all designed to sap the intelligence out of the American counterculture movement, moving the Jefferson Airplane into the middle of the road and onto a downhill slide into oblivion.
Pete Sears will attempt to tell you that, “In my opinion this was the best album we ever made,” and if that’s not a downright bit of revisionist history, he goes on to say, “The band was in full swing, unpretentious, with an album filled with sincere and original writing.” Though methinks he was referring to the tour supporting Red Octopus, where they would stretch out many of these arena rock songs into ten minute jams laced with improvisations, and not the actual record itself … a far cry from the psychedelic morning maniac music of Woodstock, just six years earlier.
*** The Fun Facts: The octopus logo was done by Craig Chaquico who was fresh out of art school, who drew the artwork in the control room between breaks, it was then given to a major art department to be fleshed out and polished up. Craig played vintage 1950’s Les Pauls through a vintage Fender Bassman amplifier on the record.
I know that I have seen a red vinyl version of this album. Has anyone else seen this in Red vinyl? If anyone has or knows the country of the pressing or the catalog # , I really would appreciate it. Thanks, Texasbear