There is an old saying that you can never go home again. While the Jefferson Airplane would give it a valiant try on their 1989 reunion album, it quickly became apparent that the psychedelic world of the late 1960’s was long gone.
The Jefferson Airplane had not issued a studio album in seventeen years and the members of the group had gone in different directions. Paul Kantner and Grace Slick had been involved with the Jefferson Starship. Grace had managed to release four solo albums as well. Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady were recording and touring as Hot Tuna. Marty Balin had joined the Starship for several years and then released a self titled solo album which had produced two hit singles, “Hearts” and “Atlanta Lady.” He even produced a rock opera called Rock Justice, which quickly disappeared into the musical abyss.
The seeds of the reunion were sown in 1986 when Kantner, Balin, and Casady had released an album under the name of the KBC Band. 1989 found all of them in the studio recording new material at the same time. Only Spencer Dryden was missing as Paul Kantner and he had fallen out. They even managed to tour in support of the album. That tour was a commercial and critical success which was mainly due to the fact that they played their older and superior material.
Their self titled reunion album, Jefferson Airplane, was released August 22, 1989. It turned out to be an uneven release with some very good and some very average songs. Looking back, the group could probably have never satisfied the expectations of their fans given their sixties legacy. Still the musicianship throughout the album is excellent, although there is not enough Jack Casady. The vocal harmonies of Slick, Balin, and Kantner are intact and give a glimpse of their stellar past.