Funny how a record like this seems to embody a place and an era — for someone like me who was in nappies at the time and didn't visit the place until 25 years later. In other words, it stands as the embodiment of something of which I have only indirect knowledge, knowledge gathered through albums like this. So does that make the album a synecdoche, or does it make San Francisco 1967 some kind of (ahem) Jungian archetype?
Either way, its success is surely that it manages to be both completely of its time and place, and to transcend them at the same place. It just sounds good.
Some people mention the first Moby Grape album in the same breath as this one. I didn't know it at all before today, but I just listened to it a few times on Spotify — unconvinced so far. The triggers that led me to buy this album were Lester Bangs' positive comments about it (I think he was dismissive of Jefferson Airplane in general, but grudgingly conceded he liked this first album) combined, inevitably, with it being a fiver in Fopp.
I was listening to Comin' Back to Me with the Boy on my lap. I could almost swear that I saw him gazing wistfully into the middle distance, his expression as though he were recalling an earlier time in his twelve-week life when his days were easier, more of his life was still ahead of him, and his hopes for it seemed more viable.
It always has been
A transparent dream
Beneath an occasional sigh
Most of the time
I just let it go by
Now I wish it hadn't begun
Maybe I was just imagining it, like I imagined San Francisco 1967.
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Listen to this album in full at Last.fm