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Paul Kantner & The Windowpane Collective - Venusian Love Songs album review

You can take the hippie out of folk…

Cover art for Paul Kantner & The Windowpane Collective - Venusian Love Songs album

After a lifetime of psychedelics and sci-fi that included a decade as one half of West Coast rock’s most regal couple, Paul Kantner’s overactive brain was getting addled by the start of the 21st century. He didn’t appear to have made many pension arrangements either, which is probably why he came up with various projects like this when he wasn’t appropriating the ‘Airplane’, ‘Starship’ or ‘Jefferson’ monikers, in defiance of agreements with his former bandmates.

The Windowpane Collective included his old friend David Freiberg, two of the girls he recruited to impersonate Grace Slick, his old folkie friend Jack Traylor, and even a rare appearance from the West Coast’s very own Cheshire Cat (‘Now you see him, now you don’t’) Marty Balin.

Whether this 2011 selection of love songs curated by Kantner makes more sense on Venus than Earth is hard to know. Maybe the Venusians appreciate cheap and cheerful covers of Van Morrison’s Crazy Love followed by Heart’s Crazy On You. They may baulk at Freiberg singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, though Kantner’s folk-inspired versions of his own Today and Martha plus Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right should please his fans on both planets.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.