Friday, April 24, 2009

Head to the Finnish


In the movie version of Woodstock, the Jefferson Airplane are shown singing two songs in their sunrise set: a medley of "Saturday Afternoon" and "Won't You Try," followed by "Uncle Sam's Blues." The Airplane, you may remember, featured Grace Slick and Marty Balin as co-vocalists who didn't play an instrument, but both sang very well. But for the second song shown in the film (not, it should be noted, the second song of their set), Grace went to the side of the stage and watched as guitarist Jorma Kaukonen (seen at right) took the lead vocal. Marty Balin apparently went back to the Bethel Holiday Inn.

Grace seemed amused enough, smiling occasionally but never dancing, never really moving, truth be told. The camera remained trained on her for much of the song. People would rather look at Grace than Jorma, I suppose.

The question is: Why was this in the movie? It's like fitting in only two Beatles songs but having one of them be "Octopus's Garden." The Airplane even ended their set with their two biggest hits, "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love," plus they played "Volunteers." Till I saw the Woodstock movie, I didn't even know Jorma could sing.

By the way, despite having the most Finnish name of anyone west of Helsinki, Jorma Kaukonen was actually born in the capital of this nation, Washington, D.C.