Tag Archives: Jorma Kaukonen

Water Song

I‘ve gotten over the urge to completely deconstruct, analyze, and understand every song I enjoy. It’s easier to skip right over d, a, and u, and just enjoy. Moments ago, I had the marvelous experience of hearing a beloved tune from years ago, from a completely new perspective.

As a teen, I was heavily influenced by my older brother’s musical taste. That’s because he was bigger than me, and considered himself in charge of our record player. One of the many bands I was forcibly exposed to in this manner was Hot Tuna, a conglomeration as unusual as it sounds.

Hot Tuna's 'Burgers'Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, like Robin Trower when recording with Procol Harum, preferred blues to straightforward rock. Working with Airplane bassist Jack Casady, Jorma formed Hot Tuna in the late 60s as a side thing to the Airplane, but early in the 70s he and Casady formally abandoned the Airplane and concentrated on Hot Tuna and solo efforts.

Their third album, “Burgers“, sports their usual electric grunge blues, but tucked in the middle is a gorgeous bit of joy which sounds as fresh today as it did the first time I heard it 30 years ago. “Water Song”, an instrumental featuring Jorma’s acoustic guitar in a mesmerising ebb and flow, is exuberant in the extreme. Casady’s bass is deep and rich, and serves as a comfortable foil for the high, shimmering splashing notes from the guitar. Sliding, running, spinning in circles, Kaukonen displays the fiery prowess which makes him a formidable presence in the electric blues world, and a joy to behold in an acoustic setting like “Water Song.”

Sometimes, it’s enough just to sit back with my eyes closed and remember how beautiful some things are.

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