Marty Balin

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Marty Balin

Postby ceangle13 on Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:14 am

Not much mention of Marty Balins' voice or role in the band. What are your thoughts? I loved his singing with the airplane and vocal swirling with Grace. I always felt that he seemed a little out of place with the psychedelic anti-establishment thing the band went through and looked as though he was more comfortable with Jefferson Starship. He was definitely more of a frontman with the starship and had more control over the content of his songs.
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Marty Gras...

Postby jimmie ray on Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:41 am

Honestly - when I was younger, and JA was being played on the radio, I didn't have a very good impression of Marty. He had the high voice and didn't seem like the typical "front man" who booms out the lyrics.
But I greatly appreciate his vocal talent now, and realize how important he was to the JA / JS sound. It's alot easier to yack about instrumental talents, though?
Once again - that Fly JA DVD - "House on Pooneil Corners" performance - it's like they are all possessed or something - especially Marty!!!
It's good times now - I can see the light!
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Postby freakmeout on Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:13 pm

I really like his voice. I'm not the biggest fan of his songs with Airplane, but I still like them a lot.
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Postby Diane on Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:11 pm

When I first got into Airplane, I didn't really like him. I felt that he stood out a bit and didn't really fit in with the rest of them.

I also didn't like his high pitched voice.

Of course, that was way back before I really knew anything about them. It was strictly appearance/first impression only.

However over the years, I've grown to appreciate him more. Although I still am not too fond of his singing (my personal preference, Jorma was my fav male singer), I see now the impact he did have in JA with his songwriting/presense etc. (Not to mention how cute he was lol)

And I agree with Jimmie, in "House at Pooneil Corners" he did seem possessed. I love the interaction on stage (on roof lol) between him and Grace.

Image
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Postby willie on Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:20 pm

It seems to me Marty often comes across in a bad light, with gripes about Grace getting the attention etc. But he must have often found himself between 'feuding' factions, Jack/Jorma and Paul/Grace, and that must have been tough. But for my taste I find his voice can grate a little at times especially live, but on it's own his vocals can't be beat.
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Postby Chasin'Destiny on Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:31 pm

willie wrote:It seems to me Marty often comes across in a bad light, with gripes about Grace getting the attention etc. But he must have often found himself between 'feuding' factions, Jack/Jorma and Paul/Grace, and that must have been tough. But for my taste I find his voice can grate a little at times especially live, but on it's own his vocals can't be beat.


That's it !
Jack & Jorma
Grace & Paul
But there is Marty !
And don't forget Spencer !

Shit .i wish i was there !
I would be entertainer & coach.
Mess things up & keep the train on the rails...
Ooops....keep the plane flying.....anyway...
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Postby freakmeout on Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:00 pm

Chasin'Destiny wrote:
willie wrote:It seems to me Marty often comes across in a bad light, with gripes about Grace getting the attention etc. But he must have often found himself between 'feuding' factions, Jack/Jorma and Paul/Grace, and that must have been tough. But for my taste I find his voice can grate a little at times especially live, but on it's own his vocals can't be beat.


That's it !
Jack & Jorma
Grace & Paul
But there is Marty !
And don't forget Spencer !

Shit .i wish i was there !
I would be entertainer & coach.
Mess things up & keep the train on the rails...
Ooops....keep the plane flying.....anyway...


I always envision Mr. Destiny as the Mad Hatter, so this post was especially funny. Back on topic, I like Marty the end.
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Marty's the Man that Makes it Work

Postby The Other Side on Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:16 pm

The eleven minute "Ballad of You..." on J.A. Loves You perfectly displays the Airplane at their best. Not their diffuse and disembling jams, but vicious and driven drumming by Spencer, incredible riffing and double rhythm by Jorma, the full mountain thunder by Jack...

but then it gets REAL interesting. First, Paul (next to Bob Weir) was absolutely the finest rhythm guitar player I've ever heard. Does it matter? Like butter in a good croissant. He permeates! An intense understanding of chords from his folkie days, and an impeccable sense of timing. Later w/ early versions of the Starship, he'd just DRIVE that band onstage w/ his chording, and they needed it. But w/ the Airplane, his touch was a lot more subtle. Secondly, he never, ever missed the mic. The others, for all their brilliance, would occasionally come in late on the ensemble harmonies.

The harmonies. Well, for me, THIS is what makes the Airplane-cause they were HARMONY singers. Just like nobody else, though. This wasn't lush Byrds, Beach Boys, Poco, Eagle, multi-layed harmonies. No no. Counter-points interweaving throughout between Marty and Grace. Grace, for me, was her best as a counterpoint harmony singer to Marty or Paul. Listen to "In Time", "Young Girl Sunday Blues", or "The Other Side of This Life". Hint to you youngsters- Buy the Fred Neil compilation and LEARN where a major folk inspiration of Kantner (Weavers too), Crosby, and John Sebastian comes from. A VERY cool post-Kerouac early 60s beat folkie.

Marty brought the really high end to their harmonies, for one thing. Not Grace, unless Marty was singing the melody line. In itself, that was unusual. Not that any of the three would stay at one level while singing. The soaring and looping... Still Marty by himself on "Today", "Comin' Back to Me", "Share a Little Joke" (WHAT A SONG), "Things Are Better In the East", could break my heart. Hearing "Comin' Back to Me" at 16 years old in 1972 drew the lonely, dark, quiet romance of San Francisco. A guy looking out of his second story window at a girl on a wet street walking toward his house. The winter rain hitting the street and beating/beading against the window. The empty beaches of winter, clouds, wind, and rain... THAT was the San Francisco I wanted to know. Marty knew it, and it showed in that song.

It was that DAMN strange ensemble singing that capped it for me, though. These guys just thought differently about sounds than any band I've ever heard, including the Beatles. I noticed it immediately on BARK w/ the vocals, and really felt it thereafter until he rejoined starting with "Caroline".

Plus his leaving changed the dynamics of, not only the sound, but the songwriting. Neither Grace nor Paul could hide their bents once Marty was gone. Modifying influences were finally gone, and they went hell-bent into overburdensome and (for me) tiresome stuff. Personally, I found LJS barely listenable- only because of Jorma and Jack. Didn't like Marty's high voice? I COULDN'T stand Papa John (s)Creach. Painful.

Sorry for the muse...
"Go Ride the Music"
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Postby willie on Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:01 am

Muse away buddy. 8) That's what the forum's for.
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Postby FirstBassman on Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:14 pm

Willie and Other Side, I agree with 99.99% of what you said.
I've always been a huge Balin fan but agree that sometimes his voice live would go a little overboard. Boredom? Alcohol? Who knows.

Other Side, it would make sense that you are a Freddie Neil fan. He is one of my 12-string g-ds. Along with Bob Gibson, Tim Buckley, and Roger McGuinn (among others).

My only disagreement, Paul sometimes (oftentimes?) would come in late on the vocal. But hey, close enough for folk music.
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Postby SadieMaeGlutz on Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:46 pm

I love Balin's voice. JA had two great singers, not just one like most other bands. JA declined significantly without him.
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First BassMan Reply

Postby The Other Side on Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:15 pm

"Other Side, it would make sense that you are a Freddie Neil fan. He is one of my 12-string g-ds. Along with Bob Gibson, Tim Buckley, and Roger McGuinn (among others)."


I've been learning since I showed up here (again). HUGE fan of McGuinn. But I gotta confess to knowing nothing of Bob Gibson. I'll look to change that. Same for Tim Buckley, other than aware of his late sixties emergence as a minor player on the music scene. I AM deeply aware of his son, Jeff, who I think was one of the most interesting musician singer-songwriters I've EVER heard. I'd talk about Jeff forever, given the chance. The sugarmegs site that Don Rico turned me onto only disappoints for the absence of Jeff and the Young Rascals.

I miss him. He went far too soon. So, evidently, did his dad. Star-crossed, in the extreme. :cry:
"Go Ride the Music"
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First Bassman Reply

Postby The Other Side on Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:19 pm

Marty, like Grace, did seem to have a damaging affinity for the bottle. Hurt both of them. Too many times they both struck me as embittered at life. Not sure why, exactly. Nor do I think that's a firm fix of either. Still...
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Postby FirstBassman on Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:02 pm

Marty, Grace and the bottle.


I never got it it either. As I've said before, it must be tough to be young, rich, good looking, famous and talented.

Bob Gibson.


If you're looking for the source, the original, of ALL 12-string folkies, he's the guy.
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Postby Chasin'Destiny on Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:20 pm

Gettin' on top is hard !
But to stay there is MUCH harder...

Many people could not
stay there and get into drugs etc.

My personal thing...
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