Buckjoy ProductionsFounding Jefferson Airplane and longtime Jefferson Starship singer Marty Balin will release a new solo album called The Greatest Love on Friday, February 12. The 15-track collection is filled with the kind of romantic-themed tunes for which Balin is famous, so its arrival on Valentine's Day weekend is well timed.
"These are songs I've been doing live in concert that I've enjoyed doing and the audience seems to like them and they keep asking me when I'm gonna put them out," the 74-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer explains to Abc Radio. "So, I finally have put them on an album, and I think people are gonna like it…because [these are] some of the best songs I've ever done, actually."
Balin says the album "runs the gamut" stylistically, from an "exotic song called 'Scheherazade' to a rocker called 'Rollin' Ball' to a big, epic song called 'Waves' to some good rockers like 'Superman.'"
Marty Tells Abc Radio that he loves all of tunes on the album, while noting that he was particularly proud of "Waves," to which he contributed a dynamic and powerful vocal performance.
"I cut that in one take," he reveals. "I thought that was cool, you know, for a vocalist to catch one take through the whole song. And that's a big song."
Balin was accompanied on the record by lead guitarist Chuck Morrongiello and stand-up bassist Lloyd Goldstein, who also back Marty up when he plays live. The singer will be supporting The Greatest Love with a handful of concerts he's lined up around the U.S. through July.
It's a rather prolific time for Balin, who also released a two-CD set called Good Memories in December. The double-disc collection features unplugged versions of songs by the Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, as well as some older tunes from Marty's solo career.
Sadly, two fellow founding members of Jefferson Airplane, singer/guitarist Paul Kantner and vocalist Signe Anderson, passed away on January 28. Balin tells ABC Radio that both Kantner and Anderson were chain smokers, which he feels contributed to their deaths. Marty, who'd had a falling out with Paul a few years back, says he thinks that the Jefferson Starship's grueling tour schedule also was a factor in Kantner's demise.
"They were gonna go around the world for the 40th anniversary of the Starship and he wanted me to play and sent me a schedule of his tour, and it was amazing," Balin recalls. "I mean, you had to be a 20-year-old to do this thing. And I called him up, I said, 'Hey man, I can't tour like that…that's crazy. You better watch yourself, watch your own health.' And he said, "Oh, I'm strong as a bull. Nothing can hurt me,' and went out and, bam!, right away he had a heart attack."
Balin also praised Kantner's creativity as a songwriter, citing some of the epic sci-fi-themed tuned he came up with like "House at Pooneil Corners."
"It was interesting to just get together and work on those things…try to get into them and really make them sing," he tells ABC Radio. "When they rocked they really rocked, 'cause he had that kind of march quality to his songs."
Here is the track list of The Greatest Love:
"Crazy over You"
"The Greatest Love"
"Dance All Night"
"You Had Me at Hello"
"Jamaican Me Crazy"
"What Can I Do"
And here are Balin's upcoming tour dates, according to MartyBalinMusic.com:
3/12 -- New York, NY, The Cutting Room
5/14 -- New York, NY, The Iridium
6/18 -- Seattle, WA, The Triple Door
6/25 -- San Francisco, CA, Throckmorton Theater
7/16 -- Pomeroy, OH, The Fur Peace Ranch
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