Hot Tuna

Band members                             Related acts

- Jack Casady -- bass

- Jorma Kaukonen -- vocals, lead guitar

- Sammy Plazza -- drums, percussion

- Bob Steeler -- drums, percussion (replaced Sammy Plazza)




Joe E. Covington (solo efforts)

- The Jefferson Airplane

- The Jefferson Starship

- Jorma Kaukonen (solo efforts)




Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Phosphorescent Rat

Company: Grunt

Catalog: BXL1-0348

Year: 1973

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; original inner sleeve; small cut out notch lower right edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: SOLD


1973's "The Phosphorescent Rat" was part of a flea market find which ended up sitting on a shelf for three years before I actually got around to listening to it.  Interestingly, based on earlier experiences, I was expecting to hear another set of acoustic blues-oriented material.  Wow, did this one ever come as a surprise to me !!!    


This 1973 set marked Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen's first release after their formal departure from The Jefferson Airplane.  Creatively the spotlight was clearly on Kaukonen who handled all of the vocals and was credited with penning nine of the ten tracks.  While tracks such as 'Day To Day Out the Windows Blues' and the instrumental 'Sally, Where'd You Get the Liquor?' remained true to the duo's blues roots, the remainder of the album was surprisingly diverse.  'I See the Light' sported a nice psych feel; 'Living Just For You' was a catchy pop song (with a Calypso rhythm pattern), and 'Letter To the North Star' and 'Soliloquy For 2' were pretty country-flavored ballads (the latter sounding like a Lobo track !!!).  Elsewhere, 'Corners without Exits' was a gorgeous ballad (never imagined saying that about a Hot Tuna track ...).  Perhaps due to the fact it was a significant change in musical direction (combined with RCA's waning interest in the group), the set proved a commercial disappointment.  Their poorest seller to date, the LP peaked at # 148.  


Here's a YouTube clip pulled from one of Kaukonen's interactive guitar teaching website 'Break Down Way' with a nice acoustic version of the instrumental 'Sally, Where'd You Get the Liquor?'


"The Phosphorescent Rat" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) I See the Light   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 4:15

2.) Letter To the North Star   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 2:31 

3.) Easy Now   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 5:10

4.) Corners without Exits   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 3:37

5.) Day To Day Out the Windows Blues   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 3:26


(side 2)

1.) In the Kingdom   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 5:26

2.) Seeweed Strut (instrumental) - 3:25

3.) Living Just For You   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 3:18

4.) Soliloquy For 2   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 2:42

5.) Sally, Where'd You Get the Liquor? (instrumental)   (Davis) - 2:56




Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  America's Choice

Company: Grunt

Catalog: BFL1-0820

Year: 1975


Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2365

Price: $15.00


Co-produced by the band and Mallory Earl, 1975's "America's Choice" saw long time drummer Sammy Plazza replaced by Bob Steeler. To be honest it didn't make a great deal of different to their sound.  Sporting one of my favorite album covers courtesy of Frank Mulvey (today's corporate America (read Protor and Gamble) would have sued them in a heartbeat), the album found Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen returning to a heavier guitar-oriented sound.   Again largely written by Kaukonen tracks such as 'Sleep Song', 'Funky #7' and 'Invitation' all featured extended song structures full of impressive Kaukonen solos and surprisingly likeable vocals !!!  Hard to believe I'm typing something like this, but a track like 'Invitation' would not have sounded band on mid-1970s top-40 radio.  Often overlooked among a musical landscape littered with heavy hitters  Kaukonen's a gifted and talented guitarist who'd hold his own against virtually all of those better known competitors.  Anyone doubting it need only check out his work on their cover of Robert Johnson's 'Walkin' Blues'.  Given this one drives my wife crazy - she won't sit in the same room if I'm playing it, there must be something worthwhile here.  A return to commercial viability, the set peaked at # 78.


"America's Choice" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Sleep Song    (Jorma Kaukonen)- 4:28

2.) Funky #7   (Jorma Kaukonen - Jack Casady) - 5:47

3.) Walkin' Blues   (Robert Johnson) - 5:22

4.) Invitation   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 6:50


(side 2)

1.) Hit Single #1   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 5:10

2.) Serpent of Dreams   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 6:52

3.) I Don't Wanna Go   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 4;56

4.) Great Divide Revisited   (Jorma Kaukonen) - 5:16