Wooden Ships Lyrics - Jefferson Airplane

Review The Song (10)

If you smile at me you know I will understand
Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
In the same language
I can see by your coat my friend that you're from the other side
There's just one thing I got to know
Can you tell me please who won
You must try some of my purple berries
I been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive
Wooden ships on the water very free and easy
Easy you know the way it's supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline leave us be
Very free and easy
Sail away where the mornin sun goes high
Sail away where the wind blows sweet and young birds fly
Take a sister by her hand
Lead her far from this barren land
Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cry and
Stare as all your human feelings die
We are leaving
You don't need us
Go and take a sister by her hand
Lead her far from this foreign land
Somewhere where we might laugh again
We are leaving
You don't need us
Sailing ships on the water very free and easy
Easy you know the way it's supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline leave us be
Very free
And gone

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Love the old Airplane | Reviewer: Amelia | 3/22/14

Back in the day when this song was being written, I was a wild teenage girl attending Santa Monica High School. After school I would hitchhike down to Marina Del Rey, where a few guys from the Hollywood music scene kept their wooden boats.

Fueled by Owsley's finest enhancements, rock musicians and their supernumeraries dreamed up paranoid visions of dystopia. Crosby got into a fistfight with my then-boyfriend on the beach. I concluded that these guys were jerks.

But I am sure that the hedonistic Crosby, who elucidates in his memoir "Long Time Gone" his penchant for having sex with two women at a time, penned these lyrics from a sincere desire to leave smoggy L.A. and head for paradise.

Paradise turned out to be the North Shore of Oahu and other Hawaiian destinations. Since it just so happened that these rock stars had the money, they could go where they wanted to go, and dream and dream on.

Meanwhile, the purveyors of the "San Francisco Sound," notably the Airplane, the Dead, Quicksilver, It's A Beautiful Day, Country Joe, engaged in some creative collaboration with their L.A. rocker counterparts.

Hence we have this most exciting and vital version of "Wooden Ships". The energy in San Francisco in 1968 was electric and revolutionary, compared to the self-absorbed musical output from L.A. We can continue to groove on Kantner's guitar, Balin's tenor, Slick's resonances with the cosmos. Ride the Music.

Much better than CSN | Reviewer: James Rae Smith | 1/31/11

I much prefer this version of the song. Jefferson Airplane just had a lot more soul than CSN, (whose music to me typifies all the things that made Punk such a welcome breath of foul air). Jorma Kaukonen's atmospheric guitar work on this, the standout track on "Volunteers", is really special. I think the whole album still sounds pretty fresh, even though the revolutionary posturing of the other songs sounds even sillier now than on first release. "Up against the wall motherf***s" and "Got to revolution" hmmm.. I don't think so, dear, calm down and have a cup of tea.

wooden ships Jefferson Airplane | Reviewer: Dan | 1/22/11

I enjoy both versions, but the haunting guitar, the rawness of emotion you can almost feel like you are in a small smoky dark nightclub as you listen. This is one of the songs I use to tell my grandkids about the world I grew up in. I am a lifelong CSN&Y fan but the Airplane version is the more powerful, and it is the original.

wooden ships | Reviewer: Sam Lopiccolo | 12/26/10

What a great version ,this is by far the best i have ever heard.Jefferson Airplane's a really good band .for their time.You can still listen too there music today and appreciate how good they really were.

Hmm... | Reviewer: Kevin | 10/16/10

I love the Airplane's version. It's rather tear inducing. I personally like this version better than CSN's, but both have their own highlights. CSN's is more interesting melodically, it's got that nice organ, and it's got that conversation going. As for the Airplane's, it's got more raw emotion than CSN's version, and it has that acid-riddled guitar, which kinda reminds me of people screaming/crying when I hear it.

Jefferson Airplane - The Original | Reviewer: KB | 4/24/10

Jefferson Airplane recorded the song before CSNY, so it is the version I came to know first. I love them both, though for different reasons. An anonymous reviewer mentioned the nuclear war drills we used to do ... I remember those well. Yes, we were gullible, but those were honest times when America still had its innocence -- no, not all of us, but most of us. And we were free. Who would have guessed that the 60s revolution would only lead us into the bondage that we are now realizing today? (Thank you, comrades Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barrack Obama) I certainly didn't. But I was young and naive -- I hadn't lived so I had no frame of reference yet. I long to turn back the hands of time.

Airplane - Wooden Ships - My thoughts | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/4/10

Growing up in the sixties this was one of the MOST relevent songs, it brought back the memories of grade school where we would have "run out to the hall and cover your head" alarms - as if that was going to save us from the nuclear war about to take place. How gullible America was in the late 50's early 60's.

Simply Amazing | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/29/08

As with most people, I was originally familiar only with the CSN version of this song. I happened to hear this version on Pandora and absolutely love it! Powerful lyrics combined with Airplane's signature style.. it's become one of my favorites. This song by the way is not a cover.. originally written by Paul Kantor and David Crosby.

wooden ships review | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/23/07

This song has been upsetting me for 3 decades, it is truly a bitter/sweet piece. so much more feeling than the CSNY version

Wooden Ships Jefferson Style | Reviewer: Zeddo | 12/14/06

I grew up listening to Crosby and Co doing Wooden Ships and had this idea that was the only way to do the song. I found a copy of the song by Jefferson and listened to it, I was truly surprised to find a refreshing departure from the norm. The spacey almost discordant mix of voices and instruments adds a touch of the surreal that this song deserves. Koukonens whining lead and Cassidy's solid base add to this effect. Grace does her usual whailing as only she can with Kantner blendinng his voice to the whole mix in a great orgasm of sound.
Having said all of that I have heard Jefferson do a lot better but then I have also heard worse.

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------ Performed by Jefferson Airplane

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------ 11/23/2014

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