Saucers is one of those latter day JA songs that is quite often flying around in the back of my head, despite its silly lyrics. Nice melody. I prefer by far the live version of Saucers on "30 Seconds". The studiorecording was badly produced due to the falling apart of the band. Jack Casady may be God playing bassguitar, but five days to record the bass part?! More nonsense lyrics on "Empire", but I have to admit that I kind of like that album. Taken out of context the songs loose a bit of their charm though. "Let's Go Together" and "Have You Seen the Stars Tonight" are perhaps better songs, but I chose "Mau Mau" (Oh man, that gorgeous vocal intro) and Starship" because I wanted some uptempo songs for this "What If" album. On "Empire" these songs are too "loose" for my taste (I never will be a fan of Joey Covington's rambling, all-over-the-place drumming) but I am convinced that the "What If" recordings of these songs by JA (including Spencer Dryden of course) would have been much tighter, if the live performance of "Starship" at Woodstock, for a short while emerging out of "Ballad" , is anything to go by.
"Bark" is not a very good album. It lacks cohesion, but there are good songs on that album. Two songs stand out for me: "Lawman" and "Chelsea". Paul Kantner saved his best songs for "Sunfighter". The title track and "Wolves" surpass anything by him on "Bark".
"Been So Long" is a surprising lovesong by Jorma Kaukonen, who, only a few years earlier, chastisized Marty Balin for writing this kind of songs (by the way, did he ever apologize to Marty?). If only Marty would have been able to sing this song.
The misogynic "Dresses"? I just wanted a song by Marty Balin".
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