TITLE: Dragon Fly
YEAR RELEASED: 1974
CHART ACTION: #11
SINGLES: Ride the Tiger (#84)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Caroline, Hyperdrive
LINEUP: Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Pete Sears, Papa John Creach, David Freiberg, Craig Chaquico, John Barbata. Marty Balin wrote and sung Caroline.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After futzing around for four years, Kantner and Slick actively launch Jefferson Starship as a full-time band, and instead of being pretentious like late Airplane they become bland.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I am sure the old hippies who put on this album were wondering what the hell happened to the ol’ Airplane hellraisers. This is polished, slick (no pun intended Grace), corporate sounding rock and roll. It does have a fiddle player, which maybe differentiates it a little, but other than that, this is ready made for 70’s rock radio.
Sure, their later albums were rather blah and didn’t sell well, and the Kantner and Slick collaborations were more vanity projects than anything, but you’d never suspect they’d turn into this – but they did. Of course, this stuff sold because it was safe and well played and executed. It’s just that the songs were very meh.
There are two things that redeem this album. One, Chaquico is an excellent guitarist and he helps some of the duller songs shine with his playing. Two, Caroline is a wonderful ballad from Marty Balin. That song basically saved the record – it filled seven minutes, spared us of something else and is a brilliant way to end side 1. They should have trimmed it to become a single, but AOR radio played it.
NOTES & MINUTAE: Slick also released a solo album in 1974 called Manhole. Not many people bought it.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: C+: I exiled two of the dullest tracks and kept six of them. All in all, this album is just…there.