A friend of mine asked me
Where has he been? Where is he now?
I said he's been set free,
Shares a little joke with the world somehow.
Sounded like he'd make a halo
When I heard his laughter floating.
It's all for fun you know.
He said he just let go.
Share(s) a little joke with the world.
World around you
Never catches up with you.
How can I make you as happy as I am?
I feel like you're running.
I know we could fly.
Your eyes are never tired.
Your mind is on fire.
Your heart has never been satisfied!
Some people are in love.
Some know everything can be done.
I think you're joking, I believe half of you.
I want to journey, I want to laugh with you
But after you
Share a Little Joke, according to Jeff Tamarkin in his blog Got a Revolution, was written about a friend of the group, Gary Blackman (who did the comic nose solo on Lather, the introductory song to Crown of Creation). It might as well have been written about Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, stars of Tom Wolfe’s book Electric Kool Aid Test. Marty Balin’s lyric captures one of the important elements of the psychedelic period—the ability (perhaps through the use of hallucinogens) to see the absurdity in mere human existence, to not treat oneself too seriously. It served as a humorous zen approach to the truth, as a way to tear down conventional thinking. The intention is “How can I make you as happy as I am?” The reception is “I think you’re joking, I believe half of you,” as if everything is—necessarily—a half-truth that always has another (ironic / comic) angle.
Jorma Kaukonen plays loud and low on the neck of his electric guitar during Joke, often producing high notes processed through a speaker in such a manner as to produce a ringing metallic effect. And there is a good deal of feedback both at the beginning and end of the song, which makes an impression on me of a tear in the tissue of the cosmic order. The sound of the Kaukonen’s guitar is as acidic as that of the electric organ played by Al Kooper or Country Joe and the Fish, especially when contrasted with the Balin’s warm acoustic guitar. Jack Casady rumbles his bass guitar in the foreground, beginning the song with the falling notes that formed the backbone of many a psychedelic song but he wanders far from that structure as the composition progresses. Words and music come together to make an outstanding example of psychedelia's comic aspect.