COUNTRY JOE & THE FISH
Electric Music for the Mind and Body (1967) & I-Feel-Like-I'm Fixin'-To-Die Rag (1967)
Country Joe and the Fish was an American psychedelic rock band formed in Berkeley, California, in 1965. The band was among the influential groups in the San Francisco music scene during the mid- to late 1960s. Much of the band's music was written by founding members Country Joe McDonald and Barry "The Fish" Melton, with lyrics pointedly addressing issues of importance to the counterculture, such as anti-war protests, free love, and recreational drug use. Through a combination of psychedelia and electronic music, the band's sound was marked by innovative guitar melodies and distorted organ-driven instrumentals which were significant to the development of acid rock. The band self-produced two EPs that drew attention on the underground circuit before signing to Vanguard Records in 1966. Their debut album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body, followed in 1967. It contained their only nationally charting single, "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine", and their most experimental arrangements. Their second album, I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die, was released in late 1967; its title track, with its dark humor and satire, became their signature tune and is among the era's most recognizable protest songs. Further success followed, including McDonald's appearance at Woodstock, but the group's lineup underwent changes until its disbandment in 1970. Members of the band continue in the music industry as solo recording artists and sporadically reconvene.
"Electric Music for the Mind and Body" is Country Joe and the Fish's debut album. Released in May 1967 on the Vanguard label, it was one of the first psychedelic albums to come out of San Francisco. Tracks from the LP, especially "Section 43", "Grace", and "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" were played on progressive FM rock stations like KSAN and KMPX in San Francisco, often back-to-back. A version of the song "Love" was performed at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. "Grace" is a tribute to Jefferson Airplane's lead singer, Grace Slick.
"I-Feel-Like-I'm Fixin'-To-Die Rag" is the second studio album by the influential San Francisco psychedelic rock band, Country Joe and the Fish, released in 1967. Recordings took place in Vanguard studios in 71 West 23rd Street, New York City. The title track remains one of the most popular Vietnam protest songs from the 1960s and originally appeared on a 1965 7" EP titled Rag Baby: Songs of Opposition. On the album, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" appears following "The Fish Cheer", which at concerts became a Country Joe standard. At Woodstock, Joe had the crowd yell F-U-C-K instead of F-I-S-H. Another musical highlight is the track "Janis" written for McDonald's then-girlfriend Janis Joplin. It is the second song written for a female musician for their albums, the other being "Grace". Two singles were released in the wake of the album. These include "Janis"/"Janis (instrumental)" and "Who Am I"/"Thursday". The second album was released just seven months after the debut and is another prime example of the band's psychedelic experimentation. It again features organ-heavy psychedelia and Eastern melodic lines and more acoustic guitar than their debut production.
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