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Country Joe & the Fish Live at the Monterey Pop Festival '6705:21

Country Joe & the Fish Live at the Monterey Pop Festival '67

Monterey: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine

Country Joe And The Fish were one of the many "psychedelic" bands to emerge from the San Francisco Bay Area during the hippie explosion of 1966-67. They differed from most of their contemporaries (among them Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Grateful Dead and the Quicksilver Messenger Service) in having a background in the student movememt centred on the University of California in Berkeley, which lent a political edge to their songs. Most of them were written by band leader and singer Joe McDonald, who, unlike the majority of apolitical, middle-class hippies, came from a left-wing family and inherited a concern for social justice from his Communist parents.

Country Joe and the Fish lasted until 1971, but their heyday was from 1967 to 1969, with the first two albums Electric Music for the Mind and Body and I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die establishing their reputation. They are featured in both Monterey Pop, D.A. Pennebaker's documentary film of the 1967 festival, and Michael Wadleigh's Woodstock, which also contains Country Joe's famous rendition of his "Fish Cheer" ("Gimme an F...") and his anti-Vietnam War song "Fixin' To Die Rag". They visited Britain several times in this period, although their performances (at underground venues like Middle Earth and the Roundhouse) were not heavily publicised.

Links To Peel

Although San Francisco was renowned as the home of the hippie movement, it was the Los Angeles groups who had made "West Coast" music popular with the audience who listened to John Peel on Radio London - the Byrds, Love, the Doors, the Buffalo Springfield and more pop-oriented acts like the Beach Boys, the Mamas and Papas and the Association. One of the first "San Francisco" albums featured by Peel on his Perfumed Garden show was Electric Music for the Mind and Body, at the time only available as an import on Vanguard Records (although a British release of the LP on Fontana soon followed). He was particularly taken with the track "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine", which he played regularly (it appears twice as a show-opener on surviving recordings of the Perfumed Garden). Lead guitarist Barry Melton became one of Peel's favourite musicians, and his work on the second album I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die was singled out for high praise when Peel played it on Top Gear in 1968.

Later Peel recalled that Electric Music for the Mind and Body was the soundtrack to his one deliberate LSD trip, at UFO Club in 1967 ("It was jolly nice. I've always rather flippantly said it was rather like going to Stratford-on-Avon: once you'd done it I didn't see any need to do it again". Quoted by Jonathon Green in Days in the Life, London 1988). In his later years, Peel stated that Electric Music for the Mind and Body was the one album of 1967 he could still listen to for pleasure (for example, see Peeling Back The Years 2 (Transcript)).

In the 1970s, Country Joe McDonald returned to his roots as an activist folk singer and worked mostly as a solo artist. He visited Britain several times, touring and performing on radio and TV, including an unlikely appearance on the TV show of model and singer Twiggy, when he duetted with her on his song "Here I Go Again" after her version had been a UK Top 20 hit in 1976. In addition, he recorded three Peel sessions (see below).

Festive Fifty Entries

  • None

Sessions

  • None by Country Joe And The Fish, but three solo sessions credited to Country Joe McDonald. Any commercial release of sessions?

1. Recorded: 1970-06-29. First broadcast: 04 July 1970. Repeated: ?

  • Hold On, It's Coming / Balancing On The Edge Of Time / It's So Nice To Have Love / Maria / Tell Me Where You're Bound

2. Recorded: 1972-05-08. First broadcast: 02 June 1972. Repeated: 28 July 1972 (including first play of "Memories")

  • Hold On, It's Coming / Colleen Ann / Fantasy / Memories

3. Recorded: 1977-06-29. First broadcast: 11 July 1977. Repeated: ?

  • Get It Together / Tricky Dicky / Sweet Lorraine / Save The Whales / La-Di-Dar / The Man From Atharbaska

(Please correct mistakes and add any missing info)

Other Shows Played

The listing below was researched from the database of this site and is incomplete. Please add any further information if known.

1967
  • 16 July 1967: The Masked Marauder (LP - Electric Music for the Mind and Body) Vanguard - Peel is undone by this track's false ending
  • 18 July 1967: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (LP - Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Vanguard
  • 19 July 1967: Porpoise Mouth (LP - Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Vanguard - JP: "Hope it's not necessary to explain why that's called Porpoise Mouth..."
  • 22 July 1967: Super Bird (LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Vanguard (US import)
  • 06 August 1967: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Vanguard
  • 14 August 1967: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (LP - Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Vanguard
  • 01 October 1967: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (album - Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Vanguard VSD79244
  • 29 October 1967: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (LP - Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Fontana
  • 19 November 1967: Porpoise Mouth (LP - Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Fontana
  • 31 December 1967: Porpoise Mouth (LP - Electric Music for the Mind and Body) Fontana
1968
1969
  • 19 February 1969: Bass Strings (LP - Electric Music For The Mind And Body) Fontana
1970
  • 02 May 1970: She’s A Bird (LP – CJ Fish) Vanguard
  • 16 May 1970: Silver And Gold (LP – CJ Fish) Vanguard
  • 23 May 1970: Silver And Gold (LP – CJ Fish) Vanguard
  • 30 May 1970: The Return Of Sweet Loraine (LP – CJ Fish) Vanguard
  • 13 June 1970: Silver And Gold (LP - C.J. Fish) Vanguard
  • 27 June 1970: Bass Strings (EP - Country Joe & The Fish) Rag Baby 1002
1972
  • 10 March 1972: Death Sound Blues (LP - The Life And Times Of Country Joe And The Fish) Vanguard
  • 11 April 1972: Bass Strings (LP – The Life And Times Of Country Joe And The Fish) Vanguard
  • 18 July 1972: Fly So High (LP - Incredible! Live!) Vanguard
1973
  • 19 April 1973: Pat’s Song (LP – I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die) Vanguard
  • 29 May 1973: Silver And Gold (LP – C.J. Fish) Vanguard
1974
  • 18 July 1974: Pat's Song (LP - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die) Vanguard
1976
  • 13 January 1976: Save The Whales (LP - Paradise With An Ocean View) Fantasy
1980s
1990s
2000s
Other
  • Peeling Back The Years (programme 2): Porpoise Mouth (LP – Electric Music For The Mind And Body)
  • Rebel Yell: The Fish Cheer & I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag

See Also

External Links

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