Saturday, July 29, 2006

79. Country Joe And The Fish - Electric Music For The Mind And Body (1967)

Track Listing

1. Flying High
2. Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
3. Death Sound Blues
4. Porpoise Mouth
5. Section 43
6. Super Bird
7. Sad And Lonely Times
8. Love
9. Bass Strings
10. Masked Marauder
11. Grace


Whoa! Dude! Trippy. Actually pretty great psychadelia here a very consistently great album not matter the register that is attempted, wether it's the bluesy Death Sound or instrumental Section 43 or the purely psychadelic Grace or even the satirical Super Bird these guys do no wrong in this album.

The beautiful stuff about psychadelic rock is the complexity of the tunes and in this case they are both techinically amazing and really nice to listen to, really appealing. And of course there's nothing better than an album that advises Lyndon Johnsson to "drop some acid" or than ends songs like Bass Strings with whispers of LSD. Speaking of the song about Lyndon Johnsson Super Bird I was actually quite pleased and sad at the same time with that song, seeing as it would be nearly impossible to write an equivalent about Dubya and get away with it. Super Bird actually advocates the physical destruction of the US president and even though it is obviously allegorical of taking the President down from office and not an actual incitment to murder I wonder what would happen if someone wrote the same thing today. A visit from the secret services would be the least of their problems.

Oh well, nostalgia for a time of freer expression aside that is certainly not the best track in the album, even though it is one of the most lyrically interesting ones. And this is definitely an album which benefits from drugs, and if LSD is too much for you just try to get up from your chair really fast while listening to it. It works particularly well on hot days like today.

Definitely get it for that slice of psychadelia that we all need in our lives. Buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Grace
2. Section 43
3. Bass Strings
4. Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine

Final Grade



My girlfriend says that Grace sounds very Bjorkish... there is something. Well you need to listen to it anyway, best song in the album.


Country Joe & the Fish was a compromise name, proposed by ED Denson, an early member and the group's manager -- he quoted Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong about a revolutionary resembling "the fish who swim in the sea of the people"; there was also some thought given to the name "Country Mao & the Fish." Instead, they used "Country Joe" as a reference to McDonald, who was their singer and, as much as there was any organization to it at all, the organizer of the group, and also a reference to Joseph Stalin -- "Country Joe" was a nickname for the Soviet dictator. Ultimately, the name proved a stroke of genius, at once funny to the totally uninformed and provocative to those few who picked up the references, and also a goof on the typical, pop-oriented band names in an era filled with acts like Paul Revere & the Raiders, Barry & the Remains, Mouse & the Traps, et al. It was such a good choice on so many levels, that it was almost subversive, and what's more, subversive on levels that all of those parents who worried over rock & roll never even dreamt of. And given McDonald's and Melton's politics, the name was even better than general analysis would lead one to believe -- in 1965, barely a decade after the peak of the McCarthy era and the Red Scare, and with California already the home of the John Birch Society (a right-wing organization whose founding credo included the notion that President [and former General of the Army] Dwight D. Eisenhower was a communist stooge), the meanings that went into the group's name were readily recognizable to any rightist ideologue.

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