Today’s Music to keep me sSssaAaaaaNnnnNNEeee in Isolation – Country Joe and the Fish

I used to love this band but I only got to see them play twice back in the 60s.

Country Joe & The Fish – “Electric Music for the Mind and Body” Full Album – YouTube

The Best Anti-War Song Ever – An Untitled Protest – Country Joe & The Fish

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Is this the best anti-war song ever? It was written about the Vietnam War with the poem more or less recited over a swelling organ dirge. The effects, with Country Joe’s incredibly clear voice, was chilling.

Country Joe and the Fish were one of the first and foremost Acid Rock Bands to come out of San Francisco in the sixties. They lived in the Haight Asbury area along with other great bands including the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and Big Brother & the Holding Company. That was quite a scene going on there. I visited in 1971 and it had decayed away but the vestiges were still to be found.

Country Joe and the Fish had their roots in Jugband agitprop and were one of the most political of the West Coast bands. They were, and still are, one of my favourites.

An Untitled Protest by Country Joe & the Fish

Red and swollen tears tumble from her eyes
While cold silver birds who came to cruise the skies
Send death down to bend and twist her tiny hands
And then proceed to target B in keeping with their plans
Khaki priests of Christendom, interpreters of love
Ride a stone Leviathan across a sea of blood
And pound their feet into the sand of shores they’ve never seen
Delegates from the western land to join the death machine
And we send cards and letters.

The oxen lie beside the road their bodies baked in mud
And fat flies chew out their eyes then bathe themselves in blood
And superheroes fill the skies, tally sheets in hand
Yes, keeping score in times of war takes a superman
The junk crawls past hidden death its cargo shakes inside
And soldier children hold their breath and kill them as they hide
And those who took so long to learn the subtle ways of death
Lie and bleed in paddy mud with questions on their breath
And we send prayers and praises.

Country Joe & the Fish – I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag – Great anti-war song

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Well Country Joe and the Fish were right out there on the cutting edge of the alternative counter-culture of the sixties. They were the first wave Acid Rock exponents and also had that political edge.

They wanted to shock the establishment. They opposed the Vietnam War and they were promoting the values of peace and love that pervaded the San Franciscan freak culture of the mid-sixties, before it was taken over and subverted with greed, selfishness and big business.

I loved this band.

This track is their best known anti-war track. It is different to their normal Acid Rock sound and harks back to their days as a political jug-band.

The opening chant is meant to shock and offend the prudish establishment. It was OK to blow someone to bits with a bomb but you couldn’t say fuck in public. That was disgusting.

At the time young men were being involuntarily drafted to fight in a war that they saw as ideological and wrong. They did not go for the dominoes theory!

I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag

Give me a F! (F!)
Give me a U! (U!)
Give me a C! (C!)
Give me a K! (K!)
What’s that spell ? (FUCK)
What’s that spell ? (FUCK)
What’s that spell ? (FUCK)
What’s that spell ? (FUCK)
What’s that spell ? (FUCK)

Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
Yeah, he’s got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
Gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

Yeah, come on Wall Street, don’t be slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go
There’s plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

Well, come on generals, let’s move fast;
Your big chance has come at last.
Now you can go out and get those reds
‘Cause the only good commie is the one that’s dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we’ve blown ’em all to kingdom come.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

Come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, and don’t hesitate
To send your sons off before it’s too late.
You can be the first ones in your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

And it’s one, two, three
What are we fighting for ?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

Country Joe & the Fish – Untitled Protest – The Best Anti-War Lyric.

CountryJoeAndTheFish_1Country Joe always had a political edge and at the time the Vietnam War was in full flow and the younger generation was questioning its morality and purpose. It seemed futile and waged for ideological reasons.
Anti-War songs were rife.
We thought we had better ways of dealing with things. Talk and diplomacy was better than war.
We did not believe that our elders knew best. We questioned everything.
This was on the second Country Joe album. I thought it was the best anti-war song I had ever heard. It was set to a funereal drone.

An Untitled Protest

Red and swollen tears tumble from her eyes
While cold silver birds who came to cruise the skies
Send death down to bend and twist her tiny hands
And then proceed to target “B” in keeping with their plans
Khaki priests of Christendom interpreters of love
Ride a stone Leviathan across a sea of blood
And pound their feet into the sand of shores they’ve never seen
Delegates from the western land to join the death machine
And we send cards and letters.
The oxen lie beside the road their bodies baked in mud
And fat flies chew out their eyes then bathe themselves in blood
And super heroes fill the skies, tally sheets in hand
Yes, keeping score in times of war takes a superman
The junk crawls past hidden death its cargo shakes inside
And soldier children hold their breath and kill them as they hide
And those who took so long to learn the subtle ways of death
Lie and bleed in paddy mud with questions on their breath
And we send prayers and praises

More lyrics http://www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/country_joe_mcdonald/an_untitled_protest-lyrics-1246488.html#ixzz3PdQyjI2f

Country Joe & the Fish – Opher’s World pays tribute to genius.

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At the dawn of the West Coast Acid Rock the bands came flooding out of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Activated by the social poetry of Bob Dylan and others a generation of young people had been awoken and burgeoning alternative Hippie communities had sprung up and flourished in a number of American cities. These young people had dropped out and formed their own creative communities, supporting each other and espousing their own values of peace, love, sharing and equality. They rejected the capitalist rat-race and were seeking something more fulfilling and meaningful. They were not turned on by the dream of a house in suburbia and the acquisition of money. They believed that there had to be more fun and purpose to life; that life was about community. They stood for political involvement, anti-war principles, civil rights and equality. With their long hair, bright colours and peace signs they made it clear that they opposed the principles of the society they had divorced themselves from.
The San Francisco alternative community gave rise to a number of great Rock Bands including Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company, but my favourite band was always Country Joe and the Fish.
The scene was centred around Haight Asbury with clubs like Bill Grahame’s Fillmore West, Avalon Ballroom, Longshoreman’s hall, Winterland and the Carousel. There were ‘happenings’ in the Golden Gate Park where the ‘tribes’ would come together to reassert their apartness.
I fell in love with Country Joe and the Fish from the moment I heard that new guitar sound created by Barry Melton. That was confirmed when Country Joe’s crystal clear voice soared in. What was even more of a clincher was the political stance of a number of their songs.
They were the most overtly political of the West Coast Bands with songs about the Vietnam War, the H-Bomb and disparaging ditties about Nixon and LBJ. My type of band! They also produced these ethereal trippy numbers around Cohen’s organ sound that were paeans to acid.
Country Joe and the Fish were the most extreme of the West Coast groups. Those first few albums were the epitome of Acid Rock.