Album no. 79/1001
Country Joe and the Fish were from California, and influential in the San Francisco psychedelic scene in the late 60s. ‘The Fish’ is actually a man called Barry, and the drummer was Gary ‘Chicken’ Hirsh.
The band were known for their weirdo guitar lines, strange organ noises, and their often sarcastic political lyrics. They are regarded as very influential in the development of acid rock. At various times people have claimed the band was ‘not averse’ to using drugs.
Fun fact: Barry ‘The Fish’ Melton went on to pass the bar and be California’s deputy state public defender. Good on you Barry.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I’ve never heard this. My only exposure to Country Joe is when he got everybody to yell swear words at woodstock.
CL: No. What a terrible name for a band. Country Joe and the Fish. Please. Unless they play the fish in an electric fashion (much like the jug), I don’t want to know.
NK: This is really fun! I really like the skinny guitar sound, really different to the Yardbirds and Bluesbreakers style stuff. ‘Sad and Lonely Times’ is my favourite. There are multiple times when it sounds like it’s about to launch into ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’, but never quite gets there. It’s really good. ‘Porpoise Mouth’ is a really odd song (“I hunger for your porpoise mouth?!”) with a hypnotic solo in the middle of it, I liked that too. ‘Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine’ has a really weird chorus bit (you never, learned nothin’ bout country ways) which I like a lot. Also ‘Love’. I liked pretty much everything, including the longer slow tracks.
CL: ohhhhh NO. This is not good. I’m grimacing before the first song has even played halfway through. This is some awful psuedo-country/rock mash-up. WITH ORGAN. WHAT IS EVERYONE’S OBSESSION WITH THE ORGAN. The one that starts ‘Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine’ literally pierced my eardrum. Boy, I really, really struggled to get through this. I think the only redeeming feature of this album is ‘Super Bird’. Bit political.
NK: I liked ‘Super Bird’ too!
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: If you want to be in an influential psychedelic band, do loads of drugs and party, but still come home and finish off your law degree, this is the album for you!
CL: Probably just don’t do it. That’s my advice. Save yourself and listen to something you do actually enjoy.
NK: It is way more interesting than you’re giving it credit for, I recommend this.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I think it might have something to do with their influence on psychedelic music. It’s just an impression that I get.
CL: Who knows. Who even cares. This is awful.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Probably! I quite liked this. I’d like to hear whichever album has got ‘Fixin To Die Rag’ on it as well.
CL: Oh god no.