Country Joe & The Fish ‎– The Life And Times Of Country Joe And The Fish From Haight – Ashbury To Woodstock (1971) [Reissue 1988]

Posted by Green on August 12, 2021as

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This 77-minute CD is close to an ideal compilation, reaching back to before the band’s beginnings for the original 1965 recording of “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag” and across seven of the better cuts off of Electric Music for the Mind and Body, up through the Woodstock Festival and the band’s farewell concert that same year at the Fillmore West. It reels in most of the notable album cuts in between, all in surprisingly good sound (not usually a strong point on Vanguard CDs of the late ’80s). The 19 songs, which don’t follow a strict chronological order, encompass some of the band’s most celebrated experimental material, as well as more traditionally structured songs such as the fiery double-lead guitar workout “Death Sound Blues,” the catchy, folk-rock-style “Sing Sing Sing,” and the counterculture singalong “Marijuana” and works of serious personal significance (and intimately focused genius), including “Grace” and “Janis.” The disc offers a good balance between the various sides of the group’s sound and includes several notable live tracks, including the November 1968 Fillmore East performance of “Superbird,” an anti-Lyndon Johnson song that dated back to 1965 and which is adapted here to include an attack on president-elect Richard Nixon. The sound is amazingly good and consistent throughout, and the track order, as well as the music itself, is downright spellbinding at times; the annotation is minimal, but this CD really has only a single flaw — apparently, between the 1965 original version of “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag” and the 1969 Woodstock performance, there was no room for the standard studio version off of the band’s second LP.

1 I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag 3:43
2 Bass Strings 3:57
3 Flying High 2:38
4 Porpoise Mouth 2:48
5 An Untitled Protest 2:46
6 Who Am I 4:03
7 Grace 7:01
8 Waltzing In The Moonlight 2:12
9 Death Sound Blues 4:22
10 Janis 2:36
11 Sing Sing Sing 3:01
12 Superbird (Tricky Dick) 5:15
13 Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine 3:52
14 Marijuana 1:50
15 Rock And Soul Music / Love 6:05
16 Crystal Blues 5:05
17 Masked Marauder 3:51
18 Love Machine 5:53
19 The “Fish” Cheer; I Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag 3:01

1 in 1965
2 in June 1966
3, 4 & 7 in February 1967
5 & 8 in March 1968
6, 9 & 10 in September 1967
11 in June 1969

12 to 14: recorded at Fillmore East, New York City, November 1968.
15 to 17: recorded at Fillmore West, San Francisco, January 1969.
18 & 19: recorded at Woodstock Festival, August 1969.

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