Country Joe and the Fish started life as a political Jug Band and went on to become the most radical voice coming out of Berkley. They pioneered the San Franciscan Acid sound of the sixties and melded it to social comment and particularly anti-Vietnam war songs.
Their first album – Electric Music for the Mind and Body, with its overtly LSD based lyrics, was the first Acid Rock album to be released and was a gem. They created a totally new sound that ranged from ethereal to strident and was ideally suited to the new climate of young minds, the light shows and use of Acid. Joe McDonald’s voice was pure and melodic and Barry Melton’s guitar sound was totally unique. I had never heard anything quite like it before.
The second album -I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die – continued the acid theme but added some more political songs such as Untitled Protest and the title track.
They were famous for the Fish Cheer – Give me an F, Give me a U, give me a C, give me a K – What’s that spell? Which was tidied up for the album to spell FISH. Back in those days of censorship and conservatism it was considered totally obscene.
Country Joe and the Fish epitomised the generation gap, antiestablishment stance and protest of the sixties more than any other band.
Their third album Together was good but showing signs of running out of steam. After that it was pretty much downhill.
I saw them on tour in Britain (without Barry Melton) in the 2000s and they were brilliant. Oh for a band of that magnitude of idealism and protest in these times!! Oh for a unified protest movement and a generation who cared about the environment, social problems and civil rights. The time is ripe.