Bruce Barthol (Country Joe and the Fish and Formerly Fat Harry) performing at Kardomah, Hull, a benefit for the International Brigade.

Country Joe and the Fish were one of my favourite bands back in those heady days of the sixties. They were the voice of protest against the obscene war in Vietnam. Their music was something new – a type of Acid Rock the like of which had not been heard. I loved it. The first two albums – Electric Music For the Mind and Body and I Fee Like I’m Fixing To Die were outstanding. I hadn’t heard a guitar sound quite like Barry Melton’s and Country Joe’s voice was so pure. The songs were a mixture of real trippy and driving political stuff.

I saw them perform a number of times back in the sixties, including the Royal Albert Hall. I also caught them five or six years ago in Leeds. They were still brilliant.

Bruce was the bass player who had jumped ship to live in England to avoid the draft and had formed Formerly Fat Harry. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a solo Bruce but I was pleased with what I got. There was a lot of humour coupled with a biting political edge. I suppose you could expect that at an International Brigade benefit.

It was a great night. Thanks to Eddie Bewsher for putting it on. A great cause and some brilliant music.

 

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