Country Joe and the Fish

Band members               Related acts

- Peter Albin - bass (replaced Paul Armstrong) (1968-)
- Paul Armstrong - bass, percussion (replaced Mike

  Beardslee) (1965)
- Bruce Barthol - bass, harpsichord (replaced Bill Steele)

- Carvel Bass - guitar (1965)
- Mike Beardslee - harp, vocals (1965)
- David Cohen - guitar, keyboards (1965-68)
- John Francis Gunning - drums, percussion (1965)
- Greg Dewey - drums (1969)
- David Getz - drums, percussion (replaced John Francis

  Gunning) (1968)
- Paul Francis Gunning - drums, percussion (1965-68)
- Chicken Hirsch - drums ( - 68)
- Mark Kapner - keyboards (replaced David Cohen) (1968-)
- Country Joe McDonald - vocals, percussion, guitar,

  harmonica (1965-)
- Barry 'Fish' Melton - vocals, guitar (1965-)
- Doug Metzer - keyboards (1969)
- Mark Ryan - bass (replaced Bruce Barthol) (1968)
- Carl Shrager - washboard (1965-)
- Bill Steel - bass (1965-) 




- Big Brother and the Trucking Company (Peter Albin and

  David Getz)
- The Blues Project (David Cohen)
- Country Joe McDonald (solo efforts) 





Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die

Company: Vanguard

Catalog: VSD-79266

Year: 1967

Country/State: --

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes the incredibly rare game insert

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4343

Price: $50.00

Cost: $66.00


1967's "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die" found the band continuing their collaboration with producer Samuel Charters.  As on the debut, namesake Joe McDonald was again responsible for the majority of the material.  Like the debut, the album sported a mixture of acid-tinged political commentary ('Thought Dream' with it's anti-nuke lyric), summer-of-love ballads ('Thursday') and drug fueled instrumental psych meltdowns ('Eastern Jam').  Unfortunately, this time around  McDonald seemed to have largely run out of compositional steam.  As a result, much of the debut's goofy humor is absent; replaced by a less appealing emphasis on inner reflection ('Who Am I').  Among the exceptions, 'Janis' was a surprisingly sweet paean to former sweetheart Janis Joplin and the over-the-top 'Acid Commercial'.  Elsewhere, little more than a throwaway effort, the goofy title track became the band's best known effort.  In case you're wondering about the high asking price; well this copy includes the rare 'Fish Game' insert - looks like it's never been touched.


I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) The Fish Cheer & I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag   (Joe McDonald) - 3:44

2.) Who Am I   (Joe McDonald) - 4:05

3.) Pat's Song   (Joe McDonald) - 5:26

4.) Rock Coast Blues   (Joe McDonald) - 3:57 

5.) Magoo   (Joe McDonald) - 4;44


(side 2)
1.) Janis   (Joe McDonald) - 2:36 

2.) Thought Dream   (Joe McDonald) - 

3.) Thursday   (David Cohen - Gary Hirsh) - 

4.) Eastern Jam (instrumental)   (David Cohen - Gary Hirsh - Barry Melton - Bruce Barthol) - 

5.) Colors for Susan (instrumental)   (Joe McDonald) - 




Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Together

Company: Vanguard

Catalog: VSD-79277

Year: 1968

Country/State: --

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4344

Price: $10.00

Cost: $66.00


Recorded amidst growing personnel conflicts, 1968's "Together" came off as the band's first major misstep. Artistically disappointing, the big difference seemed to reflect the fact McDonald's creative presence was largely absent. Given he'd served as chief songwriter on the first two LPs, the impact was nothing less than profound. While competent songwriters, neither Melton nor Hirsch were capable of making up the creative shortfall. Sure, there were a couple of memorable numbers; the hysterical group-penned "Rock and Soul Music", the psych-influenced "Susan" and the blazing "The Streets of Your Town" (one of the toughest rockin' numbers they ever recorded), were all worth hearing.  Best of the lot was McDonald's stark and haunting anti-war trance "An Untitled Protest".  Unfortunately, while the democratic approach to creativity was admirable (The Fish were one of the few bands to share writing royalties), in the end it did little for musical quality. Naturally the fact it was their least impressive set did nothing to hinder sales; the album proving their biggest seller, peaking at #23. Unfortunately, adding to the band's problems, shortly after the set was released, fearing the draft, Barthol quit the band. He was quickly replaced by Mark Ryan. In the wake of an American tour Ryan, Cohen and Hirsch all quit. They were quickly replaced by keyboardist Mark Kapner and Big Brother and the Holding Company alumnus Peter Albin, and David Getz (see separate entry). (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve. In case you were wondering, McDonald's wedding photos were featured on the cover and inner sleeves.)

"Together" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Rock and Soul Music (Joe McDonald - Barry Melton -David Cohen - Bruce Barthol - Chicken Hirsch) - 6:51
2.) Susan (Chicken Hirsch) - 3:28
3.) Mojo Navigator (Denson - Barry Melton - Joe McDonald) - 2:23
4.) Bright Suburban Mr. & Mrs. Clean Machine (Barry Melton - Chicken Hirsch) - 2:19
5.) Good Guys/Bad Guys Cheer / The Streets of Our Town (Barry Melton) - 3:39


(side 2)
1.) The Fish Moan - 0:27
2.) The Harlem Song (Joe McDonald) - 4:19
3.) Waltzing In the Moonlight (Barry Melton - Chicken Hirsch) -2:13
4.) Away Bounce My Bubbles (Chicken Hirsch) - 2:25
5.) Cetacean (Bruce Barthol) - 3:38
6.) An Untitled Protest (Joe McDonald) - 2:45