Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Goodies from GFreedom's Music Collection #8

COUNTRY JOE & THE FISH: Electric Music for the Mind and Body

 Here is one of my most beloved  records which I bought on vinyl when I was 18 years old and I was hooked on Psychedelia.
   For me Country Joe & the Fish was one of the most important bands not only in the San Fransisco scene, but in the whole Psychedelic movement in the United States in the second mid of the '60's.
'Electric Music for the Mind & Body' is their first excellent recording (Vanguard Records), and maybe one of the most important and influential records of the Psychedelic scene. The album was released in April 1967, and it was one of the first albums which came out from the San Fransisco music scene. The first thing that the listeners notice here is the really unique sound of the distorted guitar combined with the sound of the organ which is the identity of Country Joe & the Fish in almost all of their albums.
    Unlike Jefferson Airplane, whose songs included considerable conventional structures, and the Grateful Dead, who were not yet able to transform their ideas into music, C J & F presented a well-constructed, firm, and yet wholly "recept-able" body of psychedelic music.
  Now let's take a closer look at the songs. The album contains 11 songs in total and almost all of them short in length. The 2 exceptions are the songs 'Grace' which was Joe Mc Donald's personal ode to Grace Slick (Jefferson Aiplane), and the psychedelic instrumental epic 'Section 43'. Both are over 7 minutes in length. (The total running time of the whole album is 43.00 minutes).
  The opening track 'Flying High' reveals the band's identity from the start, with the unique guitar sound. On the second track 'Not so sweet Martha Lorraine' we see for the first time the collaboration between the guitar and the organ I mentioned earlier. This is one of their classic songs, although not one my most favorite ones. Third comes the heavy blues-influenced "Death Sound", followed by the rather bizarre but beautiful 'Porpoise Mouth'. (The whole title is Happiness is a Porpoise Mouth). Side-A closes with the instrumental Psychedelic hymn 'Section 43' which in my humble opinion is one of the greatest Psychedelic tunes ever recorded. Side-B opens with the rather political 'Superbird',  followed by the melodic folk-influenced 'Sad & Lonely times', before the Rock explosion hits you with the next song, which is 'Love'. The 3 last songs are 'Bass Strings' 'The Masked Marauder' and 'Grace'. 'Bass Strings is one of the weakest song here, whilst 'The Masked Marauder' tries to be something like 'Section 43'
with lyrics, but without big success. As for 'Grace', I think the only important thing about it is the fact that it was written for Grace Slick.
   Concluding this post I have to mention that 'Electric Music for the Mind and Body' together with Jefferson Airplane's 'Surrealistic Pillow' should be the cornerstones of every Psychedelic music collection. Of course there are many more important albums which came out from this music scene, but those two are maybe the most important ones for many reasons.
 If I had to rate this album, my rating would be about 3.5-4.00 out of 5.00
I added a couple of videos in order to listen and judge by yourselves. First comes 'Section 43', and second 'Love'. Enjoy! :)
Thank you for reading...