Country Joe's Place

2001 English Tour



Review of the Borderline gig by Max Bell from the London Evening Standard, July 26:

Joe and members of Reet, Petite and Gone at Southsea.
Coming out of the Berkeley, California protest scene in the mid- Sixties, Country Joe McDonald was a counterculture superstar for a while. Albums recorded with his band The Fish, like Electric Music For the Mind and Body and songs as barbed as I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag and the cheerfully morbid Fish Cheer, were staples from Haight Ashbury to Woodstock.

Looking at the small, stocky figure with receding locks swept up by a bandanna he cuts today, it's hard to equate the two eras, but as soon as he opened his mouth or blew up on his harmonica the memories hooded back. Not necessarily one to dwell entirely in the past, McDonald still began with a song yearning for the Summer of Love.

Thereafter he got down to his lampooning business with mini historical songs about discredited Presidents Nixon and LBJ, the hippy nemesis. Ole Joe wasn't alone in his ramblings since he was backed by the British jug band Reet Petite and Gone, who added appropriate dollops of Dobro, mandolin, slide guitar and snare drums to a well-worn mix.

Some of the audience, who weren't even born when CJM was ragging of America's guns and greed tendencies, might have wondered what the fuss was about but the troubadour won everyone over with his tall stories, reminiscences on Janis Joplin and politically charged satires. Good to see he hasn't lost his sense of humour. Watch your back George W. Bush.


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