on 5 January 2004
Lost beneath the interest that surrounded, and continues to surround, their first album ("Electric Music for the Mind & Body"), Country Joe & the Fish's second album merits serious consideration as the best "psychedelic" record ever made.
If psychedelic means highly innovative, ethereal music in which technical skill is secondary to the creation of pure "mood & feel" then virtually all of the tracks on this album qualify as winners. Skip the brilliantly metered, wonderfully sarcastic but (in psychedelic terms) incongruous jug-band opener, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die", and go straight to "Magoo" (one of the most bizarrely structured, yet effective pieces of music produced by this or any other group) and "Colors for Susan" (a series of highly unusual "West Coast" guitar chords played at a snail's pace that succeeds in creating feelings of tension & relaxation at the same time) and drop into a world of weird, reflective and totally unique music that drifts, often precariously, between simplicity and brilliant ingenuity. "Pat's Song" & "Janis" could have been naively wistful hippie "love songs" if it weren't for their marvellously odd arrangements; "Thursday" combines delicately haunting vocals with a stunningly beautiful organ & guitar break before flowing into "Eastern Jam's" first, wonderfully ecstatic guitar solo, and "Who Am I" & "Rock Coast Blues" should be standard folk & blues respectively, but they're not. What they all are, and add up to, is a near perfect example of music from a different time and place in which groups dared to push themselves to the limits of their creativity.
Flawed only by two irritating between-track jingles that forewarn of the mess that their third album "Together" was to become, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die" remains as playable and interesting today as it was over 30 years ago... a definitive, totally forgotten gem.
on 5 October 2013
I'd never had the mono version before, but it is clear that the 'stereo' version is created / enhanced from the mono recording, the latter sounding MUCH better, so well worth the purchase.
...oh, and the music is just great now that more of it can be heard more clearly !!
Note to self: must check the Electric Music... dual version to see if it is the same
on 13 January 2000
This album, it seems to me, has been totally underrated, whilst other woodstock performers such as Hendrix and Santana have received great praise and coverage, country joe and the fish have had much less than they deserve. It's definately a very groovy album but it's also very destinct from other psychedellic material I've heard. The album's strength comes from this originality and it will always be for me, one of the most enlightening albums, particularly the songs "Thursday and Colours for Susan".
on 3 May 2014
Country Joe and the Fish were one of the best bands from America.Their first two albums remain classics for all time.This their second album was also excellent,but a bit worse than predecessor.I Feel Like incorporates a more eclectic moods,beautiful easy songs,fine guitars and very distinctive vocals of Joe McDonald.Also,there's the first main song,anti-Vietnam anthem in a raga mould which I would rather give up to the Fugs.
I think that,this was influential cornerstone for some British/European troubadours.
No hesitation,buy this pearl.
on 26 November 2013
Sheer hippy and sublimely melodic I am buying my 26 year old son a copy.
It exudes melody and atmosphere of its own.
The first tack is the upbeat anti Vietnam rant. Superb in its own right and a masterpiece. However the rest of the album is a far cry from this. I cannot describe music-who can? Melodic, enchanting, imaginative and unique. Many an emotional evening both in the past and recently, have I had enjoying this...
However I am musical, artistic and this is a unique piece of music and I would....bla bla.....
on 9 October 2005
"Country Joe & the Fish's second album merits serious consideration as THE best "psychedelic" record ever made" said the previous reviewer. I agree. It is certainly worthy of almost any prize you may wish to bestow upon it. Hear that? - it's a very big BUT - I don't agree to labelling this as a purely psychedelic album, though there are certainly VERY trippy moments as on 'Magoo' (we are treated to the middle of a thunder-storm, echoing voices, sinister plucking on guitar, a constant refrain of 'stay as you are'), and the warped guitar effects found on 'Eastern Jam', and elsewhere (everywhere?) but on the whole it is more of a mixture - so it should perhaps - no DEFINITELY - have more than just the one merit, right? In parts, it is an exemplary chilled out affair, earthy, almost hippyesque, as might be inferred from the opening jug-band bluesy chant of 'I feel like I'm fixing to die' all about war, or not - depending on your ontological perspective - you may otherwise think it the music of political activists (at a time when the FBI was involved in chasing draft dodgers), yet none the less beautiful for that. 'Who Am I?' is folk at its best, 'Pat's Song' is a fusion of styles, evoking feelings of blissed out love, as well as weird acid-blues. 'Rock Coast Blues' is a low point in the album - but what a heady height for a low point! Perhaps another medal is on its way - the best blues song! 'Janis' is essentially a beautifully composed and arranged love song, with subtle lyrical overlay, mouth-organ, and harpsichord etc. Oh, but with an innovative difference - at moments reminiscent of a fairground - a beautiful song that simply MUST be heard. 'Thought Dream' utilises the sweet sound of an organ (Hammond?) to almost gospel, evangelical, spiritual heights, and begins and ends with a refrain upon dropping 'H' -Bombs. Sheer beauty, such emotion, and with such moral force. The beginning is quite a trippy affair, in my mind at least, with the song proper 'happening' initially as someone in the background trying to get started - and soon does: the rest of the song is colossal. It brings a smile to my face, and throws a tear from my eye - it is a gentle affair, like a slow lament. 'Thursday' begins with an up-tempo fun piece, an initial ditto on LSD, then flows into yet another unbelievably soft, comfortable space full of beautiful music, with the continual refrain 'I found you'. Another reviewer spoke of mood and feeling - words surely at home here. We end with 'Colours for Susan' , a mixed tempo, though incredibly gentle track- top fare.
A high point of the album? There isn't one - it is ALL SUPERB! My suggestion (to fans of psychedelia, flower power, folk, blues, soft rock, and blissed-out hippydom, is to buy it, play it, then LOVE it!