Even more a musical variety show than 'Fixin' to Die'
Phil Rogers | Ann Arbor, Michigan | 04/24/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The one thing that Country Joe & the Fish can never be faulted on through their first three releases (this one included) is the quality of the musicianship and the overall production. The only thing that makes this one fall down a bit is in the choice of material, but even that is well executed to a fault, and very inventive to boot. On 'Together', they continue their exploration of multiple styles (which was amply noticeable on 'I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die'), making serious (and humorous) inroads into several areas new to them."Rock and Soul Music" [1 star] A blending of frat rock with R & B of the same vintage (and a little bit at Booker T & the MG's), with totally vacuous, pointless lyrics. A ridiculously silly way to start an album. An imitated hillbilly voice (heard with much greater effect on "The Harlem Song") intones "rock and soul music is doggone good!" You get the idea."Susan" [5 stars] The only holdout from the dominant style of the first album ['Electric Music for the Mind and Body']. Definitely a diamond in the rough."Mojo Navigator" [1 star] Dopey rock similar to the style of the song "Love" from the first album."Bright Suburban Mr. & Mrs. Clean Machine" [3 stars] Vaudeville style music, a satire on the middle class lifestyle. Vocals have that 'megaphone' sound. "Good Guys/Bad Guys Cheer/The Streets of Your Town" [4 stars] Song about Joe's bad impression of a visit to NYC. Biting satire, that arguably shouldn't have been written/recorded, but nevertheless, extremely effective. Still affects the way I feel about the city.
"Number people race through the dawn
With their number people faces on
Well square is not the word for the sucking, squeezing herd . . .
The subway is not the underground!""The Fish Moan" [unrated]"The Harlem Song" [4 stars] More vaudeville, and even better. In the middle is a very long spoken/shouted dialogue between a somewhat egregious country fellow from the South and a Harlem resident, brutally satirizing racial stereotypes, but doing it in the most hilarious and skillful way imaginable."Waltzing in the Moonlight" [3 stars] Fish flamenco [sort of}. A little weak compositionally, but well executed. Not the first American flamenco rock of the psychedelic era--that distinction probably belongs to the Doors, who used a traditional guitar introduction to their "Spanish Caravan" from the 'Waiting for the Sun' album. There, Robby Krieger executed, note-for-note, a traditional, lengthy flamenco toque."Away Bounce My Bubbles" [3 stars] Watery, happy meditation, mostly instrumental."Cetacean" [4 stars] Here the Fish meet the Cetaceans (biological classification for the family of sea mammals which includes, whales, dolphins, porpoises, etc.). Change the settings on the lead guitar so it's not so 'acid' sounding, and you have a surf instrumental as good as anything from the Mar-kets or the Chantays, and better than the more popular Surfaris and Ventures. This one's very playful, with an extremely interesting bridge section. Betcha never heard acid surf before! I hadn't either."An Untitled Protest" [5 stars] A very powerful, poetically graphic Vietnam war protest song, sang/wailed by Joe [accompanied only by an organ droning in a minor key]; this one has to be heard to be believed."
A perfect blend of 60's social commentary & psychedelia
Phil Rogers | 01/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Country Joe and the Fish are my favorite 60's band; maybe even my favorite all time group!! Maybe because I was 16 in 1968, they express the real ambience of the time for me--drug induced ecstacy, civil rights upheavals, the vietnam war, love--all wrapped up in beautiful folds of psychedelia. Nobody, but nobody, can beat Country Joe's pointed and sarcastic social commentaries on white racism (The Harlem Song), Materialism (Bright Suburban Mr. and Mrs. Clean Machine),and the vietnam war (An Untitled Protest) The pure, perfect psychedelic trippings of Mojo Navigator, Away Bounce my Bubbles, and Cetacean just really complete the tour of the 60's. I hope the bass in Rock and Soul Music running up and down your spine will thrill you as much as it does me."
Mark R. Dobos | Indian Harbour Beach, FL USA | 09/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"moreorless a top 5 band of all time, these guys were each one of the best in what they did and the one band that can claim that they were truly at the center of the 60's, given the political element/genesis. this album is essential and all the songs are favorites--i truly bow to this band--i met Country Joe McDonald back in 1992 in Orlando when i was about 19 and was one of the only times i was starstruck--i had him autograph a napkin and told him his music was timeless. this band is actually beloved. from Melton's guitar/singing/writing majic to "Chicken" Hirsh's ultra drumming to Cohen's super-grade organ and piano--this band is what hip is about and they give new meaning to the term "kick tail." This is very much an ensemble album highlighting their many abilities. I cant say enough about them. The true Musike Politicos--not recommended-- Required!"
You got an invitation to ride shotgun in a parade tomorrow
C. Sorenson | 01/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not too much into the whole psychedelic scene, so I'm glad this album can be both for people who are into psychedelic music and people who appreciate a good sounding album.
Rock and Soul Music: A great way to start this album off. I'm not sure if this was recorded live, or if the crowd noise was dubbed in, but this certainly has the exciting feel of a live show. Country Joe plays us rock music with soul in it. Simple as that. Great jam. Great vocals too. About half way through it changes into something really different. I like the first half more.
Susan: This reminds me of when Jim Morrison would put his poetry in The Doors songs. It's got the vibe. I'm not a big fan of this song, but that's just me.
Mojo Navigator: This is a rather pointless track. Could have been a B-side if they released a single. Who knows, maybe it was? Just a song, nothing much.
Bright Suburban Mr. & Mrs. Clean Machine: This is my personal favorite on the album. Starts off with two typical cliche bright suburban people. It's kind of slow paced song with piano and organ, and it's pretty entertaining. Ends with somebody announcing products in a store.
Good Guys/Bad Guys Cheer and The Streets of Your Town: Starts off with, you guessed it, people cheering for the good guys and people booing at the bad guys. The Streets of Your Town is about New York, I'm not sure if it's a parody of people who don't like it or if Country Joe honestly doesn't like New York, but I don't care either way because it's a good song. It's a rough one too. Somewhere in the song it suddenly becomes a pleasent little jam, which turns into angry car horns.
The Fish Moan: Lots of moaning and complaining and venting, it's great. It's funny, but it's also a quick and short jab at people who complain a lot. Oh, and it's not really a song, it's just a short track.
The Harlem Song: This is a great song. It's pretty straight forward. And there's some funny talking bits in it that's really the highlight of the song.
Waltzing in the Moonlight: This song makes you feel like you're waltzing in the moonlight.
Away Bounce My Bubbles: I can't really sit through this song for too long, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It's the gem of the album. Really quiet, really mellow, and just all around nice. I like the whistling.
Cetacean: This is a nice jam, most of it instrumental. The part that really sticks out in my mind is when it fades out into lazy guitar stumming and piano, stops, and then comes back in. If it didn't have that part it would be a rather uninteresting song, so I'm glad they put that in.
An Untitled Protest: As a closing song I don't like how this album ends, but I would have felt different about it if I heard it back when this came out.
This is a fun album, so don't buy it if you're looking for some hardcore psychedelic serious music. I mean, you might enjoy a couple tracks, who knows. I like this album for the speaking bits mostly. It's not an album I come back to often, but when I do it's a good listen. I suggest buying it if you're in the mood to buy anything, because it's not, say, Darkside of the Moon."