By the time Country Joe and the Fish hit the stage around 6:30 Sunday evening, their lead singer already had left his impression on the Woodstock festival. Country Joe performed an impromptu solo set on Saturday to help out, and was back on stage that night during the Grateful Dead’s set to help calm down the kids worried about their acid trips.
Long story short: It doesn’t get much more “Woodstock” than Country Joe McDonald.
Joe formed the band with lead guitarist Barry Melton in 1965 and by 1971 the Fish were done. That was enough time for five studio albums and appearances at the two most important American music festivals of the sixties: Monterey Pop in ’67, and of course Woodstock.
Over the years Country Joe has worked the heritage circuit in Woodstock package shows, but don’t expect a reunion with his old band mates anytime soon. “There is not much love that passes between the members of Country Joe and the Fish,” he says.
Below is Country Joe and the Fish’s Woodstock set list and where you can find official recordings. Fun fact: “I Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die-Rag” is the only song to be performed by the same artist twice at Woodstock.
Your official Woodstock soundtrack song count to date: 155
- Rock & Soul Music (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
- Love (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
- Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
- Sing, Sing, Sing
- Summer Dresses (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
- Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife
- Silver and Gold (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
Love Machine (The Life and Times of Country Joe and the Fish (CD/LP))
- Ever Since You Told Me That You Love Me (I’m a Nut)
- Short Jam (instrumental)
- Crystal Blues
- Rock & Soul Music (Reprise) (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
- “Fish” Cheer > I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag (The Life and Times of Country Joe and the Fish (CD/LP))
Update: On August 2, 2019, Rhino Records released Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive and changed the game forever. With exception to two Hendrix tracks and one Sha Na Na cut, the massive box set contains complete sets from every Woodstock artist—even those long believed lost or never recorded.
Here is Country Joe and the Fish‘s set as it appears on the Back to the Garden archive, including announcements, etc.:
1. Chip Monck – “Leave the fences for last when you take firewood”
2. ROCK & SOUL MUSIC
4. NOT SO SWEET MARTHA LORRAINE
5. SING SING SING
6. SUMMER DRESSES
7. FRIEND, LOVER, WOMAN, WIFE
8. SILVER AND GOLD
10. THE LOVE MACHINE
11. EVER SINCE YOU TOLD ME THAT YOU LOVE ME (I’M A NUT)
12. CRYSTAL BLUES
13. ROCK & SOUL MUSIC (Reprise)
14. THE “FISH” CHEER/I-FEEL-LIKE-I’M-FIXIN’-TO-DIE RAG
15. Chip Monck – “We’ll start with minimal lighting”
Categories: Music, record collecting
“…help calm down the kids worried about their acid trips.” I don’t know why that line caused a sudden snort of laughter so loud it woke the cat.
There’s a great clip of Joe’s speech to the crowd on the Rhino Woodstock box.
As a minor correction, “the Fish” refers to Barry Melton, the lead guitarist—not a group of musicians. Country Joe and the Fish refers to any band with MacDonald and Melton.