Country Joe & the Fish

I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die

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Country Joe & the Fish's second album, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die", is quite similar to their first in its organ-heavy psychedelia with Eastern-influenced melodic lines, but markedly inferior to the debut, and much more of a period piece. There's more spaciness and less comic energy here, and while the bandmembers were undoubtedly serious in their explorations, some of these songs are simply silly in their cosmic naïveté. To be crueler, there is no other album that exemplifies so strongly the kind of San Francisco psychedelia that Frank Zappa skewered on his classic We're Only in It for the Money. The weeping, minor-key melodies, liquid guitar lines, and earnestly self-absorbed quests to explore the inner psyche -- it's almost as if they put themselves up as a dartboard for the Mothers to savage. For all that, the best songs are good; "Who Am I" and "Thursday" are touching psychedelic ballads. But more notably, the title cut -- whose brash energy is atypical of the album -- was a classic antiwar satire that became one of the decade's most famous protest songs, and the group's most famous track.

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