Country Joe McDonald

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Best known for the classic anti-Vietnam War song "I Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die Rag" (which in the live Woodstock version also included the infamous "Fish Cheer"), Country Joe McDonald, with or without his band the Fish (the band broke up in 1971 and then reunited for a single album in 1977), never came close to the commercial edge of things, but his solo work over the years has always been thoughtful, delightfully skewed, and unique. This two-disc set was conceived as a whole project (it begins and ends with versions of the short song "Write a Song," for instance), even though it incorporates various orphan songs McDonald has written over the past 45 years (he also includes a Merle Haggard tune) done up in a kind of loose acoustic jug band style. It won't change anyone's mind about his place in pop culture, but it won't diminish it, either.

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