Inside Sounds


Fifth Estate # 31, June 1-15, 1967

The new album by COUNTRY JOE and the FISH on Vanguard is the greatest piece of music that was ever vaguely labeled under the title of rock ‘n roll.

They do every kind of musical change in the album better than I’ve ever heard it before. They do heavy blues things, soft regular singing, guitar and organ solos that just fly, the free sounds of tinking wind chimes and hands rubbing a balloon.

The feeling the record’ gives is one of the nicest gifts that any can lay on you. They can slow you down to almost a dead stop and then speed you into a thumping boom boom of how the heart ticks away.

You can daydream into thoughts where you’ve never been before or listen and let them take you home. They can say “I love you” and you know they mean it.

They are from San Francisco and I understand they refuse to play the Fillmore Ballroom because they don’t like the whole money change; but go out of their way to play free as often as possible. I don’t know how they got this album out, or how it was produced to capture this “live” mind-busting music or who was able to sign them to what kind of contract, but that it is out is a credit to the record industry.

The album by the WHO is another beautiful piece of art. – The most important work on the album is “A Quick One While He’s Away,” which just bursts out of any limiting definitions of how a rock tune is supposed to go. It’s a trip going from one melody to another with only the feeling to hold it all together.

There is no traditional melody-verse-break-instrumental formula happening. It comes across as being free and you can tell it wasn’t improvisation, but well planned out movements purposely there to take you to the next stop before collecting your mind and passing Now.

Totally unstructured and not to be missed for how people make music by just breathing and (unselfconsciously) Being is the album by the GODZ. From the record notes and the album itself it seems four freaks got together with no previous musical training and made what was to them beautiful and free sounds.

People who have seen them say the drummer is barefoot and kicks the bass drum and that the psaltery they use they admit has no tuning other than there being high notes and low notes. But it honestly doesn’t matter, because the album isn’t a joke, but produces exactly what they intended, some live sounds that probably they themselves could never duplicate.

The albums by the EASY-BEATS and by THE LEFT BANKS on Mercury are two straight big money rock albums that are worth listening to…a single by the PINK FLOYD is outa sight (Mixed Media has it)…I will be playing with the S.D. June 1 and 2 at the Wisdom Tooth…Junior Wells at the Living End made some of the unbelievable sounds come out of his harp; sucking sounds so private and yelling so real that it transcended being just music. He twangs the emotions with his blues…Jim and Jean at the Chessmate are one of the best and most polished acts I’ve ever seen. They prove you don’t have to be superelectronic to be psychedelic or meaningful. “My One Sure Thing” is one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard.

Regarding the article I wrote on the Spikedrivers last issue, I wasn’t, as many people felt, being shitty for no apparent reason. I was trying to warn others of what I feel is the pop industry hoax. But that’s my head and to someone else I’m as wrong as they seem to me.

I talked to Ted and Dick and they seem happy with what they feel is the best recorded music they’ve ever made. They played me their new 2-1/2 minute compressed version of “It’s Love.” It rises to a huge peak and then takes you back into the electric sitar and voices yellin’ “love, love, love.”

I’m playing with the Spike Drivers now so you know it’s impossible for me to still be objective about what I know are two different aesthetic values.

The new SPIKE DRIVERS will be playing at the Wisdom Tooth on Plum St., June 1 and 2 and will be part of a supershow at Wayne University on June 8th. See calendar for info.

Music is music, and sound is sound, and people are people. Ted and Dick believe in their music as much as I do in mine. Everyone is doing what they want:

In the end it’s all one anyway.