Saturday, November 22, 2008

Country Joe McDonald

Vietnam veteran Joe McDonald and his band The Fish penned what was to become the anthem song of the Anti-War crusade of the time. With its four letter audience participation chant, I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag was an immediate hit at Woodstock.

The group's name is derived from leftist politics; "Country Joe" was a popular name for Joseph Stalin in the 1940s, while "the fish" refers to Mao Zedong's statement that the true revolutionary must "swim among the people as a fish." The group began with the nucleus of "Country Joe" McDonald (lead vocals) and Barry "The Fish" Melton (lead guitar), recording and performing for the "Teach-In" protests against the Vietnam War in 1965.

Since the days with the Fish, Joe has maintained his political edge and anti-war message while also delving into the blues and other similar musical genres. He has also written a tribute piece and song to Florence Nightingale as well the song Save The Whales, which wraps a sailing jig around the sounds of whale songs.

Opening tonight’s show is a set of three songs taped at the Bitter End followed by several 60’s performances. There was nothing to be found in the time period between 1969 and 2003 in the form of live performances so a number of fan produced videos and slide shows are used to fill out the program. Finally a number of recent solo and backstage performances close out the show, including Support the Troops, his recent ode to the troops in Iraq, and his penny flute tribute to George W. Bush which he titled Yankee Doodle is no Fool.

Be sure to visit Joe’s website at the link below - It contains a wealth of information regarding his activities and current causes.

Country Joe’s Place – Official Website


Joe’s Jukebox


Florence Nightingale

Click here to view individual playlist entries


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Miriam Makeba -
In Memoriam

A vocal opponent of South African Apartheid, Miriam Makeba was refused entrance back into her homeland of South Africa. She had been labeled a revolutionary by the government after she appeared in the anti-apartheid documentary "Come Back Africa". She spent thirty years in exile before returning.

Miriam passed away this week shortly after performing a concert in Italy at the age of 76.
The world has lost an angel.

This evening’s show begins with a report of her death followed by a 40 minute documentary on the years of Apartheid featuring Miriam and her fellow performers.

The documentary is followed by a number of her live performances.

Near the end is another short documentary of her return to Guinea and performing some of her songs – unfortunately the audio and video are out of sinc in that one.

The show ends with one of her last performances and a fitting song for the end.

Thanks Miriam – you will be missed!




Direct links to the individual videos:


The years of South African Apartheid – pt. 1

The years of South African Apartheid – pt. 2

The years of South African Apartheid – pt. 3

The years of South African Apartheid – pt. 4
Pata Pata

The Click Song

Soweto Blues



Akana Nkomo





Ask the Rising Sun

South African Freedom Song – with Hugh Masekela

Dahla Ayounik

Hapo Zamani

Naughty Little Flea

Jinkel E Maweni

Under African Skies – with Paul Simon

Miriam’s Return Trip to Guinea – pt. 1

Miriam’s Return Trip to Guinea – pt. 2

Africa is Where My Heart Lies

When I’ve Passed On

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Michael Bloomfield

Born in Chicago in 1943 Michael Bloomfield took an early interest in the Chicago Blues scene. He came to know and play with many of the blues legends of the time and was instrumental in the Chicago Blues Revival of the mid to late ‘60s.

During that time he even owned a small blues club called The Fickle Pickle. (My cousin snuck me in there once when I was visiting her, I was 17 at the time.)

Michael joined the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and chose to stay with Butterfield when asked to play for Bob Dylan.

Tonight’s opening number features Michael tearing it up with Dylan at the 1965 Newport Blues Festival. Although only briefly seen in the shadows, his high energy guitar licks provide a high energy beat.

After leaving the Butterfield Blues Band he formed a band called Electric Flag with friends Barry Goldberg and Nick Gravenites as well as a number of other well known performers producing only one album A Long Time Coming in 1968 before Michael left the band.

Shortly after Michael worked with Al Kooper on an album called Super Session but was only able to complete one side of the album due to insomnia, with Stephen Stills finishing out the second side.

Over the ensuing years he played as a session musician for other performers and did some solo work but a heroin addiction became the focus of his life.

In 1981 Michael was found in his car, slumped over, dead of a heroin overdose.

Tonight I end with an audio track Blues for Michael, an ode to Michael by Country Joe McDonald.

(Not many live performances were available, so I open with the live ones and finish with audio slide shows.)

Official Website – Family run





Direct links to the individual videos:

Live Performances

Maggie’s Farm – backing up Bob Dylan

Drinkin’ Wine – with Electric Flag

Stop – with Al Kooper

Long Distance Call – with Muddy Waters & Junior Wells

Messin with the Kid – with Junior Wells & Nick Gravenites

Born in Chicago – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band & Son House

Rattle, Rock & Roll – with Fabio Treves

Driftin’ Blues – with Paul Butterfield Bands

Audio with Slide Shows

Season of the Witch – with Al Kooper

Albert’s Shuffle - with Al Kooper

Blues for Nothing – with Al Kooper

Killing Floor – with Electric Flag

Sitting in Circles – with Electric Flag

Going Down Slow – with Electric Flag

Got My Mojo Working – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Walking Blues – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Work Song – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Two Trains Running – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band