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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
Live At The Fillmore West 1969
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$17.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

VINE VOICEon February 28, 2002
This was a great band, individually and collectively. It's a shame that the relationships have not been maintained over the years. Ce la vie! The really great thing about this album is the jamming aspect. Always known for the lyrical and political aspects of their music, the Fish could jam it up like the best of them. Indeed Barry Melton in his new life still does. But what performances have we on this jewel of a disc. I suspect that many of the people who bought this album did so because of the appearance of Dead members Garcia and Hart or even Casady and Kaukkonen and good luck to them because they will have been exposed to some killer playing on the disc. Barry Melton is on top form throughout and plays his heart out. My only regret is that there is not more of these shows or other live Fish performances around. If anyone out there is listening...WE WANT MORE! A highly recommended alum which should grace the shelves of any afficionado of West Coast Music.
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on January 15, 2017
Always like the band and was looking forward to the live performance...While some of the tracks were quite good from a musical standpoint, the sound quality of the CD was among the worst I've ever heard. The warble in the recording makes it sound as if recorded on a $19 portable tape recorder. Very, very disappointed in this CD..
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on November 25, 2013
damn why didnt no one bring a flashlight??? CJ&the Fish were a great band, their first album perhaps the greatest psychedelic album ever made.....this last live performance first focuses on later so called hits by the band, the long jam sounds like no one knows where this is going and as a result no one does....rather boring and lacking inspiration....ramble on...lost in the sound........for my money any solo gig by Barry Melton's band AT THE SALOON or the past John Cippolina is far superior to this mess ....
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on July 1, 2013
As far as the CJ/Fish catalogue, I haven't hardly anything to compare it with - I loved the Woodstock set and, after reading about the epic Donovan's Reef Jam, took the plunge with this release....and let me say, the latter is worth the price of admission! Wow - Jerry, Jorma, Jack, Mickey, and Steve Miller..plus the balance is characterized by good sound (remember, this is a 44 year old live recording), Joe's inimitable vocals, and some short - but tasty - jams. All in all, a nice bit of variety among my usual fare from the same era (Dead/Doors/Janis/Hendrix/CSN(Y)/early Floyd)...enjoy/katie
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on April 26, 2016
Good stuff !! Jack Casady on bass drives the Fish and they never sounded better.
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on October 5, 2007
This is the first Country Joe and the Fish album I ever heard. Before this, I only knew a couple songs from the band and I really had no idea they could totally jam away like they do quite often here. While I think the sound of the album overall is pretty weak and horribly dated and quiet, we DO have to understand this music was recorded in 1969 (a live album, no less). Still, a remastering job wouldn't hurt. Something to fix up the muddy sound.

The first song is called "Introduction/Rock and Soul Music/Love" and is unquestionably a great way to open a live set. The first two minutes feature insanely melodic guitar jamming. It shows what you can expect from here on out. Then lyrics about rainbows come in next. The song switches gears after this and seemingly turns into Steppenwolf. If that's not the lead singer of Steppenwolf during the vocal melody, he has a copycat! A keyboard jam along with some pretty good drumming behind the vocal melody is included as well.

"Here I Go Again" isn't related to the Whitesnake song, haha. Supposedly a religious song, the vocal melody is absolutely gorgeous. It sounds like an old-fashioned country love song. It's a really beautiful melody. It sounds like it was designed for people to slow dance to it. Nice piano playing too.

"It's So Nice to Have Your Love" is next. The vocals are reminiscent of Al Stewart, almost exactly. That's cool with me. Love the atmospheric piano solo. The vocal melody is brilliantly emotional. The guitar solos are quite powerful as well, filled with so much emotion. I had no idea Country Joe and the Fish was able to give the listener so many pleasant feelings.

The first eight minutes of "Flying High" is nothing but an extended guitar jam. It reminds me of something from the Quicksilver Messenger Service album "Happy Trails". VERY good stuff. Also reminds me of the Allman Brothers a little bit. A bluesy vocal melody and heavy bass guitar finish up the song. A very melodic song overall. This is actually a really spectacular guitar jam.

"Doctor of Electricity" is next. Man, what a cool song title! An adventurous and mysterious keyboard bit opens up the song. Wow, pretty cool. Too bad it only lasts roughly 75 seconds. A guitar jam soon follows after a brief stab at a vocal melody. Those cool keyboards make another appearance. They stick around for the rest of the 9-minute song, and more guitar work comes along for the ride.

"Donovan's Reef Jam" is the ultimate live jam. I mean, REALLY incredible stuff. Let me try to explain it-

An energetic and fantastic guitar jam opens up this 38-minute monster before a jazzy vocal melody comes in. That lasts for a few minutes. The jam maintains a jazzy feel through some excellent guitar work and a cool rhythm section. I actually don't mind the muddy production during this particular song because it feels *right* for some reason. 8 minutes in and we experience a great harmonica solo before a brief vocal melody returns 12 minutes in.

After the vocals are over, the song turns into a bluesy jam for a while. Some harmonica playing returns, along with more of those ultra-cool keyboards. I love the sound of the keyboards these guys have. Yes they're reminiscent of several other bands of the same time period who've used them countless times, but I don't really care. All these instruments are taking place while still jamming of course (quite heavily, might I add!)

The jam seems to slow down temporarily around the 21-minute mark. By this point, the guitar is dominating, and continues to do so for the next several minutes. The jam slows down drastically around the 27-minute mark. Near the 30-minute mark, the jam becomes incredibly gorgeous and melodic. The guitar playing is suddenly beyond belief "smack me over the head with something HARD this is good!", along with the keyboards. A very emotional piece of writing there. I love the rest of the song. Then it's finally over. Whoa, what an exhausting listen! But keep with it and you'll be rewarded.

While Country Joe and the Fish aren't remembered today as much as they should be, you can buy this album and own one heck of a great live jamming performance with a few country numbers in the beginning. You won't regret it.
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on February 14, 2003
Due to the presence of all the guest players on this vintage "farewell to the original lineup" CJ & Fish show, the music--especially on the closing "Donovan's Reef" jam--comes incredibly close to sounding like The Dead or The Airplane during one of their long improvisational flights. The Country Joe sound is still evident, although it had changed from the early days of "Electric Music" from the purer acid-rock of that time to add elements of soul/funk/boogie to the mix. There are some great moments here, but like almost all SF jam albums of the period there are are dull moments when the super-group of jammers are slightly off or feeling their way. Highlights include "It's So Nice To Have Your Love", the end of "Flying High", the climax of "Donovan's Reef" and Jack Casady's bass playing throughout. I've always liked Country Joe's voice, it has a humble quality and an appealing timbre. However, as good as this release is it would perhaps be even better to release their complete Monterey Pop performance, which captured them playing the best songs off of their first two albums.
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on July 14, 1998
This is one of the farewell performances of Country Joe and the Fish (and coincidentally is the same show that featured the American debut of Led Zeppelin), and as a result go out with a real bang!. The highlight of this album is undoubtedly the 38 min "Donovan's Reef Jam" featuring special guests Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, and Steve Miller. Though this is enough for any Deadhead, the rest of the album is superb. My personal favorites include the opening "Rock and Soul Music" jam and the sweet "It's So Nice To Have Your Love". Having not heard much Country Joe music (with the exception of the Woodstock soundtrack), this album has made me an instant fan of the group. Certainly a must for any fan of San Francisco era improvisational music.
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on November 8, 2000
Thank you to the reviewer who mentioned that Jerry Garcia plays in the 38 minute song "Donaovan's Reef Jam" because I promptly ordered the cd on that fact alone knowing that the incredible sounding jam would be worth the price, which it was. Luckily, there are other excellent bits of music on this high-spirited, rocking album. What fun conecerts the two shows that these songs were recorded from must have been. The only negative comments I have about Country Joe is that the
guy can't sing worth two nickles (sorry, but its true). The great music can make up for it but not all the time. Otherwise, get this and have fun listening to some fun music, PARTICULARLY the final song!
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on August 1, 2007
Cool 60's music. It's a little far out and that's the way I like it.The song selection could have been a little better but it's still cool. The best band from that time was Airplane. They were the coolest little hippie band of the 60's ever!
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