Country Joe McDonald - lead vocals, acoustic guitar; John Blakeley - electric guitars, vocals; Ted Ashford - keyboards, vocals; Peter Walsh - bass, vocals; Peter Milio - drums
At the time of this recording, Country Joe McDonald, a mainstay on the San Francisco politics and music scene, was about to enter the Fantasy Records recording studios on Ninth Street to record his acclaimed Goodbye Blues solo album, which was released in early 1977. A number of the songs in this set, including the poignant "Blood On The Ice," appear on the album which also featured remakes of songs that had originally been recorded on McDonald's early, pre-Fish solo albums.
With the Vietnam War behind him, McDonald placed his focus squarely on animal rights, and particularly the plight of the humpbacked whale in "Save The Whales!" and slaughter of baby seals for fur coats in "Blood On The Ice." The studio recording would feature a duet with McDonald and ex-Jefferson Airplane member, Marty Balin. For this show, which acted as a warm up for his return to the recording studio, McDonald used the same band he had on his solo LPs, and the musicianship is clearly more skilled than on the loose live recordings made during his heyday with the Fish.
The set opens with a peppy version of the country swing classic, "Who's Gonna Fry Your Eggs," after which McDonald says to the audience, "OK, it is time to get serious now" as he launches into the two aforementioned animal rights songs. What follows are three original tunes "Hold On It's Coming," "Love Is A Fire" and the simple but catchy "Rockin' All Around The World."
"Rockin' All Around The World" is memorable, especially for its audience participation segment, but not everything works here. "Hold On, It's Coming" and "Love Is A Fire" sound dated today, and suffer from guitarist John Blakely's overuse of guitar foot pedal gadgetry. In fact, McDonald introduces him to the audience as playing the guitar and the "gizmos."
This short but impressive six song set was played by Country Joe McDonald at the historic Great American Music Hall in San Francisco one year prior to the Country Joe & The Fish reunion album and tour, which he launched with Barry Melton in 1977. He remains a regular act today on the folk-blues circuit.