Barry "The Fish" Melton
Country Joe McDonald
Album cover designed by Tom Weller (1969)
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Dave Getz looks back on the 1968 Country Joe & The Fish album Here We Are Again, his work on the Paris Sessions, and the All-Star Band!
After Janis Joplin left BB it was clear that the band could not continue for a variety of reasons. At the same time Country Joe and the Fish was also breaking apart and Joe McDonald asked Peter Albin and I if we would be the rhythm section of the new 'Country Joe and the Fish' with himself and Barry Melton along with keyboard player, Mark Kapner.
I think we had a great band that was a lot more rhythmically solid than the original CJ&F (though that was undoubtedly one of the most creative bands of the original scene) and we immediately went out on tour playing New York to Europe and then back to the East Coast . On many of our Scandinavian dates the opening band for us was a new band from England that Jimmy Page had put together called "Led Zeppelin."
Country Joe and the Fish was signed to Vanguard; when we returned from Europe to NY we stayed at the Chelsea Hotel and Vanguard's studios was just down the street from the Chelsea.
Sam Charters was the producer of all of Joe's stuff at the time. He was well known as a producer with many credits and experience in the folk music field. He spent some time hanging out with the band; some dinners together at the 'Don Quixote' resturant in the Chelsea.
When it came time to record. Sam Charters wanted to use studio musicians for most of the tracks. I remember watching some of the sessions, Bobby Gregg, who'd done a number of tracks with Bob Dylan, was the drummer and it was a learning experience seeing him and these other guys work and just knock this stuff out.
I got to play on two tracks, "Maria" the title track "Here We Go Again" and I think it was because Charters liked what he'd heard me play on those tracks, Joe too: very basic simple stuff. I'm not sure if Peter was on the same tracks as me or some others.
I remember it was a wonderful time. The royalties from Cheap Thrills were just starting to come in, I was playing music that was good and that gave me a chance to be creative. I had become a father and my wife, Nancy and baby daughter were with me on tour for a some of the time.
Bill Belmont, Joe's road manager was always very on top of things and it was a well-run machine. We were making great money and could have continued on as part of that band, playing for big audiences, recording, staying at the top of the food chain, but for some crazy reason Peter and I wanted to go back to SF and put together a new Big Brother and the Holding Co with David Nelson on guitar.
Dave Getz & Peter Albin appear on Paris Sessions (1973)
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