Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Conversations: Fish Song

Country Joe and the Fish: The "Fish" Cheer @ YouTube

I may be pushing the limits that define “conversation”, but here goes: Many is the live song that includes some form of dialog(ue) between the artist and the audience. In that a “conversation” is defined as a spoken exchange of thoughts and opinions, this leaves our weekly topic open to various interpretations.

I first thought of the Ry Cooder-type of dialogue. Ry manages to embed dialog in many songs; for example, wherein he and his vocalist exchange opinions. Cf: Down In Hollywood, where the dialog includes:
“"Hey, bud. Come here, let me talk to you for a second …”
Or in the back and forth in “Crazy ‘Bout An Automobile”:
“I’ll tell you why.”

“Please tell me why.”

But then my thoughts went back to my original idea: the on-stage dialog between artist and audience. And while there are certainly numerous prior pivotal/historical instances, it occurred to me that one in particular needed our “refreshment” this week. So … back to our hippie days, the Cold War (want some serious perspective?), and the era of protest movements.

In this clip, live at Woodstock back in  ’69, Country Joe McDonald is at his peak. As many as half a million in the audience join him in voicing/responding, and thus conversing: their opinions about the Vietnam War. Gimme an “F”.

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