15: Country Joe McDonald – I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag (Live At Woodstock)

Posted: March 2, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Seeing the film of Woodstock, in a cinema in Rochdale in my early teens, was another formative moment which, again, somehow I managed not to mention in my book.

I remember sitting there, on my own, feeling a rush of exhilaration. Woodstock, for the naive AK, embodied so much – a sense of possibility, the potential and invincibility of people-power, defiant anti-authoritarianism, a lot of tremendous music and a huge number of that type of girl who would never even notice me. I was thrilled too by the sense of event, one which was staged almost spontaneously, and made a huge cultural and political impact, despite having been a shambles from beginning to end. I wished so much I’d been there. It was possibly in that cinema that afternoon that my appetite for staging big gigs was ignited.

And Country Joe was an absolute revelation. That he could get up there, alone with his guitar, and get half a million people to shout, and spell, “fuck” (for which, if I’d just whispered it, I’d have got a week of detentions at school) and then sing along to an anti-war anthem so it could rattle windows in Washington, well… he became my instant hero. (Notice how the whole crowd rises to its feet towards the end). And I left the cinema a convert to counter-culture – a pretty lonely position for the son of headteachers in early 70s Rochdale. Anyway, all together now…

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