Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together.- Anais Nin
Monday, 14 January 2013
Country Joe McDonald - Thinking Of Woody Guthrie (1969)
During the reigning years of San Francisco headband Country Joe and the Fish, singer and songwriter Joe McDonald took some time out to head to Nashville and record a pair of solo albums with the city’s top session men.
Released on the iconic Vanguard Records, these two albums saw McDonald take a broad left turn, away from psychedelia and deep into the traditional folk and country music that had helped inform his earlier years as a radical-political folksinger.
Indeed, the first of these two albums, Thinking of Woody Guthrie, was a heartfelt, play-it-straight tribute to the daddy of them all (the radical-political folksingers, that is). It is an album that does justice to the man who wrote all of the songs on it. Joe McDonald conveys all of the ranges of Woody's line of sight, from the migrant's resigned take on life ("Pastures Of Plenty"), to the dust-storm-beset people of Gray, Oklahoma ("So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh")to a guarded endorsement of the (then) major strides in technology for the greater good ("Roll On Columbia"). McDonald sings all of them with conviction and is backed by Nashville pros with talent to burn. Even "This Land Is Your Land" gets a vitality to it that's totally unexpected but great to hear.