Country Joe & The Fish – Reunion

Reunion front cover
Reunion front cover – while it’s nice that they’re invoking a joyous reunion party, god is this awful to look at

“Reunion,” released in 1977, constituted a reunion of the 1967 version of Country Joe and the Fish. They wisely didn’t just dip into the old psychedelic well, because that really wasn’t likely to go over in 1977. Instead, they served up a bunch of country rock, some of it quite good (“Stateline Nevada” and “Insufficient Funds” stand out), and one of my favorite Christmas songs ever, “Dirty Claus Rag,” in which Santa steals a Christmas tree because they just don’t grow at the North Pole. The album is fun, and playable, and like most band reunion albums, it fails to capture the magic the band once had. I like it, I’ve had it since about 1979, sometimes I’ll play it — but this is a bunch of guys getting together for old times’ sake, not a rejuvenation. It would be their last album as a group of any sort. Country Joe went on to a long and continuing solo career, Barry Melton became a public defender; sometimes the band still gets together.

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