Country Joe's Place

Superstitious Blues

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Cover

1. Standing at the Crossroads 4:21
Peter Frankel, electric guitar; Sandy Rothman, dobro;
Stephen Barsotti, bass.
2. Eunicita 4:11
Peter Frankel, electric lead guitar, Sandy Rothman, dobro; Stephen Borsotti, bass. Recorded direct to 2-track digital by Michael Rosen.
3. Superstitious Blues 3:48
Jerry Garcia, rhythm and slide guitar; Barry Flast, boss and piano.
4. Tranquility 3:34
5. Starship Ride 3:06
Jerry Garcia, acoustic guitar; Barry Flast, bass and backing vocal; Kirk Felton, snare and hihat.
6. Cocaine (Rock) 3:46
Barry Flast, piano; Stephen Barsotti, bass; Terry Adams, cello.Cello arrangement by Terry Adams.
7. Blues for Breakfast 3:35
Peter Frankel, acoustic lead guitar; Sandy Rothman, dobro; Barry Flast, piano; Stephen Borsotti, bass.
8. Clara Barton 3:34
Jerry Garcia, guitar.
9. Blues for Michael 6:48
Jerry Garcia, guitar.

Vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, harp on all songs: Joe

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Standing at the Crossroads

"Standing at the Crossroads is an old song -- ten years old. It's a white country blues, a feeling-sorry-for-yourself kind of song, the typical song I write about the blues hounding me wherever I go. But it's done in a melodic way so you don't get depressed about it."

Put my heart inside a bottle
and place it on the shelf
I'm savin' my love for you babe
and for no one else
Though miles may come between us
my love for you still lives on
The days gone by can never die
no matter how long I'm gone

Oh, I'm standin' at the crossroads
just like a ship adrift at sea
The blues are like a bloodhound
always comin' after me
Oh I'm standin' at the crossroads
wonderin' which way to go
The blues are like my shadow
they're with me wherever I go

The times aren't always gentle
the people aren't always kind
But behind the bend might be a friend
there for you to find
But it seems like all good people
I meet as I'm travelin' through
Just sit down to talk and
before we begin
They're off with their own things to do

© 1981 Alkatraz Corner Music BMI
words and music by Joe McDonald

Eunicita

"Eunicita is even older, from 1972, a very self-reflective period. It's very poetic and may be hard for some people to understand. It's a classic psychedelic music piece; the style goes back to the first Country Joe and the Fish album. It was more about me when I wrote it but now I think it's about my generation, standing exposed and all our mistakes and wondering who cares. I can't help but think of Vietnam veterans now when I play it: standing before the world with tears running down their faces in front of cameras over and over again. It's a kind of watershed song, and it stands up now, I think."

Out on the tundra the lions play their little games
of life and death
And while the father lay sleeping the mother lies near
with cubs at her breast

It's not what you do
not what you say
Eunicita believes in life before death

Small pieces of my heart fall to the ground for
all to see
Who cares for me? Who cares for me?

The picture frame spins round and round my face
I've lost the place I used to go all by myself
He stands alone, the rocks and trees have all blown away
the sands burn his feet

There are precious stones, things which a man could use
to make his fortune
But he does not see, for his mind is now
in other places

© 1983 Alkatraz Corner Music Co BMI
words and music by Joe McDonald

Superstitious Blues

"Superstitious Blues is tongue-in-cheek but not completely ironic, about the fragility of our lives today and how we govern them -- by the stars, by our therapists, our genes -- what's pulling the strings here? It's a blues but it has a fun sound to it."

I'm feelin' superstitious when it comes to loving you.
I'm feelin' superstitious when it comes to loving you
Because I've had some bad luck and I know what that can do.

To check my situation I read my horoscope each day
To check my situation I read my horoscope each day
To make sure there's good vibrations and everything's ok.

I went to the psychic reader to have my fortune told.
I went to the psychic reader to have my fortune told.
Said son no need to worry your love's as good as gold.

I'm feelin' superstitious but our love's my good luck charm
I'm feelin' superstitious but our love's my good luck charm
And as long as we keep lovin' I won't fear no harm

© 1990 Alkatraz Corner Music Co BMI
words and music by Joe McDonald

Tranquility

Instrumental

"Tranquility was written around the death of my parents. It's in the spirit of Erik Satie -- classical -- but it's using folk instruments like the harmonica and guitar the way I used them in the '60s. I wrote the piece in the middle of grieving a lot. I'd always admired religious music written for terrible times, the idea of finding solace in music and poetry, and this music did it for me. I played it for my dad in his last few days, and for myself. It's slow, it's peaceful."

Starship Ride

"Starship Ride is very Bay Area psychedelic rock and roll, and it's fun; it's about romance, a date, the future -- a science fiction love song. It's a double entendre, a titillating song but it still has some Mom and Pop in there. It was a perfect vehicle for Jerry Garcia because it sounds so much like a Grateful > Dead song, and the Grateful Dead don't do those songs anymore. It's the kind of song I like to write -- a one-chord, one-rhythm, straight ahead rock and roll pop song with a little twist of the futuristic."

Oh, get your self together
Oh, leave your troubles behind
Oh, don't worry 'bout the weather
We'll be going on a starship ride.

Oh, the moon is callin'
Come pack your troubles away
Out where the stars are fallin'
We'll be cruisin' the milky way

Hey, tell your mama and your papa
Don't wait up tonight
We'll bring back a little piece of heaven
When we get back from our starship ride

© 1990 Alkatraz Corner Music Co BMI
words and music by Joe McDonald

Cocaine (Rock)

"Cocaine (Rock) is several years old and written out of personal experience. It's very commercially rock and roll; it just turned out that way. With the cello in there, it's a beautiful piece of music, and the lyric is there if people want to listen to it. It's not a hard sell. It says something about a very important drug issue and it comes from the heart. I've never liked cocaine, but I don't equate hard and soft drugs. I think recreational drugs -- pot, beer, wine and coffee are here for us because we need a little something to help us through the day, but hard drugs and alcohol are something else.

"Right now, people who have no experience taking drugs are dictating our drug habits, so it's really up to people like myself, who've had experience with drugs, to let people know what it's about. I'm not grandstanding here or making a big speech about my drug life, I'm making a simple statement which is you can get in over your head and it's simple to stop just by saying no. I never thought Nancy Reagan and I would be saying the same thing, but I think we're looking for common denominators here."

Hey everybody listen carefully
A bad habit starts casually with
Cocaine
Rock Cocaine
Every little bit adds up in time
Before you know it you've lost your mind on
Cocaine
Rock Cocaine

Bit by bit and day by day
slowly wasting your life away
on Cocaine
on Cocaine

You slave away try to make ends meet
Then wind up in the streets on
Cocaine
Rock Cocaine
The stress of work can mess your mind
Relax do a couple a lines of
Cocaine
Rock Cocaine

My how the time does fly
First you're high and then you die on
Cocaine
Rock Cocaine
Hey where did the money go?
Look In your pipe look in your nose
Cocaine
Rock Cocaine
You think you're being cool and free
But you're a desperate chump with a desperate need for
Cocaine
Rock Cocaine
It's easy to take control
All you have to do is say no to
Cocaine
Rock Cocaine

© 1990 Alkatraz Corner Music Co BMI
words and music by Joe McDonald

Blues for Breakfast

"Blues for Breakfast is, once again, letting everyone know that I wake up in the morning feeling bad sometimes. That's an old blues form, and in it I'm sort of doing a joke on a joke on a joke. It's a blues sound from the Mississippi Delta, but with a modern little twist."

Woke up this morning with a pain in my head
Had the blues for breakfast and got back in bed
Woke up this morning with a pain in my head
Woke up this morning with a pain in my head
Had the blues for breakfast and got back in bed

I had sugar in the morning but now my sugar's gone
It's such a lonesome feeling starting off the day alone
I had sugar in the morning but now my sugar's gone
I had sugar in the morning but now my sugar's gone
It's such a lonesome feeling starting off the day alone

I like my biscuits buttered and I like my coffee sweet
I like to have my sugar lying here next to me
I like my biscuits buttered and I like my coffee sweet
I like my biscuits buttered and I like my coffee sweet
I like to have my sugar lying here next to me

© 1990 Alkatraz Corner Music Co BMI
words and music by Joe McDonald

Clara Barton

"Clara Barton is one of my women's songs. I despair over the lack of real women as role models, it's my cause of the moment . Rock and roll and blues have a way of playing on the cliche of the evil women who'll break your heart. I was thinking about my three daughters and wanted some heroes for them to think about. A person like Clara Barton did real things, and when you have the truth and it reads like fiction, it blows you away. I had several songs about real women I wanted to include, but this one got to everybody -- the audiences were responding instantly. It was taking off on its own. It's dramatic, it involves war and the American Red Cross, which we all can relate to, and this one woman who created it. It's a very white Appalachian epic ballad. That's my roots, the folk hootenanny stuff. So I was happy to get this song out. I love singing it."

Every time in the world someone receives first aid
You can thank Clara Barton for the life that is saved
She lived out her life in a world ruled by men
Every time they knocked her down she got back up again
Clara Barton

Civil War Veterans with tears in their eyes
Told how she braved the battle lust to save their lives
She never ran from the shot and the shell
Bringing aid and comfort in the midst of Hell
And even then at the war's very end
When the prisoners were lost and without friends
She helped families to find those that they loved
A professional angel sent from up above

Thank the Lord for Clara Barton and long live her name
The American Red Cross is her claim to fame.
When you see a Red Cross worker in a time of flood or war
Take a moment to remember and thank the Lord for Clara Barton.

© 1990 Alkatraz Corner Music Co BMI
words and music by Joe McDonald

Blues for Michael

"Blues for Michael is just a blues. I wanted to write the simplest, easiest song -- when you're young, you want to write the most difficult forms because you want to prove you can do it. But sometimes doing the simple is really hard. This one goes back to Country Joe and the Fish stuff, the really slow simple stuff we did. The chords are simple, the lyrics are simple, it means exactly what it says And I hoped Jerry [Garcia] would play this song with me because we both knew Michael Bloomfield, we both know how easy it is to disappear, to die. It's real sentimental -- Jerry Garcia and Country Joe, singing about Michael Bloomfield, a very famous blues musician with a drug problem who died under mysterious circumstances about ten years ago. Sometimes a song has to be really personal, about your real life. This song is about me and how I feel about the fact that this friend of mine is gone."

Hey, hey, Michael won't you play the blues for me
Hey, hey, Michael won't you play the blues for me
To hear you play would be so heavenly

Hey, hey, Michael I bet you're over on cloud nine
Hey, hey, Michael I bet you're over on cloud nine
Playing blues for the angels and blowin' everybody's mind

I can still remember
Seems like yesterday
Down at the nite club
Where we used to play
Now your chair is empty
Your guitar left untuned
And it hurts so bad now
To not hear you play the blues

Hey, hey, Michael won't you play some blues for me
to hear you play would be so heavenly

© 1990 Alkatraz Corner Music Co. BMI
words and music by Joe McDonald


Lyrics used by permission. All rights reserved.

Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California.
Produced by Bill Belmont
Engineered by Michael Rosen, Danny Kopelson, David Luke and Michael Semanick, assisted by Andy Niedzwieci.
"Crossroads" and "Tranquility" mixed by Michael Rosen.
Remix by Danny Kopelson.
Photo by Herb Greene.
Notes from "A Profile" by Chiari Sontiago, 1990
Design by Tom Weller.
Package Design by Steven Jurgensmeyer

All songs © 1981,1983,1990 Alkatraz Corner Music, BMI.
Words and music by Joe McDonald.

(P) © 1990 Rag Baby Records

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