Notes by Country Joe
One day, about a year ago, I thought to myself ďI want to make a jug band album.Ē One of my favorite groups is the Christmas Jug Band. I knew that Tim Eschliman was my contact for the couple of times I played with them and I figured he was their producer guy. So I called him up and asked him if he would like to co-produce a Country Joe jug band album. I also knew that the jug bandís drummer percussion guy was Country Joe and the Fishís Woodstock Festival drummer Greg Dewey. And I thought that Tim and Greg would be a great rhythm section. And that is how it started.
We worked out of his home in Petaluma with Pro Tools and his computer. He drew upon his pool of Christmas Jug Band musicians. I flew in Greg from Yellow Springs. We drew upon a list of about thirty songs. Greg played everything including the kitchen sink and Tim played washtub and stand up bass. I decided to use songs I had recorded with Stephen Hart at Fantasy Studios about five years before for a singer/songwriter songbook album that never got released. I drew upon my own circle of musicians that I thought would work well with certain tunes: The Persuasions; Lorin and Chris Rowan; Harper Simon and Suzy Thompson.
There were a large selection of tunes going back forty-five years and in all the styles I like to do including: instrumentals; ballads; protest; waltz; and a little bit of rock and roll. And in the end one selection of tunes seemed to make everyone happy except me. So I included a second disc of tunes that made me happy. I also wanted to make an album in the old school sense. That meant that it would be a package. It would have a beginning and middle and end and art work that fit a theme.
At the start I wanted to call it Time Flies By and include a song of mine by the same title. I could not get a recording of the song that made me happy but I liked the concept -- thinking this could be my last well-thought out album and reflecting upon the passage of time represented in the selection of the songs. And so the album developed and here it is. I have always made music for myself first and the audience as an afterthought. But entertainment is my business. So I hope you find this album entertaining and enjoyable I know I had fun putting it together and enjoy it myself.
-- Country Joe, June 2012
From a review Jeff Tamarkin in Relix:
Time Flies By is the most significant new release from stalwart Bay Area singer/songwriter Country Joe McDonald in a good many years, even if it doesnít offer anything different enough to alter the established assumption of who he is. A newly recorded double-CD set, it gathers songs from throughout his career, some going back to the days of his old band Country Joe and
the Fish ( ďSection 43,Ē ďWho Am IĒ ), and some written as recently as last year. Musically, itís a mixed bag that touches on all of McDonaldís favored genres, from jug band tunes to straight-ahead rockers and stripped-down folk. For the occasion, McDonald called in some old friends, among them drummer Greg Dewey, who played in the Woodstock-era Fish, and a handful of guests (the Rowan Brothers, The Persuasions). Sans frills and fuss, they have put together a simple, effective home recording that shows McDonald is still an affecting deliverer of songs.