"According to the fabled Rough guide to Rock, Country Joe & The Fish 'formed in Berkeley, California, 1965' and made 'substantial contributions to the halcyon days of psychedelic music'. The very same Barry 'The Fish' Melton graced Northampton with this intimate gig, taking to the hot seat only after Joe Woolley set the scene with his always delightfully affecting yet unaffected acoustic ditties.
While the rickety old Labour Club holds no more history for some than a few Friday night drinking excursions, Barry Melton is enamoured with its links to a labour movement arguably long forgotten. When they weren't fighting for workers' rights his parents introduced him to the wistful, witty and inspiring folk songs of the early 1930s American labour movement, mirrored in the union posters on the walls of Northampton's own Labour Club.
Turns out that like a fine wine you've never heard of but you know you're going to enjoy, Barry Melton is rich and satisfying in the drinking. Far from stuck in a 1960s time warp, he recalls Woodstock psychedelia with the wry humour of a man who knows that getting wasted and writing songs about hamburgers falling in love with hotdogs is a novelty that just won't last.
Still, he doesn't regret one moment of it, and neither do we as his awesome, and at times ridiculous, gravelly blues and traditional union chants float into the night air, reminding Northampton that there's a vintage you can't buy on Camden High Street. And The Fish has it, down to a T."
Natasha House, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, Fri 5th August 2005
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