The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #11266   Message #3851525
Posted By: Joe Offer
20-Apr-17 - 09:52 PM
Thread Name: Origins: I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag
Subject: ADD : I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag
In another thread, it was suggested that the tune is very similar to "Muskrat Ramble," recorded by Louis Armstrong:



Here's my transcription of the "Fish Cheer" version of the song by Country Joe and the Fish, which seems to be the most commonly-found recording.

(Joe McDonald)

Gimme an "F" — "F"
Gimme an "I" — "I"
Gimme an "S" — "S"
Gimme an "H" — "H"

What's that spell? — "Fish!
What's that spell? — "Fish!
What's that spell? — "Fish!!!!

Yeah, Come on, all of you big strong men.
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam,
Way down yonder in Vietnam,
So put down your books and pick up a gun.
We're gonna have a whole lot of fun!

And it’s l, 2, 3, what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn.
Next stop is Vietnam,
And it’s 5, 6 7, open up the pearly gates.
Well, there ain’t no time to wonder why.
Whoopee! We’re all gonna die!

Well, come on, generals, let's move fast.
Your big chance has come at last.
Gotta go out and get those Reds,
The only good Commie is the one that's dead.
And you know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come!

Come on, Wall Street, don't move slow.
Why, man, this is war à-go-go.
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the army with tools of the trade.
Just hope and pray that if they drop the Bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong!

Well, come on, mothers, throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on, fathers, don't hesitate.
Send 'em off before it’s too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

©1965, Joe McDonald

There's lyrics, sheet music, and guitar tab at

I saw Country Joe perform perform a few years ago. Just as I got to the ticket window, the clerk said they were sold out, but we could wait to see if there were no-shows. Country Joe came out about ten minutes later and gave six of us free tickets. I wasn't one of the lucky ones, but then a woman gave me her ticket.

He was doing a Woody Guthrie retrospective, and he did a wonderful job - with no Country Joe songs in the performance at all. But at the encore, he did sing "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag." The audience went wild!