*3.30-GRACE (Country Joe & the Fish)

Country Joe & the Fish



Cold rain
to splash water
colored green and
flash the sun
to paint
green her hair. (2x)

         Your silver streak flash (3x)
         across the tiny door of my eye. (2x)

Warm wind
to touch the
colored blue and
flash the moon
to paint
blue my heart. (2x)


Soft skin
to spend the
day colored gold and
flash the sea
to paint
gold our love. (2x)



         [Coda: I love you (3x)]

Grace is said to have been written for Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane. It's a love song, ironically with I Love You replacing the LSD chant that ended Bass Strings. The music has a jazz structure, based on repetition of lines before moving forward, and the atmosphere is of vast space over which wanders an acidic guitar and an occasional woodwind recorder. Lacking an ego on LSD, aware of his infinitesimal importance in the universe, the singer sees the love object as a shooting star, soon to be outside the scope of his vision. Cymbals and bell tones that throughout the song signify flashy clarity through a maze of glitches and squelches, are bent and warped at the end of the song.

The verses in Grace have line pauses that are exact without being evenly measured, and their repetition emphasizes the precision of each line break. (David Crosby and Donovan, with their jazz inflection upon psychedelic music also have had uneven measures in their lyrics but, if my memory serves me well, not with Grace's syllabic precision of line break.)

The verses themselves seem to be a shell game, inserting colors and images in each slot: Rain / Wind / Skin; Sun / Moon / Sea; Hair / Heart / Love. The major verb is the repeated flash; the repeated infinitive is to paint. As in many psychedelic lyrics, color is very predominant as a supposed source of meaning beyond words--the lyric takes us through green, silver, blue, silver, gold, and silver again. Though the hair and skin of the desired woman is described, the hair is green and the skin is golden, like a figure in a black light poster. The song appears to be about the image of "Grace" and not the person.