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Barry Melton

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Guitarist Barry Melton entered music in his teens, in San Francisco, as a member of the Instant Action Jug Band, which was where he met Country Joe McDonald, a singer and guitar player who was also putting out an underground newspaper called Rag Baby. The two worked together on some of McDonald's recordings in support of his political journal, and out of that linkup they decided to form a band -- the resulting group was christened Country Joe & the Fish. Melton's lead guitar -- a searing psychedelic assault on the strings -- was as essential a part of the group's three classic albums as McDonald's voice. Amid numerous personnel changes, especially after the third album, Together, Melton and McDonald formed the stable core of the band, which lasted into the late '60s. Melton held the group together after McDonald withdrew from full-time work with the group to get married, and he brought ex-Big Brother & the Holding Company members Peter Albin and David Getz aboard when they were left high and dry after Janis Joplin's split with the band. Working as Barry "The Fish" Melton, he continued as a solo act through the 1970s and into the 1980s, also fronting the Barry "The Fish" Melton Band. Melton has also been a practicing attorney since the early '80s; in more recent years, that career has apparently prevented Melton from participating in music as often as his former bandmates. ~ Bruce Eder

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1949 in Brooklyn, NY

Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s