Canned Heat

Still Telling Tales of the Country: Canned Heat, circa 2009 (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“I’m going, I’m going, where the water tastes like wine,
We can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time.”
“Going Up The Country” by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Canned Heat[/lastfm]

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Canned Heat[/lastfm] was a band that formed in LA in 1965, born of the casual music gatherings singer and blues collector Bob Hite held in his Topanga Canyon home. They took their name from a 1928 song by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tommy Johnson[/lastfm] called “Canned Heat Blues,” a hobo term for Sterno.

Those two facts tell us a lot about the band and, in turn, one of their most famous songs, “Going Up The Country.”

It was the heart of the 1960s, when the first wave of Baby Boomers were reading Steinbeck and Kerouac and romanticizing life on the road. Delivered in Hite’s warbling, almost embarrassed falsetto — complete with jug and recorder as accompaniment — “Going Up The Country” invites us to “pack (our) leaving trunk” to go to some unknown place where “the water tastes like wine” and jump in an “stay drunk all the time.”

Could there be a more romantic, utopian and fantastic picture of life in the country?

Read more What’s in the Words.


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