Canned Heat – Going Up the Country

Canned Heat – Going Up the Country

‘Going Up the Country’ (also ‘Goin' Up the Country’) is a song adapted and recorded by American blues rock band Canned Heat. Called a "rural hippie anthem", it became one of the band's biggest hits and best-known songs. As with their previous single, ‘On the Road Again’, the song was adapted from a 1920s blues song and sung by Alan Wilson.

Canned Heat, who were early blues enthusiasts, based ‘Going Up the Country’ on ‘Bull Doze Blues’, recorded in 1928 by Texas bluesman Henry Thomas. Thomas was from the songster tradition and had a unique sound, sometimes accompanying himself on quills, an early Afro-American wind instrument like panpipes. He recorded "Bull Doze Blues" in Chicago on June 13, 1928. For ‘Going Up the Country’, Canned Heat's Wilson used Thomas' melody on the quills and his basic rhythm, but arranged it for a rock setting and rewrote the lyrics.

Although linked to the counterculture of the 1960s' back-to-the-land movement, Wilson's lyrics are ambiguous, leading some to suggest they were about evading the draft during the Vietnam War by moving to Canada, as hinted in the lyric - ”Now, baby, pack your leaving trunk, you know we've got to leave today. Just exactly where we're going, I cannot say, but we might even leave the U.S.A. 'Cause there's a brand new game that I don't wanna play.”

Canned Heat

In October 1968, ‘Going Up the Country’ was first released on Canned Heat's third album, Living the Blues, and was followed up as a single on November 22, 1968. The single peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on January 25, 1969, making it the band's best showing on the main U.S. chart. On January 6, 1969, the song reached number 5 on the Canadian RPM charts, and on January 7, 1969, the song peaked at number 19 on the UK Singles Chart.

The group performed ‘Going Up the Country’ at the Woodstock music festival in August 1969 and the song is used in the Woodstock film and appears on the original soundtrack album. It became Woodstock’s unofficial anthem, since getting out of town and back to nature was what the festival on Max Yasgur’s New York farm represented to so many.

T-Shirt Sale

Label – Liberty
Songwriters – Alan Wilson, Henry Thomas
Producers – Canned Heat, Skip Taylor


[Verse 1]
I'm goin' up the country, baby, don't you wanna go?
I'm goin' up the country, baby, don't you wanna go?
I'm goin' to someplace where I've never been before
[Verse 2]
I'm goin', I'm goin' where the water tastes like wine
I'm goin' where the water tastes like wine
We can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time
[Flute Solo]
[Verse 3]
I'm gonna leave the city, got to get away
I'm gonna leave the city, got to get away
All this fussin' and fightin', man, you know I sure can't stay
Now, baby, pack your leavin' trunk, you know we've got to leave today
Just exactly where we're goin' I cannot say, but
We might even leave the USA
'Cause there's a brand-new game I don't wanna play
[Flute Solo]
No use for you runnin' or screamin' and cryin'
'Cause you've got a home as long as I've got mine
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