Canned Heat's band members were notoriously avid record collectors; this was derived from an old and obscure Blues song called "Bull Doze Blues" by Henry Thomas. The song caught on in the summer of 1969 and was very popular among Hippies who appreciated the nature theme.
This was written by Alan Wilson, who was Canned Heat's vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter. Wilson committed suicide on September 3, 1970, becoming one of the first 27-year-old rock casualties, a group that would soon include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison.
Canned Heat played this at Day 2 of the Woodstock festival, which was a big moment for the band. The song was kind of an anthem for the festival, as "Going Up the Country" described the pilgrimage to Yasgur's farm in upstate New York where the event took place. The band didn't put much effort into practicing for their appearance, and their 10 song set was uneven - their co-founder Bob Hite said in a 1974 Sounds interview, "We've always just fallen into something within a couple of days and then just gone out on the road and played. Sometimes it's shown it and sometimes it's been incredible. The Woodstock performance which although there were a couple of tunes which weren't too good, 'Going Up The Country' was one of them."
The song was included on the Woodstock album, but Canned Heat's set was edited out of the official movie. It can be seen on the director's cut of the film.
Bob Hite sang lead on most Canned Heat songs, but this one was sung by Alan Wilson in his distinctive tenor.
The prominent flute in this song was played by Jim Horn, who made his biggest impact as a saxophone player, appearing on tracks by The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and The Beach Boys.